Third running of this event. Third course variation. Third location for packet pick up on the day prior. Beautiful sunny cold morning. 258 in the full marathon, just over 1,000 running the half. Races start at the same time and follow the same course for the first eleven miles.
Mile 1-7 Easy running in the neighborhood. Blazing sunshine in my eyes (even with sunglasses on) on some roads. Short new trail section. Nice running with some Maniac friends to keep the pace even and enjoy the time.
Mile 8-11 - Along the waterfront. I like the wooden boardwalk. Hill out of the waterfront and I feel my legs tire a bit for the first time.
Mile 12-16 - Through a different hillier neighborhood. Last year we did this section after the long trail. I think that I will like getting this done first better. All along catching folks I do not know, having pleasant short conversations for a about a mile, then moving on. It has thinned out with all the halfers off the course now.
Mile 16-23 - Gravel and dirt trail. I really like this part. California hill is as steep as ever. Harder to run down it than up. Tiring but hanging in there. Temperature is perfect. Kid volunteers are great. Not just at the aid stations but at all the road/trail crossings. Full of enthusiasm for the runners.
Mile 22.5 - Looking at a zig zag uphill and not wanting to go up. No runners close by, but two spectators encourage me. I get an idea to be funny and I come to a complete stop and say "I quit. I can't go on". The spectators looked shocked and don't know what to say. "Just kidding" I say and start up again. It was good for laughs.
Mile 25 - Clock looks good, no PR but under 4 hours for sure. I could ease up and do fine. But I read the back of the T-shirt of a guy in front of me. It says "Never stop challenging yourself" I like that, and it means that I should keep trying my best. I run beside the guy and tell him that his shirt inspired me. We stay together and run comfortably hard to the finish.
Mile 26.1 - Jody and Bill are cheering on one side of the road. On the other side I hear someone yell that is was great that I did not quit. That makes me laugh and we accelerate to the line.
75th of 258
Race #175, Marathon or Ultra#39, Bellingham Bay Marathon#3