Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Race Preview: 2014 Seattle Quadzilla

Over the four day Thanksgiving weekend, I’ll be running four marathons in the greater Seattle area.  For people who do all four, it’s called the Seattle Quadzilla.  Unlike the Tahoe Triple or any of the five states in five days series, these races all have different race directors.

The oldest of the four is the Seattle Marathon.  This has been an annual event in Seattle since the 70s.  It started out as a small race, but has grown into one of the largest races in the region.  Over the years, the course has changed a few times.  It was originally held entirely along the shores of Lake Washington.  As the race got larger, the course had to change to accommodate larger numbers of runners.  The current course starts and finishes downtown at the Seattle Center.  The date has also changed.  The Seattle Marathon was originally held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Now, it’s held on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

NW Ultras has organized a smaller race to keep the Saturday tradition alive.  This race is called the Ghost of Seattle.   In addition to being held on Saturday, it also uses the original Seattle Marathon course.  Although it’s a small race, it’s well organized and supported.  It’s also a Boston qualifier.

The other two races were started more recently.  Each is a small no-frills event.  Thursday’s race is the Wattle Waddle, which starts and finishes at Gas Works Park and follows the Burke-Gilman Trail.  Friday’s race is the Wishbone Run.  The Wishbone Run was originally held on trails in Gig Harbor.  It’s not a standard marathon distance.  The Full Wishbone is 27 miles.  There’s also a 13.5 mile Halfbone and a 31.4 mile Ultrabone.  For the second straight year, the trails normally used for this race are closed for logging, so the race has been moved temporarily to a paved trail in Tukwila.  The distances are still the same.

The Seattle Quadzilla has been in existence since 2010.  This year will mark the fifth Seattle Quadzilla.  It’s become a Thanksgiving tradition for Marathon Maniacs living in the Pacific Northwest.  Since 2012, it’s also been possible to run a half marathon (or half wishbone) each day.  This is called the Seattle Quadzuki.

Last year, I went into these races with a pulled hamstring.  On the first day, I had to stop to put on a compression wrap, so I could finish the race.  The next day, I wore the compression wrap for the entire race.  By the third race, I was able to run without the wrap, but I took a hard fall on a sidewalk in the second half of the race.  I ran best on the last day, finishing in 3:54.

This year, I’m healthy.  Four marathons in four days is exhausting, but doing it with an injury is frightening.  I’m glad I’m not doing that again.

We got a real break on the weather last year.  Other than a few sprinkles, we were rain-free for all four races.  November is the rainy season, so that’s unusual.  In other years, it rained (or snowed) every day of the quadzilla.  I’m not a big fan of rain, but it’s part of the quadzilla experience.  I’ll take whatever weather I get.

Having done last year’s quadzilla, I’m already familiar with all four race venues.  I’m staying in the same hotels, and I’m familiar with a few of the nearby restaurants.  It’s tough to be away from home for the entire Thanksgiving weekend, but I’ll be in familiar surroundings.  I’ll see some old friends, and I’ll make some new friends.  Running a quadzilla is a bonding experience.  By the end of the weekend, we’ll all be family.

Although the races are independent of each other, Steve Walters maintains a Seattle Quadzilla website and Facebook page.  You can buy quadzilla T-shirts and hooded sweatshirts.  Last year, I bought one of the T-shirts.

I have so many race shirts that I don’t need many more, but I had to have one of these.  It has bad-ass written all over it.  This year, I’m buying one of the hoodies.  I don’t have too many of those.

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