call of the wild marathon race report

This morning I joined some friends and maniacs in running the Call of the Wild Marathon.  It was a grass-roots event, organized by Adrian Call, with help from a bunch of nice folks.  The race was held on the Burke Gilman and Sammamish River Trails.  The route was formed with a simple 3.95 mile out and back to the north, followed by a 9.15 mile out and back to the south.  All flat, on a paved trail.  The danger in this event is getting winged by rogue bicyclists who are also trying to make the most of a sunny spring day.

Kris was alerted to this event by her friend and running buddy Chrissie, who guided the half marathon group.  The price (donations to cover the cost of sport drinks and breakfast) was right.  There were about 23 people signed up for the full marathon, another 7 for the 50k, around 20 for the half marathon, and perhaps 5 for the 20 miler.  A real mix of people and events.

The flexibility is great, but you definitely need to make sure to carry your own fuel for something like this.  There were perhaps four unattended aid stations scattered along the course, which was very nice, but I need to drink more often than they’d have permitted.  So I packed a bottle of Cytomax, four gels, and some Endurolyte tablets.  I also packed enough Cytomax mix to make another bottle.  This is pretty easy to carry.

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hanging out at the start.

At seven AM sharp, we were off.  We headed north on the trail, for a 3.95 mile stretch.  I’d gone out a bit fast (apparent in my split chart), so ended up slowing a bit on the way back.  Early on, I felt some tenderness in my ankles and calves, possibly the result of a heavy than average couple of weeks running.  They seemed to calm down within the first 6-7 miles.

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and we’re off!

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going out in front – first time ever.

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embarking on the trail, northward bound.

Oddly, I was actually the lead runner for about a half mile.  Never before, possibly never again.  Shortly after, the eventual winner overtook me.  I think he wanted to hang out and chat a bit, but his pace was going to be too fast for me, so I dropped back pretty quickly.  By the time we hit the turnaround, I was runner #5 or so, reflecting my better judgment taking over.

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kris just before the start of the half.

Coming back to the starting area just shy of eight miles, I noted that I’d slowed a bit.  This was a conscious decision.  I’d already given myself permission to take things slow today, not even pushing to get under four hours.  With that in mind, the results would surprise me.

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heading back into the start area to refuel for the trip south.

As we headed south towards Marymoor Park, I let my mind wander.  I checked my pace (between 8:30 and 9 consistently), as well as my cadence (always between 82 and 84).  It was very sunny by now, and I started to feel a bit warm.  After heading about 5 miles to the south, I began seeing the half marathoners coming back the other way.  Kris passed with  her cadre of friends, all of them looking strong and appearing to have a very good time.

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kris and friends heading into the finish.

I hit the south turnaround after nearly two and a half hours.  I’d not spent any time computing how far I’d gone, and couldn’t remember which trail mile marker the start was near, so I guessed I’d gone between 16 and 18.  With that kind of range, there’s really no way to figure out how I was doing though.  All I knew was that if I was able to hold a reasonable pace, finishing in under four hours wouldn’t be an issue.

And so I did hold a good pace.  In fact, I sped up a little bit for the last nine miles.  The conditions were great – sun, not too hot, and no headwind.  And even into the later stretch, I didn’t feel very tired.  I kept watching my cadence, and trying to consciously engage my core, in order to get the best from my stride.  Both in Yakima and Tacoma, I felt too tired to do this later.  Seems like my plan to increase strength with more miles (and more marathons) is working.

For the final two or three, some fatigue set in.  But when I rounded a corner and saw my father positioning for a camera shot, I felt great.  I cruised into the finish in 3:48:23, possibly good for placing overall (although I have not confirmed this yet).

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just before the final turn across the bridge.

This was less than a minute off my time from Tacoma.  Granted this course was a lot easier, but repeating the quicker time, and feeling good about it tells me that I’m doing things the right way.

And I’m definitely enjoying myself, which is the important part.

All photos were included courtesy of Hal David.

Charts and Graphs for Running Geeks

The mile splits weren’t marked, so my splits were from the stretches between each turnaround.  Although I went out a bit faster than I should have, my pace was pretty consistent overall, and I finished faster than I started.  Definitely a good day.

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