Super Marathon–Snoqualmie Pass, WA

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The Super Marathon in Snoqualmie Pass, Washington was the marathon we picked to follow up Mt Hood.  The race date was June 30, 2019.  Small race that is part of the Cascade Super Series in the Cascade Mountains.   Race day packet pick up.  Easy parking at the start line.  Point to point downhill marathon that passes thru the famed Snoqualmie Tunnel.  Julie, Me & Judy at the start.  LOVE these ladies!!!

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Another downhill, marathon?  Yes.  This was the closest event we could find in proximity to the Revel Mt Hood race.  We try to get a good bang for our buck when we have to fly, or travel further away from the Midwest.  We were SUPER sore for the Mt Hood marathon, which had an elevation drop of 5600-5800 feet, depending on who you ask.  But this event only had a net drop of 1500 feet.  Very gradual and to be honest, it didn’t feel like a downhill race.  At least not, like Mt Hood. 

Race started at the Hyak trailhead at Iron Horse State Park.  Majority of the race is on the Iron Horse Trail, finishing on the John Wayne Trail at the Cedar Falls Trailhead of the Cascades State Park. 

The first 5 miles were flat, an out and back past Keechelus Lake.  Breathtaking views.  

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The course was on a packed gravel trail.  Not super rough, but big enough rocks that I would have preferred trail shoes instead of road shoes.  My feet are wimpy!

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Very low key race but plenty of support and there was never a question as to direction on course.  Aid stations every 1.5 to 2 miles.  Potties, gels, water, Gatorade & other items. 

At mile 5.2 we entered the famed Snoqualmie Tunnel.  Volunteers gave us little flashlights to navigate the darkness.  This is a 2.4 mile tunnel.  Very dark.  See the progression of our run thru the tunnel as the “light at the end of the tunnel” gets bigger & bigger until we were out. 

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I loved running thru the tunnel but we were careful to take it slow since it was dark.  There were also some wet areas and the surface was uneven.  Lower air temp in the tunnel too, so it was a nice cool section for running.

Speaking of taking things slow.  The entire race was slow for us.  We were seriously damaged from the run down Mt Hood the previous day.  We aren’t new to endurance events.  Or even to doubles.  We have done several double marathons where we run 2 marathons in 2 days.  Judy has even done 3 in 3 days.  And Julie & I have each done 2 Ironman triathlons (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).  But nothing has ever put the hurt on us like Mt Hood.  Normally, on Day 2 of a double, we are tight and slightly stiff but not really sore.  We start running like stiff, little old ladies, but in 4-5 miles we are loose and things go back to normal.  Its not uncommon for us to run faster on Day 2 because we know we don’t have to save anything for another race.  This was not the case for the Super Marathon.  We were sore the entire day.  In fact, it hurt to run.  Not like we were injured but rather our quads and calves were so tight and inflamed from Mt Hood, that it hurt to run.  I couldn’t even take full strides because my full body weight on a foot strike activated my quad muscles and caused piercing pain.  So we did A LOT of walking.  And I mean a lot.  It didn’t hurt to walk.  So well, we walked.   And took pictures.  Enjoy.  Smile

Nice groomed trails.  Lots of shady areas.

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Great views of the Cascade Mountains.

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Lots of bridges & I really love bridges!

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Waterfalls.

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Beautiful Flowers.

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Rock faces along the trail where people were climbing.

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Overall, I really loved this race.  I loved running the trails and there was plenty to see.  I never noticed that it was a net downhill but my quads were so damaged before I started that it may have been more perceptible to those where were fresh. 

This is a very similar course to both the Jack n Jill Marathon and the Light at the End of the Tunnel Marathon.  The Snoqualmie Tunnel being the main attraction for each.  And the gentle downhill descent which is good for those looking for a PR or BQ.  I personally am not super coordinated, so I’m happy I was able to leisurely run thru the tunnel verses trying to stay on pace to achieve a certain finish time.  And I will note (again) that I would prefer trail shoes verses road shoes for this event.

Great event.  Great swag (not pictured:  water bottle & race bag). 

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And the BEST part of the race was the famous grilled cheese at the end.  No, it wasn’t quite as large as the promo photo.  But there was plenty and it was super tasty. 

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I really loved this race.  I’d definitely go back, if it were a bit closer. Washington was state #32 and marathon #55.  Making progress!  Next up the RAIN Ride from Terre Haute to Richmond, IN on July 20th.  Then Ironman Arizona on November 24th.

