Monday, April 10, 2017

4/9/17 Blooms to Brews Marathon


First time here at this 3rd annual event. Jody and I drove to Woodland WA the afternoon before, so I could save 90 minutes of driving in the morning and not pay $20 for day of race packet pick up.  Hotel is nice, but sure does not save us money.  Expo was very small and we were out of there in just a few minutes.  Morning of, I get up in plenty of time and it is an easy less than a mile walk to the start, so Jody can have the car and pick me up at the finish.

Weather is cool and cloudy, not as windy as it had been.  Course is super flat.  Skagit flat.  It is scenic, but does not change much at all.  Farmland and river views.  The tulips are not blooming yet and most of the fields look to me like they are growing crab grass.

Intend to stay with the 4:30 pacer and hopefully pick it up in the second half.  I ran 4:26 at Cupcake with the second half much slower and a solo effort.  This is the largest marathon I have run in some time and will have company just about the whole way.  I intend to give it a good effort.  But since the marathon two weeks ago, my running has been blah with travel interruptions.  Hip discomfort lasted a few days and I am worried that it will flare up some miles into today.  I carry ibuprofen just in case and will walk it in if needed.

Start - Super Pacers are here and I get Super Sabrina as my 4:30 workhorse.  Prayer, National Anthem and then we are off.  Wide road parallel I-5 then over to the warehouses and meat packing plant.  Then the country roads and fields.

Mile 2- Nice little group at 4:30.  One woman will carry her phone in one hand and car keys in the other the whole way, because that is what she did in training.  She and friend from SF are running their first marathon.  Half marathon started ten minutes ago and eventually the front runners pass us.

Mile 5 - Chatting with Sabrina.  It was one year ago that she paced 4:30 at Whidbey and I stayed with her till mile 20, then moved forward for a solid finish.  Same plan today.  Long out and back here.  Surprise Tracy Marshall sighting, going so speedy!  Then Marie pacing 5:00 after we turn around.

Mile 13.1 - Really uneventful run and course.  So flat.  I get to hold the pacer pole while Sabrina takes a break.  Just like at Whidbey.  We reach the half in 2:13:30, so are a little ahead of schedule.

Mile 14 - I decide to ease on ahead a little faster, not knowing that I will regret that a later.  Pick up the pace.  Jody is at an aid station.  I try to untie the jacket around my waist but it is knotted so tight I end up slipping it down my legs to get it off.  It takes so long, that Sabrina almost catches me.  But off I go, a little lighter.

Mile 16 - A 6 mile loop.  Past a heron rookery that Jody also saw and photographed.  Gradually passing people, trying to run just under 10 minute miles.  Feeling good and mile 17 goes by in 9:32.

Mile 20 - Back on the course overlap part.  Run with a mother and daughter who will be at CCM and the Trials Legacy in Oly later this year.  Animal cookies at the aid station do not go well with gatorade that is so concentrated there are solid slushy sugar bits at the bottom.  But my stomach feels ok otherwise.

Mile 21 - Jody again at this part of the loop.  Now out onto a gravel road and it all falls apart.

Mile 23 - Tight and tired legs.  Short walk breaks start up.  The gravel road has big potholes and the wind picks up and is blowing in my face.  Pace has slowed a lot and I start to fear Sabrina.  Mile 23 marker is a tenth longer than the GPS taking away a minute I had in the bank.  I shuffle up to two walkers and complain that it is getting hard.  The woman says "it is a marathon, its supposed to be hard"  I like that line and it encourages me.  On to pavement but still into the wind for a short out and back.

Mile 24 - Now heading with the wind and it is easier but still horrible.  Saw Sabrina on the out and back and she is struggling and tried to hand me the pacer pole.  I declined with fear that I will not make 4:30 now ( I regret not taking it from her).  Discouraging but what can I do.  Just keep at it.  Now the advertised run through the flowers, but really it is on the road past a tulip farm.  A few blooms in the distance, but nothing I would name a race after.

Mile 25 - Passing me is SF woman.  Finishing so strong in her first marathon and now encouraging me.  I do get a bit of energy and am able to keep running.  Sure going to be close to 4:30.  But nothing really hurts.  The hip is doing great so I am thankful.

Mile 26 - 4:27:52 on the watch.  So a 10/mile will just get me in if it is 0.2 to go.  Looks really far.  Try to go faster.  Make the last turn and think I just might make it, but I have to sprint.

Finish - Mile 26.2 - 26.40 on the GPS.  turn off my watch at 4:29:58 but my chip time will come in at 4:29:54.  So I guess that I am all set to pace 4:30 in May :)

Recovery right after the race is tough.  Stomach hurts and I feel like sitting down.  Much harder second half and feeling than at Cupcake two weeks ago.  But there I ran a slower second half and certainly did not sprint like that at the end.  Really happy to have Jody to drive us home.

Nice little event.  But April has been my month to always try a new race, so I may not come back for a while.

109th place of 190
Race#414, marathon or ultra#152

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