26.2 in the watershed

This spring has been amazing in the Pacific Northwest.  It’s been warmer and sunnier than usual.  I’d taken some time away from events after being on the “one or more per month” routine for the past three years.  That was good too – we’d had lots going on at home.

spring marathon in the watershed - early miles

early miles – photo by Herb Purganan

The first weekend in March brought me out to do the Spring Run for Fun @ the Watershed – a nice event put on by Northwest Trail Runs.

I’d done this one three times before, with a pretty broad range of finish times.  I’d not done good marathon training this year – my last 20+ miler had been six weeks before.  I’m used to doing these every 2-3 weeks. I was a bit nervous about how things would go.

As always, there were lots of friends out at the start.  It was chilly – high thirties – when we lined up.  Last year had been even colder, and also wet.  Today promised to be a nice day for running.  So long as I suppressed my inner whinging, I had little excuse not to enjoy the miles. 

My race plan was simple – try to keep my heart rate low-ish.  I started out faster than I probably should have.  My splits and average heart rate looked fine, but my respiration rate felt faster than I’d like.  It took me the first 6 1/2 mile loop to settle down a bit. 

Several miles in, I started walking a minute every mile or so, to help keep my late mile pace steadier.  I didn’t let myself walk much outside of the set walking breaks, even on the short climbs. I just kept plodding along. I used to do this all the time, but have gotten a bit more lax on trails than I’d like. As you’d expect, this got more challenging in the late miles, but it felt good to push myself like this.

I would see friends on the out and back sections of each loop.  As we got farther into the race, the smiles would turn into faces of quiet determination. Today I just needed some silent time, so I ran the race solo.

Six miles became thirteen, then nineteen.  Before long I was at the last aid station, around mile twenty-three.  I was just a short training run from done.  My legs were tired, but I felt better than I’d expected after my scant training.

Going around the top of the preserve, along Collin Creek, then to Trillium, I stayed in the present, enjoying the miles. Those last few short climbs were tough, but I knew I’d be fine.

I crossed the finish about fifteen minutes faster than I had last year – just under 4:27. This was still pretty far off of my personal best on the course (3:58), but I was pretty happy with my effort and my results. Not sure what is going to be next up for me – but I’ll want to get more quality miles in between now and then.

Charts and graphs for running geeks

My 6.55 mile lap splits trended up – 9 min positive split (62 vs 71) between lap 1 and 4 – no graph needed. It’s a  negative split that is often an indicator of a race smartly run. Lesson learned – again Smile.

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