Ran my first trail marathon last Saturday and within the first half, I began to wonder if I picked the wrong race to try a trail marathon. This was TOUGH, by far the toughest course I’ve ever run for a marathon. How tough?
Compared to a few other marathons I’ve run recently, the Elevation gain/ Elevation loss:
- Victoria +3738 -3634
- Tunnel +5347 -7483
- Sacramento +2681 – 2953
- Sunflower +8135 -8484
Although my thighs wouldn’t talk to me for a few days, the recovery is going well, don’t think I’ve done any permanent damage. (Yeah, I know that is a demented way to define ‘success’.)
Ignoring the steep hill climbs and (much worse) the descents, I really enjoyed this run. And I was pleased with my 4:30 finish time. The race meandered on parts of the vast network of cross country ski (hiking in the summer) trails maintained by the sponsor MVST. We also ran forest service roads, and seemingly endless single track mountain bike trails. The race stared in Mazama, headed down the Methow Valley and finished outside Twisp, WA.
I think the two keys to my enjoyment of this race are first the weather. Nearly ideal conditions. Mid 40s to start, plenty of clouds to block the heat of the sun and finished only in the upper 60s. This is well below the norm. With so much exposure on the ridges and saddles, running this in the exposed sun of 80 to 90 degrees (which it was last year) would have been ugly.
Second key, was my drinking. My goal was to drink at least 20 ounces per hour and I met that. May not sound too difficult but you really have to remind yourself and force yourself to drink this much, especially in the first half of the race.
Next year, I hope to be back. If I don’t get into Boston, I’ll run the whole thing again. But “if” my BQ is fast enough, since Boston is only 4 weeks before, I’ll join a team to only run a leg or two.
Lastly, want to give a shout out to my friend Snowden at Kaidel Sportswear. I ran in one of their running shirts and it felt great.