what, a wattle waddle?

The Wattle Waddle Marathon takes the crown for the race title most difficult to get right.  I’d munged Wittle and Wattle with Waddle every time I mentioned it. 

See what I mean?

In any case, I’d wanted to do at least one more event in 2012, and the Wattle Waddle fit the bill.  The first of the infamous Seattle Quadzilla events, it draws many Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics who wish to do four events in four days.  Note to the reader – the Wittle Waddle is the Half Marathon event, run on the same day as the Wattle Waddle.  At least I think this is right.

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picture by takao suzuki

I had no plans to do the other three Quadzilla events held on the Seattle Marathon weekend.  Following the Grand Ridge 50k the previous weekend, I was tired.

wattle-waddle-route

The course was pretty straightforward.  We’d wind a loop around Gas Works Park, and then head north on the Burke Gilman Trail for about 10 1/2 miles.  We’d turn around, head back to the park, and then do a 5 mile out a back stint to Ballard, before coming back to the park.  One park loop later, and we’re done.

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a beautiful morning for a run in seattle

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the gasworks in the park.  seems more like an idea for a superfund site than a park, but it’s a pretty nice spot.

One of the things I love about smaller local events is that getting to them doesn’t require much lead time.  This race started at 8am.  Factoring in travel, check-in, and eating something, I could sleep in until about 6:15 and get there in plenty of time.  So that’s what I did, arriving at Gas Works Park, fed and relaxed at 7:20.

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a motley crew of Thanksgiving Day marathoners – picture by Steve Walters.

And there were lots of friends there – Eastside Runner friends, familiar Marathon Maniac faces among them.  We lined up for a group photo, and then embarked at 8 sharp.

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the view looking up Kite Hill – picture by Tory Klementsen.

First thing we did was a loop of the park, including a trip up Kite Hill – probably the steepest climb of the entire course.  By the time we wound our way back to the Burke Gilman Trail, I’d fallen in with my friend Bob. Although the overall split time for that first mile was long, the initial pace along the trail felt a bit fast for me.  Each time I’d check my GPS, it would tell me that we were doing a sub-8:30 pace – about 30 seconds faster than my target.  The course was flat, so best to leave some spring in my legs for the middle miles. 

As we headed north along the trail, Bob and I talked about running and life.  We’d first met out on the course of the 2005 Nookachamps Half, and have had the opportunity to share miles together over the years.  Doing this with friends can make the miles fly by.  As we ran and talked, it was a kick catching familiar faces coming along the other side of the trail – some were faster runners, some had taken the early start.

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heading north on the Burke Gilman Trail – picture by Michael Hsu

The turnaround point on the north end of the course happened at about 11 miles, and we enjoyed some fluids before heading back.  Our splits had edged up into the 9:15-9:30 range, which would put us above 4 hours for the race.  This wasn’t a big deal – the pace felt pretty good.

We got separated around mile 15, and I decided to push myself a bit more.  My splits through mile 21 were all under 8:30.  By the time I rolled into the aid station at the start/finish area, before heading out for the 5 mile out and back stretch over to Ballard, I was definitely feeling the miles.  Running solo and being tired made the miles feel longer than before.  It only took about 20 minutes to reach the turnaround in Ballard, but I was ready to be done.

My splits for the last two miles were pretty good, still under 8:30, although it felt harder.  I came back into the park, and had to do the same loop around that we’d started with.  That final trip up Kite Hill felt like a bad joke, but soon enough I did the loop around the Gasworks, and crossed the finish. 

I’d just completed my 40th marathon, and my 12th marathon or ultras for calendar year 2012.  Most importantly, I had lots of fun doing it.

charts and graphs for running geeks

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