Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yakima River Canyon Marathon - 4/6/13

April 14, 2013

April 6, 2013     8:00 a.m.

I've been asked numerous times if I'm training for something, how I train for a marathon, and how many miles do I run a week/day, along with many other questions with muddy answers.  My usual answer goes something like this: "My mileage ranges from 35-80+ miles a week, depending on how close the next race is and I like to be physically ready to run a marathon on any given day. Not necessarily race, mind you, but in such shape that I can finish without wanting to die." Yeah, pretty much. This answer confounds most non-runners.

The Yakima River Canyon Marathon was scheduled just 3 1/2 weeks after getting clearance to "start slowly" with my running. I got the "slowly"part down, but maybe not in the way the doctor meant. My times were slow but I have jumped back into daily running without much thought. It just happens.

To answer the "how did you prepare for this marathon?" question for Yakima, here is my non-training plan:

Week One (March 12-17) : 26.2 miles with long run of 6 miles. That was completely unplanned.
Week Two: (March 18-24) 41 miles, long run 10.2
Week Three: (March 25-31) 59 miles, long run 14.45
Bart Yasso at the pasta diner
Week Four:  (April 1-7) Marathon week! 62 miles, long run on Tuesday of 10.2 miles

I wouldn't advise anyone to jump in and run a marathon less than a month after getting cleared from a semi-bad injury. My running was slow-going for the most part, with little bursts of potential speed. I debated whether I should even attempt it and finalized my decision after the 14 miler since I finished the distance without feeling too horrible. My foot still hurts but not like it's broken. That's an unmistakable feeling I never wish to recreate.

The amazing Bob Dolphin
Race weekend, Bill Barmore and I made the trip over the mountain passes to Ellensburg where I picked up my daughter from campus. Next stop, packet pick up and pasta dinner. I snagged a Marathon Maniac clearance jacket, enjoyed a great talk by the one and only Bart Yasso (Yasoo 800s) before making my way back to our hotel room where Crystal and I would toss and turn all night. Thankfully the start line was less than a mile away so I could sleep a little later for the 8:00 start.

I arrived at the start about 7:45 with not much time to spare before the start.  The morning was sunny and the mood was light. I found familiar faces and made a plan to finish without injury by staying comfortable. There was no need to push myself because getting a "fast" time was out of the question. The frontrunners, including Chuck Engle, sped off into the distance while I jogged at an easy pace. My miles splits were in the high 8's which actually surprised me. I spent time meeting Maniacs, catching up with friends, taking pictures. I found Bob Dolphin along the way and had my picture taken with him. This was his 501st marathon! And he started marathoning at age 51.

Looking back at one of the big hills
Canyon River Road was closed to through traffic and very few cars were on the course. The skies were blue, the weather was perfect for running (for me), and the only issue faced was the wall of wind that blasted runners at various points along the course. Since I wasn't racing, the wind didn't cause me any anxiety. I just relaxed, slowed down, kept moving forward. I felt surprisingly wonderful. My body was hanging in, my mind was in the right place, I was surrounded by wonderful people and glorious scenery. When I went through mile 20, I had the semi-rare thought that I couldn't believe I was already that far into the race and that I didn't want it to end. 
I found myself crossing the finish line in 4:03:19 and later found out that I was 3rd in my age group! I received a beautiful plaque. This race is on my list to run again. The directors and volunteers are wonderful and the course is beautiful. My next race is Tacoma City Marathon and I haven't decided yet what my goal is. Finishing, yes, but do I add any time goal? It's still pretty early in my comeback.


Yakima Herald: Post marathon article

Pre-marathon article