Vancouver USA Marathon – 2011

Official Time: 3:33:15
103rd overall
13th in my age group.

Before we get to the explanation on this one I must say that the Fishbread’s are Great! Dan and Tina it was great meeting you in the real and Dan thanks for letting me tag along for 20 or so miles, hope I didn’t slow you down to much. Justin congrats on the BQ you certainly were ready! Good thing you were going that fast it appears that some people’s got stopped by the train!
O.K. Now to the report. It is a little strange going into race weekend thinking you are going to race one event and actually end up running another. It is even more mind boggling when the two events are a 1/2 Marathon and a Full Marathon. Some of you may be saying what! How could you not know? Well let me explain.
I initially signed up for the Vancouver USA Marathon in November of 2010 with full intention of using it as test run to see if I was ready for a late season 50 miler. Due to an injury after a February 50k I had written any long events off for this year. I and the doctors to this day still do not know what exactly happened. All we do know is that it was something that caused severe pain in the region of the anterior shin and sidelined me for almost 12 weeks. In fact, until today my longest run had been 11.5 miles and that was only 2 weeks ago. The good news is that we did discover that the pain was being caused by my orthotics and support type shoes. Once I took them out and started moving to a more neutral trainer the pain has completely diminished.
So now that you know the history let’s talk about the race. About 6 weeks ago I worked with Wookie at Energy Events to get my race switched to the 1/2 Marathon. He did confirm it was switched and I was good with that, actually happy. I was going to be able to run in a timed event. I figured great I could get a 1/2 in, still meet Dan, Tina, Justin and any other DM’ers that may be there and use it as a test for a late season 50k. Just a slight alteration in the years race plan. I can work on the 50 miler next year. Well what do you know, I should of been named Murphy because if it can go wrong it will go wrong. Once the switch was official I started preparing for the 1/2 well what little I could do to prepare for a 1/2 in a little over 5 weeks. I felt I was physically ready to run a 1:35 to 1:45. Really wasn’t even thinking about the full any longer although i did want to run it, last week or week before I did get an itch, although, slight to attempt the Full but then I would of had to call up Wookie and explain. Also a few smart people talked me out of it.
Well race weekend came and because I live a ways away (100 miles) my aunt went to pick up my packet Friday night and I didn’t get to see it until later Saturday eve. What do you know it was the the full Marathon. Hrmmm, what do I do now? I thought about it did some research and made the decision to do the full. I remember a piece of advice that some smart distance runner not to long back gave me when I got injured. She said, “Most people I know who cycle through their injuries usually come back stronger.” Thanks Kate. So I have been cycling, actually done a Metric century in May and a full century last weekend and for some reason the packet didn’t get switched so I am going with it. Call it Karma, Call it Murphy, Call it Dumb Luck, or just call it Dumb.
So off to the expo I went, had a date to meet the Fishbread’s and do a little expo’ing. Saw Dan and Tina right away and that was great, they are great. We started talking about the race I informed them that I am doing the full, next came the look of concern. Then Dan asked what pace was I thinking and the rest was (is) history. Now please note that I would not recommend to the average Joe, Fred, Harry, Mike, Matt to run a marathon on only 5 weeks of training and a long run of 12 miles unless they were and experienced runner who had put as many if not more miles on the bike as I had just done. Well it turns out that Dan himself, runner Zero, was going to run an 8:30 race as well. Well that settles it Karma, Dumb Luck or whatever wins this time I am running the Marathon with the Maniacs and Dan at an 8:30 pace.
I was privileged to run with the infamous Runner 0 (Zero) (Dan) and some of the Maniac crew. Possibly, just possibly, they have made a convert of me who knows I need to do some research on this cultish group of people who abuse themselves for fun by pounding the pavement and trails week in and week out. 8:30 pace it is, we should if we keep the pace be right around a 3:45 marathon. I figured I could keep pace so we were off. The start went well, not real crowded I think about 900 marathoners in all but not sure until the official results are up. We were off and running, 8:00 minute miles. Wait didn’t we just agree to run 8:30’s – hmm – can I do this? Will I bonk? My foot hurts! I think I am getting a cramp! Wait, wait, wait this is all wrong. We have only gone 2 miles let’s see what happens so 8:00 minute mile it is. I quickly changed my strategy and said I will go to mile 15 and see how I feel, if I am hurting or starting to hurt I will back down to the 8:30 – 8:45. O.k. New strategy in place, I am set, LET’S RUN!
