I pretty much broke all kinds of conventional wisdom with this marathon. First, it’s advised one shouldn’t do more than 2 marathons in a single year. Second, you’re supposed to get plenty of rest the night before a marathon. Third… well, okay, maybe there isn’t a third.
After running the Eugene Marathon 6 days earlier, I made the 2-hour-and-change drive up to Tacoma early in the morning after 4 hours of sleep. I had trouble getting to sleep the night before. The plan was to get in bed by 9pm so I could get at least 5 hours, but we had a late dinner and I ended up getting into bed a little after 10. I set my alarm for 3am thinking it would take me 30-40 minutes to eat a bowl of oatmeal, change, and gather my things. But I ended up waking up a bit after 2am, went to the bathroom, then back to bed. After a few minutes of trying to get more sleep I got out of bed a second and last time by 2:30.
I got to Tacoma with plenty of time to check in, pick up my number and timing gizmo, stretch, and use the port-o-potty. I decided to stick with the 3:30 pace group, being paced by David “Marathon Diet” Spooner, one of the many Marathon Maniacs running today. He told me he’s lost 125 lbs since picking up running as a sport. That’s just amazing! 3:30 would have been a new PR, just days after PR’ing in Eugene. I know, ambitious, especially with the rumored hills on this course. I stuck with the 3:30 group up until mile 13 and felt pretty good. But I had to pull over and fix my shoe. I laced my left foot tight and the tongue was digging into the top of my foot. Since I use the lace-lock method, it took some time to undo them. And even then, it didn’t entirely alleviate the problem. I would have to fiddle with my laces again at mile 20, and by then, I calculated I wasn’t going to PR today so I was just trying to finish faster than 3:40. I did not want to get passed by the next pace group.
One thing I tried that was new for me was to fill a 500 ml bottle with Accelerade, which I used during training. The plan was to get my calories in liquid form for the first 15-16 miles, then switch to gels. At Eugene, I took 3 gels and all 3 made me just a little nauseous. So I wanted to limit my gel intake today. It seemed to work because I didn’t get nauseous at all.
All in all I did pretty well considering. And I met a couple of other Marathon Maniacs, Guy Yogi (who I met at the Portland Marathon last year and who asked if I was a hapa, which I get quite often) and “The Prez” Steven Yee ( I was amazed that he knew me by name).