Sunday, December 21, 2008

Pigtails Flat Ass Snow Marathon

I can't believe we did this, but we ran a marathon yesterday in the snow. It was dang hard work!

It was a "will we or won't we" kind of week around here. Will we really get as much snow as they are predicting? Will the big storm really come? Will there be school? Will we still race on Saturday? Will Eric race on Sunday? Will we have high winds? Will the big trees in our front garden fall on the house? Will we have power? The answers were yes, we got about 6 inches of snow, yes the big storm did come, no, there wasn't school on Thursday or Friday, no, the high winds didn't hit our area (they were a little further north), no, our big trees did not fall (no wind), yes, we raced, no, Eric's race was cancelled and yes, we have power. Now we wonder if more snow will come (the answer is apparently yes, because it is snowing right now), will we get freezing rain and will we be able to travel at Christmas? (Christmas was going to be at our house, but we moved it 150 miles north to my parents so they wouldn't have to drive).

On Friday afternoon, we got the email saying Eric's race was cancelled. There was a big storm predicted with snow and high winds, and running Tiger Mountain during those conditions did not seem like a smart thing to do...even for a race called the Dumb Ass. So, Eric quickly signed up for yesterdays race - Pigtails Flat Ass. A long straight shot down the Cedar River trail and back. We prepped for the race, even though the final decision would be made when we got up in the morning. Part of that prep was Eric putting screws in our shoes.

Saturday morning we got up and decided to go for it. Reports were that there were 1-3 inches on the trail and that is was runnable. It was about 20 degrees out, so we bundled up. Jenny came over to pick us up, then we went down to Sumner to get Rob. The roads were okay, and we made it with time to spare. We stayed in the car till just minutes before the start - actually, as we were walking up to the start I heard Van, the RD, say "one minute to start". I didn't have time to see who was there before we started running, didn't have time to say hello to anyone. That's okay though because I was warm - standing around before hand would have meant starting cold.

Linda and Jenny, Steve and Rob in front of them. Notice the sunny blue skies?

I ran with Jane and Jessica. Jessica was our original couch to 5K participant two years ago, and yesterday was her fourth marathon, and more importantly, her qualifying marathon for the Maniacs. She was pretty excited all day long.

It was interesting running in the snow - some sections were chunky and hard to run on, others were like running through sand, and a few were fairly smooth. My water bottle spouts froze up, so I would stick one in my pocket to thaw and use the other one, then switch. Jessica's hose to her water bladder froze up and she couldn't use it, but she had some water bottles too and she did the alternating thing to make those work. Jane had a snow boarder's water pack with an insulated hose, so she didn't have our issues. The screws in the shoes worked great, giving good traction.

Meeting up on the trail. The sun is gone.

We ran and ran and ran. Jane eventually pulled ahead. Van had self-serve aid stations with water and gatoraid, blankets over the top to keep them from freezing. Arthur pulled up alongside the trail and ran along with us for a few minutes, then we saw him again at one of the self-serve stations. At the 12.5 mile mark was a staffed aid station where tc, Shawn and Jessica had food and hot cocoa for us - wonderful! After leaving the aid station we got to run with Bret and Gail for about four miles. It was fun chatting about races and weather with them.

My left hip was hurting by the turn-around, I think just from running in the snow, Jessica said hers were hurting too. I had lots of energy though - probably thanks to my burrito and hot cocoa back at the aid station. I also stayed toasty warm all day - I wore tights and my gaiters (to keep my ankles warm), two shirts and my rain jacket, two pairs of gloves, ear warmers and a hat. We watched the day change from bright and sunny to dark and stormy, but made it to the finish line before the wind and snow started, and though we drove home through falling snow, the roads were still clear. Our final time was something like 6:29 - about an hour over a more typical time for me, but then again, everyone was adding time yesterday.

Last quarter mile. The sky is getting darker.

Under the freeway and steps from the finish line!

All in all, a very good day that left me a bit sore. I briefly considered an ice bath last night, but after being out in the cold all day, decided to pass. We got about four more inches of snow last night, and frankly, I had enough of running in it yesterday, so today turned into a day off. Eric and I went to Starbucks and enjoyed a cup of coffee, then to the grocery store. Riley is home safe and sound from college after driving over the pass yesterday. He made it home just ahead of the storm. Web won't be coming home after all, we've talked to him several times in the last few days and he is warm and safe. They have plenty of food on hand, and we got a package out to him, so all is well.

