The Windermere Marathon follows the beautiful Spokane River from Post Falls, ID to Spokane, WA. It's a flat course that's had some fast times the last couple years.
A friend of mine flew up from Texas for the weekend to run the race. She's hoping to run a marathon in all 50 states over the course of the next several years. I was pacing my buddy, Joe, as he was shooting for his first sub-3 marathon. But this wasn't a traditional pacing duty -- my job was to slow him down for the first 10-15 miles so he didn't go out too fast like he had in his first two marathon attempts. I didn't think I had a sub-3 in my legs, but I told him I could keep that pace for at least a half. And I thought I might be able to hold on for a sub-3:11 (just in case).
We went out a bit faster than a 3-hr pace on purpose to hopefully give him a little bit of room to play with. The 20-MPH tailwind helped us for the first 5 miles or so. By mile 8 we were on a sub-2:55 pace and I told him I was going to slow down to bring it closer to 3 over the next couple miles. He was still feeling pretty good, but slowed down just a tad too, though this was when I started gradually falling away from him.
I hit the halfway point at 1:28 and change, but by now I had completely lost sight of Joe on the winding trail. He was on his own and in good shape for his first sub-3, and I was left to see how long I could hang on. The wind was swirling at this point, and what I may have gained by the early tailwind was now being taken from me by the strong crosswinds and occasional headwinds. And temperatures were getting warmer and warmer. I think this was the warmest day we'd seen so far this year.
Even though I took a wrong turn on an unmarked section of the course (which cost me about .3 miles), I was still on sub-3:11 pace around mile 21, but I was feeling the heat and starting to have trouble keeping my gels down. I stopped for a bit at the next aid station and doused myself with several cups of cold water. When I took off I knew that a 3:11 wasn't going to be doable (without risky a heat-related injury), so I put it in cruise control for the last few very warm miles and crossed the finish line in 3:17:17, good for 11th place. Joe was at the finish line with a big smile and a 2:59:xx finish time under his belt. Congrats, Joe.
I also signed up to run the 5k that was scheduled to start a couple hours after I finished. A few of us went over to an Irish pub for a beer in the meantime. I was running the 5k with my friend Annie and Sadie. What a disaster. Supposedly, the 5k coordinator went home very ill and the marathon director had to step in to get things started. The course wasn't marked, but we were told there were course marshals along the way to point us in the right direction. We went out at an easy pace and then about half a mile in we were directed to turn right twice. Something seemed wrong because we were headed right back to the finish line. Sure enough, we were directed the wrong way and crossed the finish line after 1 mile. There was a lot of confusion and no one was there to tell us what was going on. So after waiting for a few minutes we decided to just keep running because we had planned to run 3 miles anyway. Then we headed back to the pub and had lunch with everyone.
Turns out that they restarted the 5k about 45 minutes later (but, of course, not everyone got this news). However, the timekeeper was understanding of the situation when I emailed him yesterday, and he gave us a finish time based on the time we gave him that we ran. What a mess for an event that I paid $28 for. Turns out this wasn't the first major screw-up this race has had. Last year the marathoners were given a wrong turn too. And I heard that one of the shuttle buses dropped off half marathoners at the wrong location this year. Yikes!
|On the marathon course|
|Crossing the finish line|
|Just before the 5k|
It's starting to look like spring around here. Snow is melting fast on the higher elevation trails. Sadie and I are looking forward to some trails this weekend. :)