The Bend Marathon: 26 point 2 miles of beauty
This past weekend Bend, OR hosted its inaugural Bend Marathon and a Half as part of the Gorgeous Running Series. I had heard about this race from a girl I used to run track with in high school and immediately thought this was the race I wanted to start the season off with. Bend is one of my favorite areas, I grew up running and ski racing down in the area and had always loved it, and I figured with my parents being only a couple of hours away we could turn it into a fun long weekend. For those of you that follow either this blog or my instagram (@kaylatemte) you probably knew that I was a little bit worried about this race as I had been dealing with a hip issue for about two weeks. My running had drastically decreased and the couple runs that I had completed were slow, painful, and frustrating. That being said my nerves for this race where a little higher than usual, I apologize profusely to my fiance for the edgy mood I was in all last week. I tried hard to tell myself not to worry about it or go into the race with much expectation, especially as it was going to be a brutal course. Well going into a race with low expectations is not something I am good at so I focused on setting a goal of maintaining pace and trying to get within striking distance of my previous PR (personal record).
Brandon and I drove down Friday afternoon to Bend from Spokane, a very lovely 7 hour drive. Gage, our doodle puppy, came along for the journey this time and it was his first long venture in the car. Proud mom moment right here, he did fantastic in the car, sleeping most of the way.
As per usual Brandon and I got up, went to go get our daily coffee, and took the puppy on a walk. Our goal was to keep him as active as possible so that he would be mellow and less energized. Around 10 am my dad and I had to go pick up our race packets which had a bunch of fun swag; from an awesome long sleeve shirt, gum, picky bars, and Jamba Juice token. We went and drove part of the course (the part that would turn out to be the most hilly) so that my dad could show Lauren where to go when she took mom mountain biking later that day. Lucky me, everyone else got to go out and play, Brandon and dad went golfing and then mom and sister went mountain biking, but trying to keep my legs fresh I had to hang out at the hotel. I ended up getting pretty antsy, due to nerves and boredom, so I went for my third walk of the day.
Dinner was at this lovely restaurant called Greg's right down by the water in the Old Mill district. Luck have it Saturday was also Bend's Prom night, thankfully we had reservations, so we were blessed to get to see the young high school kids all fancy and dressed up. It did not make me miss those days, and also made me wonder if I was really as awkward when I was in high school. :)
Sunday (Race Day)
Due to a very sensitive stomach I have to make sure that any food I put into my system on race days is done so ahead of time other wise it is not a pretty experience. That meant I was up bright and early on Sunday morning (way before anyone else was in my family) in order to get some food in me to make it through the race; my pre-race food this time was these egg white oatmeal bars, recipe found on bodybuilding.com. I liked them for my race because they were had a high protein and carbohydrate count without being hard on my stomach, easy to digest.
We showed up to the race about 10 minutes prior, I usually like to be there earlier but it wasn't just me racing so we had to be more flexible. Parking was easy to find, which was nice, and gave us some time to walk to the start line to loosen up my legs. As there was no pacer for sub 3:15 I tried to weasel my way up close to the start line to put myself in a better position to push the pace a little bit.
Gun went off right on time and away all 1,300 participants went through the Bend neighborhoods and off on either the marathon or half marathon course. The first half of the marathon was spectacular, and made for an amazing half marathon course. It would through some neighborhoods and down along the Deschutes River which was probably my favorite part. During this time the course was really flat, with only a couple of hill bursts, on a trail and full of amazing spectators who kept the excitement high with their cheers.
The morning had started out really cool and being hesitant to run without my long sleeve I had kept it on. Despite the cool temperatures the sun was bright and shiny resulting in my body getting warm very quickly, and myself shedding my long sleeve not long after mile 4.
At the split where the half marathons went one way and the marathoner's went another that is where it got tough. The crowd thinned out drastically and the elevation gained began to increase.
Steadily we kept going up and up towards the Inn at the Seventh mountain. It did get a little confusing at a couple of points here and there as the course wasn't marked as well once you got a little further out. While it did not seem as though you were heading uphill once I turned around, about mile 17, and headed back down I realized how much of a grade it really was.
At this point I let my stride go a little bit and picked up the pace. I knew I was on track for the time I wanted to hit so I figured I would give it a go. Totally forgot that you had to take a left hand turn and head back up a steep incline, mile 19, towards the golf course so that was nice surprise.
The first 19 miles of the race went really well for me and then the cramping started. With six miles to go I started talking to myself and with three miles to go I was begging and pleading with myself.
Brandon had driven to the 24 mile marker and was a welcome sight at that time. Threw him a quick waved and complaint that my legs were killing me and continued on my way with his cheers and support being yelled my direction. At that point he confirmed that I was indeed the first female so I tightened my resolve and gritted my teeth for the last couple miles.
The last mile at the Bend Marathon was fantastic (relatively speaking). Spectator were lined up randomly down the last mile, huge shout out to Fleet Feet and their amazing cheering at mile 25. All the spectators really made the last little push much easier. I will admit I probably sounded like a crazy person for the last 3/4 of a mile as I was repeating the same words over and over again, "You got this. You can do this. You got this. You can do this".
I ended up crossing the line at 3 hours and 09 minutes which was a 4 minute PR and as the first female. It was miracle I kept myself standing at that point. Cramping, so much cramping; it felt as though every muscle in my legs was one big knot. My family got me my warm clothes as I instantly cooled off and couldn't stop shivering and forced me to keep walking around.
As someone who struggles to eat after a marathon the fact that there wasn't much food to offer was ok, though I greatly wished they had some muscle milk, Gatorade, or even chocolate milk available as that tends to be easier to stomach at the end of a race.
One of the coolest things was the NormaTec recovery booth that was allowing people to try out their gear to help aid in recovery. The compression felt amazing!! I wish I had one at home. If you ever get a chance to give them a try I highly recommend it.
After the race we headed back to the hotel for a quick shower and pack up to head to home to Hood River for the night, Brandon and I were staying at my parents place so that we didn't have to make a seven hour drive that night.
For going into a race being unsure of where I would stand I am very excited about the result. Being able to come out with a personal best time on a course like that one showed me that I was on the right track. I know have one month to hone in a couple of things (endurance and speed) in order to give that 3 hour marker another shot at the Coeur d'Alene Marathon on May 25. Being a flatter course I am looking forward to seeing what I can do.
I am thankful for all those who have supported me so far and for all the good luck, and well wishes that were offered for this past weekend. I could not do any of it without the love and support of the community and for that I am eternally grateful.
What do you think about when you run? Do you have a saying or a mantra to get you through the difficult parts? Did you race this weekend? What was the highlight?