Saturday, July 6, 2013

North Olympic Discovery Marathon - 6/2/13

The night before a marathon shouldn't involve waiting for your duck to have x-rays.  It's not right. My life has never been "normal"(and who has a life like that anyway?). Tawney (or Tawny/Tawnie/Tawni depending on which family member you ask) has been limping for a couple of weeks but seemed to be getting better until June 1. We have 2 ducks, Stella and Tawny. We are Accidental Duck Owners, definitely a must-see Hallmark movie title.

Tawny and Stella
They are in a fully-enclosed pen and we have no idea how she hurt herself. Tawny took a turn for the worse this day and we decided she needed to see the vet. Our ducks are pets, not for eating, thank you. I'm mad at those who suggested we just shoot her and have her for dinner. I'm sure some of you are snickering but seriously, we've hand-raised her and she's a sweetheart. I could never ever ever ever do that.

Hours later, we are told she has a broken femur, a little unusual for a duck, and we are sent home with instructions to keep her enclosed in her small house. We would have to wait until Tuesday to hear from a doctor to see if she could get any further help or if we would have to put her down because her quality of life would be so poor. 

Race morning arrived and I put thoughts on Tawney on hold and tried to focus on the race before me.  Last year, I won the female race after coming in second overall a few times. Here's that race report:  NODM 2012 race report.   I had a great first half but struggled with major muscle cramping later and scraped the win by seconds. Thoughts of winning today were far from my mind as my training and body weren't ready to race hard and I really was just looking for a little improvement over Tacoma City Marathon's 3:49 finish.

Jeff drove Lori, Sharon and myself to the starting line (Sharon was pacing the half marathon) after arriving an hour early. I met up with other Maniacs in the building as we waited but my heart was heavy and I had to leave to get my emotions under control. I didn't think anyone would understand why I was teary over a duck.

I lined up for the 7th year in a row for the start of the North Olympic Discovery Marathon. This was my qualifying race for the Marathon Maniacs in 2006. I had a goal of keeping my pace about 8:00-8:30. For many miles, I was near the 3:35 pacer along with a woman running her first marathon. She had hoped to Boston qualify on her first marathon and I could only tell her that if she did, she would be the exception to most first-time marathoners.

The first 8+ miles are through the streets of Sequim before we get to the Discovery Trail.  The day was warm and many inexperienced runners haven't hydrated properly and begin to slow.  Jeff sightings through town and I feel a boost of confidence with his presence. We finally enter the trail and get some shade.  I was with the 3:35 pacer through the half marathon and said adios to him as I could tell I was fading. I hoped I could not fall too far behind but I knew my legs weren't ready to keep up yet. 

Mile 16 and we begin to get some rolling hills. The trail is beautiful, especially over the wooden bridges. Caterpillars are dropping from trees and litter the trail, dying by the hundreds as runners cannot avoid them. I tried not to think about it as I went on a killing spree to the finish line.

I focused on the mile I was in, tried to keep a decent rhythm, kept my heart rate under control on the hills and remembered how lucky I was to be running.  The last five miles of this course have given me some really fast miles but I knew that wouldn't happen today. And I was okay with it.  The marathoners were finally merging with the slower half marathoners. We finally arrived along the last mile of waterfront running and the marina looked incredibly far away.  I plodded along, tried to pick up my pace but realized my body has one gear.  As I approached the finish line, I saw Jeff on my right and Sharon on my left and that gave me a little extra energy to push harder to the finish line. I crossed just under 3:45, not as big an improvement as I would have liked but I accepted it as a step forward. No age group awards for me today.

I love this race even though there are some friends who don't see the appeal. I enjoy the smaller field, rural roads, beautiful surroundings, excellent volunteers and cool shirts. I don't LOVE the hills but if ya gotta run hills, might as well be on a pretty trail.

**I wrote this a month after the race and I know I've forgotten some important details, funny tidbits that always happen in a marathon, etc. I wanted to share for my animal loving friends that Tawney is doing better after getting some medical attention. She's been steadily improving and Stella won't have to live alone.

1 8:02.4 1.00 8:02
2 8:16.4 1.00 8:16
3 7:52.4 1.00 7:52
4 7:45.0 1.00 7:45
5 8:01.4 1.00 8:01
6 8:08.0 1.00 8:08
7 8:09.8 1.00 8:10
8 8:24.0 1.00 8:24
9 8:07.6 1.00 8:08
10 8:34.1 1.00 8:34
11 7:58.9 1.00 7:59
12 7:57.6 1.00 7:58
13 8:17.7 1.00 8:18
14 8:48.9 1.00 8:49
15 7:58.5 1.00 7:58
16 8:22.3 1.00 8:22
17 9:05.2 1.00 9:05
18 9:05.3 1.00 9:05
19 8:37.0 1.00 8:37
20 9:14.4 1.00 9:14
21 10:26.9 1.00 10:27
22 8:32.2 1.00 8:32
23 8:40.2 1.00 8:40
24 8:47.1 1.00 8:47
25 8:58.5 1.00 8:59
26 8:35.3 1.00 8:35
27 4:05.1 0.54 7:36

Summary     3:44:51.8    26.54 miles  8:28 average