Sunday, May 31, 2015

Runner Friends / Brooks Trailhead 15k

They are a funny bunch. You can go years without seeing them but when you do, it's like all years melt away as you chat and chat, hopefully while running. That's when you realize, hey, they are just friends!

A longtime online runner friend was in town. I'd been on a relay team with him many years ago. He's been in town before and done a trail race. Yet again, he was headed towards Seattle. Strangely enough, we were signed up for a race! Even though he hadn't been running much because of some knee pain, he signed up and we were off! Yep, that's a runner for you.

The Brooks Trailhead 15k is the latest iteration of this race.  It's been owned by a few different groups and keeps changing hands. I've never done it before but it's an well known course and fairly flat for around here. For someone visiting from out of town, it's a great tour of the city with great views. I really had no idea what to expect for this race. It's been a little rocky for training for the past few weeks because of illness and then downtime required post cortisone shot. The foot has been feeling great by the way.

I've never run a 15k so this was going to be an automatic PR. I'd had plans of doing this as a progression run where I'd start out easily and speed up through the race. However this course is not the best for that plan. We'd gotten some warnings about course congestion as in the first mile, we had to cross the Fremont Bridge on the sidewalk. It's a narrow walkway. The out and back portion then on the South Ship Canal Trail (miles 2-4.5) would also be on a fairly narrow trail.  I expected it to be pretty crowded. Then in the last few miles, the course goes onto some very short but steep ups and downs along East Lake. These mean little hills are my nemesis and I don't tend to run them hard very well.

We picked BG at his downtown hotel and were over to Gasworks Park with time to spare. Of course BG was quite impressed with the views of the park plus the pretty cool remnants of gas works as he is an engineer. we ran into other friends who were also doing the 10k and 15k and happily chatted. K and I went off to do a warm up mile and nearly missed the start of the race. It wasn't all that clear when the main 15k field were off.

It was a fast start. After seeing sub 7:30 on my watch at first, i slowed down managed a still pretty fast 8:33 first mile. Considering I wasn't excpecting much faster than 9 flat overall, I really felt I needed to slow way down. However, that was with some downhill and the crowded first mile. It wasn't crowded really at all and a lot of people were passing me but I figured I'd be passing them back if I sensibly kept the pace sane. I'd expected BG to be ahead of me but when i didn't see him at the turnaround, I yelled at him to catch up so we could run together. I kept the pace a very steady 8:40 and sure enough around mile 4, BG had caught up.

I'd not realized he'd been having some knee issues and hadn't run any longer distances. Still we were comfortably matched for pace. Working but still able to chat. And chat we did for the next 6 miles even up and down the hills. He probably kept me more evenly paced up and down those than I would've been by myself. The last mile, i was ready to be done and it was getting warmer. K and the other friends came in and we checked out post-race offerings.

BG had requested eating at the internationallly knowd Din Tai Fung which just opened up a second Puget Sound location in UVillage last year. It turns out that dumpings are a fantastic post race nosh! Delicious and I'd have that again at any time.

8:35 pace overall. I was going to be happy with anything under 9. I felt good. Foot didn't bother me. There were friends and dumplings AND I placed 3rd in my AG. What a fun morning! 

No comments: