Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2018 Airline TrAle Marathon

We headed up to Jamie and Kate's on Friday after school got out, arriving in time for dinner and cupcakes in celebration of Jamie's birthday and then headed to bed too late. Saturday dawned early with heavy winds blowing, power out and Sam getting up way before was necessary. Jamie and Ryan took off early to mark the marathon course. There was a big washout partway through the loop so there was a fair amount of backtracking needed and they didn't finish up until around 2:00 pm.

Kate and I sat around drinking coffee and chatting and writing "beer" on all the over 21 bibs and "soda" on the others (gotta love a race that finishes at a brewery!), and then around 9:00, headed over to the brewery to cut up oranges in the dark and finish up the awards. Cutting up enough oranges to fill 5 extra large ziplock baggies consumed me for the next few hours, and left my arm sore and me covered in orange juice ;) While I did that, Kate worked on the awards and Sam supervised ;)

John arrived soon after we did, and we sent him off with the task of marking the 5k and 10k turn-arounds. We all finished up around noon, grabbed some lunch and then Kate and John headed back to the brewery to help set up the big tent while Sam and I hung out at the house for a bit playing with the cats, relaxing and rescuing ladybugs ;)

The boys arrived back in time to grab a late lunch and a beer at Airline and then we all headed home to shower and cook up an early dinner. It was early to bed after a busy but productive day!

The marathon started at 7:00 am, with the shorter races starting at 11:00. There were only 7 marathon entrants so it was a very chill start. Ryan took off ahead with me trailing a few yards behind, but once we hit the road, he hung back and we ended up running the first 6 miles together, down along the river and up onto the logging roads. After the initial descent to the river, the first miles were mostly uphill, but all runnable, even if I was huffing and puffing a bit in spots ;) We chatted as we ran along, keeping the pace comfortable, and it was fun to share some miles.

While we were running, Sam joined Jamie out on the course in his truck, and we were able to see them at the 10k turn-around as they set up the turn-around signs and water jugs, so that was fun :) With the road being mostly well packed gravel, it was good running and we marveled at how "out there" we felt almost immediately. We saw three snowshoe hares, passed lots of big erratics at the edge of the road, a few beaver ponds, a stretch lined with purple trillium and fiddleheads. It was a beautiful morning to be out in the woods!

I knew Ryan was hoping to kick the pace up a notch after the first hour or so of running, so once we hit the water jug at mile 6 where the road was washed out, I sent him off. I was able to keep him in my sights for a few miles but eventually his lead grew enough that I lost sight of him. We had gotten pretty far ahead of the other runners right from the get-go, and no one else was around but the course was well marked with spray painted orange arrows and I felt comfortable out there by myself. Of course, on the other hand, I most certainly didn't want to miss a turn, as these roads go on forever and who knows where I would have ended up ;)

There were sweeping views out into the distance in spots and otherwise just pretty woods to run through. There was also a stretch of around 2 miles where we were following fresh moose tracks, although we never saw their maker.

If you look closely enough, you can see Ryan as a speck in the distance down the road ;)

Around 10 miles in, Jamie's truck came into view coming toward me in the reverse direction. I stopped for a quick hello and to find out he was going to backtrack to check on the last runner before turning around to set up along the course as a make-shift aid station out of the back of his truck. He mentioned the loop up ahead and making sure I went the right way, and I was like, 'shit, I should have paid more attention to Ryan's ramblings about the course last night! I hope the turn is obvious!' Ha! Turns out, I needed have worried. I came up to the water jug around mile 11.5 and remembered Ryan telling me about the "mountain" loop. Yup, this must be it. Lots of climbing, up up up, to sweeping vistas out into blueberry fields and beyond. So beautiful. And so hilly :) 

The backside of the loop was a mile or so of woodland trail alongside a pond, and then it was back up to the water jug and up up up the hills. I was wondering if I'd see anyone out here as I made my way around the loop a second time, and sure enough at the junction, Jamie and Sam had set up the truck and two of the runners were there on their first loop. I stopped to say hi and see how everyone was doing and enjoyed a handful of peanut M&Ms before continuing on. The sun had come out a bit more and the temps had risen and it was the first time I'd noticed that the black flies were out. Ah spring! Time to get moving again!

My watch was reading 17.3 miles and Jamie said it was 7.3 back to the brewery. Looking at the time, I knew I was going to finish up awfully close to 4 hours and chances were good I was going to get trampled by the 5k and 10k runners starting out. Eeek! I felt like I had been keeping up a decent pace all along and had been feeling good. I certainly wasn't lollygagging, but I knew I was going to have to kick it up a bit if I wanted to finish in under 4 hours. The trail wound down through the woods and then flattened out along the river. So pretty! In one spot there were big swirls of foam in an inlet and the river bubbled and gurgled as I ran along. The only thing about trying to run "fast" was that the flat section was a bit painful. Ha! ;) I had run out along this road back in March when we visited but only went about 4 miles out, and I was waiting for the rise back up from the river to recognize my turn-around from that run. 

Of course, I dropped a gel and had to stop to pee in the final 4 miles ;) but otherwise, I kept my head down and the pace up and hoped I would have enough umph left to run up the steep Tannery road from the river back to the brewery! I had only had to walk a few of the hills on the mountain loop and I really didn't want to have to walk in the final mile!! 

Managed to grind it out and finish in 3:58:39, just in time to not get trampled and with the added thrill of finishing to a big round of cheering as ALL the runners were lined up on the start line for their race :) HA! Slightly embaressing but fun :)

This was a really fun race and I had a great time out there. I loved the novelty of running a great big loop out into the middle of nowhere, full of views and wildlife and beautiful woods. Jamie really put together a good course!

Yay running!

With only 7 of us out there tackling the marathon, which ended up being 24.5 miles, Ryan came in with the overall win in a ridiculously fast time of 3:37 and I was second place/first woman. Gotta love small races ;)


Happy runner at the finish line!

It was fun to catch up with friends and enjoy a beer and watch everyone finish after our race was done. Sam had a great time with Jamie out on the course, and then had fun with Jenn's girls after getting back to the brewery, so a good day was had by all :) 

The girls taking down the finish line tape ;)

Many thanks to Jamie and Kate for a great weekend and a really fun run! Really happy with my effort and great to get in a solid run on new to me trails/roads!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Such a fun read, D!

Big congrats to you on a super run and 2nd overall! Also, big congrats to Ryan for his win and speedy finish!