Monday, July 16, 2001

RR Bend Marathon

7/13 – 7/16/01

We made it back from Oregon late Monday night - too late and tired to write a trip report.But I thought that I should send you a short report on the Central Oregon and Bend area which is quite nice and on the Bendistillery Marathon which is a fast course. It was a pleasant trip. We arrived in Portland late Friday afternoon and went to our friends' place in Vancouver, WA to wait for Chris. Unfortunately he had some problems at work and when he still hadn't left Seattle at 7pm we told him to cancel his plans to join us and we left for Bend around 8pm. It is a good 3 hour drive so we didn't arrive until after 11pm. I hate night-time driving, especially on two-lane mountain roads in the dark! Central Oregon was a hub-bub of activity and events last weekend - a summer festival and marathon in Bend, and a quilting convention in Sisters - so that there were no hotel rooms available within a 20-mile radius. We had to book a 2 BR condo at the Sun River Resort, a condominium resort 15 miles south of Bend. But it was a nice area.On Saturday morning we drove into Bend to pick up the race package and last minute details on the race. The summer festival was in full swing. Bend is a small city (50,000 people) situated on the Deschutes River, elevation about 3,500 feet and overlooked by several majestic peaks of the Cascade Mountains. The city had closed down the main street (Wall ST) which was filled with arts and craft booths and several band stages. We strolled around the booths and ended up buying four pictures for our new home in CO which meant we had to carry them back on the airplane.After our shopping spree, we decided to check out the marathon course and make sure we knew how to get to the start. I chose a bit more wisely this time - the course started at the top of Mt Bachelor and ran downhill on paved roads to finish in Shevlin Park on the west side of Bend. The start was located at the chairlifts (6500 ft) on Mt Bachelor (summit -9,000 ft) which fortunately was about the same distance from Sun River as Bend.After we drove the course and satisfied myself that it really was downhill we decided to visit the quilting convention in Sisters. Sisters is a small western town/village (910 people) located at the foot of the 'Three Sisters' - three majestic peaks in the Cascades. It is very quaint and the quilting convention was a huge surprise. It was outside! There were quilts hanging everywhere - on the fronts and sides of the stores on the main street- on tree limbs and poles erected on lawns of homes. It was very different and interesting. The Cascades region is scenic with lots of dense forests and majestic mountains but in my humble opinion it is not as pretty as Summit County. It is a high desert region and the lakes and rivers are smaller -- but it is warmer than Summit and about 6,000 feet lower in elevation so a lot easier to breathe. But it is too isolated for me - Portland is the closest large city and airport.Sunday was M-Day - very early Sunday! The race started at 6am so I woke at 4am to get ready and dragged my manager out of bed at 5am. She had to drop me off at the start up at the top of Mt Bachelor and pick me up later at the finish line in Bend since the course was point-to-point.It was still dark and quite chilly at the ski lodge at 5:30am! But the race started at 6am sharp and we warmed up quickly as we raced downhill for the first 4 miles. The course dropped a total of 2800 feet before it finished at Shevlin Park (3700 ft). About 70% of the course was downhill but the downhills were gradual so that you didn't have to brake all the time which kills the quads and calves. There were a dozen or so 'uphills', the longest and toughest at 10K and maybe 4 or 5 miles of flat stretches. On most of the downhill legs I was able to average a 7:30 pace with ease but the uphills and flats seem to negate that fast pace. I passed the half marathon mark in 1:41 and had bad memory flashes of Nagano, Japan. I did not want to suffer the painful experience of crashing again in the last 10K so I slowed down a bit. I passed 20 miles in 2:37 still feeling OK and had brief fantasies of breaking 3:25 if the course stayed downhill. NOT TO BE! The course got ugly (hilly) over the last 10K and my legs started to feel the effect of the fast pace and downhill pounding! There were some tough hills between miles 20 to 24. I hit mile 24 in 3:11 - I had only 19 minutes to finish the last 2 1/4 miles to break 3:30! I knew the last mile was downhill so I had to run mile 25 under 8:30 to have a chance - it was close - 8:34! I could smell that sub 3:30 now so I pushed with every last once of energy left in my body and legs even though my right hip and hamstring were screaming at me.I crossed the finish line in 3:29:17 and 2nd place in my age group (Old farts!)! I was very pleased with my effort and happy with my time - but I was diappointed that I had not been able to train harder and faster for this marathon because I should have been able to break 3:25 on this course.This is a great marathon course if you want to run a fast time or qualify for Boston.As I was limping back to the car with my manager she moaned about how difficult it had been to wake up and get out of bed that second time to meet me at the finish line. Give me a break please! I didn't offer any sympathy!But now we had to rush back to the condo, take a quick hot tub soak and shower and head back to Vancouver, WA. We enjoyed a very pleasant visit with our friends, Wayne and Karen Tucker. We got caught up on the gossip and news of old friends and colleagues from our Lynch/Reno days of the early 80s. As usual we raided Wayne's wine cellar to accompany the excellent salmon he grilled for dinner. I won't embarass ourselves by saying how many wine bottles(empty) we counted on the kitchen counter the next morning. And even more surprising was the fact that nobody felt bad. That is, if you don't consider my legs - it has been a long, long time since I have had difficulty climbing stairs the day after a marathon. Even today my quads and calves are still sore and tender - but there is an upside to this as always - since the quads and calves hurt like hell I don't feel the normal constant pain in my hamstring!But it was a great trip. I would love to do this marathon again when I am 100% healthy and could train properly. Heck - I think I could break 3:20 again!

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