11 October 2010

Spokane Marathon 2010 race report

After taking much of September off (Run Across Idaho recovery, Costa Rica trip), I am using October to slowly build my training back up as I get ready for my epic adventure in Chile this coming March.  

The race in Chile is all about running while tired -- there will be 4 consecutive days of marathon distances followed by a fifth day of an ultra distance -- so my training for the next few months is going to be focused on running long distances on consecutive days.

Saturday a friend I and went for a tough 15.5 mile run in the North Idaho mountains.  My legs were tired and heavy by the end of the run, and when I woke up early Sunday morning for the 1.5 hour drive to the Spokane Marathon, my legs were still tired and heavy.  Running a marathon on tired legs is good training.

I ran this marathon a couple years ago (3:49:12) and it was in the 20's at the starting line.  It wasn't nearly as cold yesterday, but the air was wet and brisk.  I didn't set a goal for this race as much as I tried to guess how I'd do on tired legs.  I figured I could finish semi-comfortably in the 3:30-3:45 range.

Gearing up

Nipple protection is key

Start of the 2010 Spokane Marathon

The course is scenic, with spectacular views of the Spokane River during a good chunk of the route -- but it's tough and hilly.

Doomsday Hill looms around mile 22.

Even though my legs weren't ever feeling great or fresh, they didn't feel too bad.  I settled in at around a 7:30 min/mile pace for the first 15 miles knowing that I wouldn't last at that pace for the entire course.  But as I've learned from earlier marathons this year, sometimes it's worth shooting a little higher than what you think you can do, because you might surprise yourself.  

And I had this waiting for me at the finish line:

What's better than a carrot on a stick?...

So though I didn't think I could keep a 7:30 pace, I decided that there was no harm in trying.  But by mile 22 I realized that I had been wrong and that there really was harm in trying, because my legs were hurting.  Bad.  To add insult to injury tired legs, this is about when the course throws Doomsday Hill at you.

I was toast after that, and cruised into the finish line at 3:24:57, which (to my surprise) was still good enough for 10/183 overall and 3/18 in my age group. 

I'm running so fast that no one even sees me.

Glad it's done.

This is a great marathon.  It's about as cheap as you'll find a marathon that provides aid ($25 if you don't want the t-shirt), it has great volunteers (and aid stations every 2 miles), great organization, and it's a beautiful course.  This year they even had a medal for the finishers.  It's a good one.

I'm going to give a go at a half marathon this coming weekend (I've never actually run a half marathon before) and then I'm headed down to Utah in a couple weeks for the Goblin Valley Ultra.


And last but not least, a HUGE shout-out to my sister-in-law, Jennifer, for completing the Chicago Marathon yesterday.  She scared us last year when she was in, and thankfully survived, this accident.  But after a long stint in the hospital, she made it a goal to run a marathon.  And she did it!  I'm very proud of her.  Jennifer inspires me more than any 2:10 marathoner out there. 

And isn't that what's great about runners?  We come in all shapes and sizes, with different speeds and abilities, and with different life stories, goals, and motivations.   

I'm a runner.  

You're a runner.

Let's all keep running.



  1. Great job, Scott and Jenn! And I love your sentiment about different kinds of runners. Very true.

  2. Wow, great run! I enjoyed your race report, and the Spokane Marathon sounds like a good one to try - especially given the fact that there were fewer than 200 people running in it. I like the smaller ones =)

  3. Another great race! And looking forward to running Goblin Valley with all my favorite runners.

  4. 3:24 on tired legs, amazing. Congrats! Here's an idea for practice. Come pace me in Huntsville in Dec. for about 3:45-3:50ish. You will be tired from traveling cross country and you can run tired again. Ha ha.

    Wow! Jennifer is a lucky woman, and apparently amazing too. Congrats to her.

  5. You amaze me each time i read your blog, You should come over here to the UK and try the 10 marathons in 10 days challenge http://www.run247.com/articles/article-357-brathay-10-marathons-in-10-days.html

  6. it kills me what you can do on "tired" legs...incredible.

    congrats to your sister in law. it was a hot day out there!

  7. Great job Scott and Jen! You both inspire me. Can't wait to run with y'all next week.

    Nnnever give up! Nnnever surrender!

  8. Yay! Awesome job Scott! Jen, you rock too! So...that elevation chart looks less scary than GV's. Now I'm REALLY nervous.

  9. Very cool!! I love that you run so well on tired legs!! Great training for next year. Congrats to your sister in law. That's a remarkable story! You're right about runners, and Iron peeps too for that matter. I would have never believed I could do an Ironman if I had not volunteered for one first.

  10. Fantastic run! 3:24 on tired legs is really good. I'm a great believer in runs on tired legs as part of ultra training.

  11. When I read your blog and thought, with childlike wonderment, "What in the world are 'fresh' legs?" I suddenly understood how I ran all the way to stress fractures and had to limp home.

  12. Congrats on a good run on tired legs. Very impressive. I LOVE the quote about us all being runners - I haven't quite wrapped my brain around the fact that I am a runner. (But I ran 9 miles one day last week...) Good luck in Goblin Valley. I can't wait to read the report.

  13. Nice running Scott! And congratulations to your sister-in-law - what a comeback!

    Continued success, and I look forward to reading about your first half-marathon experience. Based on your training I think you'll just be breaking a sweat as you cross the Finish Line!

  14. Thanks for the shout out Scott! (and such kind words!) A big thanks to all your followers and your sentiments as well.

    And to all your blog followers, it must be mentioned that the ever-so-humble Scott called me on Sunday to congratulate me on my finish and when I asked him how his went, I got a "It was good." WHAT?? No "I got 10th place and 3rd in my age division!!"

    Way to go!