Short: 3:39:25, 3rd female overall, 1st F35-39.
First of all, I want to apologize to Merita, who I featured in my Baker Lake report. I had referred to her as Rita. I thought when she introduced herself to me she said Rita. I must have missed the Me part of Merita. Anyway, I got an e-mail from Bill Barmore saying that she finished in 3:13 at the 2005 Yakima River Marathon. The entire time I was running against her, I wondered what her marathon PR was (it has probably gotten faster). I’m glad I didn’t know, or else I would have just let her go instead of trying to catch her. I’m sure she could outrun me in a road race anyday!
After running Baker Lake, I took a day off to clean the house and mow the lawn. Then I had a nice leisurely 14-mile run with Mary Hanna the following Monday. I didn’t run the rest of the week, as I have been studying frantically for my physician assistant recertification boards. When I took my first test 5 years ago, I was fresh out of school and was better prepared. Since specializing only in rheumatology, and with the boards covering primary care, my knowledge of all of medicine became rusty. So in addition to working, attempting to run 52 marathons in a year, and winning the Trail Runner Trophy Series points total, I have been studying for this test. My stress level is at it’s all time high.
Therefore, I did not run for the rest of the week, which left me stiffer than I would have liked. I was not as stiff entering the Spokane marathon as when I ran Baker. Since running Quadzilla, however, I still am not as loose as I would like to be.
I hitched a ride with Dave Murray on Saturday to Spokane. We arrived in the early afternoon and picked up our race numbers. The hotel room as not ready yet for check-in, so we drove what we could of the course. A significant portion of it is run on the Centennial Trail, a paved bike path. Also, since we were not familiar with Spokane, we were not able to pick up some of the course that was run on roads. We grabbed dinner early and retired by 9PM. Sleep was intermittent, but I was awoken once by severe, sharp pains in my right lower abdomen. It took me 10 minutes to get back to sleep.
We awoke 6:15. I found out that my system was “full” and was the reason for my stomach pain. It’s amazing how regular a multi-grain cereal can make you. I was good to go! (Nuff said. My husband said that we runners talk entirely too much about our bathroom habits.)
I asked Dave what it looked like outside. He said, “Oh no!” I thought he was joking. It was raining! I went to the front desk and asked them for two garbage bags. We donned our plastic overcoats and jogged 4 blocks to the start. I was bent over doing my stretches when Mel Preedy charged over to me and gave me a big bear hug! He nearly knocked me over. He was in good spirits!
The race started promptly at 8AM, just as the rain was stopping. It never returned and we had perfect weather in the 50s with a mild headwind in the second half.
I had wanted to follow the same game plan as Baker Lake-run all out and possibly crash and burn in the end. But already in the first 2 miles, my calf muscles were twitching. Was I still not recovered from my last 5 races? My hamstrings were also tight. The night before, I had stretched to the point where my nose was touching my knees, so I thought I was loose enough. I decided to listen to my body and run a smart race. And believe me, my body was talking to me the whole time. I had to constantly scale it back enough to run comfortably and enjoy my run.
The course was beautiful. Much of it follows the Spokane River and was very calming. It’s hilly, challenging, and probably not a PR or BQ course, unless you are a stud like Dave Murray, who ran it in 3:14, two weeks after Portland. He didn’t even have to try that hard to get this time. I was able to run a fairly even race with a one-minute positive split. The second half is known to be definitely more challenging than the first. At mile 22, you run the “Doomsday” hill. I just slowed my speed and shortened my stride. But the cumulative miles were taking their toll and my muscles started to twitch pretty regularly in the last 3 miles. It was worsened by the uneven surface after mile 24. I had to slow up a little each time I had a ½ cramp, but I didn’t walk any of the race except the last 2 aid stations to avoid inhaling my water through my nostrils. In the second half, I passed two girls and 5-6 guys. I was passed by one relay girl and one marathon guy. Overall, I was happy with my run, considering what I have been putting it through. It still was only one minute longer than my first marathon ever, even after 40+ races this year. I tried to catch Mike Wakabayashyi, but he just was too fast. He said he was just trying to make it in before the rain returned. The guy who finished first came in at 2:34:58, which I heard was possibly a new course record. The first woman was Lori Burrato in 3:12:23 and winner of at least the last two Spokane marathons. She must be local.
I hobbled back to the hotel where Dave was already clean and ready to go. I took a quick shower but wanted to stay there in the warm water much longer. We picked up our age group ribbons. Dave was first in his age group as well as Mel. Maple Valley did very well in this race!
The ride home was wet and delayed by the Cougar fans who decided to return on Sunday. There was a huge back up starting at Cle Elum. I studied on the ride home, just like I did on the ride there. My test will be on 10/23. After that, life will again be normal. Just a marathon or two a week. With Spokane, the number of marathons I need left to get to 52 is now in the single digits: 43 done, 9 to go.