Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Spokane half (22 mile) marathon

I found myself standing among a crowd full of faces I’ve come to recognize. Not until you embrace the sport of running and triathlon do you fully appreciate the active community of Spokane. Six years ago, the Spokane half marathon served as my first attempt to see if I could earn the title of “runner.” I remember training for my first half as a way to balance out the stress of college. My first 15-miler had my mom incredibly concerned because it required I start early in the dark of morning and run on farm roads driven by silly old farmers who thought they owned the roads. She had reason to feel concerned; I had reason to run.

That year, I ran my first half marathon—the Spokane half—in a time of 1:44:07. It rained. I shivered. Yet I can still remember the fall color of the trees as I ran through Brown’s Addition, and perhaps that’s what’s drawn me back to the start line every year since then.

This year, training for a marathon to round out a full year of racing triathlons has made for a rigorous 6 weeks of running. All the old little injuries I used to sustain as a result of increased mileage have found their way back to my legs. This time around, I have a greater arsenal behind me. For one, I have increased knowledge of physical therapy exercises to strengthen muscles and prevent small imbalances. Second, I have Elements Therapeutic Massage to work out all the knots and tight muscles that self-massage and stretching don’t seem to alleviate. Twice a month, I have the pleasure of enduring 80 minutes of “healing” one might better describe as torture. Yet the benefits of loosened muscles far outweigh the initial pain that deep tissue therapy creates.

Finally, I have a training partner. For those who don’t know Bryan Rowe, he’s the guy that’s put up with a ton of complaining, bitching, and maybe a little ass-kicking. The speed work we do on Tuesdays would never have continued through week 5 had I not had someone to meet at Mead High School’s track. The long tempo runs on Thursdays would never have happened after a full day of work on my feet had I not had Bryan to drag me through it. Long runs on the weekend would have felt far longer had I not had a camelback-clad guy to chase.

And so, we both stood among a crowd full of faces we’ve both come to recognize as the running/triathlon community of Spokane. This time, we’d already run 9 miles to make certain that by the time we crossed the finish line of the Spokane half marathon, we’d both have accomplished our last long run of 22 miles before Tricities Marathon October 28th.

Just like years past, the colorful trees had begun to litter the roads with leaves of yellow and red. Aid stations manned by high school cross country teams and cheerleaders helped the miles slip away. Cemetery Hill didn’t seem nearly as steep as I’d remembered it to be the first time I ran this race. The trail through Riverside State Park allowed views of the river down below, framed by colorful trees and bushes. The long ascent back up Government Way served as a reminder that a long descent was soon to come. The homestretch would be just beyond the hill they call Doomsday, which was lined by enthusiastic spectators whose energy is about the only thing that got me up it. Finally, just four miles to the finish.

This year, I finished in a time of 1:44:59, a far cry from my half marathon PR, but a time that represents a race run after 9 miles of training. Thank you to BRRC for another fun race, finisher medals that rival some of the best I’ve received, and the post-race food and drink found in O’Doherty’s.
Thank you also to Moulton Law Offices, who sponsored me for this event.

Some of the TriFusion crew who ran.
Left to Right: Jayne Anderson, David Dennison,
Rene Guerrero, Matt Siegel, and Nate Duncan.

Post race reward: Apple crisp up at Greenbluff.

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