Short: 3:54:37, 100th lifetime marathon/ultra, WINDY!
No doubt that you have already heard the big story about this race was the wind. I guess it made for a memorable 100th marathon for me.
I had almost recovered from the Halloween marathon from the week before, where I finished 3:38:33, good for 2nd woman. Younghae Shaffer finished before me with at least a 1:30 margin. The results do not reflect that she was led down the wrong road by a guy she was running with in the last ½ mile! It also does not list her as female. I had a lot of problems with my feet at that race. It was a double out and back on a different route than what we were all used to in the Bob Green marathons. The route led us back towards I-5. But each time I started a loop, my feet were killing me. The first time, it felt like I was not even wearing a shoe on my right foot. I could feel every bone strike the ground. Somehow, it got better after 2 miles. Then on the second out, I had a cramping tendon or something in my left foot, causing me to limp along for a mile. I was not able to close the gap that had developed between me and Younghae. It was also windy on that day, but after Tri-Cities, it was child’s play.
I had e-mailed the race director requesting the bib number 100 for Tri-Cities. He sent me back a message stating, “We’ll take care of you, just come and have fun!” I rode over the day before with Karen Wiggins and her friend Sonya Hambleton. Sonya’s husband had won the Halloween marathon in 2:59:25. It was her turn to run a marathon. She looked fast in her tall and skinny frame. She is an avid cyclist and this was to be her first marathon since having her daughter. The weather on Saturday was perfect for a race. Too bad we had to wait until Sunday. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant with a group of Homecoming couples, except there was an imbalance of 3 girls and 4 guys. I hope one of the guys didn’t get stood up!
We changed our clocks and woke to the sound of howling winds. I looked outside and saw the tree below our window get thrashed around. Great. My 100th marathon and it was going to be a challenge. I had a difficult time deciding what to wear because of the wind. I made the wrong choice and ended up wearing too much. I overheated in the beginning and probably sweated more than I realized because I started to have calf cramps by mile 13. (Actually, I have been taking something for my asthma that may be the root of my muscle cramps. Hopefully eliminating it will mean that my runs will feel normal again.) The wind was mostly coming from the side or blasted you directly on. There were some areas where it was at your back, but not enough to make up for the time lost to the headwind. I don’t know if it was better being small or big. Being small meant that you had less resistance but it also meant that the wind could pick you up and push you backwards. I was blown off trail several times just as others have reported. One time I was blown so hard that I had to get up on the little trail islands that occurred in several spots. The wind pushed my feet into the other leg frequently, leaving tread marks on my calves. My pigtails only added to the drag and were often above my head or straight out to the side. Sometimes the wind caught me with my mouth opened and inflated my cheeks. One word. CRAZY! Because of my cramps, I had to stop and walk frequently. This was the first marathon in a long time where I was passed by people. A lot of people! And a lot of them maniacs. I was very embarrassed, especially with it being my 100th. I wanted to perform well, but it was not to be on this day. King Arthur had a 6-minute PR on this very hard day. That means that he probably had like a 15 minute PR. I need to start watching my back. (Don’t get too comfortable, Arthur.) Hopefully, this day was an anomaly. I was passed by a girl in my age group in the last 2 miles that took me out of the age group awards. But no matter. Ron, the race director did such a special thing for me. He had a plaque made commemorating my 100th. I’ll take that over an age group award any day. It was wonderful! Cliff took first place by barely squeaking out a sub 3 hr marathon (2:59:52). Sonya had a great run with a 3:29:56, good for 2nd woman. Mel Preedy got an age group award as usual. Arthur was 3rd in his age group 35-39.
I rode home with Cliff, Arthur, and Mel instead of with Karen and Sonya since they did not want to stick around for the awards. I’m glad I was there to receive my commemorative plaque. But our celebration was short-lived as we came to a complete standstill in Easton on our way home. There was a hail storm at Snoqualmie pass that left the roads a sheet of ice. Several cars were involved in accidents we heard on the radio and the pass was to be closed for several hours. Karen had tried to call and warn me but did not have my cell number. To make a long story short, we drove over an hour back to Yakima to take White or Chinook pass. We decided to take Chinook since it would spit us out closer to our home in Maple Valley. Well Chinook is at higher elevation than White Pass, and by the time we got there, the road was covered in ice as well. We had to stop twice, each over an hour and did not get home until well after midnight.
I got 6 hours of sleep and woke the next morning to run 13 miles with my friend and running partner Mary Hanna. Then I biked the course for the Cedar River Flat Ass to determine mileage and the best places to drop off water and have an aid station. In all, I rode 21 miles since I needed to recalibrate my odometer. I was spent by the time I finished. Hopefully I will be recovered for my double this weekend. Fifty miles on Saturday at Autumn Leaves in Oregon and the UWR marathon on Sunday from Kent to Alki. Hope to see some of you there.
That’s all for now. Did you all see my article and picture in Northwest Magazine? Cool, huh?