Long overdue, but...
The short - it was the slowest time for my marathon at 5:11:02 and the most hurty I've been.
The long - The race was on July 6th during the Independence Day weekend at Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend, WA and hosted by my Maniac Buddies - Monte and Brian. With all ID4 weekends, it was a busy one. Rewinding back to July 4th, I took the family to the in-laws house...in North Bend. Yeah, so I'd be making another trip to the same town again 48 hours later. I usually don't like doing things like that, but we had plans and I wasn't going to be the one to spoil them. While visiting the in-laws, I had the bright idea to wear out the family dog (Daisy) with a nice hike up Mt Si - a mountain in North Bend that has a 4 mile trail with a 3500 ft elevation gain from the bottom of the trail to the top. Well, Daisy and I hiked up that mountain in about 80 minutes. However, after a brief rest at the top, we ran down to the bottom in 25 minutes. My quads were unbelievably thrashed.
Fast foward to Sunday and the Marathon. My quads are still thrashed, but more manageable. The venue is a small one, but nice. Low-key races are always a good thing to participate in, more personable. The course is a double out-n-back in two directions (a 5 mile trail heading north and an 8 mile trail heading south and east). Total elevation gain is 1300+ feet with equal amount of loss. I've been on this trail many times. The Mt Si Ultra and the NB2V runs goes along the course. I've also done some training runs on it too, but in retrospect - I should have done more.
Once I got to the race location, I did a stupid thing. In the process of getting someone some Band-Aids, I accidentally locked my keys in the car! Oh well, 8 minutes before race time - I'll have to deal with this when I'm done. So putting the car key situation out of my mind, I got ready to run.
At 8am on the dot, we started moving. The first 5 miles is on a downward slope along the Snoqualmie Valley Trail and is on a negative incline. I did my best not to go too fast on this, but my legs had other ideas. However, the faster movement did ease the pain from my quads. I reached the turnaround in under 45 minutes and avoided all the bear crap on the trail (there were bear warnings, but all I saw was poop). Running back up, I was still feeling remarkably good. My pace slowed mildly, but not by much. I hit the 9.9 mile point at 1:36:45. 9:45 miles!!!! I was stoked! Should have relished the feeling, because it wasn't going to last.
When we moved from the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to the Iron Horse Trail, I was starting to slow down. My quads were starting to be inflammed again and my hamstrings were also getting seriously irritated. I did my best to soldier on after the half-marathon point. Then about mile 15, I had to stop. Something got in my shoe. Now this was truly a WTF moment since I was wearing Dirty Girl Gaiters and managed to get a bit of gravel in my right shoe anyway.
The rest of the trail from when I got the gravel out and to the turnaround is a bit of a blur. I remember seeing alot of folks climbing the rock faces along the trail. I remember seeing many rails-to-trails bridges that cover the Iron Horse Trail. I remember seeing a great deal of faces running back after reaching the turnaround. I remember seeing the I-90 freeway from my vantage point along the trail. That's about it. Everything else is filled in with increased soreness and slower speed until I got close to the turnaround.
When I got to the mile 18 turnaround, I was ever so glad to see Marathon Maniac Monte and his sons. I knew that I had only 8 miles left to go and it would all be downhill. I thought, "Great! I can throw down the hammer and let gravity take over!" Unfortunately, the hammer decided to smash me in the head. I was able to run at a decent clip until mile 21. After that, it was the Galloway method of run/walking. It was also at this time when I decided to take off my running singlet and go shirtless. My singlet was rubbing my right side raw and I already had enough problems. Hopefully no one got blinded by my semi-nekkid frame.
Then when I got to mile 23, it was all walking. My legs were just shot. I was too tired. I was too sore. I just wanted to finish. The fun went out the window along with any possible chance of not getting an even SLOWER marathon finishing time. Mile 25 came and I did my best to push. Continually telling myself that I'm nearly there, it's nearly over. Mile 26 came and I was able to make a half-feeble effort to run the remaining .2 miles and finish in 5:11:02 - my slowest finishing time ever for a marathon.
I quickly got some food in me after that from Monte's wonderful Flipino cooking and got started on some more important matters, getting my car unlocked! I was able to get Brian's son to lend me a second pair of eyes as I used a coat hanger and piece of wire to fish the keyless remote from the center console through a small crack opening in a back window of the minivan. Within 10 minutes, I successfully fished out the remote and unlocked the car! I honestly felt more accomplished doing that then finishing the run, go figure.
With car key in hand, I headed back to the finishing area to munch on more post-race food and remembered why I do these things. The real fun is after the finish line. Brian and Monte (and their families) did a great job with everything and even though the last part of the run didn't go my way, I'd do this one again...better prepared, but again.
Next race: White River 50 Mile ultra on July 26th. Predicted finishing time is anywhere from 10-12 hours, but I'm aiming just to finish in the 14 hour cutoff.