Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tri-Cities Marathon RR (A Group Effort)

Let me think...It has been approximately 73 years since I last posted anything on here at all...well maybe only three weeks, but still, that is a long time to go in the world of running.   When I last left the story, I had taken off for an afternoon run with my youngest son in my weekly quest to reach 20 miles through out October  But what happened between that run and the one in to which I am about to delve is of mere consequence.   Join me as I bring you on a journey through my hometown.

We'll start our journey last Thursday.  After a long week at work, where I spent two days in an all day Value Engineering workshop, I finally had the chance to escape to the comforts of running.   I had spent the better part of the week getting to work early and leaving late, thus leaving little (read - no time) for actual running.   Which for me was fine considering I had a race Sunday  Thursday, I met up with my friend after work (I actually left early) to get a much needed run in.   Since my family was all napping when I got home, I changed quickly then popped out to grab 2 easy miles before I met my friend.   After a nice 5 miles around the neighborhood, we split up, and I grabbed an extra mile back to my house.   A nice easy 8 mile run three days before the Marathon relay.

I spent the next couple of days relaxing, and mostly complaining that I didn't really feel like racing Sunday  Saturday, after mowing the lawn, I met with my relay partner at packet pick up to get our bib and race information for Team "is and anagram of meat" .".  This of course adds a wrinkle at the end of this story.   Truly, my relay partner came up with the name, and seeing as he is a fan of bacon and most meat products, and we were trying to be clever, we settled upon this.   Mostly I think of it as the quote from Shaun of the Dead - "there is no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in pie. And there's an "I" in meat pie. Anagram of meat is team... I don't know what he's talking about. ""  Its a zombie movie and the run was on Oct. 30, don't judge us.

Back to the story  After packet pick up I was much more excited to be racing Sunday  We had our plan, my partner was running the first half of the race and I was running the second half of the race.   He estimated his time would be 2:10 or so, and I should be at the 2nd transition point in accordance.

Sunday - 9:15 AM (insert dramatic music) - I get out the door after many assurances that I would see my three year old at the end of the race.   He wanted to come with me, not that it would have been that bad had my wife been coming too.

9:30 AM - Arrive at the transition point and wonder if I passed my partner on my way over.   Decide that I haven't and begin watching for him...meanwhile on this brisk morning I begin warming up a bit.   about 15 minutes after I arrive, his wife arrives, she kindly takes my car keys and warm up shirt.   I take this opportunity to use the bathroom once more.

10:03 - My partner crosses the timing mat, handing me the belt with the bib on it.   I start my RunKeeper App, strap on the belt, all in stride and get going.   I quickly begin to think that I am moving all too quickly, and glance at the phone to check time - 7:45m/m pace after about 0.5 miles, decided I can probably keep pace and keep on trucking.

Mile 14-16 -The first mile takes runners back under the Blue Bridge (photo in a bit) heading east towards the Cable Bridge.   The water stops were every 2 miles during this race, and consequently I hit a water stop after only a mile of running, normally, I would have passed, but I decided to grab some water at this point just to get some.   After the water station, the route crosses under the bridge and along the running/bike path next to the Columbia River on the Kennewick side of the river.   The path is nice and windy as it snakes along, so I tried to take the most direct route as possible.   Meanwhile, I am clipping along at a fairly comfortable pace passing many other runners.   Mile 16 takes us over the Cable Bridge.

The Cable Bridge crossing the Columbia River - Kennewick to Pasco WA

Miles 17-18 - In my mind I had broken the run down into a few stages - The run from the transition point to the Cable Bridge.   The Cable Bridge to the Blue Bridge.   The Blue Bridge to the Concrete Bridge, and then finally the run to the finish line.   This little stretch constituted that second leg.   Two miles between the bridges along the winding path on the Pasco side of the river.  Mile 19 takes back under this bridge (my partner went over it during the first half).

Blue Bridge crossing the Columbia River between Kennewick and Pasco WA.

Miles 19-24 - Somewhere between mile 15 and 19 I realized I hadn't seen or been worried about the mile markers in quite some time.   Enough that when I saw Mile marker 19, I didn't believe that there were only 7 miles left in this race.   I was feeling very good, though a bit upset at myself for not grabbing a gel before leaving the house.   Between Mile 19 and 20 I passed over the timing mat at Transition point 1/3 (not a typo, that would be transition point 3 going this way).  I knew I was around 50 minutes for my 6+ pace, and really started thinking that I could hit this thing under 1:45.  I picked up my pace (though apparently not) and plugged on towards the Concrete Bridge.   This stretch was nice and straight, fast, as it meandered along the river, then eventually, through a neighborhood on its way up to the bridge.

Miles 25-26.2 - This was the toughest part of the whole race.   The uphill climb to the bridge, one last crossing of the Columbia  The climb brings the runners out onto the bridge on the Pasco side of the river, and then it is all downhill towards the Richland side of the river.   The final mile is along the streets by the golf course taking us back to the starting point.   As I come into the final quarter mile, I see my wife and kids coming up to the side of the road for a quick high-five.   Then I rounded the bend into the parking lot of the Shiloh Inn, seeing my training partner, and cross the mat at 3:52:30 on the clock.   As I am crossing the mat, the announcer is stumbling over out team name.  "And Relay team 706 - Team is an ana...what...Team is an anagram of meat."  I guess we get a shout out for unusualness.

His time for the first half - 2:03:01 - A PR for him.

My time for the second half - 1:49:02 - A PR for me.   Not quite the 1:45 I was looking for, but still it was fast and totally awesome.

My thoughts throughout the majority of this race were the following:   I really wish I could have gotten through training in September and pushed myself to do the full race.   My job concerns and just being completely worn down did me in.   I was in awe of all the people that were doing the full marathon, and the strength it takes to do that.   I have more motivation to do the full 26.2 mile run.   I have to say though, that this race really did get me back into a strong running mood, and I look forward to next year's challenges.

I promise not to be so much of a stranger in the coming weeks, now that work will be calming down for me a bit, I should be around a touch more.   Good luck to all in their coming races.   Have fun out there!

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