Capital City Marathon

Today was the 3rd marathon in as many weekends this month. Oh man. It was a hot one. After what has got to be the hottest couple of days in the Pacific Northwest with 90 degree weather, today was supposed to start a cooling trend back to normal. I was a bit worried when I was on I-5 driving into Olympia around 6:00am and the sun was out with no cloud cover in sight. It was going to get warm out today.

This was my first Capital City Marathon so I didn’t know what to expect. I read it was hilly but the elevation map didn’t look too scary. I was standing in line for the port-o-potties and the guy in front of me noticed my Marathon Maniac singlet and asked what number I was, as in what’s my Maniac number. “#369, what’s yours” I replied. “#660, my name’s Andy”. It was his 5th Capital City Marathon. So naturally, I hit him up for tips. He tells me to save something for the big hill at mile 22. Oh man.

Then I run into Dave, who I met last week at the Tacoma City Marathon. We chat a bit. He’s planning on going fast and I was planning on taking it easy so we wouldn’t be running in the same pack.

So was Capital City hilly? Yeah, it sure was. The first half of the course had a good deal of shade along tree-lined country roads. But then the second half… oh man, nothing but sun beating down on asphalt. No good. The upside was the neighborhood folks along the residential parts of the course who set up sprinklers or their garden hoses just for us marathoners. That was awesome!

I think the sun was a bigger factor in my fairly slow pace today (3:47 finish), more so that the hills. The Tacoma City Marathon was pretty hilly. My Garmin Forerunner GPS says the total elevation gains for both courses are comparable at about 3000 ft. I also just felt better before Tacoma. I had trouble getting the cobwebs out of my head on the drive up and felt a bit mentally exhausted before the start, probably feeling drained from the heat of the prior few days. Under better weather conditions I would probably do this marathon again. I liked being on the country roads and the race organization and volunteers were great.

Oh, and during the first half mile of the course I ran behind an elderly Asian woman no bigger than my mom, who’s 4’10”, and probably not much younger either. She was wearing a shirt which had “Go Grandma Lee” printed on the back. I think I’ve seen her before, so this wouldn’t be her first marathon. In fact, I may have seen her last week at the Tacoma City Marathon. Pretty amazing, I think to myself, a woman no different from my mom running marathons, and running them on back-to-back weekends. Then I overhear someone talking to her. He says to her, “I saw your picture in the paper, congratulations on your 100th marathon.” What. The. Hell? 100?!?! Here’s the story. Every time I read a story like this or get passed on the race course by someone at least 20 years older than me, I’m reminded about how much we can achieve through shear force of will. Grandma Lee is one amazing woman.

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