I finally completed my first “ever” straight out marathon on October 7th. Up until now, I have not had a desire to do a marathon, but for some reason the Bizz Johnson Marathon caught my eye. First of all it is all on trail – and a very nice trail at that. Secondly, the course is perfectly suited to me – 10 miles gradually up and then 16 miles gradually down. The only factor that I wasn’t sure of was the altitude which was at or above 5000ft. The race was also 6 weeks after Ironman Canada, so the amount of time and energy invested in getting ready for the marathon would be minimal. This is how I have always wanted to approach my first marathon – using the fitness from Ironman racing without a lot of focus on “running” miles. I was going to try and practice what I preach, and go into the race without any expectations. So a group of us – neighbors Andrew Block, Jason Tuffs, Jay Prasuhn and Paula headed to Susanville for the race. Paula opted for the half marathon while the rest of us decided to do the full marathon. Paula wanted us to take a race pole and decide when during the marathon would we all be thinking that Paula was the smartest of all by choosing the half marathon instead.
My plan was to be very conservative the first 10 or so miles on the uphill and then see what I had left for the remaining 16 miles. Having never done a marathon before, I felt a little unprepared; I didn’t know how much I would need to eat, and I really didn’t know what pace I could hold for the entire distance. All I could go by would be the nutrition that I used and the pace that I had done some of my long runs.
The race started at 9am – so a late start in relative terms. We were thankful of this as the temperature in the morning was hovering right around the freezing point (32F). At least this wasn’t an Ironman race – running I can deal with cooler temperatures. We were bused up to the starting point and then all hung out for a few minutes before the start. About 700 of us stood around in the cool temperatures waiting for the start. After a quick rendition of the Star Spangled Banner sung by all participants, the race was off.
I really stuck with my pre-race plan and started conservatively. I was holding about a 6:40 pace for the first 10 or so miles, which felt quite comfortable. I was quite amazed that I did not notice the altitude – I guess it was just one of those days. Andrew was running stride for stride with me for these first miles. Then the downhill came and I was in my element. There is nothing I like more that running downhill. Suddenly the same effort was yielding sub 6 minute miles. By about mile 10, I had passed the leader and was now at the front of the race. It was quite strange to be leading the race outright – I certainly had expected that I would have some company during the race. I continued on pace, and felt good, fully expecting that I would start to feel the distance at about the 20 mile point if not before. It was really only the last 2 or 3 miles that I was ready to be done – up until that point I felt relatively good. The great thing was over the last miles, we started to catch some of the half-marathon runners as well as some of the early-bird marathon runners. This made it easier seeing and passing people. I crossed the finish line – with everything feeling great. My NEWTON shoes were awewome. My legs felt great and I had NO blisters. With more cushion in the forefoot, not only did this help with the impact on the quads, my forefoot never got sore at all which you would think would happen running on a rocky trail. All in all the race was a great success, and I can now say that I have run a marathon. Taking the pole after the race – I was OK until about 23 or so miles, Andrew wished that he was doing the half marathon at about 18 miles, Jason at about 10 miles and Jay about half way through. As a group we did pretty well taking 3 of the top 10 places, with Jay meeting his goal coming in under 3:30 and Paula placed 2nd in the Half Marathon
Now it is time to take it easy and enjoy some time at home!!!
Bizz Johnson Trail Marathon – 10/07/07 – Results:
1. Heather Fuhr W35-39 2:46.35
2. Christopher King M30-34 2:59.56
3. Andrew Block M35-39 3:03.24
4. David Ayala M25-29 3:06.47
5. Jason Atwood M25-293:07.47
6. Jason Tuffs M35-393:12.17
7. Neil Smith M35.393:12.58
8. Reid Weber M25-293:14.10
9. Darin Quigley M40-443:15.10
10. Bob BrandsM40-443:15.22
For complete results go to: redwoodtrails.com