** Happy Running ** Amanda – TooTallFritz

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Revel Mt Hood–A Downhill Marathon, Portland, OR

The Revel Race Series is known for scenic, downhill marathons.  Last summer, we registered for Revel Mt Hood in Portland, OR which took place on June 29, 2019.  We had hopes that just maybe, if we were healthy, we’d have a great race and possibly snag a PR or BQ.  No need for suspense, that did not happen.  I’m healthy for the most part.  My concussion or “post concussion” symptoms are mostly gone from the bike crash last September.  I can go long but not fast.  I had some hip issues after IMTX in April that I’ve been working thru and I’m carrying an extra 10#s.    Not complaining, but weight does make a difference when you are trying to run fast. 

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We flew into Portland, OR.  Packet pickup was at the Oregon Convention Center.  Small expo.  Easy in and out.  A few photos at the expo with Julie & Judy below.

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Logistics for this race are definitely more challenging than most.  It’s a point to point race with the marathon starting at the top of Mt Hood at the Timberline Ski Resort and running down the mountain to the Rainbow Trout Farm.  There is a shuttle directly from one of the host hotels to the start for an additional fee; however, most participants drive out to Sandy and take the free shuttle to the start area.  Insider tip:  there are hotels in the Sandy area.  If you have a car and want to cut your travel time on race day, stay in Sandy!!  The area where the host hotel is located isn’t great anyhow and you won’t be missing anything. 

Race starts in waves based on pace.  And the buses to the start also leave in waves.  Be prepared, the temperature drops as you go up the mountain. Have some throw away clothes or extra stuff to wear prerace.  It was in the low 30s when we got to Timberline.

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The descent begins as soon as you get off the bus.  And the views at the top are breathtaking.

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I didn’t see a sign for the percent grade for the first 5 miles.  However, I can say that it was a lot.  And we were all moving pretty quick.  And it was fun!  I did feel the descent pulling me down, I was just hoping that it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  Revel offers free photos of the runners, which is nice.  I usually don’t buy pictures of myself running …. cuz they just aren’t cute!  Smile   But this is one of the free photos.

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Initial road down from Timberline was closed to thru traffic, which was nice.  Aid stations were set up every couple miles.  Potties, water, Gatorade, first aid, Deep Blue rub, food & gels. 

Second 5 miles were at a 6% grade.  The views were hidden behind big pines, the race course joined roads with vehicular traffic, and it was starting to get hard.  I’d say miles 1-4 were fun.  Miles 4-8, I noticed things were starting to tighten up.  And by mile 10, I was slowing down and it was actually starting to hurt. 

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The sun came out.  It was warming up as we were heading down, down, down. 

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After mile 15, it started to flatten out, and there we even some inclines in the distance.  By this point, all the people who could handle the terrain were long gone.  My friends were long gone.  I was run/walking but not alone.  Lots of people also struggling.  I tried to enjoy the scenery but really just wanted to be done.  Lots of aches, pains & tightness by this point. I stopped several times and used the Deep Blue rub that was on course.  I was so happy to see the 20 mile sign, but also in disbelief that it was “only” mile 20 and I still had another 6.2 miles!

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As always, the finish line finally arrived.  I was in the pain cave by then.  The race organizers did a great job.  As did the volunteers and support on course.  Finish line festivities included a NormaTec Recovery Boot station.  Donuts & Pizza.  Local Beer.  But ultimately, we were just ready to pack it up and head out.  Since we flew to the Pacific Northwest to grab a new state in our journey to run a marathon in every state, well, you may have guessed it.  We had to pack up and head to Washington to run a marathon the following day. 

SWAG – Revel Race shirt (upcharge for long sleeve or tank top) & Goodr sunglasses.  Marathon Maniac race shirt, luggage tab & extra medal for the Marathon Maniac & Half Fanatic Race Series. 

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Mt Hood was my 54th marathon; Oregon was my 31st state. 

I’ve had some questions on tips on how to train for a downhill marathon.  I wish I had some to give.  This was the hardest marathon I’ve ever done.  The hardest endurance event that I’ve ever done.  The downhill pounding really requires a lot of strength, not only in your legs but also your core.  The recovery has been long.  I’m almost 3 weeks post race and my legs are still heavy.  I’ve had 2 massages.  Done a lot of cycling.  And no running.  My body is just not ready to run.  I’ll try something short this week.  Maybe.  Not really sure how one could adequately prepare for a downhill run of this magnitude without living somewhere with ample elevation for training.  If you figure it out, please let me know!  At this point, we can say we tried a downhill marathon.  It was hard.  Harder than it should have been.  And we probably won’t try anything this steep again.  But only time will tell.

Heading to Washington State next!  In an attempt to see something other than run courses, we did stop at Snoqualmie Falls in Snoqualmie, WA.   Pictures of the falls below.  Race report on day 2, the Super Marathon in Snoqualmie Pass, WA up next!

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** Happy Running, All! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz