Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Green River Marathon (The long of it...)

So I said I'd write more when I had some pictures to along with the details, so here we go...

The Green River Marathon had a start time of 8:30am, in the days leading up to the race I had arranged with the race director for my wife & I to pick up 3 other runners prior to leaving West Seattle. When we got to the meet up spot it turned out 2 of the 3 runners had just jumped in another car and already headed out which was a little odd but allowed us to have room for 2 other guys who needed a ride. We arrived at the starting line with about 20 minutes to spare, I picked up my t-shirt, dropped it off with my wife, along with the warmer clothing I was wearing, and said good-bye to her as she's headed back home.

I lined up fairly close to the front of the starting line assuming most people, my self included, weren't there to 'race' so much as they were there to have a good time. A few directions were shouted to us, a small count down, and then"GO!" we were off!

(minutes after the start and all is well)

I started at what I felt was a fairly relaxed pace and told my self that this is how I would run the entire race. Within the first mile I had a brief moment to say hi to Steve Barrick, the race director (who I ran a good chunk of the Green Lake Dizzy Daze 50K with) followed by meeting and conversing with fellow Maniacs Jon & Sherry Mahoney (oddly enough, the folks who were going to ride with us in the morning but did not). I ran with Jon & Sherry for about the first 11 miles or so, in that time we talked about what runners will tend to talk about, what races you've run, where you'll be racing next, and so on. As it turns out I was running with some experienced marathoners, Jon was running his 289th marathon and Sherry was on her 63rd (though it should be noted, she ran her first in '05!), obviously I was jealous and in awe at the same time. The 3 of of also covered the standard meet and greet stuff like where you're from and what you do too, they were great company but I could tell they would eventually out pace me.

(Sherry, Jon, & I nearing mile 3)

We ran along the river, beside golf courses & soccer fields, and behind a shopping center I am far too familiar with. I saw parts of the trail that I had seen numerous times before (heck, from the trail I could see the apartments I lived in about 5 years ago) but, much more enjoyable were the part I had no idea existed. There were walking bridges, parks, and fishing holes all along the trail that I was completely oblivious to, another reason I love long distance running, you are able to see an area in a whole new light at a whole different level. In my opinion the first 16 miles of the course were great fun and, at times, quite scenic (especially considering we were surrounded by suburbs and city).

(Sherry, Jon, & I nearing mile 6... I think...)

At some point just prior to mile 11 Jon & Sherry both fell behind me, not due to pacing issues, but rather rest stops of a more personal nature. They both caught up with, and passed me with in another mile or so though and from that point on I ran unaccompanied until hitting South Park.

Miles 13 through 16 I was completely unfamiliar with, I knew where I was, I had just never traveled that route by foot or by car. Parts of the section were nice, I was amazed at how many home were along the river and how seamlessly a sort of rural and urban environment blended. As I passed runners and runners passed me pleasantries were always exchanged and encouragement was always mutual. I also made it a point to thank as many volunteers as possible, for such a 'grass roots' style marathon, the support was wonderful, in fact, it needs no indicator, I would have considered it great even had it been paid for.

(out on my lonesome... well, not really, but edited for dramatic effect...)

The portion of the route that was covered between miles 16 and 17 was a very industrial area I knew fairly well, thankfully it never had the chance to mentally wear on me as it passed by quickly and soon faded into South Park, another area of Seattle I'm not all that familiar with.

Right on the out side boarder of South Park I passed 'Barefoot Jon' a fellow West Seattlite who, as his nick-name would indicate, runs marathons barefooted, we briefly said hi and I continued on.

South Park is the real maze of the course, if you don't know where you're going or not paying attention, there's a good chance you could end up straying. Thankfully for me, I paused long enough, as a volunteer attempted to tell me the route, for the race director to catch up to me. I ran with Steve the entire way through South Park up until about the 19 mile mark, where, upon the aid station, I stopped and walked for a moment in order to call my buddy Jason, who would be meeting me at the 22.7 mile mark.

I ran alone along West Marginal Way, under the West Seattle Bridge, and up to Harbor Ave. were Jason waited for me. For me, those 3.7 miles dragged, I knew the area well and it happens to be the least scenic portion of the entire route, physically, I was still feeling fine, it was obvious to me that I had slowed down a bit but not to a pace that I was ashamed of. At that point I was really looking forward to having some one to run again with soon.

(A welcome concept
***Alki is the name of the beach the race ends at***)

When I got to Jason he was stretched and ready to go, there was no pause in action as he joined me and we continued down Harbor Ave. This final portion of the route may as well be my back yard, I've done more training runs along the shores of West Seattle than anywhere else. This final leg, though completely common to me, is still the most beautiful, with the majority of those final 3.5 miles basking in views of the Seattle skyline, the Pudget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains. Jason and I chit chatted a bit and ran, after about a mile and a half he began to slow down and fall behind, I attempted to fall back with him a few times but then would quickly end up ahead again. At some point he gestured for me to go ahead at my own pace and I took him up on it. I pushed with what I had left to the finish line, coming in at 3:48:09, a new PR by 1 minute and 21 seconds (Ha!). Once I knew my time had been recorded, I turned around, meet up with Jason, and finished the rest with him, in all his finish was about 2 minutes behind mine, and though I don't think he was happy with it, I'm glad he was there with me and had a chance to experience a portion of something I enjoy so much.

(Jason & I - Obviously right after I was told to go on with out him, as Jason is right on my heals)

Moments after we finished we meet up with our wives, I made a few quick rounds congratulating a few folks I recognized and thanking the race director for a great time. The four of us walked back to the car and headed back home where I took a quick ice bath, showered, and put on some fresh clothes (including a certain new race shirt). We headed back out the door and hit a newer pizza place just outside the neighborhood where I proceeded to stuff my self.

Overall, it was a great day for a marathon with cool temps and only one very quick mist. I walked away blister free and have recovered very quickly. I was also able to meet some new folks and (finally) get some miles under my belt. A big thanks to my wife (as always) for putting up with, and even supporting this wacky life style I've chosen. Also, thanks to Jason and Joanne for meeting up and hanging out with us, all the volunteers and the race director for the wonderful job they did, and all the other runners who I meet along the way, I hope to see you again soon.

(Lots more photos of the entire event, including a few of me that I didn't use, can be viewed HERE)

1 comment:

Jon said...


It was indeed a nice day for a run (or in my case, a run followed by a long walk, followed with a run to finish).

Good luck at Grandma's BTW! You've now got a marathon PR of 3:48:09 to beat!