Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Seattle Marathon

Thanksgiving weekend I journeyed to the Seattle area with my friend Phil to run the Seattle Marathon and visit a friend in law school. We began our trek on Friday morning from cold Missoula. On the way we were able to visit a 3-day-old baby and deliver him his first bicycle, an orange Strider. We rolled into Seattle and immediately went to the expo to register so the marathon would become a little more "real." No getting out of the thing after forking over my $125.

Saturday was my friend day with Anna. We did a few things I rarely do, like sleep in. I am actually not very good at it, while Anna is very good at it. Once I had given up on sleeping I put on my sneakers and headed out the door for my last easy jog before the big day. I had a set route that Anna had chosen for me. While en route I was seeing beautiful fall colors and some beastly hills...hills I was hoping were not on my easy run. It was not only an empty hope for my easy run but the lovely hills I soon discovered were part of the race course. Good thing I had been running some beastly hills in Missoula on my training runs. Once I was back to Anna's place we were quickly off to get our shopping fix and visit the famous Pike's Place Market. It was nice to shop but all I was thinking about was eating and getting off my feet so it wasn't long before we were back and I was organizing my race morning.

Race morning came quickly but I was ready. I have trained very diligently this fall to improve my weak run and I was ready to see the results. I navigated the Seattle public transit to the race start just in time to turn in my dry clothes and be ready for the start. I couldn't have asked for a smoother race. I held back a little in the first few miles and found a good running partner. Bill was from Oklahoma and he was running his 26th marathon but only weeks after a 102 mile, 24-hour race. Needless to say he wasn't running his normal pace I am sure but he knew what he was doing and where we needed to be to run my goal time, 3:30. The first half of the Seattle marathon is pretty flat or gentle climbs and descents. I felt great when I hit the halfway mark in 1:45 and change. A few miles later and I decided I was going to pick it up a bit. I started to pull away from the group I had been running with and started chasing the 3:30 pacer ahead of me. When I hit the dreaded climb at mile 20 I was still feeling chipper, my legs were turning over quickly, and I was passing people like crazy. Then I spotted my friends and I got really excited. Phil rode me to the top of the big climb and I felt like I was in the home stretch, the last 5 miles. I held my pace together, made a few more friends, and ran into the finishing stadium in 3:30:40. I was ecstatic to have run so close to my goal time with a very even split marathon. My hard work is finally paying off! My PR for a half is only 2 minutes faster than the 2 halfs that were part of my marathon.

Phil was a rockstar supporter, helping me up stairs, gathering dry clothes, and driving my around. The one food I crave after long runs and races is some good Mexican so the local picked a great restaurant where we gabbed with a few more friends before the straight-shot back to Missoula. Phil made this happen by driving the entire way with an often unconscious female in the passenger seat. It was a great weekend!

The Seattle Marathon will definitely be a memorable race for me. I can see this fall's work for the marathon is going to be end up being a turning point in my run.