Catching up on my race recaps!
My third marathon was originally scheduled for Memorial Day weekend in 2020. Of course, it was canceled/postponed because of 2020. No date was set, so discouraged, I quit training. When they announced a new date for August, I had only 14 weeks to ramp up for the race. Training was going well until the end when shin splints started to bother me. I switched to new shoes, but probably not soon enough.
If you have ever had shin splints you know that they vary in intensity and it’s hard to know if you are actually injured or just have an overuse injury. Either way, healing requires rest. Thankfully, the shin splints were at the worst 2 weeks before the run which is the taper. I decide to not run at all for two weeks to give my legs rest and hopefully recover. I hiked and continued my fitness classes to stay active. I wore KT tape, foam rolled, took Epsom salt baths, wore good shoes, ate well, and drank plenty of water all in hopes of a speedy recovery.
I definitely felt better by the time we left for Idaho. The shin splints were really only sore in one leg still and it wasn’t too bad. CDA is an 8 hour drive for us, so we went up on Thursday for the Saturday race. We stopped for packet pickup at the Spokane Fleet Feet, which was super convenient and quick. I really missed the pre-race expo, but Negative Split (the racing company that put on the race) worked really hard to make everything safe. They sought input from the runners during their planning process to see how to best handle packet pickup and if an expo would be possible. Unfortunately, my shirt didn’t fit and they didn’t have stickers available. (Yes, I’m one of these 26.2 car sticker people.)
We made it to the hotel and enjoyed the pool and hot tub each night. The hotel didn’t have breakfast like we hoped, but they did have paper sack breakfasts with decent-ish grub. While in town, we were able to visit my mother-in-law thru the window at her care facility a couple times. We also visited my grandma, my aunt and uncle, and cousin’s family.
Race day! My cousin Jessy was running the half and met me at the starting line for a quick hug and pic. My dad drove up too. My husband and two of my kids were there to cheer me on. They were also my mobile aid station.
Negative Split really did a great job considering all of the restrictions they had to follow. They stretched the races (I believe all distances) over three days. There were staggered starts, only a couple people allowed to start every few minutes. We had to register for our start time online. Also, there was an app that was supposed to help you stay on course and your family and friends could track your progress. I didn’t care for the app. It interrupted my music and messed with the volume. My family liked it but then towards the end it dropped my location. Still, it was a good idea and I think it could work after the bugs get ironed out. When I got to the start, they encouraged runners to start instead of lingering in the park. I took a few pics, got a few hugs, and took off. My leg hurt from the first step but no turning back now!
The run starts through an older, historic part of CDA. The houses are huge and beautiful, and the path took us along the lake as much as possible. The course was well marked. Leaving town (and the lake view), I ran by the entrance to the famous CDA golf course. My husband was able to golf there the day before!
I started to see runners returning. The course is an out and back in two directions. So, even though it was spaced out, I almost always could spot a runner somewhere. Around mile 4, I needed to use the bathroom, and fortunately there was a trail bathroom with pit toilet that was unlocked. It was smelly but I was happy to use it. I was also extremely happy I brought a pack of Wet Ones since there was no sink or hand sanitizer! I believe there were porta potties out as well, but I didn’t pay attention since I didn’t need them after my first stop. Back on the trail, along the lake I noticed that there were Ironman signs. Come to find out, this is the course that they use for the CDA Ironman. Running along the lake I saw people swimming for fitness (not just kids playing) and cyclists flying by me. My mind wandered to a future triathlon I may run.
By around mile 8 both my legs were in pain. That was actually a relief. My running felt a little more balanced. The course has some major hills and I let myself walk the hills. In fact, I went into the race knowing I would walk more than I would probably like to because of the shin splints and shorter training. Time wasn’t my goal, rather my goal was finishing with a smile.
I was back in town and saw my husband and dad around mile 14. I got some quick A&D cream for chafing arms, chapstick, and banana. Oh, did I mention I forgot my handheld water bottle?! The aid stations passed out water bottles and GUs. So, I carried a water bottle, like a clear plastic Earth2o bottle from the first aid station to the end. Not ideal. My husband told me that it was all flat from there. Take a look at the elevation. Nope, it was uphill. Gradual, but uphill. I was actually feeling pretty optimistic knowing that I was over half way done.
At this point I ran by the historic homes again, through the park, along the resort, and along the river. It was seriously so beautiful. There were a lot of families starting their day, heading to the lake. Towards the end, headed back towards the park, I had to watch out for folks carrying kayaks and paddleboards, crossing the road in front of me. It was a great distraction!
I saw my family about 2 miles from the end. I had just passed the last aid station and knew I could run the rest. My family drove along side me for a few hundred yards. It was my favorite part of the race. A kid raced me on his scooter and told me he was fast because he was Spiderman! The best! Back in the park, headed to the finish line, everyone was cheering for me. Everyone that I passed gave me thumbs up, told me great job, smiled and clapped for me. Just writing this is making me tear up. Once I could see the finish line I started sobbing. Loudly. I’ll never forget the look of the lady I came up behind! She looked back over her shoulder at me horrified, like she was expecting to see… I don’t know what-someone injured horribly, or being chased by a madman, … geesh. Makes me laugh! I couldn’t help it! I still had maybe a quarter mile to go, rounding the park perimeter to come up to the finish.
They announced my name and I saw my family waiting for me. Just the best feeling ever. This is what brings me back to the marathon.