Have a Merry Christmas everyone! Enjoy the holidays, your family and friends, and stay safe.


Joe said...

I'm often in awe of and envious of the number of race options you have in the PNW. Very fortunate, you are.

Nice job just slogging it out...hope the hip soreness clears. I'm guessing with you that the slick snow contributed.

A burrito mid race?? Wow, that's cooler than Rob's Krispy Kreme fettish...

Merry Christmas to you and Eric as well!!!

robtherunner said...

I wish you would have packed an extra burrito for me mid race. It looked pretty good when Eric was eating his and drinking his doubleshot. Maybe that's why he took off shortly afterwards.

justrun said...

I think a promise of a burrito midrace might actually make me want to run a marathon in the snow. :)

Good run, and Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Lisa B said...

Congrats on yet another great run! You make it look so easy!
Stay warm.

Sunshine said...

Thanks for the marvelous interesting report. Certainly called for Starbucks!! The most I have run in snow is probably 5K's.

We have been watching the forecasts and weather reports for you all out there.. along with keeping track of our own blizzard watches and warnings. What an odd December!

Thanks for your comment .. I had to laugh... I hadn't noticed the disparity of dress in my picture. The party dress child lives in CA. (And women seldom wear enough clothes at parties?!)

Ironayla said...

Loved the photos and hearing of another race adventure!

I wish I was in better shape to run with you guys again. It will be awhile before I am in marathon shape.

Hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas!

Anne said...

This just confirms that you guys are "screwy" when it comes to run no matter the weather. Actually, I wondered how difficult it was running under the freeway with screws in your shoes.

Anne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jenny, Maniac #401 said...

What a fun day! I am a bit sore too, but hamstrings. All that pushing off. I tell ya, cold and snowy is a zillion times better than last year's monsoon ay Pigtails. Hope to run with you again soon during the break!

Laura H said...

Nice work again Michelle!! We are heading home (from Kauai) tomorrow (Monday) and are not looking forward to the frozen state! I'm so glad you got out and ran the flat ass! And I agree with Jenny - gotta be better than the monsoon last year! Stay warm!

Thomas said...

Merry Christmas to you too, Michelle. Take it easy for a few days, will you?

lizzie lee said...

Thanks Neighbor... Merry Christmas to you too... What Marathon was that? I was going to run 5K in Olympia, during the Christmas Marathon but was postponed till next Sunday 28th.

I have one foot here at home... Crazy, I wanted to run yesterday around the lake, but with a biopsy today and surgery scheduled for next week I prefer to be cautious and not get sick. I am still getting rid of an old cold....

Take care, and All the Happiness to you, Eric, and your kids

lizzie lee

Irene said...


But, it looks like fun, and how gorgeous!

Just in case I miss you before, do have a Merry Christmas!

Anonymous said...

Nice work! I bet your hips were sore. Mine hurt after just 5 miles. What do you do with those shoes now? They're screwed! ;) Can't use those for running in the rain now.

wendy said...

brrr...i'm cold just reading about this! lucky you, getting to run with jessica for her qualifying race! lucky jessica too! =)

Darrell said...

I feel I must have said this before, but never a dull moment up there. A marathon in the snow sounds kind of like fun.

Makita said...

Wow! I always knew you were hardcore but now, you've gone and done a snow marathon!! Wow!

Wishing you the very best this holiday season. God Jul!

angie's pink fuzzy said...

that is AWEsome!!!

Sunshine Girl said...



Cat said...

I'm finally getting around to catching up on my blog-reading. Sounds like another fun run! Glad you could be there for Jessica!!


Steve Stenzel said...

WOW! You're CRAZY!! At least you got to finish on dry pavement! Nice job!

Merry Christmas!!

Sarah Elaine said...

Look at all that snow! Looks like Canada!

Wishing you, Eric, Web and Riley a very Merry Christmas!

lissawi said...

I'm so pleased you liked the cookies! I'd be happy to give you the recipe if you haven't found it yet.

I'm so impressed with your commitment and your running feats! I hope you had a wonderful holiday with family!