Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rattlesnake Lake Marathon

Some last minute changes to the entrant list allowed both Margaret and Jamal to join me for the marathon. We got there for the early start at 7:00 am. It was chilly with gray clouds overhead and a light misty rain - perfect! At a few minutes before seven, we walked up the trail to the start line where we received last minute instructions. There were about 15 or so runners taking the early start, a few had taken the early, early start, leaving the rest (maybe 30 runners?) to start at the published 8:00 start time.


The course drops from 960 feet at start to 520 feet at five mile turnaround, then climbs to 1650 feet at the 18 mile turnaround, then back down to the finish.

We had a lovely run down wide gravelled trails for five miles. The three of us chatted away, running five and walking one, trying to keep it sorta slow to save energy for later. At the five mile turnaround, we began the uphill trudge. We were facing thirteen miles of a gradual climb - the kind you can't really see, but can certainly feel. Eric was out on his bike offering us support, and so was Rich, Linda's husband. Sometimes they rode together, sometimes apart. We started to see regular start runners heading out, and it wasn't long till we spotted Linda coming our way. We ran five miles back to the start, then up a small hill to join the Iron Horse Trail, where we were to do an eight mile out and back. More climbing...

I tried a couple of new things today. I tried saltwater taffy instead of rice krispies, and I had sweetened iced tea instead of coke. I learned that saltwater taffy needs to be held in the hand for a while to soften up, and that a runner should only eat a half at a time, otherwise it's a choking hazard. Otherwise, it worked pretty good. The tea was a great alternative. I also had Eric carrying a tofurky sandwich for me - I only ate half, a quarter at a time, but I really enjoyed it. Other runners seemed to find tofurky strange...

On the eight mile section there are some long bridges to cross - old railroad trestles that are high above gorges and offer a beautiful view. I think the bridges are the highlight of this run. A couple of them have concrete decking, but on a couple others the gravel trail runs right over the bridge, really soft and really fine. We stopped and peaked over the edge or stared at the view more than once. Just before the bridges there is an area where people gather to climb the rock walls, also cool to see.

I had a great day - even on the uphill I was feeling good. At the turn around Eric offered me a Doubleshot (coffee), another new thing to try. I drank about half and found it to be a good energy boost. We started back down the trail, and oh, the glory of running downhill! It was wonderful! Our first five miles we averaged right around 11:25 per mile, with walk breaks and remember, downhill. The thirteen uphill miles averaged something more like 12:50 with a couple of 15 minute miles (probably the aid stops with Eric or the portapotty stops), then the last eight miles we were back to 11 somethings, with a couple sub 11 miles. Downhill really makes a difference! Total time was 5:35:06. All in all, a fabulous run. I didn't bonk, I felt strong and fast all day, I ran with great friends and in a beautiful setting. Life is good!

The weather stayed cool all day. We followed the race with lunch at my favorite restaurant and a stop at our beloved Starbucks, then headed for home. I've got Margaret thinking about Light at the End of the Tunnel, and we strategized how we could do it even if it's hot - run the tunnel, run the shade, walk the sun. We'll see!

Eric put together this album of the pictures he took, and also the video that follows. Notice Margaret and I running off and leaving Jamal peeking over the edge. Don't worry though, Jamal is a speedy guy and had no trouble catching up.

Click to play Rattlesnake Lake 2008
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21 comments:

wendy said...

nice job, michelle! Following a PR on friday too. ;-) You really are my hero. and lucky you, you had such good company!

the pics of everyone were awesome, and the video clip w/ jamal looking over the edge cracked me up...he looked so alone!

nice job, my friend, another dream accomplished.

craig said...

Sounds like a great day Michelle. I'm glad the weather cooperated. That trail looks wonderful.

Irene said...

You run in some of the most beautiful areas! I never would have thought of salt water taffy -- it makes sense. I love your race reports! It makes me more anxious to get back out there.

Congratulations on yet another marathon complete!

Jack said...

Great job! What a beautiful place to run. Life IS good.

Anne said...

What a gorgeous course! It's so green and lush and wet -- so not California right now. Very interesting about the salt water taffy. I can definitely see why you'd need to warm it up first.

Thanks for the terrific slideshow. I watched it twice!

Wes said...

Tofurky, huh? LOL! That SOUNDS strange :-) I'm glad you had a nice marathon, and the weather cooperated!!!!

Sunshine said...

Thanks to you both for the marvelous pictures.
Congratulations on another interesting race!

justrunjustlivejustbe.com said...

Congrats on your race! And after a 4M PR, too. :)

I always want to come run with you when you post photos. Ugh, jealous!

Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

Well Done! Hey I finally updated!
Jenny

Joe said...

You write the best race reports, Michelle...pithy, good, not longwinded like some people I know well :-)

What a cool place to run...thanks for posting.

I'm very happy for you the temps stayed under control too!!

Mama said...

Okay, it creeps me out even watching the video looking over the edge. I'm glad it was you all and not me.

I had a great weekend. Talk to you soon.

Be Free,
Lorri

Makita said...

What a fabulous place to run - the views and scenery are incredible!

Congratulations on a very strong race! :D

Darrell said...

Just beautiful. There ain't nothing like that down here.

Meghan said...

I have to say you eat truly unique things when running, and I'm a little jealous! I get so bored with my gels and PBJ. Sigh, whatever works, I suppose.

Sounds like a perfectly rolling course, with some nice downhill grades to play on, and some uphill grades to work on.

Congrats on another great day in proverbial paradise.

Meghan

adam said...

Great job and nice pictures! The trail looks so inviting I may just have to visit soon. Usually I can get a bit bored running up the Iron Horse.

robtherunner said...

Nice looking marathon and congrats on the 4 on the 4th PR!

Dori said...

Congratulations on yet another marathon! It sounds like a great run. How many marathons have you run now?

Juls said...

Congratulations! Another marathon completed. You are awesome.

Legs & Wings said...

That's beautiful. Congrats on another strong finish.

Sarah said...

Congrats on another great run! That looks like a beautiful course.

Jon said...

You, Linda, and Jamal looked like you had a great time there. I wish I would have been able to catch you guys on the second turnaround after the bridge, but I was slowed to nearly a crawl after checking in with Monte.