I’ve been avoiding this recap, because aside from feeling disappointed in my time, I also acted like a big baby.
Olympia marathon wasn’t on the calender and it wasn’t on any plan. However, when I was going for a west coast trip, I thought let me surf through the marathon calender and see if I can book a new state while I’m out there. Nothing close was available on May 11th when I was in San Francisco but I was able to find something in Washington about an hour south of Seattle around May 18th.
When I first looked up reviews for the races I almost passed on it because of some negative feedback; however, after consulting with the marathon maniacs who’ve ran in the past, I was all aboard the Olympia Capital City Marathon Train. I was told on a side-note that it might be hilly, but I shrugged it off and just went about not training for two weeks. I was on a vacation after all.
So being on vacation and all, and recovery from injury after Cox Marathon, I ran a total of about zero miles in two weeks since my last marathon. Fine, I was what you may call tapering…
So on Saturday morning, the day before the race, I decided to do a little shake out run of about 5K at the hotel.
Everything felt good and I was good until that afternoon. We were driving up the coast of Oregon to Olympia, a little out of the way scenic route and came upon Ecola State Park.
Not being content enough with this view alone, we decided to hike up and down a cliff for about 2 miles to reach this beautiful beach.
Just to discover that after all that hard work and effort, that like with all things in the U S of A, the only real reward you get to many hikes, is a parking lot at the end. Yup, we could have driven, but it was a beautiful hike. And unfortunately for my quads, we had to make the hike back 2 miles to where our car was. Racing against unset, needless to say an evening 3-4 mile hiking before a race was not what you may call a taper.
I woke up with sore quads.
But wait, that’s not all.
So I booked my hotel a few weeks before the race using Hotwire. I selected four people and was able to get a Hilton Double Tree. So we check in, with four people, just to discover four people one bed. Yup!
Nothing like a little hotel drama, at 10PM, with a 6AM wake up call for a marathon in the morning. The hotel was booked up and the only thing they offered was to bring in to cots into the room. Making the mobility in the room down to zero.
I’m pretty sure our layout was a fire hazard. I ended up tripping over a garbage can, banging my shin so hard that it hurt for 2 weeks afterwards!
Oh and I forgot to mention this, but the cots they brought over for us, were unmade so the boys had to make their own beds. They were thrilled!
Plus for some odd reason the hotel was also out of comforters. So many fails on so many levels between Hilton and Hotwire, that I’m pretty sure it will have to be a stellar deal for me to ever use either again, particularly if I’m racing in the morning.
By the time all was said and done and everyone had a place to sleep, it was almost midnight and my shin was raging. I don’t know how, but I did get a few hours of sleep before my alarm went off. I was fortunate enough for get the bed, while the boys were camping in our fancy hotel room.
Because of all the hotel drama and getting in late, I realized I didn’t really have much of a breakfast plan. The hotel breakfast wasn’t opening until until later, so instead I grabbed one of the infamous Double tree cookies, about 350 calories. If there’s one thing my body has become good at, it’s being highly functional on sugar!
As far as races go, it’s a relatively small one. About 300 full marathons, a little over 1,000 half marathons and 500 five milers. I’m pretty sure you could register day off. I signed up two weeks before and it ended up being $100, which I thought was a little costly for a local race but not too bad in the grand scheme of scams that marathons can sometimes be.
They did have an expo, but I ended up picking up my bib morning of the race.
It took a total of about 30 seconds to get my number, my swag bag with the correct sized shirt! Most easiest day of race bib up ever. The race shirts were awesome. It’s a white long sleeve, with half zip that can cover up your neck a bit if it’s cold. Awesome ware to add to my winter running.
There was a Starbucks on the corner that had no problem letting me in, but if not I had plenty of portajohns in the park square.
About 5 minutes to gun time, I kissed Tony goodbye and went to go find the starting line. At 7AM the gun went off for the single wheel chair marathoner and about a minute later, the rest of us on foot.
