Third annual event and my third time here. After today there will only be five legacy runners for the full marathon. The full continues to be very small with a much larger half. I remember loving this race and this year is no exception. Great to go point to point (no looping) on beautiful runnable trails.
Rain this year though. After it has been so dry, it just started raining last night. But not cold or very stormy. There will be lots of small puddles during the first half, then the rain will stop and the trail is in great shape later on. Even with the puddles, the trail is looking good.
I have not run a marathon since June, but I did get in a couple of three plus hour training runs and everything is feeling good these days. Bellingham Bay Marathon next weekend so I do not want to over do it today. If anything hurts I will slow way down. I guess that my goal is to have a nice day, beat 5 hours if feeling good and plod along the last miles on the dirt road at a consistent pace to get some wall/low energy training in for next week.
Drove up yesterday and hiked a little at Hurricane Ridge. Cheap motel was fine and I get to the shuttle in plenty of time. Couple of vans take us to the start line. Nice to see Monte, Sara and Will.
Start - Light rain, but once we get into the woods it is not noticeable. Got my GR truckers hat and a jacket on. Jacket will come off about halfway through.
Mile 1 - Only now I realize that I have a bunch of loose change in my shorts pocket. Move it into my zippered pocket in the water bottle and it will jingle every time I take a drink.
Mile 2 - Running a pace that seems a little fast but good. Now I am behind a string of about ten runners. No desire to try to pass them. I like being in the back with no one right on my tail, and I try to leave a lot of space with the person in front of me. I know that we will all be alone soon enough, but I picture us staying together till the road, or about mile 25 and then racing it in.
Mile 4 - Small gravel road crossing and four runners pull over to make adjustments and what not. Two others then stop to let me by and soon my pack is down to about 4 of us. We will now run our own paces but leapfrog each other quite often the whole rest of the way. Each of us seems to like being a little behind someone, and just letting them set the pace. But if we get too close, the person in front will slow more, step to the side and the behind runner has to reluctantly pass. Most likely to be passed again later. Everybody is so friendly, it is a great vibe all the way to the end. Really nice group here in the middle of the pack.
Mile 7 - Feel a little bunching up of my right sock and decide to take my show off and fix it at the aid station. Don't want a blister, and thankfully I will not get one.
Mostly run the gentle uphills, with some short walk breaks on the switchbacks. Love the long gentle downhills.
Mile 13.1 - 2:21 on the watch, and I think I remember last year I ran a 2:20 first half. But now I slow more than last year. No wall, and the running is not so hard, but I know that last year I was trying to keep up with Mike Mahany and he is not here today to keep me motivated. I do pass two runners who are not part of my leapfrogging group. Enjoy the limited views in the clouds. I can just see Canada. Then work my way alone through the darker cedar forest, ready to break out onto the road.
Again, GPS is way off from the trail mile markers. It is a short course, but I really can not say by how much. Down the rocky sketchy logging "road" to the main dirt road. 4:20 on the watch. Lets see how long I can sustain an easy running pace. I make it to 4:40 and am really happy with that. Just a quick slow and stop at the aid station, the run again for another ten minutes before a walk break. Pass one of my pack and start to gain on "Run Happy" socks, but she pulls away once we reach the paved road.
Now it is a short (less than a mile?) on the paved road with cones. No where near the 4:47 from last year. My goal is still beat 5:00, but there is 4:53 on my watch and it will be close. I think I ran 5:03 the first year and really anything around that is fine, but I feel like I do not want a course worst today. Not much I can do, except don't walk up this steep but short uphill. I tell myself that if I walk here and do not beat 5 hours I will regret it. If I keep running and do not beat 5 then I will have no regrets.
4:57 at the top of the hill. I think it is a really short bit to the turn into the resort, then maybe a minute to the finish line. Yes there is it. 4:58 and into the park. Down the hill. Now 4:59 and where the heck is the finish line!! It has been moved from the past two years. The lake is right here so it can't be much farther, just the back of the lodge building, where it used to be on the side. Make the final turn to the back of the building and yes there it is. Happy to beat 5 hours.
Really a great day. Things dried out more than I expected and the temperatures stayed pleasant. No aches or pains worth noting. Glad to have a marathon done without exhaustion even after some time off. Great race organization, great volunteers. I will plan to come back and run this one again.
22nd place of 39
Race#397, marathon or ultra#143