Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Skagit Flats Marathon (PR)

I’m not much for races reports anymore. Not that running 26.2 has become an everyday thing, but I am more comfortable with it and the little things aren’t as notable as they were during my first race. Even if I do have something to say, I usually remember it days after the race as most of it was a blur. This race was kinda last minute, and I had no great agenda other than running near my PR time as this was flat, yet I knew it might get warm. Inspiration can be few and far between once you have a few marathons under your belt. This week saw my brother suffer a heart attack, and thank god he caught it and got himself to the ER in time. Also fellow RW forumite smarterblonde lost her father Karl. This race was dedicated to Karl and my brother Vern along with the victims of 911, so a PR would be nice. Latter miles 22-26.2 are tough for me, and having inspiration to draw from helps me. Thinking, “c’mon, this pain will pass, their pain might not”. Me and the GF Jenni headed up to Burlington and signed me up. It was a nice crisp morning, but I knew the sun was coming. It was only going to hit 75, but this course isn’t called Skagit Flats for nothing. It’s in the Skagit Valley where all the tulips are grown. It’s farmland, FLAT with NO shade. I made my rounds, talking to and meeting Betsy, Robert, Ric and David.
I was sporting the current team USA singlet with the JO for Jesse Owens. These were used in the Berlin World track Championships. Splits felt good, but miles 8-10 I let it slip into my head that I wasn’t even going to run under 3:30:xx. I was slowing a tad. I think it might have been the lonely out and back with no land marks or any real scenery. So I think my theory ran true, because there is a mental light that goes of when I run out and back whether it’s a training run or a race. I run faster on the way home, knowing you only have “X” distance to go. I picked the pace back up again and was hovering around 7:42 pace overall. 7:38 gets me to Boston. I didn’t know it at the time, but my Garmin was reading further (26.4 overall). So really by the time I hit 7:45 overall pace, I was really at 7:49. I thought I had a shot at 3:23-3:24. At mile 17 something happened that gave me more confidence that per the hot conditions I was doing well. My PR of 3:25:23 came on a pretty flat Eugene course on a day that was 55 degrees with some sprinkles. That was perfect. So to run that again in 75 degree weather with sun on you and zero shade? GREAT. The thing that happened was I saw a friend of mine ahead of me, you can’t miss him, he’s got to be 6’4” tall. I caught him at mile 17.
Why is this a sign? Because his PR is 3:10:xx. I passed him once at the Seattle Marathon at mile 13, but he was walking and was injured. After the race I found out the heat was draining him and he was cramping up. Shortly after mile 17 they started dropping like flies….. I must have passed 15 people in the last 6 miles. I tend to slow down myself, but it always amazes me how many people got so far ahead of me, only to drop back so far in the latter miles. Miles 23-26.2 were far better than any race prior, I was sore and tired, but no drained like previous races. This alarms me, why then didn’t I push harder? I think in some ways it’s that marathon mentality, you need to pace yourself. Then again you only have so many miles to make up time. It’s not like you can drop 3 minutes in the last 3 miles by banging out three miles at 6:45 when you were running 7:45. The final stretch of the race has you making a sharp left turn onto the high school track. You go thru a gate to your left. I was around 3:24:00.
At the gate a guy passes me while we are turning left, on my left. He had barely room to do this. You really shouldn’t do that, you should do it before or after the turn, or pass on my right being as we are turning left. I blurted out “WTF”. I’m kinda in a pissy mood after 26 miles especially when someone jeopardizes my safety. You can easily go down after that much running. So, his reward was me sprinting past him in a 100m dash. It was just me and him for 100m. I beat him by a step at the line for 25th place. I looked at my Garmin after the race. It tells you your fastest pace during each mile, top speed if you will. That last 100m I was running under 4:00 pace. Final clock time was 3:25:01.


  1. Nice race report.

    If I could run that fast I'd write a separate report for each mile on the course.

    Well done.