green river marathon race report

This morning I joined about 176 friends from the running community to run the Green River Marathon.  This is a free point-to-point race from Kent to West Seattle, mostly along the Green and Duwamish Rivers. 

First, the good.  You get lots of value from this event.  It’s essentially a very well-supported training run.  No race numbers, no chips, no massages at the finish.  But you benefit from a hard-working and capable group of volunteers manning aid stations with water and gatorade, placed roughly every 2.5 miles.  I saw the same folks several times, as they rolled their aid station stuff forward when the last runners came past.  This means that many of these volunteers spent four to six hours out on the course, which is definitely above and beyond!  Also – if you’re part of the Seattle area running crowd, you’ll see some of your friends here, and probably enjoy several hours of quality running time with them.

Now, the less-good.  The only criticism I have is that much of the course isn’t terribly exciting.  The first half is okay, with the trail resembling the Sammamish River Trail a lot.  It’s flat, well-marked, often surrounded by trees, runs along a river, but it gets a bit monotonous.  The middle miles run through a dodgy industrial area, with some turns that can be hard to discern.  I was lucky to be with others going under Spokane Street, because the street markings were hard to follow, and the route wasn’t at all obvious.  The late miles along the Alki waterfront were great though.

I don’t want to blow the stuff about the course out of proportion.  I suspect that this is the course that lends itself best to this sort of under-the-radar event.  Part of the reason it’s free is that the race organizer is really a one-man-band. 

The bonus for me is that I had a pretty good day.  No PRs, but a workmanlike 3:50:50.  I missed negative splitting by about a minute, but kept a pretty even cadence throughout (about 82-84 strides per minute).  I’m still adjusting to the form changes I’ve made, and probably need to keep building more stamina, especially in my core muscles. 

Another bonus is that I’m now eligible to join the Marathon Maniacs.  I’m weighing whether or not I’ll actually join, because I’m undecided about maintaining maniacal ways.  I qualified at the cheapest (bronze) level, because I’ve run three marathons in the past seven weeks.  My goal here was more to establish that I can use marathons as training runs, and maintain marathon conditioning.  I wouldn’t mind doing a marathon a month (actually every three weeks) for a while, but don’t see any back-to-back races in a single weekend in my future.

On the other hand, back-to-backing is a great strategy for ticking off a couple of states in pursuit of the 50 States and DC Marathon Club (also a goal, albeit a distant one).

Now to go collapse onto the couch!


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