The 2015 #SRCBrooks team have been beating the heat by lacing them up and toeing the start lines. From everything to 4Ks to 78 milers, you can see these faces and legs all over the region, racing up a storm!
It’s been an exciting 2nd quarter! I ran the 2015 Boston Marathon on April 20 in 2:54. I had my first overall win of my life at the Cougar Mountain 10 Mile on May 9th (1:24:46). My first ever trail run was the cougar 10 Mile in 2010 where I took 41st and was more than 20 minutes slower. It’s fun to see the progress year over year. I followed that up with a 5th place finish at the Brooks Trailhead 15k (58:29) on May 30. In June I continued the Cougar Long series with the 14M on June 13 where I also took 1st (1:56:50). I will continue to focus on the trail next quarter with the 3rd and 4th races in the Cougar Series. I would love to win the overall series and it would be amazing to win all 4 races. I am also running the White River 50 in between the final two races in the Cougar series. My go to shoe all Summer has been the Pure Grit. Love it! All my races and some of my adventure runs are documented on my blog: https://whatsnextmatt.wordpress.com
After a period of more consistent training, I’ve been enjoying feeling like I’m getting into decent shape. I still have lots of room for improvement, especially in the speed department, and I’m hoping to raise the bar further for cross country season. I did do a bit more racing and had what I considered some successful runs:
June 3 – Club Northwest All Comers Track Meet #2 I ran the 3000m race as a fitness test. I hadn’t been doing a lot of speedwork and was just hoping to run around 10 minutes, so I was pleased to run a fairly consistently-paced 9:46.
June 13 – Cougar Mountain Trail Run Series race #2 I had been anxiously awaiting an opportunity to jump into one of the Cougar Mountain Series races, and I felt the 5k would not be too long, plus I love short, fast trail races. My goal was to break the course record of 19:52, and I decided the best approach would be to start out at around 6:00/mile pace, so that I’d have some buffer for slowing down up the hills. When I got to the hills after a mile into the race, my legs felt quite tired, and I felt like I was perhaps slowing down too much, but the downhill after the climb out of the aid station allowed me to take back some time on the way into the finish, and I finished in 19:29.
June 27 – U.S. Ultra-long Orienteering Championships I love the ultra-long distance race format in orienteering, and I went into this race with my sights set on a gold medal. What I was less sure about was how I would do against the Australian competitors who were also racing. The weather would peak over 100F in Idaho City, where the race was held, although fortunately the race was run in the cooler–but still hot–temperatures of the morning. The race went out fast, and I felt tired early on. I had good position within the U.S. field, but Kerrin Rattray from Australia was too fast for me to keep up. Midway through the race, I caught up to Kerrin when he had a small navigation problem on one checkpoint. From that point on, we ran more or less equal, trading the lead as we split onto different route choices and then came back together again. I did a great job of hydrating and taking electrolytes during the race, and I felt good later in the race, while it seemed like Kerrin was starting to struggle. I threw in a surge on a long, downhill leg to the 21st of 25 checkpoints; I made a break here, which was extended when Kerrin had a bit of trouble locating the checkpoint. I continued my surge through the final few kilometers of the race, extending my lead at the finish to 5 minutes, and finishing just under the 2-hour mark. I was happy to have not only won the gold medal, but win the race overall.
My first race while working back into shape following a winter injury was the Nordstrom Beat the Bridge 8K in May. I was alone between groups until right before the third mile, as Nick Bowden caught up with me while I was just catching the next runner in front. We were then able to have a solid last two miles picking a few more people off. I finished in 11th at 27:08, which was about where I expected to be with my fitness level.
It was a fun event and a great way to help raise awareness for juvenile diabetes research.
Since then, I’ve unfortunately had a strained hamstring issue that has delayed further racing. It is now coming under control, and I look forward to racing later this summer and throughout the fall.
My second quarter provided me opportunities for learning. Even though I’ve been running for quite some time, I’m still much better at coaching others than coaching myself.
The quarter started off fairly well with a 3rd place finish at the Rhody Run in Port Townsend in May. This is one of Uli’s and my favourtie runs and we’ve only missed it once since we started running it. It’s never easy to get there because it’s usually the weekend of the outdoor track & field conference meet, but we make it work. It’s fun to catch up with friends, race a tough, awesome course, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.
June started off with a surprise win at the Shore Run 10k. This race usually has a fairly competitive field. I don’t know if it was due to the hot conditions, but I quickly found myself alone in the lead. The race goes along Lake Washington, which is beautiful, but it’s also where I do a large number of my easy runs. Being alone, hot, and running into the wind, I found it hard to push myself and ended up with what felt more like a tempo effort. Nevertheless, I got the “W” and I won a badminton set in the post-race raffle! This was one of the single most exciting parts of my entire summer! Last year they raffled off a set as well and I’ve been coveting it since. I was so excited to win. I ran it home and we played a bit and now it’s become a regular part of our fun time!
