Archive for January, 2013

Ridge to Bridge Marathon 10/22/2011

January 23, 2013

Like the Tunnel Marathon report, this one is long overdue.  Again, the details are spotty but there are a few highlights I’d like to share.

The time between Tunnel and this race was full of anticipation for me.  From what I could tell the course was great and the weather is generally nice in the area at that time of year.  Despite my eagerness to run this race, my training was a flop.  In retrospect, I think I was a little burned out after cramming in a dozen or so marathons between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2011 in my quest to qualify for Boston by sheer volume (unsuccessful).  Taking a year and a quarter off after this race lends credence to that theory (but more on that in a future post).

The weather was definitely spot on, especially early.  I recall it being downright cold as the girls and I (Rachel and Michelle joined me for this one) picked up some extra gloves that they were handing out at the start.  We carved out some time to mack for the camera before meandering over to the starting line to get the show on the road.  This was a small race so there wasn’t a chute or corral or any other such organizational nonsense.  I believe there was a timing mat on the road and that’s about it.


Rachel and I ran together during the early parts of the race.  Michelle took off like she was shot out of a cannon but we were able to see her during out/back sections.  After several miles the race went off road onto some park trails and began a fairly rapid descent (about 2000 feet between miles 5 and 15).  Portions of the trail were quite rocky and at times the descent so steep you couldn’t really run comfortably.  It was more like controlled chaos and a tremendous amount of quad pounding.  It dawned on me that Rachel disappeared but I wasn’t sure whether she left me or I left her.  After mile 15 the course gently rolls net downhill along a river/creek for the duration.  Near the 26 mile mark my inner quads started to cramp.  It was mildly uncomfortable but by the actual mile marker it caused me to stop running.  At this point Rachel flew by me and joined Michelle at the finish festival.  I hobbled in and called it a day as well.

This is a race I would like to do again at some point…properly trained.

4:27:47 final time.  27th marathon.  16th state.


Tunnel Marathon 7/24/2011

January 23, 2013

I ran this marathon a year and a half ago.  There probably is not a lot to be gleaned from my spotty recollection of it at this point…but I figured I should fill in some blanks.

My understanding of the origins of this particular race are quite entertaining and dovetail nicely with my multi-year effort to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  It seems the race director created this race so that he could qualify for Boston.  There are rules regarding certification and minimum participation for a race to be a “Boston Qualifier” so he made sure to cover all of his bases.  Ultimately he qualified and the race had grown to a point that it made sense to keep it going.

“What’s up with the tunnel?” you may ask.  Excellent question!  This race is on an old converted railbed (a la Eisenbahn) just east of Seattle.  The race starts normally enough but after 3/4 of a mile you enter a tunnel about 20 feet wide and 30 feet tall.  You remain in said tunnel for a little over two miles.  The entire time you’re in there (besides the fact that it is cold and wet) you see a tiny pinprick of light way out in the distance.  That light is the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

The tunnel jacked my Garmin up good.  I thought these things were supposed to triangulate when they lost a signal and give you credit for the ground covered from when it lost the signal to when it found it again.  Not the case.  It behaved as though I turned the watch off once inside and turned it back on upon reaching the other end.  Later in the race one of the pins that holds the band on worked itself loose and the watch went careening down the trail.  I had to carry it the rest of the way in (roughly nine miles).  Not the Garmin’s finest hour (or four).

Ultimately, I finished the race in 4:06:24.  That isn’t horrible but Sandy hung over 16 minutes on me.  Even though it’s been well over a year since the race, she still reminds me of that fact frequently.  What are friends for??

The best thing, by far, about this race is the course.  It is like nothing I’ve ever run before.  It has a nice, smooth downhill angle of roughly 80 feet per mile for the entire 26.2 miles.  A lot of race directors will tell you that their race is flat/fast, etc…  This one really is.


The weather was relatively nice as well.  There was actually some snow on the ground (in July) at the starting line.  It warmed a little towards the end but wasn’t horrible.

Tunnel was my 26th marathon and my 15th state.

I will be back in July of 2013 to attempt to qualify for Boston.