Monday, January 14, 2008
Gonna Make You S.W.E.A.T. (Redding Marathon Redux)
In keeping with our theme, it was a glorious morning to go running with nary a cloud in the sky. The sixth annual Redding Marathon and 5k entertained some 200 folks along the banks of the Sacramento River Sunday morning and proved again to be one of the ultimate tests of endurance.
The race, which starts at the Lake Shasta Dam 7 miles north of Redding in the foothills of the Shasta Wonderland, begins its journey to town via the Sacramento River. From the heights of the Dam, runners drop 500 feet in the first 2 miles to a scenic and fast path (rails-to-trails) and continue on for 8 miles. From miles 10 -13 the route follows paved country roads that lead back onto double track to the Sacramento River Bike Path. From here, there is a section of out and back on the asphalt bike path, a residential loop, a tour through the arboretum and a picturesque finish over the Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay.
I took the lead as we made our way across the dam and headed down the huge descent. After 2 miles in 10:20 I was feeling pretty strong but was a little worried that my facetious prediction of starting out running 5:20's that would turn into 7:40's in order to run 6 minute pace might just come true. Never-the-less I continued on with my feverish pace as one glance over my shoulder noted that 5 time Redding Marathon women's champion and Western States women's runner-up Bev Anderson-Abbs was 15 seconds back. Where was my boy Ian? Where were my relay folks I needed to help pace me along the long stretches of monotonous linear ground? I thought to myself, I had better go it alone, and in a hurry. I had set a few goals along the way, 10 miles in 57 minutes, 13 miles just to get to, then 17, 20 in less than 2 hours and 23 miles just to break up the last 6. I was intent on looking ahead to those markers in my mind to help keep up the pace. I hit 10 miles in 57:20, 13.1 just under 1:15 and mile 20 in 1:57 and change. I was pretty psyched with all the splits, but I knew from the year before that I still could fade terribly in the last 6 miles. I eased off a little to find the confidence to push the last 3 if needed and luckily it held out as I hit the bridge in 2:35, just enough time to break 2:36 and 6 minute per mile pace.
At mile 19 I was able to high 5 fellow Rogue Valley Runner, Ian Torrence, whom had taken over second place and who appeared to be some 12 minutes behind. I was psyched to see how well he was looking and that made me kick it up a notch, or at least a quarter notch. I also ran into Bev, as well as Marty Fagan (RD of the Cle Elum Ridge 50k) on the quick out and back. It was so good to see some familiar faces and to hear their words of encouragement.
In the end, a new CR was thrown down as Ian and I took 1st and 2nd handily. Ian's 2:49:27 was one of his faster marathon times and I could tell he was very happy with it, and 2:35:51 will probably be my PR for a long time. I think we were both happy that our legs let us finish a few minutes before Bev's. With 250 ultra's between us, Ian side much more weighted, we don't have too much time for all this hard pavement.
Fellow Rogue Valley residents Tom Bell and Adam Elson also made the trip for the marathon finishing as close together as one from Medford and Ashland might.
The 5k that ran in conjunction with the marathon also had a Rogue runner in the mix. Maria Clementi, of Ashland, ran a PR in 21:41 taking 2 overall in the women's race.
In the end it was quite apparent that we are no longer welcome in Northern California. It seems as though we have taken it to the locals lately and a little too often. Seriously, it has been great to have so many races to choose from that are nicely organized and well run, and that are within an easy drive.
Full results can be found at www.sweatrc.com