The Titus van Rijn One Hour race is an interesting one that I did for the first time last year. This year it was surrounded by stress and was on a hot, windy day in June virtually by myself. (Thanks to Glenn Tachiyama for being Uli’s and my water provider, picture taker, timer, and cheerer!) I ended up with the 3rd farthest distance. This was a bit disappointing after almost setting the women’s record last year.
Unfortunately this was the beginning of the end for me. I had been focusing my summer on the Zermatt Marathon and White River 50 Mile. Long story short, I ended up dropping out at the half-way point of each of those races. While that was extremely frustrating, I know that was the right call. I should never have started either race and I knew it ahead of time. Hope and stubbornness are not always good things. This is where the learning part comes in. I am now working on figuring out what’s wrong and how to fix it. My hope is to have some helpful answers within the month and be able to move forward stronger and smarter.
My feet continue to enjoy my wide variety of Brooks shoes. Training never felt better than in my Adrenalines. Happy feet in workouts and races depend on a mix of the T7, PureFlow, and PureGrit, depending on the terrain and distance.
My variety of Brooks clothing keeps me comfortable no matter how long the race or the weather conditions. I always have just what I need to feel comfortable, whether it’s a recovery day or a race. Currently I’m loving my Epiphany 3.5″ shorts for training and racing. They are so comfortable, I don’t even notice I’m wearing them, which is especially key for ultra-distance races.
The 2nd Quarter, as just about every quarter, presented new challenges. For me this time around, it was a matter of overcoming sickness. Shortly after the Gorge Waterfalls 50k, I tested positive for the Epstain-Barr virus or otherwise known as mono from two different doctors. After feeling much better relatively quickly, I again tested positive for a nasty version of strep throat. Long story short, coconut oil (especially), good sleep, a few days staying home from work, hydrating and Vitamin C can solve those problems. Throughout April and May, I must’ve averaged 15 miles/week. With that said, my urge to get outside and compete again was only increasing. I started with a couple smaller trail races to get my confidence back, followed later by the Rattlesnake Ridge Trail Half and most recently, a race down to the wire at the Cougar Mtn. 10.8 mile, which featured USATF prize money up for grabs. Here are my spring results, which somehow “44” was a reappearing number in my times:
Echo Valley Trail 10k near Lake Chelan – 1st place, 40:44
Ravenna Run the Ravine 4k – 1st place, 14:44
Rattlesnake Ridge Trail Half – 1st place, 1:44:42
Cougar Mtn. 10.8 Mile – 2nd place, 1:15:56
My 3rd Quarter race schedule includes the Angels Staircase 35k (U.S. Skyrunning Series) and the North Face Challenge – Utah Half Marathon.
This was my first time racing in the new Launch 2 and I freaking loved it! I have found my ‘race shoe’ and am so looking forward to my next road marathon in them. Since I’m not a light person, I have struggled to find a race shoe that gives me enough cushion and this shoe has enough. It also feels much faster than the weight would hint at, I’m not sure what it is exactly (the rocker shape of the sole?) but striding is about as easy as it gets. And it’s incredibly comfy. So glad to have found this shoe.
My injuries from early in the year are 95% healed up and my fitness is about 90% back. I am looking forward to running my goal races this year which are three US Sky Runner events starting in three weeks!
Aside from the Boston Marathon, Q2 was full of taking time off of running for injuries! But first, the race report.
With the help of a PT, whether a mental placebo or not, I set out to not waste money + the opportunity and continued on with the race.
It turned out…not bad? I still hit a wall that was worse, mentally, than any other wall I’ve ever hit, but it turned out as a PR.
I ended up bringing 3 different shoes to fit my day-of desires: Cascadia 10, Pure Grit 3, and my T7 racers. After advice from my very-smart sister, I decided on the shoe that would fit my orthotics: the Cascadia 10s. An unusual choice for a road marathon, but it would have to do…and I actually loved them.
Road was wet, so grip was a huge positive. And they’re more comfortable with orthotics, so, point 2!
Boston ended up being a 2-minute PR in trail running shoes closely following an injury! Brutal, but I’ll take it.
The following two months have been a LOT of stretching, another 2 weeks off completely, not enough miles to make this guy happy, and a HUGE race this weekend: the White River 50 miler. I’ll be happily wearing my Cascadia 10s again.
Also, let me put in a request for a stunning Brooks trucker hat to wear while racing the trails!
Brooks converts this year: ~5
Will have more on my blog later on.
So the first few months of being 40 didn’t kill me. And I can still run. Even better, my first few races went well and for the second quarter of 2015 I was looking forward to, wait for it… Bloomsday!!! Maybe I’ll be ok after all.
