Monday, January 15, 2007

Hot times at the Redding Marathon

This weekend I decided it was time to shed some of the pounds I had accumulated from last weeks Bad Ass 50k in Bend and hit the pavement for some real leg turnover. Seriously, I knew it was time to run a little out of my comfort zone, by that I mean, a little faster than I had been pushing myself lately. The Redding Marathon served it all up. I saw a lot of familiar faces at the starting line including Beverly Anderson-Abbs, who has won the race outright a couple of time. Peter Warda, another Ashland resident, also made the trip down after running both the Portland and Humbolt marathons back in October. He was a little worried about his level of training but knew that he had gained a lot of strength and experience from his previous outings. I assured him we had nothing to worry about, easy enough to say when your body is filled with all that pre-race adrenaline!

I started out the marathon like a crazed 5k runner. It helped that I had a relay runner spurring me on as we screamed down from our start on the dam to the Sacramento river clocking 5 minute miles for the first 3 miles. Our tempo eased off a bit as we made our way onto the rails to trails footpath that follows the river down the canyon for what seemed forever, altogether it was probably more like 7 miles. After 10 miles I was running close to race pace, 59 minutes. The next 3 miles contained a good bit of elevation gain, and seeing as I was now running all alone in front I had to really push myself to get a move on it. I ran pretty consistently for a half hour when I meadered onto the asphalt path that lines the Sacramento river. The terrain took the path up some rather steep pitches and I really began to feel it in my legs. I ate my third GU and waited for it to kick in. Returning on this little out and back section allowed me to see the rest of the runners and that really helped me pick up the pace. Redding has a number of bridges that cross the SAC river and I kept waiting to see the Sundial Bridge to know that I had made it. I wound my way through the arboretum for the last mile and flew across the bridge to finish in 2:45. A new course record, and also for the ladies as Bev finished 2nd overall in 2:55. I was certainly thankful for the amount of dirt on the course, I imagine my legs will be thanking me all this week as well. The race was well run and I was happy to see so many finisher, 105 in the marathon alone. Don't know if I'll be back just yet, but I've definitely "done that."