Friday, October 26, 2018

Tunnel Light Marathon Race Recap 9/16/18

Tunnel Light Marathon Race Recap 9/16/18
I pulled it off! I ran my 3rd marathon and came away with a PR and BQ at the Tunnel Light Marathon! Sorry for the late recap. Yes, it's been over a month since the marathon but I figure it's better to post late rather than not at all. Anyway, the race was held in Washington State and is a point to point course starting at the Hyak parking lot near Snoqualmie Pass ending in North Bend. If you read my goals for the race, I had to run a hard race to get my A goal but I got my B goal and am very happy with it!

PACKET PICKUP: Packet pickup was available the day before the race at the Nike Outlet in North Bend. The pickup table was right outside of the outlet store and was a fairly easy grab and go for our bibs, however they ran out of shirts in some sizes (smalls and mediums), so we ended up having to get our shirts race day morning which was a bummer. However, we got our shirts. Below is the shirt we got.
Tunnel Light Marathon shirt 2018
After checking in to our hotel the Edgewick Inn, we decided to check out the tunnel we were going to be running in before the race. Btw the Edgewick Inn is an ok hotel, nothing fancy (and even ran out of hot water cleaning up after the race) but it was very close to the school where the buses were to pick us up and shuttle us to the start. The hotel books up fast so reserve early if you can.

As to the tunnel, it was really nice to get a feel for what the tunnel would be like before the race. Some of my sister's friends ran a couple of easy miles in it as a shakeout run and told us that the tunnel isn't level. They recommended when running to stay in the center as the sides dropped down as you ran further in, so that was good to know.
RACE DAY: We got up around 4:30am so that we would have time to eat and get ready before the race start time of 7am. I ate a bagel with peanut butter and also a Health Warrior Chia bar. We left around 5:30 to Twin Falls Middle school to catch the shuttle bus. When we got there the lot was pretty full. Luckily my sister found a spot right in front of the school that was close to the buses. 
The bus ride ride was about 20 minutes and while on the bus I took my UCAN about a half hour before the race. I was already starting to get nervous.
When we got there it was cold and wet. We went straight to the porta potties. We waited in line for a bit but it wasn't too bad of a wait. The temperature was about 45 degrees, so I was cold but I had my throw away hoodie on. The cold was bearable until it started raining and there wasn't much covered areas to stay dry before the race started. 
Tunnel Light Marathon
We did some dynamic stretches and even made it to the bathroom a second time before the start of the race. The race is actually pretty small with about 760 entries.
Tunnel Light Marathon Start
Here's our pre-race selfie.
Photo Credit:
The race started pretty much on time at 7am. I took off my hoodie right away and was happy I did because I warmed up fast. We got to the tunnel about .5 mile in and the 2.4 miles inside wasn't bad at all for me. I had my Knuckle light with me and it was perfect to help guide me in the tunnel although everyone else had headlamps/lights as well and everyone else's lights made for a well lit tunnel. I did not feel claustrophobic at all and it was very helpful to know to stay in the center as the sides did drop a little. I was also worried about if my Garmin would work in the tunnel after reading other recaps with their watches not working, however I was surprised that mine worked fine. There were mile markers inside the tunnel and my Garmin 645 beeped pretty much on par with the signs so I was happy. I felt good in the tunnel and it went by pretty quickly. I was very happy when I got out of the tunnel and back into the light. At the end of the tunnel was a drop off point for those that wanted to drop off their lights. I ended up putting mine in my Flipbelt as I figured it was faster. For this marathon, I purchased a pacing band from FindMyMarathon.Com and picked a conservative start for my A goal time of 3:41. I was pretty close but a little bit faster than what my band said in the tunnel. 

Mile 1 - 8:43
Mile 2 - 8:36
 Tunnel Light Marathon - out of the tunnel shot
As you can see I was happy out of the tunnel but right after the pic was taken I wasn't so when I found out that I forgot to pair/sync my Aftershokz headphones to my phone. It was still paired to my Garmin 645 watch since I used it on the plane to listen to music while traveling to Seattle. I really did not want to stop to pair it with my phone because I knew it would waste valuable time so I ran without music. I could have used my watch, but I was scared that my watch wouldn't last the whole race since listening to music drains the watch a lot faster. So yes, I ran the whole marathon without music. Pretty crazy but I learned to just talk to myself the whole way saying mantras like "I could do it" "you got this" "don't give up". I did a pretty good job talking to myself. :)
Mile 3 - 8:38 - The beautiful scenery helped. Running on the trail was really nice.
Tunnel Light Marathon trail
Mile 4 - 8:15
Mile 5 - 8:14
Mile 6 - 8:17 - It was neat to come across bridges like this. The misty fog was really cool too.
Tunnel Light Marathon - bridge shot
This is the view from the bridge.
Tunnel Light Marathon - view from bridge shot
Mile 7 - 8:28 - I think it was between miles 6 & 7 where there was a slight hill. There was only one up hill that I remember and it wasn't long.
Mile 8 - 8:24 - I filled up my Simple Hydration bottle with water and dropped a Nuun tablet in it for the first time at the mile 8 hydration stop.
Mile 9 - 8:18
Mile 10 - 8:22
Mile 11 - 8:20
Mile 12 - 8:25
Mile 13 - 8:18 - At the midpoint of the race, I was still feeling pretty darn good. I filled up my bottle at 13.4 with more Nuun. I was in a good zone. The weather was pretty interesting with the rain. At times it was just a drizzle while other times it was a downpour. I was on pace or probably even still faster than my pace band times.Tunnel Light Marathon
Mile 14 - 8:33
Mile 15 - 8:22 
Mile 16 - 8:18
Mile 17 - 8:24 
Mile 18 - 8:22 - At around 18 miles I took the UCAN gel I made to keep my steady energy going. 
Mile 19 - 8:46
Mile 20 - 8:31 - I was still feeling ok at this point.
Mile 21 - 8:43 - I refilled my bottle for the last time at the mile 21.2 aid station. My pace was starting to slow and was off from my pace band time. 
Mile 22 - 8:36
Mile 23 - 8:35 
Mile 24 - 8:52 - I started to really fatigue here. 
Mile 25 - 9:10 
Mile 26 - 9:23 - The last two miles were the worst and I just wanted it to be over. Looking at my pace band, I was way over pace and thought that I didn't even have a chance to BQ any longer but I still pushed it to the best of my ability. My watch was actually behind so I thought I had more to go but we turned and I saw the finish line so I booked it and ran as fast as my legs could go. 
.16 - 7:55 - I looked at my watch and knew I still had a chance. I was so happy when I crossed that finish line.
Finish line pic - Tunnel Light Marathon
I did it! I finished in 3:4316.1 a 13 minute PR and Boston qualifying time!!!
Here's a post race pic with my twin sister. She did awesome and got her fastest marathon time along with a BQ.
Finish line pic with my sis and Simple Hydration bottles
More post race pics below! All of our friends that ran got at least a PR which says this course is fast!
I still can't believe I did it. I didn't reach my A goal but I'm very happy with my performance that day. I qualified for Boston, which is something I never thought I could ever do so I am just happy I did it. It isn't enough to actually go to Boston (needed a 4:52 sec. buffer) but it doesn't mean I'm not going to keep trying. I've learned that marathons do change you. They've helped me realize that you are stronger than you think.  

I want to thank Hubby and the boys for supporting me and my crazy running habit and throughout marathon training. And especially Hubby for watching the boys during my long runs. Also many thanks to Coach Dawn for coaching me and giving me a training schedule that challenges me and keeps me injury free. Love that you are helping me improve in endurance and speed. Thank you so much Coach!
There were lots of post race goodies! Check out the spread!
Tunnel Light Marathon Post Race goodies
And of course here's the bling.
Tunnel Light Marathon Medal 2018
Overall, I will have to say the Tunnel Light Marathon was an amazing race! The gradual downhill helped lots. The course was either downhill or flat with just one hill that I remembered. The packed gravel trail and the beautiful views make it one I would definitely do again. The free downloadable pics was a nice touch too! Maybe next time the weather will be better and I'll remember to pair my headphones to my phone? Here's one last celebratory pic with our medals. :)
Happy running!

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