Sunday, January 2, 2011

Newport Marathon - the Race

Back in August, I realized that I never finished writing about the Newport Marathon on June 5. I wrote a lot of this post then, while memories were still moderately fresh. I got through the race itself, then stopped. I picked this up a few days ago, planning to finish by the end of 2010, but here we are on January 2...but I am finally ready to hit publish. Here is the story of the Newport Marathon 2010.

The weather on June 5 was miraculously clear and sunny, considering the turbulent weather we had driving down on Friday and the crazy rains that would come on Sunday. The sunny weather was actually a bit too warm for comfortable running (for late spring, considering that we were not acclimated to heat yet), but it would have been worse to be blown about by wind gusts and storms.

At about 6 a.m. I caught the shuttle bus from the hotel to the race start about a mile away. Walking to the start might have been a good option, but I wanted to make sure I got there quickly and reliably. The bus driver was a friendly woman who provided us with a narrated tour of Newport as we drove through.

The race started from Yaquina Bay State Park at 7 a.m., so I had plenty of time after drop-off to jog around (a mile or so) to warm up, plus use the porta-potties a couple of times. Right before start time I took off my jacket and left my drop bag with the bag truck. Then I lined up with the rest of the runners to wait for the start.

The race started out going north through Newport and then looped back through the park at about 3 miles. Those first few miles were just about the perfect pace. Miles 1-3 - 9:15, 9:06, 9:05. I slowed a little when we were running on a boardwalk and on gravel alongside the waterfront. Mile 4-5 - 9:18, 9:22. But then I got back up to speed for the next few miles. Miles 6-8 - 9:04, 9:07, 9:13.

Unfortunately, during those miles I realized I had to go to the bathroom. While I held it through the first half during CIM, this time I decided to go ahead and stop, in case there was a shortage of potties later. Unfortunately, there were a couple of people ahead of me and I had to wait a while for an open door. I went in and out as fast as I could! Mile 9 - 12:07.

The course here was very flat, except I believed it declined lightly (something that would come back to haunt me on the return). Although my pace slowed a little bit, I was running in 9:20-ish range for a very long time. At the bathroom stop I had mentioned to another woman waiting, "there goes my 4-hour marathon." She thought that it could be made up. Maybe it could, if I'd been running closer to 9 minutes than 9:30. Unfortunately, I was not. (I identified this woman by her race number in a picture, and learned that she, at least, finished just a couple of minutes over four hours. Later I found her on Facebook, and almost sent her a message, but decided not to as it might seem a little stalker-like.)

Miles 10-13 - 9:23, 9:16, 9:22. I clearly remember thinking how much I liked half marathons! It's funny how your perspective changes depending on the distance you are running. It was, by this time, hot. I was warm in my sleeveless top, and I don't know how people who were wearing long-sleeved shirts managed! This could explain why I was passing some people, even in the last few miles where my pace slowed quite considerably. Since the race was out-and-back, I was encountering oncoming runners through most of the entire remaining distance. The further along I got, the sorrier I felt for the people who were still on their way "out"!

Except for the beginning parts in town, we were running along the coast most of the way, and it was lovely. On my way back I recognized a few landmarks that I had seen before, and that helped pass the distance.

Miles 14-19 - 9:18, 9:22, 9:22, 9:20, 9:28, 9:24. Consistently about 20 seconds slower than my ideal pace. (But in retrospect—from the rearview mirror that is January 2011—perfectly respectable!)

Even though I was drinking some Nuun from my fuel belt, I also took water at most of the aid stations. I know that slowed me a little (even though I didn't walk), but somehow I just wanted to.

Miles 20-22 - 9:34, 9:26, 9:35. I was slowing a little here, but still plugging along...

It was really only the last four miles that I felt I slowed considerably from the pace I'd been maintaining. I am pretty sure that is because that gradual decline from the beginning was now a gradual incline. (And, oh yeah, I was getting a little tired.) Miles 23-26 - 9:44, 9:45, 9:47, 9:41. About two miles from the finish I got my phone out to let my parents know I was near the end. The only walking I did during this race was a few moments while I got out the phone and put it away, just so I wouldn't start dropping stuff.

I should also mention that I was not doing a good job of fueling. I took a Gu about where I usually do, around mile 8. I got another one out somewhere from mile 13-15, but I could only take about half of it. It was making me a little nauseous. I eventually threw it away and didn't try again. In the Seattle Marathon, months later, I compensated a little for my queasy stomach by taking Gatorade at the aid stations in the final miles, but I don't think I did that here. I did, however, really enjoy a carb/electrolyte drink that they had at the finish later. I drank two cups of it. I still regret that I wasn't able to get the name of it so I could seek it out for myself.

The final stretch was .36 long, and it was still a 9:48 pace. Even with a downhill. Must have been tired....

This is where I stopped writing back in August. How ridiculous to stop just before the finish line! So to speak. I think I was waiting to download some pictures (but the few pictures my mom took were crappy, and the race photo website has thwarted my ability to copy the pictures where my teeny tiny head appears) (and now that I have pulled up the finish line photo I see why there is no freakin' way I would spend money on this picture, I don't even want to steal borrow it!) (same thing goes for the course photo, nice stomach roll there!). I do have a few pictures from Newport and Cannon Beach on my phone, so I will throw them in and call it good.

Final time 4:10:07. (If it had been chip-timed I would have been under 4:10, I'm sure!) Back then that was mildly disappointing, after my BQ at CIM and Newport's reputation as a "fast" course, but now with a couple more (much slower) marathons under my belt, I feel quite pleased about that time and would be happy to post that in my next marathon!

Here is the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge. The race started in a park near this bridge, but unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to run across it (the bridge would have taken us in the opposite direction).

