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Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon - RunMarathon


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North Bend, Washington
United States
55F / 13C
Precipitation
Total Time = 3h 22m 46s
Overall Rank = 39/400
Age Group = 20-29
Age Group Rank = 1/27
Pre-race routine:

Eat, warm-up, race
Event warmup:

Jogging a mile or two, some fast strides, dancing to some music...
Run
  • 3h 22m 46s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 07m 44s  min/mile
Comments:

This is my very first complete year of running and my second marathon. I had previously run the Seattle Marathon (3:34:00) in November. After my first marathon I started slowly ramping up my miles and began working on frequency and consistency. The bulk of my training was done between 50 and 70 MPW. I had little to no emphasis on speed work. With the higher mileage, I just didn’t feel my body was/is ready for the stress that speed puts on it. Not yet anyway. I can’t say enough positive things about the benefits of higher mileage at slower speeds. Not just the physical benefits and the better race times, but the stress-free joy that I feel when running.
All that being said, there were some mistakes I made. My motto I got (from a Stephen Hawking lecture of all places) is: Performance, feedback, revision. Mistakes are all part of the process and I absolutely realize that. During what was supposed to be my peak training week I had a week long family engagement. I had to push my peak training to 5 weeks out and just go in as much as I could during the family week. I know this had some negative effect on my race but when it comes to family, it’s not something I am willing to compromise. The day before the race, I also had a little peer pressure to “overindulge” from my boys (we have been friends for over 10 years and c’mon, look at em. Would you say no?)

The other mistakes were specific to the race and not the training. The addition of speedwork when I am ready for it will no doubt get me over some of the limiters that I am having right now. But I had to be a little patient.
The course is a veeeeery interesting one. It is a point-to-point downhill marathon race on a scenic rail-trail 50 miles east of Seattle. It starts at about 3,500 ft. of elevation up in the mountain pass. The first three miles are flat, cold, foggy and damp inside an unlit tunnel so you have to wear a headlamp. After that it is a very gradual downhill across several VERY high trestle bridges (EEEKS! I closed my eyes on one…) and basically, through the woods on a gravel trail to the finish. There are waterfalls, wildlife, hikers, and mountain bikers out there but that is about it. No big crowds, no bands, nothin’.
I’m a minimalist when it comes to running. I don’t wear a watch, no HR monitor and this time, no music either. It is a very freeing feeling. It was tough; don’t get me wrong, especially on such a secluded course. It’s just you out there, fending off the negative thoughts with the sounds of birds and your heart beating in the background.
We got to the start with plenty of time. I took a nice long jog and then did some strides to warm up. I have heard many people say to skip the warm-up for the marathon but I think it was the best thing I ever did. I felt fresh, warm and ready to go at the start. At the starting line I had my headlamp on and a drop bag and my sunglasses in my hand. I started pretty close to the front as I didn’t want to get stuck behind anyone and be forced to go slower than I wanted. What I did backfired a little too. When you are in that dark tunnel your perception is off. My headlamp was lighting up the reflectors on the guys shoes in front of my so I just kept my eyes on those and went. I very successfully turned off my headlamp just before the end of the tunnel, placed it in the drop bag and then put my sunglasses on. This all went smoother than I had hoped. Once I got out of the tunnel it was clear to me that I had just run the fastest 5K of my life. NOT the way you want to start a marathon. That is when the slight downhill grade started. The first half of the marathon went really well. Deep down I knew I shouldn’t be going so fast. It’s a rookie mistake and I know better. Some of the water stations were manned and some were not. At the manned stations you had to stop and grab a pre-poured cup off the table while the un-manned stations you had to stop, get a cup out of the bag, pour your beverage of choice and then go. It was a little difficult to stop your momentum but not too big of a deal. There was also a headwind. Probably just enough to break even with the downhill advantage. THEN it started to rain. I would really love to someday do a race that didn’t involve rain. My sunglasses were cracked and with the rain, I decided to go ahead and ditch them. My friends and family were just beyond the half-marry point with signs and screaming encouragement. They handed me a water bottle. I chugged a little of it then tossed it and went on my way. The downhill was taking a serious toll on my legs and my feet. At this point I realized that racing flats just didn’t provide enough protection from the rocky trail. It felt like someone was beating the bottoms of my feet with hammers. Tenderfoot, I know. I got to see my little cheering squad again just past mile 16 and then again at 21. A huge improvement since the last marathon I did was avoiding the wall at mile 20. I felt alright. I knew that I had screwed myself with the WAY-TOO-FAST start in the beginning and was definitely slowing down but I was still hanging in there. The last miles took foooorrreeeeeevvver but that is pretty normal. I was able to get outside of myself and kick it in for a nice finish. I was able to pull of 6th in women overall and 1st in my AG.

What would you do differently?:

1. Eventually, more speedwork
2. A more sound training plan
3. Not drink 4 beers the night before and have pizza at 10 PM
4. PACING (This really should be number 1)
5. Different shoes
Post race

Profile Album


Last updated: 2011-12-12 12:00 AM
Running
03:22:46 | 26.2 miles | 07m 44s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/27
Overall: 36/400
Performance: Average
Course: Ummm don't underestimate the difficulty of the downhill. YIKES. My legs feel like I was ordered to do wall sits for 2 hours straight and my feet feel like someone took a hammer to them (from running on the big rocks)
Keeping cool Good Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Evaluation
Course challenge
Organized?
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

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2012-07-16 5:21 PM

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Seattle
Subject: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon


2012-07-16 5:28 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
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Englewood, Florida
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
You are my running hero! Awesome job, awesome write-up, and most awesome is the education that you took from the experience.
2012-07-16 5:35 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Melon Presser
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Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

LMAO at #3

At this stage of the game, mistakes are good. I actually think they're sacred, because they are what lead you higher and farther for the Holy Grail ... err, Trail ...

