Two days after a cross-country flight back home, I joined 1,000-plus other runners and walkers for the Green Lake Gobble 5K/10K at Seattle’s Green Lake Park last Sunday (November 17). It was good to put thoughts of airports and airplanes behind me and get into the Thanksgiving spirit with this run.
I spent last week in Fort Myers, Fla., helping drive social media coverage of the Fluke Corporation’s annual Xcelerate conference for customers. The trip was interesting, invigorating, and memorable; I met some great people and learned a lot. But the plane rides to and from — well, they weren’t as much fun, though they were safe and uneventful. I got my fill of flying for awhile, after six long flights total over the last two months.
So I was ready to log time on the ground. Plus, I always enjoy the holiday season. Football is heading into its most important games, basketball is cranking up, and time off is just ahead, which means our girls will be coming home soon for several days.
Running in the Green Lake Gobble 5K helped jumpstart the holiday mood, with people wearing pilgrim outfits or turkey hats, and lots of good cheer everywhere. (There is a Mashed Potato Munch-Off as part of this event, but I didn’t partake and really didn’t see where it was.)
Wet weather may have affected the turnout — there were 1,064 finishers for the 5K and 10K this year, compared to more than 1,500 a year ago on a cool but sunny day. But despite the sprinkles and threatening skies beforehand, not a drop fell after starting gun sounded. It was an exhilarating run on a flat course.
Back running the inner loop again
Green Lake is a race venue that I need to experience at least once a year. Usually, it’s the Valentine’s Day Dash in February, which I’ve run 11 times. But I skipped that event in 2019 after running the Tunnel to Viaduct 8K run on February 2 (and riding in the Highway 99 Tunnel bicycle ride the next day) the week prior. If there is another Tunnel Run in 2020, I probably will skip the Valentine’s Day run again, because the Green Lake Gobble is a nice alternative.
When writing about any Green Lake run these days, I always seem to digress into the inner loop vs. outer loop discussion. That’s because the Valentine’s Day Dash for many years ran on the 2.8-mile inner loop course immediately rimming the lake. To make the course a full 3.1 miles, a 0.3-mile spur is added just after Mile 2. The out-and-back spur is narrow and crowded with runners. In 2008, I tripped trying to avoid a dog, landed on someone’s foot, came down awkwardly and tore my left hamstring. I limped to the finish line in pain.
The next time that I ran this race (2010), it was, thankfully, on the 3.1-mile outer loop that mostly involves the streets surrounding Green Lake Park. There was no spur.
Well, the Green Lake Gobble course is run on the inner loop (as it was last year). On Sunday, I was extremely careful running the spur again, though being near the back of the pack meant less congestion (and only one or two dogs).
Speed-walker runs past me at the end
My lingering memory of this 2019 run will be the gray-haired woman in the red coat speed-walking fast enough to stay on my tail. I first noticed her after Mile 1. Hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake her — me running and her speed-walking, and staying relentlessly right behind me. It appeared that she was using me as her rabbit.
As we got to Mile 3, I attempted to kick to the finish line to leave her in the dust. However, she took off running to my surprise and then passed me in the home stretch. I passed her back and thought it was over. But then she turned on the jets and passed me again right before the finish line. I conceded defeat — if she wanted to beat me so bad that she turned her excellent speed-walking into running, I said no mas.
I don’t know what her name or time was, but I finished in 39:05 (12:36 per mile). That was good for 486th place out of 822 finishers. I was unable to improve on my 38:20 time of a year ago, but was glad to go as fast as I did with limited preparation and just getting over jet lag. (Also, tee-hee, it beat my 2008 time of 39:27 when I limped through the last mile.) Full results are here. (My best 5K time for a Green Lake race is 25:48 in 2007, and my 5K PR is 24:32 in 2005.)
While the Green Lake inner loop is flat and relatively straight, racers end up sharing it with recreational runners and walkers doing their daily exercises. Many run the opposite way as the race is going and don’t really care if they interfere with those wearing race bibs.
It is especially bad for running the 10K, which means two loops around the lake. With the second leg, there are a lot fewer racers, so recreational runners start filling up the trail. It can seem like roller derby at times, but it is what it is. Those folks have a right to the trail too.
Jingle Bell Run is next
This was my 12th race this year and 236th overall. My plan is to do one more in 2019, the Jingle Bell Run 5K in downtown Seattle on December 8, and then the Resolution Run 5K at Magnuson Park on January 1. I’ve decided not to run the Seattle Half-Marathon on December 1, even though I like the new course. I’m just unable to train for a longer run this month.
Some shout-outs: To my former Allytics colleague RJ Taylor, for signing up for her first marathon, the Vancouver (B.C.) Marathon in May; to Hayley Halstead, another Allytics colleague, for signing up for the Vancouver Half-Marathon, and to Fluke technology guru Frederic Baudart and his wife Joy, for nabbing spots in the New York City Half-Marathon in March. Good luck to all of you!
I ran the Vancouver Marathon in 2006; it was cold and rainy for parts of the run, and I didn’t have one of my better performances. But it was a scenic course through the downtown and Stanley Park and I wished I’d done it a second time. The 2006 results are still posted on the event’s website.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!