As I ran across the finish line there were a couple of young men waiting to assist me—I guess they were prepared for people collapsing at the finish! I was in no risk of that (unlike at CIM). Still, who can say no to a handsome guy waiting for you to fall into his arms? (No, I didn't! I said thanks and walked on.)

After I swilled down carb drink collected my medal and raided the post-race treats picked up my drop bag with my jacket from earlier, I went to pick up my finishers' shirt. I heard comments (and noticed) that the shirts were running a little small. They told me I could come back later (after everyone had finished) if I wanted to exchange my medium for a large. I did do that before we went to lunch. It was no problem getting a large but they were busy trying to track down the few XL shirts that had been ordered (luckily they found them, it would be hard enough to finish a marathon after five or more hours without being deprived of your shirt—hope the XLs fit). I got to see some of the final stragglers finishing. Seriously, I think finishing a marathon in five or more hours is even harder than a faster marathon. You/they are still working very hard but doing it for much longer!

After I finished but before we went to lunch, I went back to the hotel room to rest on the couch for a while. I was lying there perfectly innocently when suddenly I got hit with killer cramps in three separate areas of my legs! As I screamed (yeah, pretty much literally) and writhed and clutched my legs, trying to rub out the cramp, my mother brought me my bottle of Nuun, a banana, and some salty pop chips. I don't know if any of this helped, but I appreciated the placebo effect (especially from the salt), and the cramps receded fairly quickly. I didn't have any further problem with cramping, although of course I still had sore legs and didn't really walk completely normally until the next day.

We went back to Quimby's for lunch (where we'd had dinner the night before). There had been so many yummy things on the menu that we were happy to return. I had fish and chips (one of my favorite treat meals). I may have had a cup of chowder as well; I can't recall. Maybe my dad had chowder and I ate some. Anyhow, there were a lot of fish and chips and I took leftovers away in a box. Then, back at the hotel, I put my swimsuit on and went over to the swimming pool to sit in the hot tub. I know that's the opposite of the usual recommendation for ice baths (which I wholeheartedly support), but it's not often I get a chance to use an outdoor hot tub (as opposed to my bathroom tub). Luckily there were two of them so I didn't have to share with the high school students. I did share for a while with a couple of little boys who were alternating between the pool and the hot tub.

For dinner we drove south to Yachats (pronounced Yah-hots) to eat at the Luna Sea Fish House, a favorite of my parents'. I had a much less decadent meal of locally caught salmon (I think with potatoes and vegetables), and was saddened to learn that they were sold out of desserts. We compensated with McDonalds cones on the way back.

On Sunday I woke up to a downpour. I was so thankful the race had been on sunny Saturday! It was so dark and dreary and wet that we had no desire to spend any more time in Newport (although I'm sure there's a lot of great stuff to see and do). We did drive around a little, checked out the Nye Beach area (from inside the car), and I went into the Sylvia Beach Hotel just so I could see it. It would be a fun place for an English major to stay (all the rooms are named after authors), but if I ever came back for the Newport Marathon again I'd still want to stay at the race headquarters hotel (plus I really enjoyed our two-bedroom suite with kitchen(s) and sitting room, and wouldn't mind staying there for longer either!).

Soon we headed north toward Cannon Beach. We made a few stops along the way...for lunch at a restaurant recommended by Lisa called Tidal Raves. It was great, even though they no longer had the Dungeness Crab and cheddar sandwich she recommended! We also stopped at a little town along the way and did some fun shopping at one of those great general stores that sells everything, books, clothing (very stylish boutique brands), housewares, candy, whatever you might want (as a shopping addict tourist).

Then we stopped at the Tillamook cheese factory. We strolled through the cheese-making exhibits, took a fun picture of my parents, and then (highlight) bought cheese and fudge in the shop, plus ice cream cones! Yum.

Finally we arrived in Cannon Beach and located the Inn at Cannon Beach. What a great place to stay! It's a little expensive, so I am glad we had a weekday special (2 nights for the price of one, Sunday through Thursday except in summer) to take advantage of. They were super friendly, had fresh-baked cookies and bowls of salt water taffy (of which I ate way.too.much) in the lobby at all times, and the rooms and and outdoor landscaping were very nice. It's only about a block from the beach, an easy walk. And practically next door to Mo's, where we ended up getting dinner both Sunday and Monday. (After all the eating we'd done, I was happy to get a giant salad with a pile of shrimp on it both days.)

I took Sunday as a complete rest day. (Well, other than driving and eating stuff.) On Monday I went down to the beach and walked past Haystack Rock and basically to the end of the beach where it runs into town. The round trip walk was about five miles. Earlier we had driven into town and browsed and shopped.
On Tuesday morning I got up pretty early and walked into town on the road. Once again my round trip was about five miles. My legs didn't mind the walking at all, though I was happy not to be running!

We drove home on Tuesday, with a quick stop in Seaside. (I hadn't been to Seaside since college, when my friends and I used to go to the Oregon coast quite a lot.) The main reason was to buy some salt water taffy to take home for Gretchen and Todd (yes, I had absconded with a lot from the hotel, but I brought that to my office). While at the candy shop I had a flashback and decided to buy a bag of caramel corn for the car. I bought what I thought was a rather small size but they piled it full and overfull and we ended up with a lot of caramel corn! We pigged out. It was the best.caramel.corn.ever.

After that we pretty much just drove to get home. We ate lunch of things we had in the car (cheese, crackers, salami, hopefully fruit but I can't remember). And that was the end of my Newport Marathon trip. Seven months later, the tale has finally been told.

1 comment:

Laura said...

That looks so pretty up there! Funny, Newport RI is also one of the prettiest marathons I've done.

Congrats on 4:10 - that's still a great time.