What better way to celebrate Christmas then to run a marathon. Okay, the marathon was not on Christmas, but close enough. I wanted to get at least one marathon in the month of December. This is the best one, it's just 2 hours from home and a late start.
On Saturday, as I was getting ready for work, I got a visit by a man who lives in Portland's west hills. He was looking for someone to ride with him to the Christmas Marathon. He got my name and contact info from the Maniacs website. He had run the Portland Marathon and Seattle Marathon, and now was looking to become a Maniac. He's a nice guy and I figured it would be nice to get a ride. So I said sure.
I got up at 6am, had my devotions, and got ready. My dad drove me to Peter Corduan's house, and we left for Olympia by 7:05am. We chatted the whole way, and got to the race at about 9am. The race was to start at 10:30am. I know that often Maniacs and others do an early start for Bob Green's races. I just didn't know if the early start would be 9:30 or 10:00. So I got my bib and shirt and got ready for the 9:30 start. Just before the start Bob told us that we would not have aid for the first half. I thought for a second, and decided to run with a Gleukos bottle. I was unsure if I could run with a bottle in hand. The only time I run with a bottle is with a belt, but never in hand. But I figured I should have something to drink.
I started out running smooth. I had no real goals in mind. I definitely wanted to break 4 hours. My worst road marathon time in 4:00:30. But I knew this would be no problem. I wanted to run a good race, if that meant a 3:40, 3:45, 3:50, or 3:55 then so be it. So my first few miles were at a good pace of an average of 8:29 pace. But after that I missed a lot of mile markers. I got a few of them but never got a a full mile time until the end.
I was running and enjoying the overcast and cool (but not cold) weather. The start was about 41°. I was running with a Gleukos bottle, and what was nice is that it was a flexible bottle. This made it nice, because as I drank the Gleukos, the bottle became easier to hold. And without normal aide, the Gleukos tasted like honey. I think this might be something that I can use in the future.
With an hour early start it was very early to see the difference between the early and regular start runners. Brian Pendleton started out with a vengeance, and lead me the entire way. I thought he might be taking pictures on the way back, but he just kept cruising. I ended up finishing second among the early starters.
A church friend, Cara Esau, was there to run in her third marathon. She was trying to qualify for Boston. Because she is a woman and in her 40's she has a qualifying time of 3:45. She started about five minutes after I did, and I wasn't too surprised to see her finish not long after I did. She had a time of 3:44:37. Just 10 seconds slower then me. That meant that she qualified. So I must say congratulations to Cara. I have to admit, I'm a little jealous that she is going to Boston. But maybe I'll get there someday.
So for Peter, it was his Maniac qualifier, and he did a great job. I was surprised to see him right behind be for the first five miles, but he slowed down in the last half. He ran a PR of 3:57:26. So happy to have his company. He is now Maniac #749, I hope to run and travel with him in the future.
Getting back to my race. I ran 1:51:23 in the first half, that's a 8:30 pace. I felt great, but my hip was getting sore, so at the half I stopped and got a quick drink before heading back. It seems like before each aid station on the way back, the cramping came back, so I would stop and drink and then it felt better. I put my iPod shuffle on about mile 3 and listened to a great sermon by Mark Driscoll, before enjoying the sounds of dc Talk, Newsboys, and Switchfoot.
I ended up running a pace of 8:37 in the last seven miles. So that meant I had a great even run. I finished with a time of 3:44:27 which is a pace of 8:34. I felt great I was very happy with my time. It stayed dry and started raining about an hour after I finished.
We left about 3pm, and drove back. We got back at 5pm. I took a shower and went to the evening service at church. It was a great day, and to top it all off I pasted the 3,000 mile mark for the year at mile three. What a blast!