The the next few miles were pretty boring scenery wise but great conversationally. Got to talk with Dan and a few of the Maniacs. Heard some decent music, a mariachi band and a drum group. Got to see a couple of crazy people wearing Vibram’s and one lady wearing Croc’s, yes Croc’s you know the slipper you wear gardening. By the way I saw two of the Vibram’s guys in the medical tent at the end getting there feet worked on they did look like they were in very good shape. Guess maybe pavement needs something a little thicker, sorry guys.
So here we are mile 15 greeting the 1/2 Marathoners with grumbles and complaints that they are taking up a lot of the course, actually that was the worst part about the race. Wish they would of started the two races together then split us off at the 1/2 way point. I actually felt great, no shin pain, legs felt strong, heart rate was solid; so off we went me, Dan and the Maniacs. Am I becoming one of them? Hrm will have to evaluate this thought later when I am out of the influence of the endorphins.
We approached mile 20 and the first real challenge of the race was just ahead, a fairly significant climb, which turned out to be less of a challenge than I thought. I guess the hills with the university group over the past few weeks have helped because I felt pretty strong even at the top. Although, the second quote of the day came out here, maybe it was the third I can’t quite keep them straight, anyway here are the quotes of the day. First quote – “Pictures! Brandon make sure you paw isnt showing”. Second quote was “Brandon you are sweating like a whore in church on a Sunday”, o.k. So I am a sweater. Third Quote – “You sound like a horse in heat” or something like that. So yes I sweat and am a heavy breather. I bet you can’t guess who the quote master was! Anyway, things were looking good. we made the top of the hill. Still clocking right around an 8:00 minute pace and still fighting off 1/2 Marathoners. At the mile 21 or 22 mark I can’t quite remember Mark and Dan started to speed up and I just hung back not need to blow it now I was almost there and could start to taste the victory. Also the balls of my feet really started to hurt, the left one in particular. So I hung back, actually slowed to about an 8:15 pace for a couple of miles. I chalked this up to conditioning. This is also the main difference between the Marathon and the Century. The Marathon is harder physically on the body. Both are tiring but the Marathon defiantly takes a great toll on the the muscles from a sheer impact position.
I didn’t hold back for long and I knew I was close to a 3:30 but also new that to get a 3:30 I would have to hoof it on the last 3 and hit at least a 7:30 mile, see there’s my ego again, even 22 miles of running can’t tame it, actually it probably makes it more alive. I figured I would take 2 miles down then speed it back up for the last 2. So that is what I did ran about 8:15 – 8:20 for miles 22 and 23 then kicked it up on 24 and 25 then really kick it in at the end. About the first part of mile 25 was a the final hill but then it was a down hill finish so I knew if I could hold a steady pace up the hill I could cruise in. Actually I think I ran the last .2 at about 7. I have to say it was a bitter sweet sound to hear “and here comes Marathoner 906 Brandon Harvey from Sweet Home, OR” coming from the announcer. It caught my attention so much that I forgot to look at the clock, I was just estatic that I just ran a 3:33 marathon without any significant run training or pushing very hard..
Very happy with the day. Very happy I decided to run the Marathon. Very happy I got to meet Dan, Tina and Justin and very happy Justin BQ’d. I don’t know what would of been the result if I would of trained for this event and ran it like a race, not really into “What if’s”. I am more about “Now What?” All I can say is that there is an October 50 miler that is looking very tempting. Will need to look at my schedule for the summer and see if I can fit it in. The time is there to do the mileage. Just have to set my mind to it.
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