Yesterday I ran the Vernonia Marathon. I have to say that this is my favorite race so far. The scenery was gorgeous, volunteers amazing, and I race a good race. I was the first runner to the race arriving at 6:11 am. At Hagg, we arrived with only 7 minutes until the starting gun. I didn’t want to have the same experience again. I got a chance to chat with some of the ladies in my running group: Rose and Esther after they arrived. We picked up our packets and waited to board the bus. This marathon was a point to point race. I actually didn’t know what that meant until this weekend. Lots of ladies from my PDX Running Chicks group showed up to participate.
I decided to take the early start as most of my friends were and I’m somewhat slow. We started at 8:30am rather than 9:30am. We took a forty minute bus right to the starting area which is a camp/retreat. We had a nice place to wait in until the start. It was great chatting with the ladies.
Finally we made our way to the starting line.I have to say that it was such a gorgeous area!
Ready, set, GO!
I decided to run with Jodi and Anna. Jodi is a very accomplished runner whom I ran Hagg Lake 50K with. Anna runs half marathons and her last marathon was several years ago so she decided she needed to run another one. Jodi has a Garmin (and I don’t) and I’m pretty horrible about maintaining a steady pace so I thought running with them would provide me a good steady pace and great conversation. Running races with other people is pretty awesome.
Me and Anna running
Around mile ten I needed to head out on my own. I was really determined to run this marathon faster than the Portland Marathon (5:45:35). My goal was 5:30. Vernonia Marathon is a pretty flat course and I knew that if I stayed focused, I could make my goal. So I had to run off on my own.
I ran pretty well until the halfway point. There you encounter a lovely hill that makes your quads scream in protest. Then you start the decent down. I let myself fly as I knew I would need the extra time at the end when I tend to really slow down. Metallica helped me through the miles and I trucked along checking my watch twice during every mile to try and stay on track.
Just before mile 19, I saw Deb who was waiting to meet up with Jodie and Anna to run the last 7 miles. She gave me a big hug and it was great to see someone I knew. I kept getting confused as to how much further I had to go. I thought I was a mile further than what I was. Which kinda sucks. At mile 21, I really, really started to feel the aching, burning, ouchyness. I knew I was working on some really bad chafe under my left arm. I walked for about twenty feet until I realized that it didn’t make me feel any better and would just prolong the amount of time I was out there. So I started running again.
After mile 22, my pace started to get slower and slower. I felt some blisters start to really hurt on both of my feet. This is about the point where I get religious. Really, really religious. I pray that my grandmother and best friend Stormy will give the energy I need to make it the last 4.2 miles. I thought about my race at Hagg Lake and how broken up I was during the last 4.2 miles. And how if I could finish that race, I could most certainly do this. During the earlier miles I passed between 7-10 people. As I got closer to the finish, only 2 of the people I passed earlier, passed me.
I was so happy to see mile marker 25. In fact, I stooped down and gave it a little peck. I saw a runner in front of me drop a glove or something. He looked so defeated when he realized he was going to have to stoop down and pick it up. He actually ran a little circle around it before leaning over to pick it up. For some reason this made me feel better.
I finally reached the junior high school where the finish line was. In order to get the last part of the race in, they had runners go around the track. One lap. I saw hurdles and for a second, thought ‘Sweet Jesus. They want me to hurdle this?’ I couldn’t hurdle on my best day. I couldn’t hurdle if I had a milk crate to jump on. You get the picture. I cannot hurdle anything taller than a dixie cup.
Miles 24-26 where done at a 15 mile per minute pace. Ouch. This made my finish time (by my watch) 5:33:26. As I limped off the track, I could feel every aching muscle and every blister. I felt the chafe burn with I can only imagine the fires of Hell feel like. One of the ORRC volunteers wanted to take my photo. She had to shout instructions like ‘lift up your arms’ and ‘smile’.
They let us take showers and I have to say, it was incredibly painful. I bit my lips to keep from screaming. The chafe was bad. Really bad. Before you ask, yes I used lubricant before getting dressed. Yes, I wore the exact same outfit I wore in previous races. Not sure what happened. But I will definitely be evaluating my attire for my next race.
And here it is. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. My chafe. Part of it anyway.
Next marathon is in 3 weeks. I’m looking forward to the Eugene Marathon. Marathon number 2 in my quest to become a Marathon Maniac.