You are phenomenal. Pizza beer and boys aside, at this point, you're a better runner for NOT focusing on it to the exclusion of everything else. That time will come, for a time, and you'll have to hang on for joy like you hung on the last few miles of this race (and will in every race), but right now, you are absolutely 100% the best runner you can be.

And that runner, and the person who carries her, is outstanding beyond words.

2012-07-16 6:19 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Expert
924
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Western WI
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Salt, wow.  Really impressive!  After just one full year of running, your doing 7:44 marathon pace?!  You, ma'am are a studette.  Great RR and nice tank top   Congrats on training and racing WELL DONE!  yay!  Ang good lessons learned - always good to take something away from the experience.

So, what's next on your plate?!

2012-07-16 6:46 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
6883
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Orlando
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Wait, your not supposed to drink the night before a race? That doesn't sound right.Can't wait to see what you can do after 2 years of running
2012-07-16 8:14 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Awwww, thanks you guys!

Yes, it was certainly one of those big learning experiences. As far as what's next? Well, I think I am going to take a little time off and then start building up mileage again and doing some smaller races (5 and 10Ks and maybe a sprint tri or two.) I also have a half in October and then of course, training for Boston. 



2012-07-16 8:23 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Extreme Veteran
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50025
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
This race sounds like it was an amazing experience! You are clearly tough as nails. I did a lot of downhill in my first marathon (San Fran) and man does it wear on you!! I can't believe you hit that pace without speed work - definitely gives me something to think about, just going out and running far and enjoying it.  #1 in AG, BQ'd (can't wait to see you in beantown!), 6th woman....sooooo impressive. Hard work pays off!!
2012-07-16 8:31 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Science Nerd
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Redwood City, California
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Congratulations on a great race!!  I love #3.  I know the feeling!  
2012-07-17 1:42 AM
in reply to: #4314659

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Member
892
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England
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

So it wasn't a half marathon then? and how did you manage to get into the 20-29 AG?Foot in mouth

Seriously, outstanding.

Can i get your autograph before you get famous?

2012-07-17 2:42 AM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
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Central Kansas
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Wonderful. You wore gaiters? I love the last picture of you -- says it all.

I love that you ran the race "naked."

2012-07-17 9:57 AM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
6589
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Rio Rancho, NM
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Wow, just wow...

I am so glad to hear that someone else enjoys the "just run".  I do speedwork because "they" say I should.  I would rather just run...

My 7 miler in April is all a gradual downhill on pavement.  Neither of which do I train regularly so my legs really feel it after that one.

I totally hear ya on the family stuff too.  When I miss a training session because of family stuff (like 2 sessions this weekend) I remind myself that family is soooo much more important than my (obsessive) hobby.

Great RR and incredible race!

You ROCK!



2012-07-17 10:11 AM
in reply to: #4314659

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Pennsylvania
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Super impressive in so many ways!  Only one year of running...great speeds...1st AG, 6th woman overall...a PR without manned aid stations...enduring the pain in your battered feet...running with a slight hangover?!  You are my running hero!  I'm totally serious.
2012-07-17 11:28 AM
in reply to: #4314659

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Champion
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Lost in the Luminiferous Aether
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Excellent Job Salty, just awesome!

2012-07-17 3:32 PM
in reply to: #4315221

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Seattle
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
KansasMom - 2012-07-17 2:42 AM

Wonderful. You wore gaiters? I love the last picture of you -- says it all.

I love that you ran the race "naked."

Yeah, that last picture I have a very, "WTF just happened" look on my face lol

Also, yeah, had to wear gaiters as the trail was very rocky (large and small rocks) I'm really glad I did so.

2012-07-17 5:18 PM
in reply to: #4314659

Veteran
478
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Hoosier heartland
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Great race report Adrienne!!  Congrats on an awesome race and phenomenal time!!!  You totally earned it.  Your training was consistent and well executed.  6th overall and 1st in AG!!  You are force to be reckoned with.   I'm going to do a marathon next April.  Your marathon  training inspires me to stay focused with my training.  CONGRATS GIRL!
2012-07-18 1:47 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
2563
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University Park, MD
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Excellent race, and great race report -- I always enjoy reading your reports, especially the carefully planned pre-race nutrition. Good to see the fruits of all that mileage paying off. It's an inspiration to the rest of us. 

As for wanting to do a race without rain - you might need to go to another state for that.



2012-07-18 3:46 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Pro
5760
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Bartlett, TN
Gold member
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
2012-07-18 5:15 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Veteran
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Citrus Heights, CA
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Congrats on a race well done! I am totally inspired by you.
2012-07-18 9:30 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Veteran
339
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Melbourne
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Awesome job!!  And in your first season. 

Amazing work, inspirational!

2012-07-18 9:34 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
1348
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Gurnee, IL
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Wish I could run like you!    Awesome work!
2012-07-18 11:38 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
3887
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Overland Park, KS
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon

Holy Schnikes!  That's a terrific race there young lady!  Downhill, headlamps, tunnels that's not your ordinary run of the mill marathon.   Way to go Marathon Manatee!



2012-07-19 1:28 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Royal(PITA)
14262
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West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Super congratulations on a well executed race....and a hard one at that!

Down hills are quad killers and you had a tunnel, unmanned water stations and all that too?  Studette!
2012-07-19 4:40 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Coastal Carolina
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Dude You smoked it!!!  You are the definition of HTFU and get out there
2012-07-20 5:15 PM
in reply to: #4314659

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Master
1332
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Vista, CA
Subject: RE: Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon
Great run. Nice RR. You're a rockstar--not the drink either. Very happy for your pr. Did you get an award? Recover well.
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