The Return Of That Geb Guy

I’ve disappeared from this blog for far too long and I’m back! I’ve just finished a month in which I ran my Personal Worst on the same course that I PR’d on last year, and then due in part to a stroke of luck, I redeemed myself (in my eyes) with a great race this last Sunday. I’m feeling re-invigorated and recommitted to my running goals, and my goal of becoming a personal trainer.  Details after the break

Click the splits to see the Garmin Connect file

Click the splits to see the Garmin Connect file

My training over the winter was hit or miss (mostly miss) and I wound up gaining another 5 pounds on top of the 20 I’d gained over the summer, so when the Yakima River Canyon Marathon came along on April 6th I was in no real way ready for it. The weather was quite a bit friendlier than it had been last year. Still a chillystart, but no sleet.   I’m not going to go into a full out race report on it, but suffice it to say, it didn’t go as I hoped.  I had some stomach/intestinal issues that cost me 20 minutes or so and my lack of effective training led to my legs going pretty much dead around mile 19.  I wound up finishing in 4:25:07, my absolute worst marathon time ever.  Part of me wanted to beat myself up for it, but I knew that wouldn’t do me any good.  Instead, I took away the fact that is a great time for a 215 lb man, and recommitted myself to my training with Portland in mind for October.

2 days later (Monday April 8th) I noticed on Twitter that ontherunevents.com (@ontherunevents on Twitter)  was giving away 2 free Tacoma City Marathon  entries.  I was planning to run a 20 miler on the weekend of May 5th anyway so why not see if I can make it 26.2 for free.  I didn’t make any changes to my mileage build up since I wasn’t expecting to win the contest, but then on April 18th I woke up to this in my inbox:

E-mail

And I realized I was going to be running a marathon in just over 2 weeks!  I decided to taper only minimally before the race as I wanted to maximize my training time (probably not the brightest idea).

My mileage in between the 2 races looked like this

Dates

Weeks Post Yakima

Weeks Until Tacoma

Mileage

4/7-13

0

3

17.69

4/14-20

1

2

44.31

4/21-27

2

1

45.19

4/28-5/4

3

0

31.24

On the 0 week I ran 7.5 mile easy runs on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, rested on Wednesday, another 7.5 on Thursday, rest Friday and a very easy 2 miler on Saturday. Not an optimum taper schedule at all but on Sunday morning I was feeling well rested and ready to go, and had decided on a goal of 3:40.

I got up around 4:30 am (too damn early!), ate a English Muffin with Peanut Butter (which will probably now be my go to race day breakfast) and dragged my lovely fiancee Alysha out to the car to drive from Seattle to Tacoma.  A friend (the quite awesome Tori Klementsen) picked up my packet for me, and I needed to meet her and catch the 6:00 am shuttle to the start.   I made it to Tacoma, picked up my packet/race bib from a friend of Tori’s as she was taking the early start due to the predicted heat, bid Alysha goodbye (The starting line was across a toll bridge, and she was tired, so she napped in the car for most of the race) and got on the shuttle to the start.

TCM 2013 Course Map

Course Map

The shuttle took a good 20 minutes or so to get from downtown Tacoma (at the finish line) to the starting line at the Tacoma Narrows Airport in Gig Harbor.  It was a beautiful morning and there were great views of the Olympics over the runway, but it was a tad cold so everyone was huddled in a hanger (if they weren’t in line for the Porta-Potty).

I ran in to my mom’s friend/coworker Mike, we chatted about our time goals, and before I knew it it was time to start.  I went to find the Marathon Maniac who was serving as the 3:40:00 pacer but there were no signs to tell who was pacing what pace.  We set off and I paced myself at about 8’20” since that would get me in around 3:40.  Luckily I had my podcast on quiet and picked up from the conversation around me that the guy in the pink running skirt was the pacer I was looking for, Terry S.  Apparently Runningskirts.com was sponsoring the pacers, and so all of the pacers had on the skirts regardless of gender.  The signs it turns out had been left at the hotel, but would be picked up around mile 4.  I turned up my headphones and just enjoyed the run for the next few miles, especially the views on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.

Click on the image to view the whole Garmin record

Click on the image to view the whole Garmin record

I had to use the bathroom during mile 5 and spent the next mile or so catching up (by which point Terry had the 3:40 sign and was easy to find) and when I caught up I was with the folks I’d be spending the race with.  I’d never run with a pace group the whole way before and it was nice.  I had good conversation with the 3 Marathon Maniacs in the group: Terry, Dave and Andy.  (Side note: if you don’t know what a Marathon Maniac is, they’re a club for hard core marathoners, the minimum to join is running 3 marathons in 90 days or 2 in 16 days).  It was a beautiful if mostly uneventful race.  We made great time during the first half and I would’ve probably wound up with a positive split if it wasn’t for my bathroom break during mile 13 (I spent 2 miles catching up after that one since there was a line for the Porta-Potty).  Our pace group stuck together through the beautiful views in Point Defiance Park, but we lost one (Andy) at mile 18, 3:40 was 5 minutes ahead of his PR, so he decided he was going to take it easy from that point on.

At around mile 20 or so, Dave and I pulled ahead of the rest of our group, not the best idea ever considering the next 6.2 miles were absolutely shade free.  Luckily they were also relatively flat, so although we were cooking, we’d banked enough time that we didn’t have to push too hard, and good just enjoy the run along Puget Sound with Mt. Rainier straight ahead. We ran past downtown, up over the railroad tracks and at around mile 25 turned up the hill to downtown.  Most of the last mile was a straight shot down Pacific Ave, past cheering people, including right before the last turn, my soon to be (May 19th!) wife.  As soon as I crossed the 26 mile mark I made the decision I was gonna go all out the next .2 mile and practically sprinted through the finish to end in 3:37:03.  Nearly 50 minutes off of my time at Yakima 29 days before, and 3 minutes better than my goal.  I got my medal, a banana, and an orange, shook hands and got pictures with Dave and Terry and I was on my way home.

I learned quite a bit from this month: I can still set a goal and achieve it, running with other people is fun, not a hassle, I want to be a Marathon Maniac! (might be running Seattle Rock n’ Roll 6/22 to qualify, depending on post wedding finances) and as Terry put it at one point during Tacoma “Wow, you are a strong runner”.  I am a strong runner, and as I lose this weight (20 pounds left to lose!) I will become even stronger, and I will be running in Boston in 2015!

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3 responses to “The Return Of That Geb Guy

  1. Great job, Geb! This is an awesome and inspiring post!

  2. Did you know that your pacer was Badwater Ultramarathoner Terry Sentinella?? Congrats, by the way – on your marathon and on getting married!!

    • Thanks! I knew from the conversation Terry ran ultras, but didn’t catch that he had done Badwater! That race sounds insane (so of course I want to do it someday!)

      I ran into Chad while I was picking up the kegs for the wedding, we’re going to try to get a run in together sometime.

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