Posted by: pointlenana | February 4, 2013

A Mostly Up (But Not Super) Day

This is a two-part day for me.  The first part – running the West Seattle Fat Ass 50k – is over and went very well.  The second part – the 49ers in the Super Bowl – should go well based on an indicator I’ll get to in a moment.

WSFA50k:  Another Fat Ass run – with no shirt, no medals, no aid, no whining, and no fees (yes, this really was completely free).  The race director, Nic (Plemel I think), really played this up in his pre-race communication to the point where I was wondering if I needed to carry enough water for 31 miles.   The other thing that threw me off was his recent FB post where he said “Who’s ready for the 2013 WSFA?  Not us!  But we will be come race day.”  Finally, the bathroom situation is always a bit iffy at these things and I did everything I could at home to not need one at the race.  It turns out Nic is quite the sand-bagger about his race.  The course is a 7.8 mile leg out, then back, and then another lap for those doing 50k (there is a one-lap 25k option as well).  At the start there was a decent bathroom about 50 feet away.  The start/halfway point/finish had 3 big jugs of Nuun and water and a table full of the usual ultra snacks (plus “crisp rice” treats with a thin layer of chocolate on the bottom).  The turnaround point also had an aid station, and even though it was sparse compared to the start, it met my needs for water and nourishment.  Lastly, Nic homebrews and gives out bottles to the top 3 finishers of each gender.  So “no aid” coming from Nic means “great aid”.

It was drizzling and 40 when I drove to the start.  I planned to run in my SF (49ers) short-sleeved shirt with arm warmers, and the rain made me nervous.  Shortly before the start though it stopped and I set off in shorts, SF shirt/arm-warmers, and a running cap (which disappeared somewhere today while I was fumbling with a glove, gu, a water bottle, and the hat).  The start was one of those rare times where I felt good (though with tired and slightly sore legs from 20 miles yesterday) – it was a mood thing and I was happy to be out there.  I didn’t really pay much attention to the other runners but I knew many of them were behind me.  The race also allows for an early start and with the 2 lap out-and-back, at some point it is very hard to tell who is finishing their first lap slowly and who is way way ahead of me and moving really fast.

The first lap went well and again I was pleasantly surprised at the bountiful aid station at the turnaround.  As I arrived at the halfway point I knew I had a decent chance to set a significant PR.  My previous best was at Bridle Trails in the cold a few weeks ago – about 5:23.  I left the halfway point with about 2:20 on the clock, knowing that it was likely my built-up fatigue from the past weeks was going to get in the way of the possible 4:40 finish my split indicated.  It was important to me to PR though because the deal I made with the universe was that if I pr’d, the 49ers would/will win.  I was also worried that, since this course is pretty flat and Bridle Trails had some rolling ups and downs, the pr had to be significant or the universe might not be satisfied.  So I left the midway point and kept plugging away.

Pulling into the midway point I had noticed a few fast people heading out, somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes ahead.  As I ran back out I kept trying to stay at or under 9 minute miles.  That 3rd leg kind of dragged on and I was starting to hurt as I approached the final turnaround.  But a mile before I got there, I caught sight of a woman who had passed me at mile 10 or so and left the midway point well before me.  Surprisingly she was not far ahead.  I kept pushing and got to the turnaround and she was leaving just as I pulled in.  I quickly filled my water bottle and then spilled it all over the table as I reached for some animal crackers without putting the lid on first.  So I filled it again, set it aside, grabbed some cookies, took the bottle, and left.  I immediately passed both the woman and another guy I had noticed ahead of me.  At that point I wondered if I might be in the top 5 or so and possibly in a position to place.  I’ve never finished in the top 3 before, so it gave me incentive to ignore the discomfort and keep moving.

I’d like to say the last 7+ miles went quickly, but it took a fair amount of concentration to get through them and I definitely started counting the miles down and then the half-miles.  In the last couple miles I looked over my shoulder a fair amount, expecting people to be catching me and stealing any glory I might have.  But no one was there, and although I was flagging my pace was down to 9:25 miles instead of 9:00 which isn’t too bad.  I kept pushing all the way to the shelter by the finish line, and then was finally done.  When I finished, Nic asked “you did a normal start, right?” (people who start early aren’t eligible for awards) and then told me I was the 3rd finisher.  “Seriously???”  I looked at my watch and saw I had finished in about 4:43, or a pr by about 40 minutes which definitely counts as significant.  Nic gave me my award beer, harassed me a little bit about my SF shirt (a lot of bitter Seahawks fans in the run today, although other people out along Alki gave plenty of “go 9ers!” cheers), and congratulated me on the pr.

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Now I’m post ice-bath (really unpleasant today – I had the water a little too cold), fed and warm.  The SB has started and I”m recording it.  I can’t watch football live – too many commercials and too much time spent start to finish.  Recording keeps the suspense high (no breaks), and gets a 3+ hour experience down to about 2 hours.  So I’m waiting for enough of the game to be recorded so I can watch and not catch up to real-life before I see the end.  Given my big pr, I’m pretty confident about the 9ers chances today.

We interrupt the writing of this post to go experience the Super Bowl.

Well, not the ending I wanted.  But at least it ended up being a very exciting 2nd half after being a completely lethal first half for 9er fans.  That kickoff return at the start of the 2nd half was killer.  And the power outage was weird.  Oh well.  Great season for the 9ers overall – much more entertaining than the grim period from ~2000-2010.  And at least those bitter Seahawks fans have something to cheer about now.


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