Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mountain Marathon Race Report

Ridiculously Challenging.
In fact, this is truly the hardest run I've ever done.
I got my usual 2-3 hrs of race day sleep, because I worked the night before.
I can't say I was really excited about this race , because  Rachael and Craig had really amped it up to be a challenging course, and it turns out they weren't blowing smoke.
I was actually a little nervous, because I've spent the last few weeks coming back from perrenial tendonitis and a groin strain. So I had run a total of 3 days in the 2 weeks leading up to the race. I felt unprepared.
I decided to start off strong since I had ran the first part of the course a few times, which was pretty much 4 miles of uphill. The only difference this time was the snow. And that made a BIG difference.
Until this race I had never ran in any substantial amount of snow. To make it worse, I was front of the pack, only behind Jesse Stevick, so the snow had yet to be packed by other runners, which made it quite difficult.
I spent the first hour or two debating if I should drop:
"No one will care man. You've had that injury anyways, so a DNF is no big deal. God! I feel sick! I shouldn't have drank that redbull! This isn't even really running. I wouldn't call this fun, I don't like doing things that aren't fun, So what's the point?"
After a while, I pulled it together.
"You've never dropped out of anything and you're never going to. So stop whining. Let's just get up to that tree and see what it looks like. Well, IT PROBABLY LOOKS LIKE A F@#*ing TREE, MAN!... that's not the point!"
For the rest of the race I played the "lets get to that landmark" game.
The snow got deeper and deeper as we continued to climb.
There was a little re-route because of a fallen tree where you literally had to scramble up the snow, hands and knees, and hop over a tree. What kind of run is this again? A 26 mile warrior dash? OH! ok. That makes sense.
There were puddles that you couldn't tell were puddles, because they were covered by snow. I couldn't feel my toes 2 miles in. "Great. I'm gonna lose a toe too."
I flew on the way back down. After 4 miles of uphill slippery snow, any downhill felt amazing. We started passing other runners who were on their way up which gave me a nice energy boost. People being impressed by what I'm doing drives me to run faster. Even on the road. I'm not sure what it is, but I think to myself "They're watching. And I bet they're thinking about how fast and good I am. I better run fast. I better run a good race."
For the full marathon there were a total of 4 out and backs. The 2nd was on a service road with no snow at all, so it was pretty easy running, besides the constant uphill on the way out. As soon as you got back from that, it was time to start the climb up rock candy again. The good thing about running the Course the 2nd time through is that the snow was packed, so it was much more runnable. This is where Matt Cambell pulled away from me.
I had some rough spots, of course, but I just kept imagining how lunch would be with my girlfriend and how happy and warm I'd be then, and that I just had to finish. So, as usual, I just kept pushing on. Because that's what you do when you're a runner.
Jesse held the lead and gained 27 minutes on me throughout the race while Matt and I alternated between 2nd and 3rd before he finished strong and gained 6 minutes on me in the last 1/2.
I came in 3rd in 04:26:02.
It was so challenging. It really felt like a great accomplishment to finish.
Rachael and Craig of Guerilla Running do a fantastic job of putting on races and being involved in the community. I am so lucky to be a part of such a great team.
I couldn't ask for more when it comes to running.
I'll do this again next year.
I have a feeling it's going to end up being a popular race.

me at mile 21
Jesse Stevick and I at the finish.