|Trail Race Finish, photo by RPD|
When I registered for Eugene Marathon way back when, I'd had the idea to register for a second marathon about a month afterward. why? The timing of marathons can often be off for me. Marathons a month apart would work if Eugene fell on a bad running time. A friend was planning on checking off Oregon State is his 50 marathons/50 states quest and had a marathon targeted in the area. he lives on the East Coast and I had really wanted to support his endeavor. And why not? I've raced best when i've had a chance to run events consecutively. Meaning I'd race a half marathon and do ok. Three to five weeks later, if i raced the same distance again i could almost guarantee to do better. This works for me for 2 miles up to half distance. Why not marathon distance as long as I recovered from Eugene?
And the suddenly the friend developed a horrible case of plantar fasciitis and finally had to make the decision to pull out of the planned marathons. I'd planned on carpooling with him to and from the race and didn't feel comfortable doing that by myself to run that marathon as planned. Should i look for another marathon? This is marathon time here in the Pacific Northwest as it is still pretty cool and pleasant especially in the mornings.
I finally decided I would regret it if I didn't give it a try and decided to go back to the North Olympic Discover Marathon in Sequim/Port Angeles area. The NODM half marathon was my very first half marathon way back in 2004 and in 2007, K and I had gone back and both set PRs at the half there. That half PR still stands for me. It's a great event. It is just the right size, has a really pretty course with a lot of volunteer support. There are some hilly parts but nothing ever too long.
K had already registered for an interesting half the day before. he was a bit disappointed that i'd decided to run the full at NODM as he'd have liked to run the half there too. In hindsight though, it all worked out. We had dinner at home saturday evening and headed over to Sequim. It was an easy ferry ride/drive and we were in our cheapo hotel (found cheap online rate) for the night. I was totally not nervous and really looking forward to the race. With K not running, we could sleep in and get to the race start for bib pick up with no problem. He'd have time to go back to the hotel to relax a bit and then do some cheering/course support later on.
And we both realized how much we love this race. It is so relaxed and friendly. For the full (not the half) you get to wait in a heated building with bathrooms! A few hundred run the full marathon and it is just an easy line up and go! the race starts with a 5 mile loop on the outskirts of Sequim. It's peaceful and pleasant with a bit of up and then some down. I'd planned to start a bit slower than Eugene and just see how I felt. Honestly i didn't think i'd run any faster than at Eugene but wanted to have a better finish (ie run). I planned on the same fueling strategy and also planned on using my inhaler much earlier. by mile 3 i was feeling relaxed and sped up just a bit into the easy downhill after a nice easy (9:10 pace) start.
It had been 55 degrees and cloudy when we'd gotten up that morning. but by the time the race started at 9 am, the sun was out and the temperature was rising. It had also been very humid all week and I could really feel that. Mile 4 after the downhill with a tailwind, sweat was dripping off my hair. uh? already? that was fairly alarming actually.
By mile 5 I was so hot! I could feel my face flushing a bit and i slowed on the flat. Wow. this was not good. I'd not planned on seeing K until about the half way point but he'd looked at the course map and realized that just past mile 6, the course went very close to the hotel. So he came out with some water realizing that it was warm. And that was perfect as i'd already slowed more and thought that finishing this marathon may not be the best idea.
|Along the NODM Course|
|Hurricane Ridge with Raven|
And with that I was done with marathon training. Woohoo! I felt nothing but relief as attention turns now to short distance events this summer. Still I thought wistfully this week, I like to do a longer trail event this summer. Ragnar Relay is smack in between a couple trail events I've done in the past. However this year, the Cougar Mountain Trail Series is offering a short and long course series. So. with perfect timing, I signed up for the 13 mile trail race offered concurrently with the standard 8 miler.
the weather was perfect. I was happy and excited and looking forward to the long run. No i really didn't have the trail legs right now but no matter I knew i'd finish and could check off the half marathon distance on trails that i really wanted to do this summer.
The miles went fast too! No i wasn't any faster than when i've done this race but I just enjoyed myself and the miles passed quickly. The two events started at the same time and shared the same course until mile 5 when the long course participants turned left to climb Wilderness Trails. And suddenly i was alone following behind an older gentleman who ran every single hill. I don't bother and walk most of the steep long climbs. We ended up going about the same speed and finished just a couple minutes apart. My legs felt pretty dead and i did take a fall around mile 10 as i was just getting tired. But 3 hours and 2 minutes went quick and I was delighted to finish. It amazes me that i can jump into these sorts of events. My quads are barking at me today but otherwise I feel great.
And that 13 miles? My garmin watch measured 14.25 miles. Haha! Very amusing and very much a trail race. Be prepared and ready for anything. No marathon? that's ok, how 'bout a looong trail race instead? Perfect!
Bring on Summer!