Yakima River Canyon Marathon

Well, I did it!

I ran 26.2 miles!

I’m so proud of this accomplishment. Running a marathon is physically and emotionally trying, but an amazing experience.

Begin at the beginning…

After work on Friday, G and I drove the 2 or so hours east to Ellensburg, WA and checked into the Comfort Inn, where we then hemmed and hawed about where to get dinner.

We settled on the Ellensburg Pasta Company, because, you know, runners are supposed to scarf down pasta before a race or something. So that’s what we did! The food was good, the place was cute, and the service was super nice.

Then we came home and watched the last half of Ghostbusters and I promptly went to sleep.

Good thing too, because I woke up at 5:20. We had plenty of time in the morning, but I was super jittery. Picking up my race packet was easy, as was hanging out at the Days Inn just down the road before the race start. The weather, which had threatened to be nasty, was AWESOME. A little chilly and windy, but sunny and clear.

At the race start. Stand up straight!

I had lots of nervous energy.

Though, once I was there, lined up with everyone else, I really felt quite calm. No turning back now!

With three honks from a semi-truck, the race began!

So, you know, I ran for a long time. I won’t bore you with the thoughts that filled my brain (some of them are CRAZY).

The first 13 miles literally flew by. Because I was running too fast. I definitely didn’t pace myself properly – my 1/2 marathon time was 1:49, which is 11 minutes faster than I ran my last half marathon!

This makes me very eager to sign up for another 1/2 marathon SOON.

But after about mile 14 (when the hills started, ugh!), I really slowed down. I dropped from about 8:30 minute miles to about 10 minute miles! I probably should have aimed for something closer to 9 minute miles all along. Live and learn and wear a watch, I guess.

Still, the course was amazing. We ran through a canyon, surrounded by lovely hills and along the (very full!) Yakima River.

Miles 15-20 were the hardest, mentally. I felt tired, and 10 more miles just sounded impossible. I told myself (out loud, ’cause I’m a sharer) “You HAVE to keep running!” Once I hit mile 20, I knew I could do it. Though I did feel a bit disheartened when someone nearby said, “Only 1 hour left -woohoo!” Seriously? I have to do this for another goshdarned HOUR?

Miles 21-23 were one long gradual hill. So tough. I definitely had to employ the run/walk method. But once I made it to the top, I ran the whole way into the finish line. The whole last mile I had a giant smile on my face, because though everything hurt like crazy, I knew I was almost done. All of my fretting about pacing, slowing down, walking parts of the hills just disappeared and I felt proud, proud, proud of what I was so close to accomplishing!

It sounds totally cheesy, but it’s true: crossing that finish line was an amazing experience.

My final time was 4:06:18. I’m very pleased with this time – a part of me secretly hoped I could get under 4 hours, but I know I did a great job, and I’m very happy with the race I ran. I definitely learned a lot from this race, and that just makes me excited to run another someday.

In the race recovery area, I was handed my medal and a pink rose, then watched people finish until G found me. Then I got the best 20 minute massage of my life in a massage booth. It was so delightful, I didn’t even worry about how sanitary (or not) the massage tables were!

Then I shoved food in my face and pretended to smoke a pretzel rod.

Apparently I was so exhausted I couldn’t open my eyes properly.

We left the race, and then we drove around a litte while I shoved even more food in my face (1/2 bag of Twizzlers!) Then I took a nap in the car. After that I took a shower at the middle school.

Then it was time for the awards dinner!

There was cake.

The Yakima River Canyon Marathon is a unique race in that lots of the runners are super seasoned pros -many people belong to the 100 marathon club. 2 guys completed their 400th marathon. Lots more had run marathons in all 50 states. Crazy town. But very inspiring! The crowd was definitely older, and everyone seemed to know one another. It really seemed like an amazing running community. At one point, they took a poll of the 150 runners who came to the dinner to see how many marathons had been accomplished. 150 people = 9000 marathons!

They also honored first timers like me. I got a certificate! I’m now part of an elite club 😉

After the dinner, G and I said “see ya” to Selah, WA and headed west.

But we were stopped for the night in Cle Elum due to the Snoqualmie Pass being CLOSED/open but only for cars with chains.

So we got a motel room in Cle Elum and went to a western bar and drank Bud Lights. I clearly refuel my exhausted body in the healthiest of ways.

This morning, we drove home. The pass was open and the roads were fine, but it was quite a winter wonderland in the mountains.

Quite amazing that 2 hours east of Seattle it is 60 degrees and sunny and 1 hour east it is snow central.

It’s 46 and cloudy at home in Seattle.

I had a great weekend. Running this marathon was so exciting, fun, painful, scary, and euphoric.


23 thoughts on “Yakima River Canyon Marathon

  1. Congratulations!!!!!!

    John Hanc, running writer
    “I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.”

  2. Thanks for a lovely review of the marathon…..through teary eyes I was amazed at the scenery and so proud of you Lisa. You are AMAZING. Lots of love. Gram

  3. Wow!! Congratulations on an amazing achievement! The scenery looks beautiful and the run sounds really grueling. What an adventure … and what a great accomplishment! You’re the best!

  4. It is very nice to see all the pictures and description of your race. It is a big accomplishment. Congratulations! for being a great runner. Very nice to see your blog.

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