Sunday, November 27, 2011

Seattle Marathon

It rained every drop of the way. After all, this is Seattle in November! I asked one person who had been involved in a decision to keep it in November, and he said that the Board of Directors wanted it that way. Personally, I think it’s part of the Seattle mystique: This is Seattle and you get the weather that you are dealt, even if it IS usually rain.

Actually, though, it wasn’t so bad. The temperature was within a degree or two of 50 throughout my race, actually dropping slightly, the rain was never more than moderate (with less than 1/4 inch total accumulation during my race), and there was no need for sun screen! The only fly in the ointment was the wind, 10-15 mph SSW gusting to more than 20. In a few places this mattered a lot, making a flat run seem like uphill and a lovely downhill seem flat. But that can happen in any city and any weather.

My Race:

  • Finish 5:26:23, roughly a half hour faster than the most-recent two marathons, making me second of three in my 70-74 age group. Marathon number 60 since diagnosis, and Washington is state number 41, a total success. Nine states left - I can easily tick them off on my fingers now. Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii.
  • No pains worth bitching about, isn’t that nice? Sometimes my speed is limited by a pain somewhere, but today it was just muscle fatigue, which happens in any marathon.
  • According to the published results my second half was three minutes slower than the first half, which is about right. I don’t believe in negative splits any more - small positive splits give the best time.
  • I shot for a 5:30 finish. I wonder if I could have gone a little faster if I had aimed a little higher (lower?). Hard to know.
  • I wore shorts, a technical (wicking) LS t-shirt, a runner’s wind jacket, ear cover, and gloves. Perfect. I was never cold until after the finish.
  • There were lots and lots of Team in Training (TNT) runners to thank. TNT raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which funds research on blood cancers like mine. I like to tell thm how much I appreciate it.
  • I ran with (sort of) the 5:30 pace team, which must have finished on time. Near the end I went out ahead by a minute or two, and now regret that I didn’t hang around for a couple of minutes to thank the pace team leader and tell her how important she was in helping me pace my race. She was a TNT runner, and I’m going to try to get a message to TNT.
  • As usual I ran for Team Continuum, which was started by a guy with myeloma and supports families overwhelmed by the costs of cancer.
  • As I passed one old Marathon Maniacs runner, I asked him if this was his second marathon of the weekend. He said that it was his fourth! After a bit more conversation I didn’t understand him and didn’t believe him, so I scooted on ahead.
  • Later in the race I came upon a young woman with a sign on her back (actually her butt) which explained the FOUR marathons in Seattle this weekend, starting on Thanksgiving day. She was taking it easy at that point, but in the last two miles she roared past me and finished in style.
  • Six Clif Shot Mocha gels, an equal number of Thermotab salt tablets.
The Seattle Marathon:
  • It’s a pretty good one, according to me. I definitely recommend it. To heck with the weather - runners can dress for it.
  • The course has its ups and downs, in both senses. There are plenty of hills, and there are a few places where it isn’t fun to run, but all in all the course is OK.
  • Part of the marathon course (not the half) goes across the I-90 floating bridge from Seattle to Mercer Island, using the express lanes, which are closed to traffic and well-separated from the regular lanes by a tall NJ median. The problem is noise from vehicles on the regular lanes. Apparently Washington State allows the use of studded tires, and those make a LOT of noise. Lots of people use them, even the cab we rode in yesterday. One runner from Wisconsin was quite upset and a more than a little grumpy about it. I scooted ahead. After all, that portion was only 3 ½ miles of a 26-mile race, and in my mind the noise was compensated by the uniqueness of running down the middle of a huge freeway which was floating on the water. I liked it, and besides, I wasn't wearing my hearing aids.
  • In several places only one lane of a small road was closed to traffic, though traffic was usually light and it never became a problem. Noise from nearby I-5 was a problem, but those segments were short.
  • Much of the course was simply delightful. We circled Seward Park, an island/peninsula in Lake Washington, on a paved trail totally closed to vehicle traffic. It smelled like pine or juniper, and the area was mostly inhabited by mallards who paid very little attention to us. We passed other parks as well. For at least 11 miles we traveled on a mostly-closed residential road along Lake Washington. Later we ran on a closed road, Interlaken Blvd, which afforded us views from high above the city. Never mind how we got up there! Finally, we finished in Memorial Stadium. Nice.
  • Police were perfect. no grumps.
  • Volunteers were perfect and abundant.
  • We saw more spectators than I expected in 50-degree rain.
  • We all noticed a lot of officials, on bikes and otherwise, checking to make sure that we were OK.
  • There seemed to be lots of porta-potties, but mostly these were singles - one porta-potty. I never saw long lines, but single porta-potties are not convenient for people who are running with a partner.
  • The expo was large and comprehensive, and there seemed to be another one at the finish area.
  • The finish area was in a nice, heated building.
  • Results were posted almost immediately. In fact, we got an email from the marathon right after my finish congratulating us and telling us how to access the results. Cool.
Splits: 12:12, 12:49, 11:32, 12:42, 24:20 (2 mi), 25:04 (2 mi), 24:12 (2 mi), 12:20, 12:04, 12:20, 38:39 (3 mi), 11:31, 12:20, 12:09, 13:18, 13:28, 13:15, 12:14, 12:16, 12:28, 15:07 (1.22 mi), total 5:26:23, pace 12:27. Mostly I ran 30 seconds and walked about 50 to 60.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay! Good for you! I thought it was a great day for a run in Seattle. You'll get a lot of spectators on days like yesterday because if we didn't go out in the rain, we'd spend all 9 months indoors and that just won't do! Working on a half-marathon myself (I'm a slow starter) for TNT. The hills build great legs but are tough on knees coming down. Have a good trip home!