Well, I never got around to writing that race report. Life has been very busy lately. More on that in a bit.
Vernonia was a fueling problem that I am still working out. I was not getting enough salt during the early stages of the race, leading to slight dehydration/cramps late in the race. Of course, I didn't figure this out until this past weekend when the same thing happened at another marathon.
Three weeks after Vernonia, I paced a friend in the Tacoma City Marathon. I use the term "paced" loosely here because she absolutely killed it the entire race! Her PR was 3:41 and we finished in 3:28:00, including a last mile of 7:01! Granted I was running her race, but I have never felt better after a marathon. I noted how I fueled (hammer gel mixed into my water bottle and powerbar gel's which have more sodium than gu) and used that as a plan for my next marathon.
This past Saturday I ran the Green River Marathon. For those keeping score, thats 3 marathons in less than 3 months. I am now marathon maniac #5511 :) Anyway, back to Green River. It is a very small, local race. There were 198 registered marathoners and 14 registered relay teams. I'm not sure how many showed up though. After Vernonia, this became another goal race. The previous years' winner was back and he ran 3:00 last year. I figured if he was running the same pace, I'd have someone to run with an maybe crack 3 hours. He did show up but was running a slower pace this year.
The race was on paved trail/sidewalks from Kent, WA to Alki Beach in Seattle. My wonderful wife, mom, and two friends came to see me off at the start. The horn sounded and I took off. I didn't see another runner from my start (their was an early start an hour before, most of whom I passed) until several minutes after I finished. I decided against my using my garmin. My best marathon came from not wearing my garmin so I went back to what worked before.
I felt strong through the first half (~1:28). My wife and mom met me here so I could swap for a new water bottle. There were aid stations along the course but I wanted to carry my own water and drink their sports drink at aid stations (another fueling trick I picked up in Tacoma). Around mile 17 I started to feel like I was trying harder. By mile 21 I was run/walking. I was super upset that I was crashing again! I pushed a little, probably not as much as I could have. I didn't want to need medical help after the race and I was in first place so I decided to settle for whatever time I got. Through the whole race, I was lucky enough to have some company from my running club. The lead biker was a one of my clubmates. Its nice to have someone to talk to late in the race when you are running alone. Around mile 23 (I think), I got held up at a stop light (free race=no closed streets). Thinking about it now, that probably cost me my PR. My official time was 3:09:52, 23 seconds short of my PR and 4+ minutes ahead of second place.
After having a few days to reflect on the race, I am happy with it. It brought out the fueling issues I was having in detail so I now know what to fix. It was my best race since I qualified for Boston in October 2010. While I didn't get under 3, I have a hard time complaining about finishing time when I won the whole race! Not to mention it was my 3rd marathon in 48 days.
I'm taking most of the week off from running (6.3-6.8). I haven't taken more than four days off in over a year. I was going to take a full week off but I want to go out with my club on Saturday. I think six days of rest is close enough. Next week, I'll start building up a base again for a few months. That will give me time to lay out a training plan/nutrition plan for my next marathon, Ghost of Seattle in November.