right on! Justine and I finished our first marathon ever!!! and what a trip it was. . .
here is the official update - photos courtesy of Aaron, for the most part!
if you don't know, we headed down to Vancouver Island to run the 8th Edge-to-Edge Marathon.
in our minds, this was a scenic and not-to-be-missed unique trail marathon, through the Pacific Rim National Park. Indeed, the highway that runs between the two towns of Tofino and Ucluelet goes through the park. But, also true - it is a highway. 50mph divided highway.
We had a lovely 600m section on the beach which can't be understated - it was beautiful. And while the rest of the run wasn't really much to write home about, it was an incredible personal first marathon!
Our trip to get there was ridiculous. The itinerary:
Drive to Anchorage --> fly to Seattle, pick up rental car --> pick up Aaron in Seattle (Justine's *fabulous* husband who lives in Vancouver, B.C.) --> take the Bainbridge Ferry and pick up some camping stuff from Meg (thanks, guys!) --> drive 1.5 hours to Port Angelas, WA --> take the M.V. Coho ferry to Victoria, B.C. on Vancouver Island where we stayed for one night --> drive 5.5 hours northwest to Tofino and the Park where we camped for three days. To head home we drove from Tofino 3.5 hours to Nainaimo, B.C. where we then took a ferry to Vancouver (the city) and spent the night at Aaron's house. And ate sushi. Such.Good.Sushi. It was incredibly hard to leave - Vancouver is great! I look forward to heading back there.
In Victoria (the land of mini-things), Justine and Aaron got a mini-room at the hostel. This can only begin to show how tiny it is. I'm sitting in the window and Aaron is on the other side of the room, on the bed-cushions. I couchsurfed that night with some great guys who are grad students down there.
Things weren't looking so hot at first. First there was that whole road-thing. J and I thought we might be done for, running approximately 25.9 miles on pavement. Then it rained. Hard. For days. The only break in the weather was, honestly, during the race. Here's Aaron, demonstrating how wet we were for so many days.
Needless to say, we were a bit happy whenever there was a break in the pouring rain. Here's Justine busting out some knitting in a brief repose from the wetness. (lesson learned --> always have a tarp with you (and rope) for car camping in the northwest)
Justine notices that none of the other marathoners are wearing rain coats! We quickly got them off (but my zipper got stuck - there was a small moment of panic) just as all the racers were lining up at the start line...
It was a relatively small race, with about 130 marathoners and some relay teams. I think the half-marathon had far fewer racers, but it began and ended at the other end of the marathon route.
The sports bra has an incredible capacity for holding items - here I am pulling out some food. I ate about every hour, and my food included a luna bar and some of the cliff goo-cubes. Aaron also provided me with ibuprofin support and a bit of a granola bar right near the end. He was an *incredible* and **much appreciated** support crew!!!
Finished and super happy! 15 minutes later discussing the next race (Equinox in September? Probably..)
Justine finished in 4:20, and I came in at 4:38 -- well under my goal of "anything under 5 hours"
Post-race beach walking. Overall we didn't feel too bad...not terribly sore, and just really happy for such a great experience.
Our trusty rental car. I have to say, I hate Fords but this little car was incredibly good to us. We were a bit sad to say goodbye as it had been such a good home for the week!
So now Justine and I are back in Fairbanks, and Aaron is back in Vancouver. All of us working on our respective master's theses (or updating blogs, as the case may be).
Thanks to everyone for the support and well-wishes for this crazy endeavor!
And many many many thanks to Justine and Aaron for being such wonderful traveling companions, incredible friends and just downright amazing people.