With 1,700' of climbing and equal descent, it's a tough course, and it's also very pretty. With no specific marathon training any time recently, I entered it wanting to run around 2:50, kind of a training race in my CIM preparation. (The kid with me is 19, running his first marathon, we're at mile 8; he ended up over an hour behind me; I felt bad for him, but like all of us, he'll learn!)
After a 7:02 first mile in 27 degree weather, I was cold so decided to speed up earlier than I originally planned, mainly to warm up. I just kept getting faster and faster all day. Here are some random splits that I remember: 3 - 19:38, 7 - 45:20, 10 - 63:50, 13 - 1:22:11, 20 - 2:05:00, 22 - 2:17:27, 26.2 - 2:42:30. There were 2 or 3 sub-6s somewhere in there, I think in the high-teens and low-20s. I was feeling good.
Anyway, when I finally realized I wasn't going to slow down, but just keep getting faster (somewhere around 20), I did some math-on-the-fly and realized I could actually get a p.r. So that became my goal and I went for it pretty hard to the finish, with my last 10k in 37:30 - which included the infamous "Doomsday Hill" from Bloomsday. The hill did nothing for me, speed-wise, anyway. It was fun flying by the hordes of 1/2 marathoners that had just joined the marathon course.
Finishing strong...and I even look like a runner!
I ran focused and with a purpose the last 30 minutes, and even got a slight case of tunnel vision in the last mile. That was kinda fun! I eventually wound my way back to Riverfront Park, weaved through oodles of people out playing, and found the slightly chaotic finish line. I say slightly chaotic because there were lots of 1/2ers finishing right around me and I came up to the finish so fast, I don't think they were really expecting me so they tried to point me into the 1/2 chute. I just went to the right one and then they figured it out.
I was stoked and tired when I finished. After 30 seconds, my mom found me and I had to lean on her while we walked to a seat. It felt so good just to sit there in the sun, warm and happy. I had just averaged 6:12 per mile for 26.2 of them and I had won. It was good. (Local celebrity!)
After winning uber-tough Crater Lake Marathon 2 months ago, then today's p.r. and win on another challenging course, it makes me realize that apparently I like the tough road marathons. And that running lots of miles in the mountains, with hardly any specific speed work, helps get me fit for said road marathons. Perhaps I'm on to something.
Now I have a little dilemma. I had originally planned on training hard the next 8 weeks with a specific goal of sub-2:40 at CIM. Now, after today's race, that seems kinda sand-baggish to me. Perhaps 2:37? That would make for a nice, round 6-flat pace. But that sounds pretty fast and intimidating. Opinions, suggestions, ideas??
One short note on the shoes I wore: Exactly 9 days before the marathon, Paul Curran sent me a new pair of tester shoes from END Footwear. END is a new, green, running shoe company out of Portland. Their goal is to make the greenest shoes possible, and very light shoes in the process. The model I'm testing is the YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary), which weigh in at a svelte 8 oz, so they're light. I put about 60 miles on them in the week before Spokane, and I liked them so much that I decided to wear them for the race. Well, I loved them in the marathon, too! They're light, flexible, cushy, very light meshy upper that hugs my foot nicely, and best of all, they're fast! Zero blisters, and now, a day later, my legs really aren't beat up. I'm lovin' em. (Goat has done at least one write-up on END Footwear, too.) Watch for END in specialty stores in the near future -they're a good company and one that I feel good about endorsing. And, with my 2:42, that currently makes me the END Footwear Marathon World Record Holder! Pretty cool.