Monday, April 07, 2008

3/22/08 Easter Marathon

Ah, another one of those local holiday marathons. Low key and informal. I've noticed over the past few years that the Easter version hosts substantially fewer runners than the Valentine, Halloween, and Christmas editions. There's never much going on during these races and the scenery is lacking... so the big draw (aside from 'get in the miles' and junk food) is talking to my maniac friends. Except that for the Easter version, few people come. Oh well.

I ran the Easter version last year. I started early, forgot to take nutrition or a water bottle and... as is totally normal for the early start of these races... the aid stations didn't set up until I was about halfway done with the race. Nevertheless, I led the early start group from start to finish and pulled out a 3:48... which was a fair time for me at that point.

The race director utilizes two different courses for these races. He has an out-and-back course that is certified, and a double out-and-back course that goes in a different direction and is not certified. I call this second course "the other course". Both courses are quite boring and run alongside roads open to traffic. The certified course is fairly roly poly in the early and late miles, while the other course is a bit flatter throughout. We never know until we show up on race morning which of the two courses will be used. This year, like last Easter, we ran on the other course. I actually like it slightly better.

The weather on race morning was COLD and a bit breezy. It was mercifully dry. I had pulled a 3:46 at Seabrook the weekend before. It had been an ugly 3:46, though. I decided for this race that I wanted to run "about 3:45", but more importantly, I wanted to run as evenly as possible.

I arrived about 10 minutes before the early start. I decided to take it. Being done sooner meant being warm again sooner. I made sure I had a bottle of Perpetuem this year.

Off we went. I settled into 8:30ish pace and everything felt comfortable. Out I went. Back I came. This year, I did not lead the early start. Heh. It was fun doing this last year - it'll probably be the only time I ever experience what it is like to be up front. But it was kind of goofy and obviously not meaningful in The Big Scheme, so it didn't affect me in the slightest to be in the middle.

I hit the halfway point at 1:52. After a quick conversation with the aid station volunteer whilst I fumbled with a bag of Perpetuem, off I went again. Perpetuem in a baggy looks a little illegal, frankly, and it can be quite messy to get into a bottle when the wind is blowing. Sure enough, I was coated with white powder as I left for the second lap. Yuck.

My legs were very tight for the second lap. Completely normal. I like out-and-backs because I like to see other people in the race, and this certainly helps occupy my brain when my body is getting irritated at me. It helped me in this race for sure. My pace held at 8:30 for the out. Would it hold for the back section? It didn't in the final miles at Seabrook. Or the Breast Cancer Marathon for that matter. Today, it did.

3:44. This meant that I ran a perfectly even 1:52/1:52 split. Woohoo, I hit my goal!

So I celebrated by eating hostess donuts.

Don't tell anyone.

Next up: already happened - the Yakima River Canyon Marathon, a cornerstone Maniac event for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. Actually, as I mentioned in my Seabrook report, I was supposed to run a 50k the weekend after the Easter Marathon... but I skipped it because I was sick. AGAIN. That sickness hit me the Thursday before the 50k. I didn't run that weekend. I only ran 4 miles total the following week heading into Yakima. I was still sick at Yakima, but I ran it anyway. What should have been a very fun day with friends did not turn out exactly that way. I'll write about that Real Soon Now.

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