Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Grandpa's Wishbone Marathon race report

It was day two, for heaven's sake. From the get-go, Wil was determined that we should at least get our 2 marathons in ... so it wasn't too rough getting ourselves out there. Besides, the race didn't start until 7:30, so we didn't have to get up too early...

This race used to be held in a forest near Gig Harbor. When we ran it, back in 2012, it was very, very wet... ankle deep mud, knee deep puddles... and c-c-c-cold. Because of logging in the forest, this year the race shifted to Tukwila and ran along the Green River Trail. I'll admit it -- running a marathon on a smooth, paved, essentially flat trail sounded a LOT better to me than running 27 miles in 4 loops in a muddy forest...

Still, running our second marathon in as many days... well..


But it was nice to see our compatriots, chat with some new folks, and so on. Also, I love that this race costs a simple $20 donation to the food bank. We had a brief course talk -- though, since we were standing near a generator, we couldn't really hear much. We were told that the turnaround would be pretty obvious, and that we should stay on the Green River Trail. 


We did remember to take a pre-race photo... and I think these smiles might be genuine?

why, yes, that *IS* my Wattle Waddle hat!
But in truth, we were already a little beaten up. Wil had some painful blisters on his feet, and I had that weird painful strain up the front of my right shin. And it was clear that we wouldn't be running today. Possibly at all. But we set off, determined.


The Green River Trail is surprisingly pretty, despite spending a lot of time meandering behind apartment buildings, office blocks, and industrial complexes. And the fact that it was a gorgeous autumn day, well, that didn't hurt either.


Somewhere along the way we bumped into Clint from Mainly Marathons and chatted with him off and on. Wil kept us going with a rapid walking pace -- 13:30/mile -- which was about as fast as a bunch of folks were run/walking. So we kept leapfrogging a few people. Nice to see Clint and chat about when we might run another one or two (or three...) of his races.


But for the most part, we were alone. The out and back course, which we would complete twice, meant we saw people a few times, which made it more fun. Even on this "day 2" we had a lot of "friends" on the course.

And, yes, the turnaround was well marked!


As we headed in to the start/finish area, we passed some friends who said, "Huckleberry pancakes!" So we made a beeline to the food table to pick one up... only to find a half marathoner essentially blocking the table while she asked questions about whether the boiled potato tongs had touched the sandwich bread because she doesn't eat gluten. Luckily for us, the volunteer turned to focus on us and handed us lovely hot pancakes AND a potato for the road. We then quickly headed out for lap two.

Lap two was extra lonely -- though we did see several half marathoners coming in. I did try to break the course into memorable segments, but boy, it felt longer the second time around.

Not long after we reached the turnaround for the second time we saw an older gentleman, highly recognizable in his wide-brimmed hat, coming toward us. Now, we hadn't seen him for a while, and assumed that he was waaaaaay ahead of us. So I said, "Sir, just how far are you running today?" (I believe there was also a 50K, so maybe he was doing that?)

He told us that he had gotten lost along the way somewhere where the trail split... and spent nearly two hours trying to get back ON the trail. I'm not gonna lie, I would probably have called it good. But this noble warrior wanted to make sure he completed the course. Awesome!

Again, even with few other folks out on the course, we did get the chance to say a lot of "see you tomorrow!"s, which always brings me joy.

As we approached the finish ... FINALLY ... we waved goodbyes to some previous finishers, and then limped our way in. We weren't the last folks out there... but there weren't all that many left. But the food table was still serving up hot pancakes, so we indulged in another before hitting the road. 

This is what relief and exhaustion looks like:


I do love the medals for this race -- also nice to get a "full" medal rather than the "half"!


This race is actually 27 miles long... which means, I suppose, that we have actually done an ultra! Okay, so not really, but.


After the race we stopped at the Seattle Marathon Expo to pick up our bibs and swag for Sunday's race. Even though we weren't sure we'd be able to run it. But better to get pickup done!



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