In April I ran the Magnuson series 10k. What a great day and a fun event in the park! I was using it as a tune-up for Bloomsday and pushed through the hilly little course in 33:20, good enough for first at the event. For anyone looking for a low key Seattle run in April I highly recommend this run. On the first weekend of May I was, of course, headed over to Bloomsday! I ran this course first when I was 11 and it really is the reason I first started running. This year was my 27th running of the event, and even including the year I walked with my high school girlfriend I’ve averaged 46:53 for the event. This year went pretty well for me and as I worked with SRC teammate Uli for a while. He pushed past me on Doomsday hill and I finished in 39:45 for a 3rd place Master’s medal! Wahoo, on the Master’s podium at last!
After Bloomsday I worked toward the Seattle Rock n’ Roll 1/2 marathon. It’s not an easy course, but it is fun and Seattle Center is enjoyable afterward. I Ran a great 10 miles… unfortunately its a 13.1 mile race. Struggling through the last few miles I finished in 4th with a 73:52, but wasn’t passed during that window, so that’s something I guess. The day was great, like it always is that time of year, and Brooks does a great job sponsoring the event.
Next up for my old body was a 5k… a downhill 5k. Good idea? Probably not, but the Independence Day 5k in T-Town is lots of fun, if for no other reason that you feel AWESOME fast for at least a mile. I finished 2nd with a 14:58 and was in no way near in that kind of shape. Immediately afterward I went home, walked our neighborhood parade, played soccer with the kids and then ran around setting off fireworks until we ran out. We then promptly walked the neighborhood looking at other people’s fireworks. Busy day and I was a little sore from my too-fast 5k.
My last race of this quarter was one of my favorites (do I say that too much?). The Seattle Torchlight 8k is a real fun event whether you walk it or race it. It starts at Seattle Center and goes down the parade route so kids want to high-five you and everyone cheers. Then, you get to run on the Viaduct (not much longer!) and finish back at Seattle Center. Brooks was a major sponsor for this event again, and I got an awesome Brooks Pirate hat… that my son promptly took from me when I got home. Anyway, I won last year so I was hoping to run well this year again. I didn’t have my legs back, however, and I ran a 26:15 which was good enough for 6th place. Oh well, you win some you get 6th in some…
Overall I’ve still been having lots of fun racing and am loving the Brooks products more than ever. They have been upgrading their products like a forward thinking company should do, and I appreciate that. With that, Run Happy, friends and I’ll see you out on the roads, trails, byways…
Eugene Marathon – 2:41 (PR) This was my fourth try at a marathon and I finally connected. Even better than the time, was my race plan execution. I started 20 seconds per mile slower than goal pace and finished the last 10k 20 seconds per mile faster than goal pace. I was lucky to have Joe Creighton with me for the first 13.1. The value of a teammate and good friend (of the same pace) is extraordinary. Go SRC!
Brooks Trail Head 10k – 35:09 (PR) A pretty good race, and a win! I was still wiped out from the marathon, but paced myself well and pulled ahead after the two guys in front of me started too fast. I stayed consistent and used the final 3 mi as fast tempo training to get my legs in order for the Fremont 5k.
Fremont 5k – 15:46 (PR) Brooks Mach 16 Spikeless, big blue sunglasses, a lot of nerves, and some fast splits. This felt great. I took a big mileage break the week before the race and felt full of energy at the start line. Coming from longer training miles, the 5k was over before it started, which was good – it still hurt. I got a nice look at some of our Club Northwest rivals before XC season in the fall. I’m much faster this year. Pumped!
Miles and miles of trails and smiles – I did tons of elevation and winding trails in preparation for the White River 50 Mi. I ran my first 80 mi week, 90 mi week, and then 100 mi week. It felt great! Everything is coming together.
Finally, my masters thesis is done!
The second quarter of the year has been focused on my build up for the Vancouver Marathon. I threw in a short 10k for some speed work at the Snohomish Women’s Run and pulled away with second female overall. The Vancouver Marathon proved to be harder than anticipated with a very hilly half and temperatures in the 80s but it felt great to finish my third marathon!
My favorite racing gear in the current warm months include the Brooks Lite Tank, it is breathable and extremely lightweight (hence the name) which is ideal for hot weather. I raced the Vancouver Marathon in the Brooks Launch which was a great lightweight trainer. It was durable for the distance but didn’t weigh me down.
I’m looking forward to transitioning to the trails for the rest of the summer because it’s the best time of the year to be in the mountains!
You can read a full race report of the Vancouver Marathon and the Snohomish Women’s Run at dualnaturerunning.com!
