This weekend, I ran my second marathon and the first in-person kind in 2021/2020

I was preparing to run the June 2022 Marathon. Perchance, I saw a flyer for 2021 Marathon a few weeks ago. That made me hold some tension. Should I do the 2021 despite a lack of adequate preparation? I hadn’t run a 6+ mile run in over 6 months.

I decided to test with a few 10+ mile runs in those two weeks. I ran a 13.41 miler a week before the Marathon. I felt that there was not much gas in the tank after that. So, I waited until the last minute to register, hoping that adrenalin and some determination would help me navigate the last 8-10 miles.

I did the food prep right for this. 2 days before the marathon, I cut all dairy and went on a diet of Pasta, Oatmeal, Oatmilk Coffee, Bagels and such. It helped me to calm my stomach for the run and build up some glycogen.

I decided to carry my hydration vest since I ran my 10+ miles with hydration. I would be lugging a few extra lbs but the flexibility, I felt was worth it. In my first Marathon in 2019, the organizers didn’t have much of water and gel in the 18-26 mile marks. Organizers charge a lot for these events now and I expect top class organization.

For the 48 hours prior to the event, it rained almost non stop. The marathon page had claimed “Rain or shine, the event will happen.” So, I didn’t slack. The night before race day, the skies calmed down, but it was windy and a balmy 60 degrees. The weather app showed a nice 4-6 hour gap in the rain. Very promising.

Enter race morning. To our surprise, the traffic police had closed all access streets at 6 AM itself, thereby forcing me to walk / jog a mile to the venue. While I did that , I encountered a lot of runners already making their way. The organizers didn’t stick to their published schedule, for sure.

In the venue, I looked for pace runners in 3hr 50, but there was no sign of any of the pacers. I surmised that they had already left. Another organizational failure, Amica!

It was an unusally balmy morning at 60, so there was no need for gloves or a wind breaker. Off I started at 6:20 AM.

Running on Seattle streets, one gets a first hand view of the bad condition of roads. Incessant rains over last 6 weeks have worsened their condition.

The first 7 mile run on I-5 express lanes is interesting as there are many ups as downs. Thankfully, the slopes are gentler, so no extreme effort needs to be expended. As I got out of north I-5 express lanes onto the Burke Gilman Trail, it was familiar territory for me.

As I pushed onto the 12 mile mark near my house that adjoins the trail, I felt a twinge of pain on top of my left hip. As we went around Magnuson Park, this pain became worse. The Magnuson park segment was full of puddles, wet leaves and swamp in places. It was not a great place for a run. Coming back out of Magnuson park, the hip cramp was front and center if mind and body. Taking the right back onto Burke Gilman trail, I saw my wife and shouted out “Hope I can make it!”. Always a trooper, she shouted back, “Yes, you can”. With that affirmation, northbound Burke Gilman which slopes down was manageable. As I turned around on NE 100th St, the troubles began. I was at mile 18 then.

The next 8 miles was a struggle. Despite stopping and stretching, I could not make the cramp go away. So, I tried to run a quarter mile, and walk a quarter mile. The run part became smaller occassionally. At mile 20, my left groin started to cramp as well.

But I didn’t want to quit. I knew where the up and down slopes were and managed to adjust my walk and run distances to sync with it.

It started to drizzle as I turned into the finish lane, I could see my wife from a distance. Her white jacket stood out amidst a sea of green grass. It was great to hug her. I had finished. It meant a lot I did not relegate to the DNF column

Until the next one, happy trails to you!