The Birch Bay Marathon course was beautiful. My race was possibly the most challenging I’ve done, mentally and physically. Bottom line: I came down with the flu in the middle of it.
After some solid long and fast runs early in the year, I thought that this one was pretty much in the bag. But it was not to be today. About half way through some pretty severe stomach pain started. I maintained the pace until about mile 17, then things started getting really hard and issues compounded to make the last 10 miles of this race not just slow, but painful.
Two things kept the day not just bearable, but actually enjoyable. First, the weather was awesome. The views of Mt Baker, Slesse, the American Border Peaks, and then up to Garibaldi and the Coast Range were amazing. And for essentially the whole race, the bays and inlets of the Inside Passage were visible along with lots of birds: herons, gulls, hawks, eagles, and many others. Even when the going got slow, it was never boring, just beautiful.
Second, Sara and Elsa were there. For the last three miles, they leapfrogged my progress and cheered me on from the car. When I could have just gotten in the car and bailed, they kept me moving. Thanks, both of you.
This was a reminder that running a marathon is relatively easy. Running a decent one is not. It takes training, strategy, and a little luck. I’ve spent the last week deliberating my goals for the year. Just exactly how important a goal is running the Boston Marathon? In particular, how much do I want to run it in 2012? Today I’ve decided to give it one more go. I signed up for Yakima River Canyon.