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This past weekend was our first official weekend back in Washington, and what better way to spend it than in Vancouver for a marathon? We always manage to fit a lot of stuff into a short amount of time, and this weekend was no exception. On Thursday we moved into a new apartment, unpacked the overloaded Element, and Friday morning packed up once again for a weekend in our old stomping grounds.
Though the real purpose of the weekend was the Vancouver USA Marathon on Sunday, we made it a point to meet up with friends from the two circles that used to identify us the most – work and running. With each friend that we met up with, we shared both good stories and good food (there really are too many to name, and the details of each would probably be boring). There were constant reminders of why we love the Pacific Northwest so much, and why Vancouver has been the one place we stayed in the longest since growing up in Ohio. From the runner-friendly trails in Washington and Oregon, to the scenic mountain views of Mt. Hood, and most importantly to the good food to be had (Paul – your homemade pizza earned the top spot for the weekend).
Oh, and I almost forgot, there was a marathon in there somewhere. On Sunday morning at 7am, Matt toed the line with a runner friend of ours, Josh, and they battled some lonely stretches of road, sunny skies, warm temperatures, and nagging injuries. I am battling my own nagging injury that’s been around since the marathon in the Netherlands, so I played the role of spectator instead, with the hopes of being healed in the next few weeks.
It was a small field of marathon runners, 566 to be exact, which meant that the runners spread out very quickly. With the course being two out-and-back portions, I knew I wouldn’t see Matt very often. I camped out around mile 14 and played the waiting game that many-a-faithful spectator has played, hoping that when I next saw Matt, he’d be in good spirits. He was in even higher spirits than I expected, coming through around 1:35, with a smile on his face and a thumbs up. I ran alongside him for 100 meters and handed over ibuprofen in case his knees started hurting him for the next 12 miles.
After that, I headed back to the finish, watched the start of the half marathon, and played the next portion of the waiting game. Any runner can look fantastic at 14 miles and still fall apart in the last 12 miles, so I feared that Matt’s knees would derail him from a sub-3 hour marathon. Matt said the time didn’t matter, but anyone who knows Matt knows that in the back of his mind, he has a goal time. I can’t really knock him for it though, as I do the same thing.
The top runners trickled in to the finish, each one of them looking hot, spent, and happy to be finishing. As long as Matt held it together, I pegged him for a 2:50-2:55 finish, and he came in just as expected in 2:53.54, good for 5th place overall. Though his knees were hurting at that point, and had been for some time, he managed the pain well, kept his pace even, and eeked out another sub-3 hour marathon for the books. This was his 10th marathon of the year, and 17th overall.
Our friend Kat, finished second female in the half marathon, so a big congrats goes out to her on a tough, hot course. Our friend Josh, did not fare as well. A nagging injury flared up badly in the second half of the race, and once reduced to a walk, he dropped out of the race after 21 hard-fought miles. A big thank you goes out to Josh and his wife Ashley for inviting us to this run, and for hosting us the night before the run with good golf-watching on tv, very good pre-race food, and great conversations.
Thank you to the Vancouver USA Marathon for putting on a good race, and thank you to all our friends for making the weekend that much more enjoyable with good stories and good food. It’s good to be back, and we look forward to more visits to the Couv in the future.