Jul 3, 2010

Seattle Rock n Roll Marathon and Mountain to Sound relay

Last weekend was fairly epic; Rock n Roll Marathon on Saturday, Mountain to Sound Relay on Sunday.

The Rock n Roll was an interesting experience for me. I didn't really train for it. I had been running a bit (and did run a half recently) so I had some base, but nothing that qualifies as training. About a month out I figured I better throw in a few long runs, nothing over 15 and nothing near my original plan. It's just a marathon right? Race day comes and we head to the start. Last year it only took 20 minutes to get to the start area to drop a runner so I didn't think to double check the road closures for this year. Same race, right? Bad call.. there were more road closures resulting in a very long line of cars to the start. Result - I was 20 minutes late. I've never been late to a race start. Ever. I was extremely frustrated, and pretty much ready to bag it. Since I don't quit either,  I calmed down (I'm sure Becky has another perspective), jumped out of the car and was happy to see that runners in corral 23 were just getting to start. I think there were 36 or so corrals, it's a big race. Finally, 55 minutes after the race started, I was on my way.

I'm not really a marathoner and I'm not a fast runner. I'm usually a multisport athlete and typically too busy thinking about nutrition or hydration or transitions or how my gear is holding up to spend a lot of time chatting with other racers. I'm also never late to race starts. I'm usually early and setting up or warming up, or too busy wondering if there are sharks in the small ice cold lake to chat with other racers. Since I was late, I was not too worried about anything, I just wanted to get going. While walking to start, I met an amazing guy from Nashville who had done a bunch of RnR races, super cool guy and our conversation took my mind off being late. Met another guy from California who was handing out TP he purchased on the way to race in the Port-O lines, too funny and so many people needed it. Met a half marathoner from Tri-Cities who was pondering his first Ironman, saw my IMC hat and struck up a conversation about how amazing Penticton is. I have never seen so many people at a race so excited to chat with everyone, it was crazy.

The first few miles of the race were pretty slow with lots of people on the course. The bands were fun and folks really got into the rock n roll of the race. By mile 6 folks were settling down and getting into their grooves. I was feeling great and knew as I was approaching Seward Park I'd see some Becky and the kids (which I did, big boost!). Shortly after mile 8 the race splits and the marathoners head out I-90. I knew there were a lot more half runners, and after turning off it felt like a much smaller race. The out and back was easy but boring, but I've ridden across the bridge a few hundred times so I knew what to expect. Next up was the drop into town and up onto the viaduct. Mile 13 came and went in about 2:12 (slower than expected, but not surprising) and my legs started to remind me that I hadn't trained. I was expecting this a bit earlier, so I was happy I made it this far without issues. I kept plodding away, kept the fluids and GU's going and mile 16 was suddenly upon me. Saw Becky and the kids again, as well as her bro and his family. Miles 16 - 19 were simply not fun. They were not painful, wasn't tough terrain, no issues with heat etc. They were just work. Every half mile or so I had to walk to keep my heart rate down, I was having a hard time dialing in a pace that I could hold. Finally, as I crossed mile 20 I got my mojo back. I felt like I was flowing from 22 - 24 and once I crossed 24 I knew I was done so I just put cranked em out. At least it felt like I cranked em out, but it was slow. The band at 25 was the best of the day, really helped the last mile go by.

So it's done. The marathon I really didn't need to do, or maybe shouldn't have done. I had a blast, and managed a 4:48. Not too bad considering.

What's the best thing to do the day after a marathon? Another race of course!

I did the kayak leg of the Mountain to Sound Relay. Much like the marathon, I didn't train. Not only did I not train, the last time I kayaked was a couple years ago. A friend asked if I wanted to join the team on short notice, and I said "Sure!". I managed to get in a short paddle on Thursday in my friends kayak and called it good. I was at least familiar with the boat, and I felt like I could at least finish. Sunday morning comes, my legs are dead, I get to the transition area early :-) and I'm ready to go. The biker comes in and hands off to me, and I launch. Immediately, my hamstrings are yelling. Shut up I say and I paddle on... for 3 hours... 12 miles down the Sammamish Slough.. in a sit on top Ocean Kayak.. with lots of food and water. Good times. I was slower than most and faster than a few. When I finished my arms were rubber and my hands blistered, but our team had a blast and that was all that mattered. I managed to catch Becky and the kids a few times too, and that was unexpected. Each time I saw them I was pumped up for a few miles. Now I'm thinking MTS would be a worthy Iron challenge.. maybe next year.