Sunday, July 04, 2010

Pacific Crest Marathon (and Olympic Tri too)

I really need to get back to writing race reports while the race is fresh in my mind. I often write my report in my head during a run, but writing this down after the fact has been a struggle, written over a couple of days a week later. But I guess I'm doing okay if I'm getting this out there before my next race.

We spent June 26th-27th at the Pacific Crest Sports Festival Weekend in Sunriver, Oregon. I ran the marathon on Saturday and Marc completed the Olympic distance triathlon on Sunday. In hindsight I should have registered the little guy (and myself) in the 5k on Sunday so we could have all gotten a medal. There was plenty of time for this race too while Marc took the bus up to the reservoir for the swim portion of his tri.

The Marathon

I should probably be disappointed in my performance at the Pacific Crest Marathon this past Saturday. I completed the first half in 2:08, but slowed (mostly due to stomach issues) to 2:30 for the second official finish time was 4:38:37. But I'm really happy about this race and had an enjoyable time. And while my finish time is far from my best, it really isn't all that terrible. I could have run a lot harder...I wasn't sore or stiff at all, not the next day or even the day after.

Waiting at the start

This is a nice little marathon consisting of double loops on the bike paths of Sunriver, OR. There was an aid station every mile, (yes, every mile) so the support couldn't be beat.

The 7:30 am was already comfortably warm

Although it was supposed to be hot, I decided to forgo carrying a water bottle since the aid stations were so close together. For the most part this worked out fine. My big mistake was ditching my newish rule to not drink my calories. I've enjoyed success lately with only drinking nuun or water. We've had a cold, wet spring and I was a little concerned about dehydration in the dry, heat (and higher elevation) of central Oregon. I should have stuck with water at the aid stations and downed some salt caps here and there along with some gel blasts and gels. Instead I drank the HEED (in addition to the gels, etc.) I used to be able to tolerate HEED, but I guess no more.

Coming through the halfway point...feeling pretty good

I ran really well though the first half. I walked all the aid stations, but otherwise ran without stopping in between. I thought it might be too fast, but the pace felt relaxed and easy. I kept up the pace until around mile 17 or 18. At that point, my hips started to feel tight and I felt like I wasn't sweating enough. So I started downing the HEED at the aid stations. Frankly I think I would have been fine with just water. I really felt like I had lost touch with my body signals. Was I over hydrated? under hydrated? did I need more salt? less salt? Honestly I didn't know. By mile 20 my stomach really went south. I was still running between the aid stations, but my pace has slowed a bit. When I tried to pick it up I felt a little lightheaded so I kept it slow and steady. I wanted to walk, but my legs felt fine and my energy level was good so I kept pushing on.

Finally, with about 5 miles to go I hit the open section that goes around the horse corrals and the airport. I remember hitting this section the first time around and exclaiming out loud, "wow!". The fields and trees and views of the foothills with a peak of snowy mountains in the background was beautiful! The second time around I tried to remember that feeling, but it was also hot and my stomach was really bothering me. I started passing walkers who I hadn't seen since the first few miles. It was getting warm and the sun was beating down. I stopped at the next aid aid station (21 or 22?) and after getting some water and a salt cap decided I probably had some walking in my future. Up ahead I saw a guy who I had just passed walking but who was now running. By the time I reached him he was walking again. I stopped beside him and asked him if he was still running some. I forget his exact response but I gathered that he was still trying to run as much as possible, but it was a struggle. So I said, let's do it right and try to finish strong, run when we can, walk when must and not let it become a death march.

Heading down the finish chute....I had to (gently) push aside some half marathoners we had lapped.

I would have loved to have kept a steady pace this whole marathon and I think I have/had it in me. I likely could have finished under 4:30. But coulda, woulda, shoulda doesn't wasn't going to be my day. But I sure enjoyed the way this marathon played out. I'm pretty shy and I don't generally approach others (actually I've gotten better at that over the years), but I'm so glad I stopped to talk with Devin. Turns out it was his first marathon attempt. We ran/walked the rest of the way in, mostly walking but I made sure when we walked that we walked with purpose and power. What could have been a lonely, death march turned into a triumphant finish! We were both really happy to be done and it was far from my worst marathon time. So I'm okay with it. And come to think of it, I never went into this race with a time goal anyway, although once the starting gun goes off, its hard not to get into that racing mentality. But I definitely need to work on my toughness. I thought about that a lot around mile 20 and I kept it together more than I might have, but not enough. Of course one race doesn't define you and there will be more races.

Devin and I are almost there..finishing strong at 4:38 and change despite the walking

The finish!

The Olympic Triathlon

On Sunday we were up early again to get Marc ready for his first go at triathlon. After he got marked, I helped him set up his bike/run transition and found some good spots to spectate. Then I said good-bye at the bus to the reservoir.

I'd miss seeing him at the swim. The little guy and I had a few hours to kill, which we spent napping in the van and hanging out at the athletes village in Sunriver. At this time, I realized that I had missed a great opportunity to run the 5k with the LG, so we could all complete an event and get a medal. Oh well, there's always next year. I was really amazed at how good I felt. I wasn't sore at all and I really didn't feel like I had completed even a long run, let alone a marathon the previous day.

Before long it was time to catch Marc at the bike/run transition. Here's the rest of his race in pictures:

Finishing the bike leg

Heading to the transition

At the bike/run transition

Starting the 10k

Out on the course

Coming in to the finish! He'd get 4th in his age group (I did too as a matter of fact)...not bad for his first ever triathlon.

On the way home we stopped along the Santiam River at one of our favorite dipping spots. The water was high but we found some new swimming holes to explore.

We had a lot of fun in Central Oregon...I just love it there. We'll be back in August for some more vacation time and the Haulin' Aspen Marathon.

This weekend we are heading down to Ashland for the Siskiyou Out Back races. I'm doing the 50k and Marc is registered for the 15k. I'll admit that this race scares me because of the altitude and the expected warm temps. This past week I've been reading a lot of WSER race reports and I really love one of the quotes that was shared in a blog comment. I'm taking it to heart for SOB.

“The voice of caution knows nothing of real joy. What joy is there in doing what you know you could do? Try something you could fail at… that might just be living”.

- Neale Donald Walsch


Joe said...

Nice report, Sarah.

Your analysis is almost identical to what I felt in the Illinois Marathon in early May. Hard to figure the stomach thing and boy, does it detract from the enjoyment. But 4th in your age group with a bum gut is no small accomplishment.

Thanks for the photos and the write up. Congrats to Marc on his good tri! Good luck this weekend in the 50K!

olga said...

I hear ya on liquid calories, esp. HEED...and you pulled a good effort, and had a prupose for the run to boot, that's always nice! As always, love how you do this stuff as a family. You guys are an inspiration when it comes to marriage:) You look good, so does Marc. Keep it on!

Bret said...

Hey Sarah, I forgot you were going to do this race. All I remember was Marc doing the Tri. That time is not bad at Sunriver. You are at 4,000 plus feet. You have to add at least 10% to your time for that. I have only done the 1/2 there and it was tough, the sun really beats down on you. You are so the machine now. 3 races in a month? FP, Sunriver and SOB? Nicely done.

Congrats to Marc too. He is the stud. But tell him to get a tan next time. Ha! See you guys at PCT.