What. A. Day.
You can't buy a smile that big.
In what has become an awesome annual tradition I paced Lucca at the Seattle Marathon today. This race seems to agree with her as she keeps doing well in spite of the hilly course. Two years ago she got a marathon PR here and last year she bettered her PR by about three minutes.
As much as people like to joke about men and testosterone, especially competitive athletes setting the bar low to ensure success, it seems women are not immune. As evidenced by the below emails I got from Lucca.
This one is from about four weeks out.
"I am once again going to run the Seattle Marathon... just for fun!"
And then this one from one week out.
"I have a tentative plan to try and beat my PR... but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve been doing lots of trail running lately, but not much road work. But maybe I can pull it off, will be fun to try!"
As anyone who reads this blog knows my left sartorius has been a pain in the
butt hip lately. Running, especially on the flat and on pavement, has not agreed with me at all. Originally I was hoping to run the entire race with Lucca just like I did two years ago but as the day drew closer and closer I got more and more tentative as my body was not healing fast enough. Yesterday clinched it. I went for a trail run and felt positively hobbled the entire time. I sent Lucca a text letting her know I would only be able to join her at mile eight which is the first time the course passes by our house. I'd by lying if said I didn't almost send her another message saying I would meet her at mile 17 which is when the course passes our house for the second time. :(
In true mule fashion (if you're going to pace, why not do it right!) I loaded up my running pack with two large bottles, lots of snacks, my camera and headed out.
It was cold! Running in the cold is one thing but having to stand around in the clothes you want to feel comfy in after an hour of running is another. Lucca had to stand round at the start where it was 25 degrees and I had to stand around at mile eight where it was 30. Brr.
Right from the beginning I was having fun. On the way down to the marathon route I did a few warm-up exercises and my hip felt fine! When I got there watching all the runners pour off of I-90 floating bridge was pretty cool as everyone looked so excited and determined. Even the volunteers were having a blast. Then Lucca showed up and we were on our way to Seward Park.
Right away I'm asking Lucca, "Is there anything you need? When was the last time you ate anything"? To which she replied, "I've been drinking Gatorade at the aid stations..." Oops. So right away I start offering her some carb chews, gel and sips from the bottle in an attempt to catch her up on nutrition. In fact, since I was carrying everything, I was able to offer her something to eat and drink pretty much every 20-30 minutes all the way to the finish.
Lucca had put down a couple of fast miles at the start. The course follows 5th Ave and as that street heads south it descends a hill so it's easy to pick up the pace and not realize it. Then heading south on Lake WA Blvd we had a tailwind and were again a bit ahead of schedule. But I figured we were in good shape, having a little time in the back without needing to work for it is a good thing on this course for two reasons, 1) we were going to be running into a headwind on the way back up Lake WA Blvd and 2) most of the hills come in the second half.
As we rounded Seward Park and headed north into the wind I was surprised by how good Lucca looked! Not that I didn't expect it, but it was fantastic to see her run so easily. We slotted in behind this other woman for a while and then as Lake WA Blvd climbs a little by Mount Baker Park Beach and Lucca surged ahead I knew it was going to be a good day.
Same thing at Galer (which is 'the' hill on this course). Lucca kept a perfect pace on the climb, didn't go too hard and we kept it up when the climb leveled off some.
After crossing 23rd Ave there was my dad. Without a doubt, he is our biggest fan.
Interlaken is where most people come apart. Not Lucca, not this year. We kept on passing other runners and she kept running on schedule. Actually, we were just a bit ahead of schedule all day but since aerobic activity severely impacts my rudimentary math skills I was still not willing to blurt out any prediction about a finishing time.
Heading north on Lakeview the sun was shining right at us and the temperature was quiet comfy. Lucca kept the pace up as we climbed up and over I-5 and then finally it looked like she would easily set a new PR. I offered to carry her gloves so she could feel 'fast' for the last mile and to her credit she hardly put on the brakes as we descended down to Dexter.
There was no need to push Lucca on the last climb up to the stadium entrance so I got out my camera instead.
Awesome! And 4th place to boot! What a thrill to be part of this effort.
Here are all the pictures and video.
|7:30 AM - apple sauce, protein powder, Udo's Oil, tea
|HEED, Hammer Gel
|Time of Day
|30-35 degrees, sunny, dry, light wind
|Hoka Stinson Trail, Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0, Garmin Fenix 2
|Fitsok CF2, Patagonia Capilene boxer briefs, Mountain Hardware fleece knickers, SmartWool shorts, Craft Active Classic Long Sleeve Baselayer, Patagonia Capilene wind front shirt, SmartWool hat, Brooks Vapor Dry Glove II