On Thursday I was back to limping. That "no moderation" motto is no good, and you know that, right? Don't do it at home:) But by Friday, what I took off, I felt better and decided to go for that marathon I signed up. Saturday morning Sarah, her non-runner husband Marc and their Little Guy Bart picked me up and we drove to Timberline Lodge for the start. It was fun to see Marathon Maniacs, a club that welcomed me here on PNW first and who I haven't seen since 2 years ago, last time I ran a trail marathon at Haulin Aspen in Bend. So far so good. I modeled Atalanta Inspiration Skirt and Shannon's sleeves - both worked wonderful on 26 trail miles!
When I signed up for this race, I put prediction time of 4:30 (they let people go out staggering their starting time). I am not sure what exactly I was thinking at the moment, as all I could shoot for was anywhere between 5:15 and 5:30, but I started in my proposed group anyway. As silly as it sounds, I've never seen this part of the trail (silly because I am co-RD of PCT 50M, and we share much of the course with marathon, but I ran 50k version in 2005, didn't make it in 2006 and was busy organizing the race this year). Since I have a plan to run Oregon Trail Series next year, I looked at it as an opportunity to learn what this "missing" part is all about.
After initial short climb we hit a long 3 miles downhill, and it was fun! Sand section didn't bother me at all (but then again, I didn't have to go it other direction), and after passing a few people, I tucked in behind a long train of runners. I kind of knew we are about to hit an uphill, and I'd be walking anyway. Boy, should have looked at profile before I came! It was a long climb, even though I walked well, and quite a few (as in over a dozen) people passed me here. I could care less. I enjoyed the views, some chatting along and the single track trail. Here was a crazy yellow jackets attack - I got stung a couple of times, and then later on 6 more times! It hurt, and everybody who went by around me got it as well, and we all expressed our pain in same words...not very nice words. Wilderness...at least it wasn't a cougar or a bear:) All of it came after the RD for the marathon emailed me asking if we had yellow jackets encounters at PCT50, and I said - no! Another thing I should have looked at was aid stations location, but the first one came at about 4 miles or so, and for some reason I passed it (don't ask me why). I walked up the hill from there, consuming a gel, a salt tablet and a pill of Cereblex as I felt a twinge in my hip. I wasn't taking chances...
Next sections was all up, incline and flat. Where is the downhill course? I think it ended with the first 3 miles for good...but I still felt well and choked on my gels at 40 min intervals, finishing up on both bottles I carried. I filled them up somewhere at AS 10 miles in (Frog Lake), but figured next one will be coming soon enough - from here on I thought I knew what's coming, that was 50k course.
Aha, yeah, right. While about 6 miles were, and we made it to next AS at 16 (?) unscanted, soon after that the course veered on around the lake as opposed to go where I thought it should. At the previous AS nobody knew where the next AS was, and since I am spoiled by ultrarunning races volunteers filling my bottles, I only filled one - and with Gatorade nevertheless (the drink of choice for the marathon). Yuck! Not enough calories and stomach turning south, so I laid hard on gels every 20 min now as there was some dizziness setting in.
However, I began feeling stronger, and overtook a few people on the long rocky downhill (not as long as first one, but long enough to get leg turn-over). That inspired me to keep chugging along, yet the next 10 miles were flat or incline - where is what I like, good climbs for walking and good downhills for floating??!! Not to mention I wasn't even sure if I am going the right way...but when I left last AS, it was 2:53 on the watch, and I figured if I keep working, I can break 5 hrs, BUT I had to work for it, no free ride. Man, I hate running flats and inclines! I kept at it for about 30 min, chicked a couple more guys, then took a walk break. That continued forever - see a silhouette ahead (yeah, testosterone driven boys, no girls were slowing down - at least not enough in my time frame - but over a dozen of guys!), pick him up, stay ahead as he tries to latch on my heels, then pull away. That kind of worked wonders on my pace, and eventually I cam to last AS at 23 miles. I looked at my watch and adjusted my goal - lets make it 4:45. Why in the world do I do it? It would have been so nice to just relax...but then again, I picked on this guy who knew me from blogging, Nick, it was his first marathon after 5 months of running, he said a few nice words - so I felt obliged to keep running. Nick was so awesome in making me go, he said he would like to finish with me, and if I collapse, he'd carry me! OK, that was it, lets keep moving, man!
Somehow suddenly we ended up on a road and hear that a finish line around the corner. Huh? 4:39, guys, oh my God, 4:39! Couldn't be happier about my time, really, didn't even dream about it at this point:)
I set at the finish with beloved Maniacs and we did some catching up on life. It was nice to see them, especially Tony!, one of the founders. Sarah finished shortly after, and we made it home safe.
I didn't take any pictures (I ran with no pack), but all photos above are curtesy of "non-runner" Marc, Bob "The Beast" Lynes and Maniac #3 Tony! It was a good time, but marathons are hard! Too much work, just too much fast running and too quilty for not running. 50's and 100's are much sweeter:)
Tomorrow - should be Gorge run. Still undecided about Bear 100 (waiting for the drugs to wear off and figure out the damage, not to mention I feel completely untrained to take on a 100 miler even at a slug speed), but somewhat hopeful. I'll let you know on the process:)
So I took Adrien for his introduction to Gorge trail running and some serious hill work on my favorite loop. I had intended to lag behind and we estimated when he'd turn around after the uphill to get me, what he did. Then I sent him off further along and explained some turns he shouldn't take and that in 12 min I expect him back at me again...and while I was enjoying my biggest true love to the Man of my life - Gorge - the man of my run had disappeared...I scouted Angel's rest, yelled many times, took every turn-off, went down 2 miles, met hikers who saw no runner this direction, and now on top of been mad I got really worried - and trust me, him getting lost on his first outing was the least of it. There are cats out in the Gorge! While there were no attacks as far as I heard during my time here, I felt overly guilty and worried sick about Adrien, I cried while pushing back up to Angel's rest (ok, that's nothing new, I had same thing happen to me and Gail earlier this year and had same reaction too, I am just an overprotective hen)...and finally came upon a hiker who asked: Olga? Thank God! So Adrien did take a wrong turn, went back up to Devil's looking for me and eventually got sent off to the car by this guy who showed him the way. Man, now I was just mad at the stupid situation! It made me run faster and more than I planned...but as we met at the bottom, it was a relieve and all forgiven/forgotten. Not right away, of course, but a good lunch did the trick:) Next time I am bringing a rope I'll tie up to him, so no more than mile away! It made for fun memories after an hour of madness. May be I should be running stronger to keep up? At least Adrien fell in love with those lush trails and views!
This weekend was 21st running of AC100 in CA. The woman's CR was broken by Susanna Bonn (a mere 61 sec, wow!) with Ashley Nordell, last year's winner, coming 15 min behind. Our local Stacey Bunton rounded up 3rd and got her Second Sunrise buckle. Many of OR runners did extremely well, though my buddy Bushwhacker DNF'd at 70(?) miles - still have no idea what happened, must have been an injury, he is one of those who doesn't just stop for no reason, especially after the awesome season he had this year (taking Oregon Trail Series win overall, 3rd man at Waldo 100k and breaking 23 hrs at WS100). My other friends: Georgie Velasco made it with great time 2 weeks after Grand Teton 100, and Andy Kumeda PR'd on his 3rd AC100 only a week after coming DFL at Wasatch 100!!! Congrats to all, this race is on my "to do" list, and the sooner the better!
Fun times captured by Brian Conaghan:
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7