Within 5 minutes of the race, I learned what all the locals already know. Don’t trust the weather forecast. If it says it’ll be 50s and rainy, chances are it will drizzle for a second and then end up being sunny and beautiful mid 60s before it’s even 8AM. Yes, I was the odd girl out wearing a long sleeve while everyone ran in singlets. Just stamp a giant out of towner New Englander on my back and we’d all be set.
The first five miles weren’t too bad and I remember running through some beautiful water front areas with ships. For about 5 miles or so, I kept a fairly comfortable 7:30 pace with the lead women pack. I laugh thinking how great I felt.
Then the rolling hills started. Up and down, up and down, but it mostly felt up and up and up as we ran along some country roads. I saw a few dead snakes, unfortunate road kill, and a one that looked alive and well. Boy, was this city girl out of her element. I screamed at the first dead one where the guy looked at me like I was crazy. And yes, it was mostly a tiny garter snake too.
It’s a little strange to see empty roads, but it’s exactly how I imagined paved country roads to be. Although in my mind, they were always flat.
I don’t know at which part, but for a while, about 10 middle miles before the final 10K, I was on a slow autopilot of about 9 minute pace.
I finally got some flatter miles and just before I got to0 happy, the final leg of the race started and I took a turn for being a brat. The last 10K was misery. I have officially allowed myself to become my own worst enemy. I was hot, the shaded of the country roads disappeared, and for some reason every time I wanted a drink, there was no water stop in sight.
I made the mistake of taking a Gu and running/walking 2 miles before I could get water. I was getting whiney. Questioning myself and my abilities. This was the first time in years that I felt so empty. This will also end up being my second slowest marathon besides the 2012 Boston.
I tried to remind myself of all the reasons to smile. It’s a gorgeous, hot as balls day. And I’m so happy to be out and running/walking/enjoying it. And most of all so lucky that I can go out, travel and run/walk a marathon on a whim.
We ran by the Washington Capital building, which was beautiful and the only real architecture I remember seeing.
With a little more whimping and trying to talk Tony into walking the final few miles of the race, I reached mile 25. And for once, it really was all downhill for there! I ran, ran as fast as my little short legs can carry me.
And before I knew it, it was over. The pain and battle, a distant memory where nothing matters but how soft the grass felt and how great the glory of my bling is.
I was so happy to be done!!! Done! Done!
Instead of plastic water bottles that would generate landfill, we each go a reusable one with one. Although, I’m not sure where I would have went to refill it. After crossing the finish line, I immediately saw pizza, as I went to grab one, I was told to keep walking, that food for the runners is in the park. Oops, i interrupted a volunteer lunch break. But hey, after 4 hours of running, and no real breakfast, I was like a raging lion.
After grabbing my medal, first thing I did was go and sign up for massage. I was told I had a 15 minute wait, so I went to go lay on the grass for Tony to find me. Grabbed some food, then realized it was time for my massage.
I have to say, that was the best massage possible. My quads were killed between the hike and race. My massage therapist spent about 25 minutes on me and I felt like a million times better afterwards. Almost good enough to go run another 26.2 miles!
The post race fuel was plenty. They had snacks and a table of pizza that never ended. I get a few vegetable slices and a cheese. The vegetable pizza was the best! I also go some watermelon, a hard boiled egg, some potatoes! Serious, the food options of this race made me feel like I was running an ultra! I wonder if other west coast events are as awesome?
So to sum up
- Massage tables
- Post race food options
- Easy day of pick and up registration
- Awesome race shirts
- Great organization – everything was easy!
- FREEEEEEEE race photos
- Lonely – few runners, and few spectators that I felt like I was running alone
- I like running in cities more than rural highways, but that’s a personal preference
- To be honest for the weather and the race fee, I could have used a few more water stops
Overall, despite disappointing performance, Capital City Marathon was a great event and if I was local to the area, I would come back next year for some serious redemption.
Official Time: 4:10:50