May 23rd – Day 6
Total miles run for the day: 20.2
Total miles for the week: 89.8
Total elevation for the day: 230
Total elevation for the week: 4,886
20 miles – Road
Average pace: 6:32
Elevation gain: 230
Effort level – 8.5
How did I feel: Great
A new FKT! While it is still pending approval, this run should be a new Fastest Known Time for the length of the Burke Gilman trail. This trail is a rail-to-trail conversion that starts on the very western edge of Seattle at Golden Gardens park, and runs mainly along the waterfront of the ship canal and Lake Washington for 20 miles. It looks like the route was first proposed to FKT.com in December of 2018, with the previous FKT being set on 3/14/2020 in 2:21:40.
My long run was actually the run I was looking forward to the most in my 100 mile week of training. Covering long distances on foot has always intrigued and excited me more than any other aspect of running. Don’t get me wrong, I love and enjoy moving with speed and power, but the draw of running long distances has always held my heart.
While planning out my training this week, 20 miles seemed as though it would be the appropriate long run distance. Because I knew this run would get me close to my goal of 100 miles I wanted to treat myself with a point to point route as opposed to a loop, or out and back course. With an ever changing landscape from mile to mile, and the ability to cover a large amount of terrain, the point to point run has always appealed to me. Sometime ago I noticed that there is a 20 mile FKT that travels the complete route of the Burke Gilman trail and I thought it could be a perfect long run route.
I met my brother around 7:10 am at Golden Gardens Park. I had asked him previously if he could get some drone shots of the run, and help me with my water, and he was more than happy to assist. When we met, we talked about a couple of spots on the run where he would be able to get the drone up and flying to take some footage, and where I would want the water bottle. After a short ¼ mile warm up, I decided to get going.
As I started I couldn’t believe how loose and fresh my legs felt. The majority of my runs this week have started with tight and tired legs, today I felt good from the start.
I know that it will often take me a couple of miles to really warm up, and I tend to feel better and stronger as my runs progress. With this in mind I just let the first couple of miles pass by, occasionally checking my pace to make sure I wasn’t too slow, but really trying to just run by feel and let the miles come to me.
The first eight miles or so of this run are pretty familiar to me. They make up some of my go to running routes from the house. Past that point, I am still familiar with the trail. I have biked this section many times, but I have run it far fewer times. I really started to settle into my pace, with everything feeling comfortable as I went past those first eight miles. I took a gel around this point and took some time to appreciate how smooth everything felt today. My intent for the run had primarily been to cover the 20 miles. If everything was feeling good I figured I would give the FKT a shot and try to run under the current time. At this point I was running really just by feel, but still checking the watch and feeling positive about my splits.
The route is almost totally flat, with only 230 ft of climbing. The majority of this comes in miles nine and ten. I told myself to relax and not worry if my pace dropped. These two miles were about 10 seconds per mile slower, and I felt good as I moved through them.
In the second half of the run, the path parallels Lake Washington for much of the time. The views of the water, homes and hills were wonderful, and did a great job keeping the mind occupied and the imagination going. The second half of the run went by much more quickly for me. The miles countiuned to slip by and I felt relaxed and smooth as I kept my pace relatively steady from miles 12 – 20. As I closed in on the last couple miles I felt extremely thankful for all of the people that have helped me log my miles this week. My wife, mom, and brother have all played integral roles in helping me both run and document these miles and I thought of them as I finished my run.
Crossing over the Sammamish River at Blyth park in Bothell, the Burke Gilman trail ends, turning into the Sammamish river trail. I crossed into Blyth park stopping my watch at 2:12:02, setting a new FKT.
I did a little bit of walking and stretching post run, however I think I should have done more. A 30 minute car ride home did not help the muscles either. I feel pretty worked now about 12 hours out. It will be interesting to see how my final 10 miles feel tomorrow!
Andrew O’Connor is a coach with Team RunRun. To learn more about him or to work with Coach Andrew, check out his coaching page.
Read more about my week here: