Seattle Marathon 2018

December 30, 2018

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving this year, some 18 years after I ran my first marathon (Seattle Marathon 2000), I ran the Seattle Marathon.  Yes, this marathon running thing is still going.  Not really a 50 state quest anymore, but my running journey, nonetheless.  This year, they changed the course for the first time in a long time.  The course was significantly flatter than in the past.  Plus, a little over half the course was on the Burke-Gilman trail, which is connected to my normal weekly long run route on the Sammamish River Trail.  So being a rails-to-trails route, there were really no significant grades, although there was a definite uphill from about mile 23 to 25 up and over the Aurora Bridge.

This was a pretty good experience for me.  One, running this marathon kept my running/training up after I had completed my 50 state quest.  I didn’t just hang them up after completing that big-ass goal.  Two, the weather was a perfect fall day, with the expected rain holding off until just after I finished.  Three, I shaved 1 hour and 6 minutes off of my last marathon!  Yup, that’s right.  Jackson Hole Marathon in September was 5:53, and this one was 4:47!  The things that were part of this were that it was a flatter course, it was not at 6000′ elevation, it was less scenic than the Grant Tetons, and I was running by myself and didn’t have any support team along the way (which was fine).  That being said, in the long course of my now 54 marathons, this one was only my 26th fastest time.  I suspect this is pretty close to my average time for a marathon these days- somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00.

I was happy with this marathon experience, and might keep running Seattle marathons for a while, until something else comes up…


Mileage summary

October 28, 2018

Almost two months after completing my quest, I thought I would look back at my overall numbers- number of marathons, amount of miles in both races and training, etc, etc etc.  Here are the numbers, beginning from preparing for my first marathon in the spring of 2000, through my 50th state in September 2018.

Meanwhile, training continues for my first post quest marathon- Seattle Marathon the Sunday after Thanksgiving!  Symmetrical, eh?  My first marathon was Seattle Marathon in 2000, just a mere 18 years ago. Coming full circle.




And a Trophy too!

September 30, 2018

My trophy from the 50 States Marathon Club arrived this week!  I am not sure what answer I should give when people ask me how much this trophy cost me.  The first answer is really $0, since it comes with membership in the club.  Although membership in the club is $10 a year…Or I could add up how much it cost me to run marathons in all these states, which could easily be in the 10’s or 20’s of thousands.  But when you look at this trophy it is hard to say it cost $20,000.   I guess I will probably just say, it was priceless!


All finished!

September 23, 2018

I ran the Jackson Hole Marathon in Wyoming a few weeks ago, which was my last state!  This was a big deal, and- spoiler alert- I think it was my favorite marathon! Two days after I finished, I got an email from the 50 States Marathon Club, asking me where I wanted my finishers trophy delivered!  Many of you may not know that there is an actual club.  Well, now you know- yes there is!

The website has lots of information about the members, including having over 4,500 members.  You need to have finished 10 marathons to join.  I have been a member since 2008.  They also list the people who have finished the 50 states, and what marathons they finished with.  I was finisher number 1,420.  And there is a total of 1,428 finishers as of September 9, 2018.

The website also lists people who have finished the 50 states more than once, including 133 who have finished twice, 64 who have finished 3 times, and one guy who has finished doing 50 states 25 times!  I have actually have seen this guy, Larry Macon, in a few of my marathons, and taken a picture of him!  The website says he as run 2,046 marathons as of September 9, 2018.

Stay tuned for more stories about my quest, dissecting and writing about all the things related to my quest, and running in general.  And I will share a picture here when my trophy shows up!

Last “long run”

August 26, 2018

One week to go before a marathon, and my last long run is usually about 6 or 7 miles.  For this one, I decided a 4 mile hike up at the same altitude as Jackson Hole made sense. So yesterday, we went up to the Sunrise area on Mt Rainier, which is at 6400 feet and did a little hike. Although clouds and the smoke from wildfires in British Columbia shrouded our view of Mt Rainier, it was great weather and no real issues with the altitude.  I think I am good to go. 🙂

Mt Rainier in shroud


Medal arrangements

August 18, 2018

One last little tidbit for the day.  I was planning to bring all my medals to the Wyoming, so proper “reflection and analysis” could happen amongst the multitudes of family members that are apparently coming to help me conclude this quest.  I have never come up with a way to display my medals.  For a while, I would hang the medals over the edge of the mirror in our bathroom, but then the bunch got too big, so I had to stop that.  For the past several years, they have been in a drawer of my bedside table. So I still need to come up with a plan for all 50 medals.  But in the meantime, as I started packing them up, I tried a few arrangements.  Not sure what makes sense…

Taper running

August 18, 2018

I usually do a 20 mile run three weeks before a marathon, then I taper down, meaning shorter long runs, to the race.  Usually I do about 12 miles two weeks before, then 6 or 8 miles the week before.  My Wyoming race was no different, although I accidentally ran 22.22 miles three weeks before.  I did 13.1 miles two weeks before, and it seems all systems are go.  One thing I noticed a little more this time, is that I really have a great place to run.  Not only is Seattle a moderate climate where one can run year round, I happen to live near the Sammamish River Trail which follows the Sammamish River and all the scenery that comes with that.  It also connects to the Burke Gilman Trail, which heads from Bothell towards downtown Seattle,  and beyond.  A lot of the Burke Gilman parallels Lake Washington.  Mile markers (mostly), water fountains every 2-3 miles and adjacent dirt trail (mostly) make this trail a perfect place to run.  I am so lucky.  🙂


2 weeks to 50

August 17, 2018

Two weeks from tomorrow is my 50th state!  Yippee!

A few interesting tidbits…

The conclusion of this marathon adventure In Wyoming has prompted a Griffes family reunion.  My wife Laurie and daughters Ellen and Katie are coming, with their peeps.  Two of my dad’s sisters and a lot of their kids, with peeps, will be coming.  Many of my other Griffes cousins will also be coming, with their peeps.  It appears to be somewhere over 40 people are planning to be there.  Several of these peeps are planning to run either the marathon, or the half marathon.   We have only planned two official reunion events- dinner the night before the race, and dinner after.  Otherwise, we are going to wing it on activities and get togethers.  Stay tuned to the blog for the complete story.

We also designed a tee shirt for those who like tee shirts, like me.


The other day, I stumbled across something upstairs that I hadn’t thought of for a while.  Back between 1999 and 2008, the US Treasury issued state themed quarters.  Something inside of me said, “I should collect all 50 states!”  So I did!  I even got a nice 50 state coin holder thingy to keep them in.  I wonder if I have some sort of 50 state gene inside of me, trying to tell me something.  Or I might just be interested in finding a path towards something and keeping on that path for a while.  I also collect ticket stubs, playing cards, books, etc. etc. etc.   Hmmm…

Altitude training

August 12, 2018

As my last marathon is coming up in Jackson Wyoming, I have felt the need to incorporate a little altitude training into my plan.  Jackson is at elevation 6200, and they say the air is thinner up there.  When I ran the Denver Marathon, elevation 5280, I did a little altitude training, as my only altitude running was a 6 mile run up at Snoqualmie Pass, elevation 3200.  I guess that seemed to work, as I finished Denver with not a lot of difference in how I felt or my time.  So.  For Jackson, being a little higher, I planned to go up to Snoqualmie again, and hopefully I will get up to Mt Rainier for some time before Jackson.

My run up at Snoqualmie went great!  It was a perfect day, and I was able to mix in some trail running with some road running for a total of 7 miles at a pretty good pace.  Extra hydration and some nice music made it very enjoyable.


Orcas running

July 22, 2018

We try to go up to Orcas Island in the San Juan’s every year, usually around Laurie’s birthday in July.  And while I have not tried to do a real long run up there, I usually look forward to a few shorter runs.  On our trip this year, the weather was perfect, and I was able to get two 6 mile runs in.  I really like scouting out running routes in new places, and also really enjoy going back to the same place with some regularity, such that I can repeat or modify previous runs I had done there.  On Orcas, I have a basic 6 mile route, with the possibility of a few interesting variations when it makes sense.  Orcas is a small island, and it has a good mix of sidewalks, road shoulders, trails and paved paths.

Six weeks to go until state 50 in Wyoming!