Luna Park, at the northern tip of West Seattle, was reconstructed from 2004-2005. I lived across the street from the park at the time and I blogged about the project until it was finished, coincidentally the same month that I moved from Seattle.
I was coming back from a long walk and saw a couple of helicopters hovering over Alki Beach. When I got there, there was quite a crowd watching a gray whale briefly surface every minute or two. The aerial view is much better than any I got, as the time above the surface was always short. The whale was 75-100 yards offshore, just opposite the Alki Bakery area. A large group of school kids from the nearby elementary school came out to watch. I watched for about 45 minutes and even with binoculars never got a great view; it seemed encrusted with barnacles.
Give or take a few, it takes me about 50,000 steps to walk a marathon. And last Sunday in Seattle, it also took 6 hours and 10 minutes.
There were 339 people walking the full marathon. Seattle uses a staggered start and all the full walkers start first at 7:15am. I started rather fast and kept that going nicely for 11-12 miles, taking 13:30-14:00 per mile. (My overall Portland Marathon average was 15:08).
After two miles, the half marathon runners, who started at 7:30, started catching and passing us. There were more than 5,000 of them and it made some of the narrow spots a bit hectic. the walkers stayed over to the right but some of the runners are pretty intent on passing. One other walker was confused by all of it and asked me if I were a walker, just to make sure she hadn't missed a turn. I assured her she hadn't and just to 'defend her space', i.e., don't let the runners intimidate you. Anyway, at about 4.7 miles, the runners continue north along Lake Washington and the walkers go out on the I-90 bridge, so we don't see them again.
The half marathon walkers start at 7:45 and the full marathon runners start at 8:15.
While it wasn't windy in downtown Seattle, immediately coming out the Mt Baker tunnel onto the I-90 floating bridge, there was a decent breeze blowing so it felt rather cool; I usually wore my lightweight gloves and kept my hat on. We walked all the way to Mercer Island, just into the tunnel and then you turn around and walk back to Seattle. Just after the turnaround was when the first marathon runners started catching up. I'd walked about 7 miles at this point.
After getting off the floating bridge, we walk south along the lake to Seward Park; this is quite scenic. Even though marathon runners are passing constantly, there aren't nearly as many of them (2,300) so it's not too hectic.
The breeze was still coming from the north but it was sunny. The halfway point is at the north end of Seward Park, which I passed in 3:01:58. My right leg was hurting by this point but some aspirin helped a bit. I bring food with me also and would have something to eat every 3 or 4 miles. My pace slowed down some, thanks to the hurt, for a pace in the 14:10 to 14:50 range.
Unlike in Portland where there were always lots of other runners/walkers, by mile 17 people are quite spread out and I'm mostly by myself. I see very few other walkers by this point, mostly runners.
My leg gets a bit better and I did okay miles 18-23, thru and up the Interlaken, another scenic area. Boy did those hills hurt. I had brought my audio book with me and that helped quite a bit; didn't have it in Portland.
At mile 23.5 I had a sharp pain in my right heel, almost as if someone had stuck a pin in it. Ugh! felt like a blister and was a big surprise since my feet had been feeling great. Usually blisters creep up on me and become a problem gradually, but in this case I went from 'just find' to 'bad' in one stride. That forced me to slow down for a mile or two, but I was able to pick up the pace some for the last mile.
So the final time was 6:10:46 I'm very pleased with the time and I think I would have been under 6:10 without the blister problem. Also, I think that if I can avoid or minimize some of the leg pain during, I could get under 6 hours. As a comparison, my half marathon time a year ago was 2:55:30, so you can see I did the first half of this one only 6 minutes slower than that; and I thought that was fast last year.
The recovery area was inside, which was nice and warm. Not too much food around compared to Portland - bananas, apples, oranges, smoothies. Portland had a lot more variety. I think overall Portland has more crowd support, though there was a lot in Seattle too. Portland also had lots and lots of music, live and otherwise; that would be harder at this time of year.
The wind made it chillier than I had expected from the forecast, but the hat and gloves worked great.
My right knee was very sore Sunday night and all day Monday I was generally sore all over, not able to walk very much. Each day it gets better and by now, Thursday morning, I am getting close to normal.
In the group of 339 full walkers, I finished 25th. When I could see those ahead of me (on the floating bridge turnaround), most of them were slow runners, there were a few walkers. I think that quite a few people who are actually runners but expect to be very slow actually enter in the full walk; that gives them the hour head start and a smaller start group. Smart for them, but makes them harder to distinguish from true walkers like myself. In my gender/age division (8 of us, I finished 4th). These are preliminary results.
It's overall a very scenic course and with the sunny weather I really enjoyed it. You are walking for many miles along Lake Washington and that's hard to beat. I had previously walked all of the course at various times (except for the floating bridge) and I think that helped compared with Portland, as I had a sense of the distance remaining. I remember in Portland that it seemed VERY LONG and I wondered a few times how I'd finish. Here, however, I never really had any doubts (though that heel blister at mile 23 made me wonder for a moment or two).
I need more long training walks, so as to better prepare for the inevitable pains that come with that long distance. I'm not running out of stamina, it's just getting all the body parts to work well for that length of time.
This Great Blue Heron was a visitor to the neighbor's deck early this morning. I took this photo from about 10 yards away. I often see the herons on the beach at low tide, but it's quite unusual to see them this close.
I ran the Pumpkin Push 8k today in 41:33. My knees didn't seem to mind this too much, so I'll probably do some similar length runs in the future. I think this course is actually longer than 8 kilometers, however, and I'm going to go back soon and walk it with the GPS to see. Either that, or the mile splits markers were all in the wrong places. That distance would have had me slowing down more than one minute over the last mile and I just know that didn't happen.
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