Monday, July 4, 2011
Vancouver USA Marathon
Here I sit at my table drinking coffee and relishing being a marathon finisher. I do have a small confession to make, this is my second marathon in 16 days. I ran the Newport Marathon on June 4, under a friends bib (because she was injuried and couldn't run it. I couldn't let a free race entry go to waste).
Since I had never run a marathon I was nervous, and wanted to make sure I could enjoy the inuagaural Vancouver USA Marathon on June 19th. I hoped that by running a pre-marathon marathon, I could ease my nerves. You know what? My plan worked. Sure I felt like an adulterer, cheating on my reliable hometown with that flashy Newport, but it meant nothing to me. I had so much stinking fun on June 19th!
My goal was to have a great time running with my friends, and Vancouver USA did not disappoint. Vancouver, you are my true love. I will run you every year from here on out. I can't wait to watch our relationship blossom each year. I can't wait to smash my time next year, too. So let's get to the down and dirty of the race, shall we?
I had to wake up at 4:30am to make sure my hubby made it to the pacer area by 5:45am. After dropping him off I was off to Starbucks to meet up with my friends. Friends is not really the right word ... my running sisters, and our token running husband. We have a rule for any male who runs with us: he is the token husband and must be to blame for any mishaps along the run. Marty was kind enought to take on this role. Since he's a husband in real life, it was easy for him. He had a lot of abuse to take from us, since the day before he had run the Epic Oregon Relay as part of a team of ultra runners. So after 24 hours and 32 miles he was worn down and ready to run a li'l marathon with us.
We all lined up behind the 4:20 pace group, determined to just enjoy the race. Pace groups were courtesy of FitRight Northwest, who did a great job rounding up pace-leaders. After teasing the pace leaders (who are all kind enough to volunteer for this abuse) my running sisters Teresa, Kris, Laura, Sonya, Shelly, and I (and of course Marty) took off.
We had a great time chatting and taking turns jumping over cones. We giggled and laughed at every chance. It was the most fun I've had during a "race." I do believe between the seven of us we knew everyone on that course. Loved seeing Laura's dad and smiling for pictures at every chance, yelling "Hi, Dad" and having fun handing off to him anything we didn't want to carry anymore. When we didn't have Laura's dad we had Sonya's family or Kris' cheering section. I say "cheering section" but really it was a small town. They had the best energy and cheering I have ever witnessed. If you saw a wall of chalk cheering on Kris and her friends, you know what I mean. I loved that bright group of tie dye gals.
At about the 13-mile-mark my group was starting to slow a bit and I felt great so I pressed on. Marty, the ever dutiful "running husband", stuck with me. We chatted and I jumped a few more cones. At about mile 20 we hit the 'hill' on 5th. I have run this route so many times that I was ready to take the hill down! You might have heard me yell at the hill a few "Yeah! Take that you hill!" or "You're not so tough, Mr. hill!"
Then it was down the quad-killer (a small steep downhill before the railroad tracks) and we were home free. Marty stuck with me for a few more miles. We slowed a bit because he was getting light-headed (uh, you just ran 32 miles yesterday I guess you can be a little light-headed). After I saw the land bridge it was go time!
I love that land bridge and the views it provides. I charged on over it and this wonderful barefoot runner, Leif (Rustvold), that I had been playing tag with said to me, "Do you smell that? It's the barn." I knew that feeling and pressed on through the beautiful Fort Vancouver area up our last hill and onto Evergreen. This horse was ready for the barn, baby.
I heard the crowd and was so excited to see so many people cheering for the finishers. I love this city and am so happy that we get a marathon. I can't wait to run this with my kids some day. I do hope you will all support it next year because as with everything, it will only get better with age!
Laugh and run on, my friends!