The Sauvie Island Marathon was on the 4th of July as usual. But this year it was on a weekend which was a bit strange. I have ran either the marathon or 1/2 for quite a few years, except last year while I was in Denmark.
This course advertises that it is very flat. Well that changed a bit this year as you don't do two loops around the course anymore but you do a 6 1/2 mile out and back then finish the original loop. It is a nice change, but for those that wanted flat this has some minor little climbs. They didn't bother me but may have been a pain to some. But overall this is a very flat-fast course.
I went into this as strictly a training run. My focus this year is to finish the Waldo 100k and this race was just another way to run with friends and get some good miles in. I wasn't going to try and push it at all as I didn't want to get hurt.
Many of my friends were running this day. It was fun to meet everyone and chat before and after the race. Gail wanted to run but was scheduled to work, then at the last minute early Saturday they called and said she didn't have to work. But the race was filled by that time.
The race started at 0645 which was nice because we would be done before it got real hot. Fellow Slug Tom decided to take the early start at 0615 (smart man). Abbe was running the 1/2 that started at 0700. Eric and I lined up for the 0645 regular start. It was chipped so no rush plus it was a small crowd of only a few hundred for the marathon. The 1/2 had like 2000 runners!
The gun goes off and Eric and I trot out near the back of the pack. Eric gets to be a Maniac today as it is his third marathon in 90 days. It is a clear cool morning for summer. As we run hundreds of cars are still trying to get to the parking lot. Glad we got here early!
We are just chatting and trotting at a 9:40 pace or so. I feel my usual stiff and slow for the first few miles. I drop off Eric and head to a blue shack to get rid of my cup of coffee as Eric continues. I get out and put on some tunes and catch Eric after a mile or so. As we head out the outback loop I see Katie our famous Cheerleader. It's always fun to see friends on the course. This area is nice and shady. It is already starting to warm up.
Eric has to make a stop like I did and I continue on. This was the last we ran together for the day. I just tried to run a 9:30 pace as I was looking to finish in a conservative 4:18. At the next AS I stopped and filled my bandanna with ice. I love this thing for hot days. You just get cool ice on your neck and cool water dripping down your back for hours. As it warmed up today I never felt hot the entire race. Everyone else said the heat got to them but for me I was the perfect temp.
With my tunes on and just a plan to cruise I was enjoying the run. Saying hello to all that I passed. I ran into Larry Macon, Mr. Marathon who did 105 marathons last year at age 63, super nice guy. I then caught up to Tom, he was hurting with some back problems but was a stud and finished the race while being very uncomfortable.
At mile 20 Detour was there smiling and waving. How cool, she had ran out 6 miles to run with me. Yeah she was a backwards Bandit this day. We ran for a few miles then at the AS it was a quick bottle refill and then out I went. Gail stayed in the AS for a bit and waved me on. So back on with the music and push on. By this time I was up to 9:15 pace and still felt real good. I was trying to hydrate about 30 to 50% more than usual due to the heat. It seemed to be working as I was feeling fine. My fastest miles of the race were the last 6.
The sun was up high now and many runners were starting to walk. By mile 23 I hardly saw anyone running. Many of the strong runners were already done as this is an easy course to PR on. I tried to give encouragement to those I pass but I know how tough it is for them right now. I had lots left in my gas tank but I still was not going to push. I tried to keep the same pace, just a good training run in the heat.
I crossed the line in 4:11 and change. I was very happy with that time as earlier in the race I figured I probably wouldn't even get a 4:20 in. This was marathon number 55, my old football number.
We hung out as all our friends finished. The heat got to everyone a bit today but all finished. I felt pretty darn good after this race. I refused to sit down for at least an hour and while standing I would pump my legs now and then. I got this from Lisa Bliss about how to keep your blood pressure from crashing post race. It seems to be helping. (Plus drinking coffee!!)
This weekend Gail and I head down to Ashland for the SOB 50k. This is a beautiful run on the PCT but the elevation always gives me fits (6 to 8,000') plus that damn climb from mile 21 to 26 always takes it toll on me. We are going to make a quick trip for this one. Fly down at 8 pm on Friday and fly back at 5:30 pm on Saturday. No time for sightseeing on this one.