How I decided on Cascade Super Marathon, September 23, 2023.
I planned on running a Marathon in mid-October, but after successfully reaching 22 miles, I decided there was no reason to sustain high mileage for another 2-3 weeks. Especially for my first marathon in 10 years and after coming back from my setback earlier in the year. Plus, the Run Super Series Cascade races are my favorite! Beautiful course, all trail, and in the mountains. I’ve run the Half Marathon a couple times. So, I was going to do the Cascade Express Marathon on 9/16 which only gave me like a 12 day taper. And as it got closer it was looking like it would be a HOT day! Not ideal! I started looking around at races (as I often do :)) and realized the Cascade Ultra-Marathon taking place the following weekend (9/23) also had a Marathon distance – same course! I asked the race director to make sure. She said “yeah well we’re already out there so we just sort of have it, too.” Good idea, all they have to do is put out 1 extra turn around cone a couple miles before the 50k turn around. 🙂 This worked much better for taper time and the weather was going to be cooler, too! Because most Marathoners were running the previous weekend, this Marathon was small – like 30 people! Most runners were doing the 50k or 50 mile, about 130 people in each. The race was Ultra style – no mile markers, no pacers, only a few aide stations (which had tents and real food- not volunteers holding cups out for you), and it was not even chip timed. I was fine with that! So officially, I decided to do this race only a couple weeks beforehand. I signed up morning of! Crazy!
Goals for this race
This was my first Marathon in 10 years! That is a long time! It made sense to treat it like a first Marathon and set aside any time goal. This is what I would tell most 1st time Marathon athletes! So, my focus on building up a solid base of easy mileage. I trained very conservatively, increasing mileage by no more than 10% each week, taking cutback weeks every 3rd week instead of every 4th week, and only did maybe 3-4 moderate speed workouts in my whole build up. Having only run 1 race in the last several months (and that was a hilly technical trail race, so could not compare pacing whatsoever!), I really did not have a good idea of what pace I could run! Yes, I help athletes determine their pace when coaching all the time! But it’s different when it’s yourself, lol! and I just didn’t think it was worth it this time around to run a tune up race or hard workouts to determine exactly what my fastest time could be. So going out super conservative and finishing strong was the goal. And next time I can have a better idea of a time goal!
But okay, having said that, I did print out a 3:49 pace band just in case things were going well and I felt like I could PR. It would be good to know the time/math during the race if it were looking feasible. Especially since I for sure was NOT planning to go out at 3:49 (8:43/mile) pace. It would be a negative split/lots of runner math situation if there was a chance.
photos: Marathon week check list & Pre-race dinner new tradition 🙂
My tummy was not feeling like eating anything whatsoever, but I forced down some toast/waffle situation. Drove the 40ish minutes to the Finish area where I caught the bus to head to the start. Not gonna lie, it was super intimidating around all the Ultra Runners with their packs looking so ready to go! I was super nervous. On the bus I sat next to someone who came in from Texas to run this course. He was trying to PR in the 50k – it was a good course for that!
I still had so sign up for the race LOL! The volunteers didn’t know how I could sign up, luckily the race director was there. It actually worked out, I didn’t have to wait in line to get my number, there were only a couple of us signing up day of. Then I had 45 mins or so to go potty a couple times and warm up jog around. No need to warm up for long and add extra mileage today!! During my very short jog warm up, I noticed a side cramp already. Well that’s not a good sign! I rarely get them and they are hard to get rid of. Ugh!
So many good things about small races! One of them being you can take your sweats off go potty right before the start and not have to wait in a corral! I took my sweats off and threw them in the drop bag pile 5 minutes before the race, used the bathroom 3 minutes before the race, and lined up at the start in the middle/front-ish about 90 seconds before the race. But, oops, I forgot to have my UCan! Lol, so I started to take the Ucan.
photos: Start line!
TO BE CONTINUED…