My 2nd quarter was derailed by being to eager to return to running post-postpartum. I jumped into the 10.8 mile race at Cougar Mountain on May 9th just 3 months after having a child. I had been running distances greater than this in training. But, all of my runs were on flat ground and at a mellow pace. I did really well in the race. I got 2nd with a time of 1:36:43! But, the next month was a slow rebuild of my very loose joints that suffered greatly during that run. I shared this cautionary tale with my running mom cohort in South Seattle. Since then, I have been loving the Ghosts as a great shoe that provides cushion as a rebuild my strength and improve my fitness. I am still on track to compete in the Oregon Coast 50K in October and plan to use many races before this to hone in my speed. I am lagging on volunteer hours due to surprise visits from family members. But, I remember from last year that volunteer numbers dwindled by the end of the year and so I plan to be a huge help for the remaining events.
Boston Marathon/ April 20th/ 26.2 Miles/ Time: 3:47:56 Gender 5683
It was an honor to be running the Boston Marathon. Going into the race with a 3:04 marathon time made me eager to drop below three hours for this race. Unfortunately temperatures were cold and rainy…some runners managed to still salvage a decent performance, however many suffered hypothermia among other cold injuries. I was riddled with misfortune suffering an ankle injury early in the race and felt the effects of the cold weather in the second half. This race turned into a race of survival. I’m happy to have been a part of the Boston Marathon and look forward to returning in the future.
Sunshine Salutation (Northwest Trail Runs)/ June 23rd/ 10 Miles / 1st Women
This race is a part of the Northwest Trail Runs Tuesday Night Trail to Grill Series. These are shorter races allowing runners to get out and enjoy the trails during the summer months. This was a great race in which I finished first among women and overall thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of the event. We ran among the trees at Redmond Watershed and Preserve in Redmond, WA.
Cougar Mountain #3/ July 11th/ 20 Miles/ 3rd Women
The Cougar Mountain races serve as great events to challenge yourself against some of the best runners in the Northwest. I went into this event fresh and finished as the third women overall. A nice aspect of these races is their increasing length. The twenty mile option was a great choice to prepare for future races. I look forward to more races out at Cougar Mountain this year.
I had a great second quarter of racing, winning two ultras and setting three personal records!
Mt. Si Ultras 50-mile (4/26/15): 1st place overall in 6:10:30
My second 50 mile race and first 50 miler in Washington. A very flat course, so I was hoping to get a pretty fast time. I got worried when I was ten minutes off first place after the first ten miles, but patience paid off and I took the lead and held it after around mile 28.
Redmond Watershed Preserve 12-hour (5/16/15): 1st overall in 78 miles
My second 12 hour race. I was really hoping to crack 80 miles this time around, but had trouble with my legs locking up in the last couple hours. A great course with some definite climb to it, but fun, as far as those things go.
Brooks Trailhead 15k (5/30/15): 2nd Overall in 54:53
A very short race for me. I wasn’t sure how this “sprint” would go, but I felt pretty good holding a relatively fast pace, though I was certainly glad when it was over. Happy to set this PR and not challenge it for awhile.
Bend Beer Chase Relay (6/6/15): 2nd Overall in 7:26:34
A fun, but brutally hot 70+ mile relay in Bend, OR. Felt good about my team’s result given that we only had three runners to first place’s team of six. Next year, we hope to give them a real race for the top of the podium.
Pigtails 200 mile Challenge
The race started on Thursday morning May 21st. It was hot and dry for a day in May but we’ve become used to that lately. On the first day I was able to keep hydrated but I fell way behind on the calories. This didn’t seem to affect me too much because the pace was still easy. I was aiming for around 40-43 hours with 48 hours being the least acceptable goal. The first night was pretty uneventful. After about 24 hours I had to push harder to maintain anything that could be considered “running” while still walking up all the hills. I changed shoes at about 150 miles. Toward the end of the second day I started getting blurred vision and hallucinations. I’ve never had both together before, that was a challenge. The last 50 miles were really hard. I was running but I wasn’t really getting anywhere. It was dark so it was very hard to tell what kind of pace I was doing. I won in 45 hours and 9 minutes. Second place finished nine and a half hours later. I wore the Brooks Launch 2.
Cougar Mt 10.8 miler
This was a USATF race which meant two things, prize money and super fast runners. I tried to find the fast looking Masters runners at the starting line. It easy because they make you wear your age on your back. At the gun we all took off at what felt like a 5 mile pace, not a 10 mile mountain race. I saw a couple runners in my age group and slipped in behind them. One was gone before we hit the woods. I kept the other one in just barely my sights. I didn’t want to go that fast so early. I knew if I didn’t let him get out of sight I’d have a chance in the last couple miles. I caught up to him at about the halfway point and stayed there for a couple miles, actually pushing his pace. I think it was around 7 miles that he started to lose it. I quickly went by and picked up the pace. I passed a lot of runners but never saw the first place Masters (over 40) runner. I finished second in my age group with a course PR of 4 minutes and a small check. I wore the Brooks Pure Grit 4.