On October 16, I ran the Des Moines Marathon in Iowa. This was the third time I’ve run this race, but I’ve never gone into it expecting to run fast. In 2003, I volunteered to lead the 3:30 pace group. At the time, that was a pace I could run without working hard. In 2013, I ran it the day after running the Kansas City Marathon. I did both of those races with a pulled hamstring, so I wasn’t able to ran fast. This year, I was running it one week after an all-out effort in the Chicago Marathon. It was the first time this year that I raced on back to back weekends, and I didn’t know how much that would slow me down. Accordingly, I went into this race without any ambitious goals.
On October 9, I ran the Chicago Marathon. This was my second Chicago Marathon. I also ran it in 1999. That was before the World Marathon Majors were established, so I needed to run it again for it to count toward completion of all the majors.
While steep downhill courses like this have the potential to be fast, it doesn’t always work out that way. Running downhill for mile after mile can be tricky. It’s hard on your legs. If you do enough downhill training and learn how to run downhill efficiently, a course like this can be lightning fast. If you aren’t ready for it, though, it can really beat up your legs. Then the late miles can be slow and painful, offsetting the fast early miles.
This morning, I ran the Super Tunnel Marathon in North Bend, WA. This is a new race that uses the same course as the Light at the End of the Tunnel and Tunnel Lite Marathons. The course is almost entirely downhill, but it’s a gentle grade. Having run the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon two years ago, I knew it was a fast course. Once I realized I had a realistic chance of qualifying for next year’s Boston Marathon, I arranged my race schedule to give myself the best possible chance. This race was my first chance to qualify. I also scheduled another downhill race three weeks later.
On July 30, I ran the Frank Maier Marathon in Juneau, AK. This was the first time I’ve done this race. I didn’t originally have any races scheduled between the University of Okoboji Marathon in mid-July and the Super Tunnel Marathon in mid-August. I waited to see how my legs were doing before deciding if I wanted to add another race to fill that five week gap. I eventually decided to add a race on the last weekend of July, but there weren’t any local races that weekend. As I expanded my search, I mostly found rugged trail ultras that are beyond my current abilities. There were only two marathons that appealed to me. The first was the Frank Maier Marathon.
The Okoboji lakes area is in northern Iowa. It’s a lake resort area. They hold lots of athletic events there, and somewhere along the way a few people got the idea of selling branded sportswear. They created a logo based on a fictitious university called the University of Okoboji. They refer to the week of the marathon as homecoming week. Besides the marathon, they hold a 10K race, a half marathon, and a triathlon. My only major criticism of these events is that it seems like there’s too much going on at the same time.
Today, I ran the seventh race in the Heartland Series. This is a series of seven marathons in seven days, sponsored by Mainly Marathons. Like most of their series, each race is in a different state. I didn’t do the whole series; I just ran the final race in the series, which was in Albert Lea, MN.
This was a breakthrough race for me. I wanted to improve my time by 15 minutes. Instead, I improved by 34 minutes! Nothing about my stride ever felt awkward. For the first time in several months, running felt normal. I also redeemed myself for last year’s DNF. I had unfinished business here. Now I can move on.
Many consider the Boston Marathon to be the Holy Grail of marathons. It has a 120 year history. It has a well-known course. It finishes in a large city and boasts huge crowds. Numerous elite athletes from around the world travel to Boston to compete against the best. Since 1970, runners have needed to run a qualifying time in another marathon just to enter the race. For many, just qualifying is a lifetime goal. These are some of the reasons I had to run this race the first time I qualified for it. They’re not the reason I keep coming back. I come back for the crowds.
This morning, I ran the Honolulu Marathon. I also did this race in 2009, the day after Deb and I disembarked from a seven-day four-island Hawaii cruise. I always assumed when I went back to Hawaii, it would be another long vacation with Deb. We’re both interested in doing another Hawaii cruise, but it wasn’t in the cards for this year.
On December 5, I ran the St. Jude Memphis Marathon. This is the third time I’ve done this race. As I was looking for races to round out my racing season, it didn’t take long to decide to go back to Memphis. I’ve always enjoyed visiting this city.
Today, I ran the Seattle Marathon. This was the fourth and final race of the Seattle Quadzilla. This race is much larger than the first three. I don’t know if the race organizers are even aware that the other races exist. This was my fourth Seattle Marathon. I first ran it in 1990, when it was run on a different course. It was the third time I’ve run it on the current course. It was also the third time I’ve done it as part of the quadzilla.
Today, I ran the Ghost of Seattle Marathon. This was the third race of the Seattle Quadzilla, but the race has a much longer history. The Seattle Marathon was originally held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Later, it was moved to Sunday. NW Ultras organized this race to take its place. Held on Saturday, it uses the same course that was originally used for the Seattle Marathon. The Seattle Marathon had to abandon this course when the race got too big. Ghost of Seattle is still a small race, so this race venue still works.
Today, I ran the Wishbone Run. This was the second race of the Seattle Quadzilla. This is the only race of the four that’s not in Seattle. It’s in the southern suburb of Tukwila. The course is a double out-and-back on paved trails along the Green River. This race has no entry fee. Instead, each runner is asked to bring a $20 donation for a local food bank. We also each bring food to share after the race. Last year, the weather was horrid. Heavy rain, strong winds and inadequate clothing caused me to become hypothermic. I was afraid I would collapse before I could make it back to the finish area. Thankfully, this year’s weather was much more reasonable. Just like yesterday, it was chilly, but with sunny skies.
Today, I ran the Wattle Waddle. This was the first race of the Seattle Quadzilla. It’s a small race that starts and finishes at Gas Works Park, on the north side of Lake Union. The weather was chilly but sunny. That’s all I could ask for. Seattle gets plenty of rain at this time of year, so I was relieved to see dry weather in the forecast. Having just done a race in similar weather, I knew exactly what to wear. The course begins with a long out-and-back along the Burke-Gilman Trail. Construction near the University of Washington forced us briefly onto city streets. After returning to the start/finish area, we did a shorter out-and-back alongside the Fremont Cut. After each of the out-and-back segments, we ran a short loop through Gas Works Park, including the infamous Kite Hill.
This weekend, I traveled to Savannah, GA to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Marathon. The weekend didn’t go the way I expected, but I eventually finished a race.
October 24-25 was a double marathon weekend. On Saturday, I ran the Autumn Leaves 50K race in Champoeg State Park in Oregon. On Sunday, I ran the Columbia Gorge Marathon in Hood River.
Grandpa's Wishbone Run
Nov 27, 2015
Med City Marathon
May 29, 2016
Heartland Series Minnesota Marathon
Jun 11, 2016
University of Okoboji Marathon
Jul 16, 2016
Southeast Road Runners Frank Maier Marathon
Jul 23, 2016
Super Tunnel Marathon
Aug 21, 2016
Oct 9, 2016
Des Moines Marathon
Oct 16, 2016
Columbia Gorge Marathon
Oct 23, 2016
Rock 'n' Roll Savannah Marathon
Nov 5, 2016
The Wattle Waddle
Nov 24, 2016
Ghost of Seattle Marathon
Nov 26, 2016
Nov 27, 2016
St. Jude's Memphis Marathon
Dec 3, 2016
Dec 11, 2016
Apr 17, 2017
Big Cottonwood Marathon
Sep 9, 2017