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Feb 05

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Seattle Marathon (11/25/07)

4 down, 46 to go! Another memorable marathon with Tobin, who lives in Seattle and is now my most frequent marathon partner. This was our 2nd together, our first was Rock ‘n Roll Arizona in 2003 (when he lived there, hmmm…2 marathons with him, and I had to travel to his house both times?) It’s your turn to travel for the next one Tobin! :) This was also a nice visit for Bethany, our son Garrett, and I, with our good friends Leo & Heather, and their kids Sebastien (our godson) and Whitney, who had recently moved there from Vermont.

The weather race-morning was just about perfect, cool with virtually no wind. Tobin and I were aiming for our first sub-5-hour finish, and it felt like the stage was set. However, we got off to a bit of a rocky start. We had planned to take a the bus to the start area, and there was a stop right near his house. So, after a short walk to the stop, we realized we had just missed it. Next thing I know, Tobin is sprinting away (remember this when I tell you about the marathon finish), without warning, yelling something over his shoulder about another place we could catch the bus. See, Tobin used to be a NCAA sprinting sensation at Drake University back in the day. (geez, can I make the foreshadowing any more obvious?) So, I awkwardly try to keep up (I hadn’t yet tied my shoes, was hoping to do that at the bus stop), and we eventually arrive at another bus stop where some other marathoners are waiting. Whew!
At the start, right near the iconic Space Needle, we found an area to warm up a bit and talk race strategy one last time. We never really did talk much strategy, but we stretched out a bit, and chatted with other runners. I introduced myself to several guys wearing Marathon Maniacs gear and asked them about it. I had never heard of the group before, but it sounded like a good fit, so I made a mental note to check ‘em out online later. While Tobin & I stretched out and waited for the start, several folks kept approaching us with questions about the course, saying we looked like we must be among the elite runners. I’m still not sure why we appeared “elite” to anyone, but it was a nice confidence-booster I guess!
Finally, we were off, and running under the monorail and out of downtown Seattle. Once we got off the highways out of the city, the run was absolutely gorgeous! Nice views, perfect weather, good fan support, and a fun crowd of runners. In the early miles, we ran behind a rather stout guy flanked by two petite women it seemed he had just met. We listened to him go on and on rather arrogantly about his Ironman adventures, his training, and his multiple marathons all over the world. We finally decided to pass them so we didn’t have to hear it any more. A few miles later, the three of them caught up to us, and he was still telling what sounded like the same story. We let them pass by us out of earshot. Later in the race, we caught him again, and it was not so surprising to see him running alone.
The course took us through a tunnel for about a 1/2 mile, then across a floating bridge, and into a beautiful forest preserve along the water with Mt. Rainier in the distance. Along the way, we had some great fan support from Bethany & Garrett, who cheered for us along with a couple of Tobin’s friends. The Sevigny family came out to cheer us on later in the race too, and Heather supplied us with some much-welcomed chocolate covered espresso beans from Starbucks. Leo even ran with us for a bit, which was a nice surprise. Soon, other runners around us were coveting my magic beans from Starbucks. I eventually relented and started sharing them, hoping for some good karma maybe. If nothing else, it made for some fun during some tough miles before we got back into the city.
The only thing I didn’t really like about this marathon was the cobblestones & hills (see the pic below of us walking up one of them the next day). Holy schnikes! Was this course intentionally designed to screw with us during the last 5 miles? Steep uphills and downhills came one after the other, and I started to fear we weren’t going to make it under 5-hrs. Tobin and I took turns pushing each other. It seemed when one of us struggled, the other felt OK, and vice-versa…so I guess we made a good team.
All of the sudden, we turned the corner and the U. of W. stadium finish was ahead. I picked up my pace for a bit, before realizing that Tobin was lagging behind a bit. As we got closer to the finish, Tobin found more energy and we cruised towards the stadium together. Entering the stadium, Tobin said, “C’mon Kev! Let’s go!” and hit the afterburners. Did I mention Tobin was a star sprinter in college? Right…I couldn’t stay with him, and he out-sprinted me at the finish by about 10-yards. Check out the pics and video below.
We both finished in under 5-hours, about 3 seconds apart. My finish time was 4:59:56, a new PR!

Permanent link to this article: http://puggerrunner.com/index.php/2008/02/seattle-marathon-112507/