I made it!
Wildwood Trail Marathon complete! …and I am still alive 😉
(Pre-race, trying to stay warm)
The race was a rough one. The elevation gains and loses, gains and loses…more gains and loses really gave it to me. I trucked up that first thousand feet gain pretty good (thank you adrenaline). I drank some sports drink at the first station around 6 miles in and started the down hill to the uphill to the halfway point (with all the ups and downs between the uphill and downhill, you get the point). Along that second quarter of the race I was running in time with two other women -both of whom had ties to New Mexico. Both of them took a fall and I had a strong feeling with all the rocks, roots, holes and bumps in the trail that my own fall was bound to happen sooner or later. One of the women was also doing her very first marathon, like me. The other woman was on her 19th…yes, 19th marathon!!!What a glutton for punishment! Though, she thought us first timers were the gluttons, doing what she dubbed as the most difficult marathon she had done to date as our first one. I had caught up to them on the downhill section and was thinking I should go on around when we got into the main part of the uphill to the halfway point and they began to pull away again. I really should have done more hill training, I knew that though.
When I got to the halfway point, everyone at the aid station was cheering my name…I was half delirious from pushing up the hill and was thinking “how do they know my name”… when I spotted E, somehow volunteering (no big surprise there) and making several new friends. It was so nice to see a familiar face at the halfway, putting smiles on everyone else’s faces too.
The third leg was the hardest for me. Fatigue setting in a bit and another long climb back to the first station. I set off down from that aid station at a good pace and caught back up to everyone who had pulled away on the way up to the station. Then a few miles later the uphills started getting more frequent again until they were fairly steady and some of the runners kept on pace while I began to falter. Everything started hurting and it was getting harder and harder to tell myself to just keep moving. For once, my strong mind could no longer will my body past the pain and fatigue. The last mile or so before the third (and last) aid station my run up the steepest stretches began to get so slow that it was actually faster and less effort to speed walk it. I felt a bit like a failure for doing this, as I had wanted to complete the race without walking any of it, but since it was actually faster and gave some of my pain spots a rest I let myself. Getting to that last aid station was like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
It was nearly literally all down hill from there. With just over six miles to go, when most people hit “the wall” in a marathon, I was looking forward to the last quarter of the race. The well intentioned aid station volunteer asked if I would like my camelbak refilled as I ran over to the rent-a-john and I said that would be sweet of her. I took it off, handed it over while apologizing for its soaked-in-sweat state and continued on, half listening as she offered ICE water. I muttered “sure” over my shoulder, walking into the relief station. When I came out, I put on the cold camelbak pack and started off. It hit me… ICE WATER and a hot body do not mix well when still trying to perform. Your body has to warm it up to use it. I was getting thirsty though and didn’t want to finish feeling dehydrated so I drank some anyways. Immediately my abdominal muscles were cramping and stayed that way for the next three miles or so. THAT was painful and I soon forgot about anything else that had been hurting. It also made breathing more difficult, as things did not want to expand correctly below my ribs. Never will I make that mistake again!
The last mile was really fun, knowing I was so close and somehow finding those reserves that you never knew you had- that always come at the end of a race somehow- and kicking my way past a few guys. I never did catch up the those two women from earlier in the race, though at the end I discovered the one that was also doing her first marathon was only 2 minutes ahead of me! She was also in my age group.
(Post-race with my finishers metal)
After finishing, I ate some oranges and collapsed in the grass to stretch. After that I walked up to see my final time and placement. As I was walking up they called my name for third place in my age group!!! What a surprise! And then I saw I was two minutes from taking 2nd place. A good race overall. I loved how absolutely secluded and beautiful the Forest Hills Park felt in the middle of big ol’ Portland, OR. A highly recommended race to all.
3 F 20-29
And to dissect this, since not everyone speaks runner, this bar taken from the Wildwood Trail Run site states…
- I came in 38 out of 81 runners.
- My bib number was 1436.
- Age 28.
- I finished third female in the 20-29 group.
- My overall time was 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 26 seconds.
- My average pace was 11 minute 14 seconds per mile.
So I definitely missed the four hour mark that I had wanted to meet originally but I am pleased with how well I did over all after seeing the course first hand. The fastest it has ever been ran by a woman was 3:59:42 in 2010. That’s only an hour faster than my finish time and most marathon first placers are well over an hour faster than that usually. It really shows the difficulty of this course. All in all, I FINISHED it and that fall I had expected never came. I would love to do it again… but maybe the, ummm, HALF marathon next time on this course.
“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.” – Mark Will-Weber