17 November 2009


OK it usually doesn't rain all day everyday, but not a very sun-shiny forecast. Winter in the PNW. Snow in the mountains though!

06 November 2009

Columbia Gorge Marathon saga

Since I've been meaning to write a post for over a week now to recap the columbia gorge marathon, well, here goes! This year, I really wanted to do a fall marathon. Since my MN days, running the twin cities a few times and chicago, I really wanted to get the feel of another marathon. Running in the fall is just the best. The cool air, the leaves on the trees, can't beat it. I ran Portland marathon in 2004 (our 1st year in Oregon), so that was the last road marathon for me.

I found out about the CG marathon way back last spring when we were having breakfast with our friend and neighbor Susan and her sister Leslie and her husband. Leslie lives in Hood River, and said that they were thinking about organizing it, they found a sponsor, this and that... So I told her to keep me posted. Pretty much immediately when I got word of the race being on, I registered and started thinking about how sweet it was going to be.

Well my training plan was working pretty much perfect. We got back from spain, and I started doing long runs and even some speed work, and I was in pretty good shape, even though I wasn't doing many races, but I was planning on running a 1/2 marathon in Bend 2 weeks before CG marathon. Then, two weeks and six days before the race I was doing a 'recovery' run in Forest Park, and tripped on a rock or root or something, and smacked my ribs pretty hard. I tried running on that Thursday, and was in too much pain. the next week I took it easy but biked one day (felt crappy, ribs hurt). The weekend before the marathon I was able to do some easier running, but it was still hurting. The days leading up to the race it really started to feel better, each day, which gave me confidence that I should at least be at the starting line.

I drove out there on race morning, and was a little intimidated by some of the strong winds in the gorge in the amazingly dark early morning; if it was going to be that windy, the race would not be fun. Finally I arrived at the start area and a few people were around, but it was calm and non crowded as ever. Had a good chat with Leslie, Win (fellow pdx runner) and Kelly (pdx run oregon blogger). Finally made it over to the staring line and found Sean, good buddy (and rival) from central oregon. We chatted, took some photos, and then it was getting time to start. Chad (race director) did a little speech and then he said GO! The 7 or so miles were nice, just chatting with Sean and Win like it was a wednesday noon run or something. Rather uneventful, except that we noticed some of the mile-markers didn't seem right. We got to Mosier and Sean picked up a gu and put the hammer down. I tried to keep him in sight, but was only successful in keeping the 2nd place guy in sight. However, it was at this part of the race where I knew I was going OK (ribs weren't going to stop me today).

One of the coolest moments of the race was near the 1/2 way and high point on the race profile there was a helicopter hovering really low and taking some photos. It felt like we were getting tour de france style coverage! Then it was a right turn and downhill back to Mosier, where I arrived in 2nd place, with no sign of Sean. The long climb back up to the bike bath to hood river was a real grinder, and I was taking it at my pace and went back to 3rd. I did not lose too much time however and still had intentions of trying to catch Joel for 2nd place with even 2.5 miles to go. Then I just said to myself, you are having a great race, just hold on for the finish. The last 2 miles flew by (maybe a little short), but the feeling of finishing this race in sub-2:55 fashion was pretty outstanding, especially after my lack of any workouts that felt decent in the three weeks prior.

Since the marathon, Laurie left for a 2+week trip to Vietnam for operation smile, and I've been really busy with work and school, and it started getting dark really early. What is the point of daylight savings anyway?