Sunday, April 10, 2016

Lake Lowell Marathon Review

My Race: 

Now showered with at least half of the tenacious Mayo Clinic sunscreen scrubbed off, swathed in soft, dry cotton clothes, nibbling on pizza, one beer down the hatch and a second on the way, I feel pretty good.  Marathon number 94 is finished, I was third in my age group (out of three) but not quite last in the race, it's a GOOD DAY!  Finish time was 6:57:51, not up to par but the best I could do today.
Back at the hotel

I did have some runner's issues during the race, a tender Achilles' tendon on the right and a sore bursa in the left hip, both of which caused me to slow down early.  I have felt the sore bursa before - it comes from running a long way on the same side of a crowned road.  It goes away in a day or two.  The Achilles' tendon issue is new, though, and a bit more of a concern.  Happily, although it showed up at about mile 10 or 11, it didn't get worse as long as I only walked and didn't run at all.  I might have been speeding up a bit at the end of the race.  I had been dreading the 100-foot climb just before the finish but it was a piece of cake.

I was concerned about the temperature, predicted to top out at 81 degrees, but I never felt too hot and only once dumped a little water on my head.  Very dry air and a little breeze made the difference.  At the finish the hip and Achilles' tendon were still tender but leg muscles were only weary (as they should be), not painful like they had been three weeks before in the cold wind at Virginia Beach.

The Lake Lowell Marathon:
The day before the race

The Dike, with Lake Lowell
on the right (my left).
Good stuff:

  • The people are wonderful.  I met the race director(s) and they were incredibly supportive of my journey. 
  • The time limit is a generous 8 hours, but the race director told me that the finish would actually stay open until the last runner (or walker) crossed, whenever that was.  
  • Volunteers were awesome!  In races over 6 hours the aid-station volunteers sometimes close up shop early, when they doubt that anyone else is coming, but in this race all aid stations were open when I needed them.  Two were unmanned, but still set up with water, Gatorade, and a little food.  
  • There were plenty of aid stations, with ice water if needed.  I carried water, just in case, but never needed it. 
  • Lake Lowell, more than 100 years old, is a man-made reservoir on the Boise River.  We only saw it for a few miles, but what we did see was very nice and included some lovely wildlife refuges.  
  • The course is out-and-back, which I actually do like because I get to see every other runner at some point. 
  • We like the shirts, with women's sizes for my sweeties.  
  • The medal is spectacular. 
  • Arriving an hour before the start, I got a great parking spot. 
  • Most of the course was on paved roads.  But see below.  
  • Many drivers were very thoughtful and courteous.  But see below. 

The Course: 

I hate to give a race a bad review, but in my opinion this race needs a whole new course.  Lovely people, but easily the worst course in all my 94 marathons.  According to the web site, roads would be open to traffic and we would be passed by an "occasional" car.  In the lowest-traffic portion of the course I counted an average of one vehicle per minute, which is not too bad I suppose, though there were many more trucks than cars.  As I crossed over the 1.4-mile Deer Flat Lower Embankment (the Dike) I counted 99 vehicles crossing with and passing me, and in a one-mile stretch of Orchard Avenue I counted 81 in 16 minutes, which is one every 12 seconds.  This was typical of most of the distance, not just a small part of it - these were trunk roads.  The Dike had no paved shoulder at all, just a rough-gravel shoulder, plenty wide but a little tough on the feet and with the potential to twist a foot or ankle.  Most other roads had a paved shoulder 12 to 15 inches wide, not as wide as a person and certainly not wide enough to feel comfortable with cars, pickups, SUVs, delivery trucks, even double-bottom tanker trucks passing barely an arms-length away at 50 mph.  I found myself stepping down off the pavement onto the rough gravel shoulder hundreds of times, often several times in a single minute.  A few Idaho drivers are not courteous and some did not even try to slow down or move over, especially when cars were coming from the opposite direction as well, which happened frequently.  Many of the drivers were on the phone, including the farmers in their pickups, and some were looking down as if texting.  Indeed one SUV came right across the white shoulder line directly toward me at highway speed, and if it had not corrected, I would have been human paste.  If that driver was pranking me, it was in exceptionally bad taste, even more if texting.  As the SUV passed I yelled through its open window in equally bad taste, though with far less lethal potential.  I think the driver was a woman and there may have been children in the car, but I do not regret my insulting language and I hope that Mommy truthfully admits to them the life lesson, if she learned it, though she probably just thinks I was a really nasty pedestrian.  From that point to the finish I carried throwing-sized rocks in my hands, angrily thinking that if someone pulled that again at least their vehicle wouldn't be the same afterward.  Actually, I felt angry about the traffic during much of the race and I'm angry again as I write this.  I would never have come all the way to Boise to run this disagreeable course if the web site had told the truth about it.
Our Great While Whale.  It was all
the rental car company had left late
on a Wednesday night.

There, now I've said it and I'm done.  Calm down, Don, you're an assertive old fart but anger doesn't suit you and it doesn't cure cancer.  Your normal upbeat and cheerful demeanor is much better.  You finished marathon # 94.  Life is good!

Assuming that all goes well with my myeloma treatment, the next race will be in southern California.

Splits:  39:58 (3 mi), 33:00 (2 mi & nature break), 14:44, 31:36 (2 mi), 14:30, 49:30 (3 mi), 17:00, 15:52, 16:09, 17:04, 16:31, 50:46 (3 mi), 15:52, 16:32, 15:43, 16:45, 16:39, 15:48, 3:55, total 6:57:55.


MikeT said...

Is that a Ford Expedition? One of the best cars I've ever had.I drive a smaller car now. Can't wait to see how well you do with the darzalex. Hoping it will be a success. I'll probably be taking it myself within the next few months . You're very detailed explanation of the infusion process very much appreciated.
I'm 73 and hope to get back to running 5 & 10k's again. Too much fatigue right now.

Don said...

Yep you got it right. I'm used to driving sedans and coupes - unaccustomed to climbing up into a yacht like this. It goes, though, on my first entry to the freeway I pushed down to get up to freeway speed and then oops I was doing 80. Happily no one else noticed. Got 15.3 mpg overall. I really appreciated some of the extras, like the rear view camera and the parking warning sounds, which get more urgent the closer you get to flattening someone else's little sedan. But I guess I could get those options on most any new car these days.

I sure do hope you get to feeling more energetic and can run again. Or walk, which may actually be one of the best exercises we have.

Thanks, Don