Tunnel Vision Marathon Race Report

Meditations in Motion

This is a race report that I don’t know exactly how to write. It is uncharted territory for me. Usually, the gist of my race reports is this: the race was wonderful; I had a fabulous time; I would recommend this race to everyone. Well, this race was wonderful; I would recommend this race to everyone, but, I most definitely did not have a fabulous time.

Meditations in Motion

The trip started off well. I traveled to Seattle, Washington with my hubby Bill, who did not run the race, and two running friends Nancy and Amy. There, we met my son and daughter-in-law, who live in Oregon, and did some touristy stuff. We visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum (which I loved) and went to the top of the Space Needle. We ate at one of Bill’s favorite restaurants and he got his pastrami sandwich fix.

Meditations in Motion

The race, a point-to-point, started about an hour east of Seattle at Hyak in Snoqualmie Pass. Bill drove us to the race start, which meant we didn’t have to ride the shuttle bus, always a plus. It was chilly at the start, so we were glad to be able to sit in our car to wait. You can pick up your race bib the day of the marathon, a nice perk.

 

Meditations in Motion
Amy, Nancy and me

 

We had been getting smoke updates from the race director before the race, which was slightly unsettling. You can see the haze from distant forest fires in the background of this photo. Other than a faint smoky odor at the race start, though, the smoke was really not an issue. We posed for this picture, lined up at the starting line, and were off.

Meditations in Motion

A unique feature of this race is the old railroad tunnel that you run through beginning half a mile into the race. Runners are instructed to wear headlamps or carry a flashlight. The tunnel is almost 2.5 miles long, and it is completely dark inside. I never felt claustrophobic, however. There are hundreds of runners, all wearing lights, going through the tunnel at the same time. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel almost a mile before you reach it, so that gives you a nice point of reference.

I was running with Amy at this point and feeling good. Nancy took off ahead of us at the starting line, and I didn’t see her until the finish. There is a point right after the tunnel where you can drop a bag with your headlamp, long-sleeved shirts, and any other items you want to get rid of. The first aid station is also there. Amy decided to visit the porta-potty at the aid station and I kept going. I knew she would catch up to me eventually.

Meditations in Motion

The race course is entirely on a packed crushed gravel rail trail. It is all a gentle downhill. I have run downhill marathons before, and I find them to be more difficult than flat races. Not this course; it is just enough downhill so you feel like you are having a good day, but not enough to be a quad-shredder. The course is the most beautiful, scenic one I have ever run. There are only several hundred runners in the race; just the perfect size. I was never alone, but it never felt crowded, either.

At about mile four, I began feeling a slight twinge in my hip, which I knew was not a good sign. I have been dealing with a hip injury for over a year. It began last June (2017) when I visited my son and his family in Steamboat Springs, CO. It had been very gradually improving, but I did an 18-mile training run with Nancy three weeks before the race, which caused it to hurt a lot. 10 days before the race, I tried a 13-miler, which was even worse, then six days pre-race I attempted a six-miler, which did not go well either. In between runs, I applied heat, foam-rolled, did my prescribed strengthening exercises, and crossed my fingers.

By mile eight of the race, the pain in my hip was intense, and by mile 11, I could no longer run, so I started walking. I wanted to do a run/walk at this point, but I was afraid of not being able to finish at all, so I tried for a brisk walking pace. Amy caught up to me at mile 16, and we walked together for a brief time, but I soon needed a pit stop, and she kept going.

Meditations in Motion

Bike riding volunteers passed me several times, asking if I was alright. I gave them the thumbs up sign and kept walking. I did not feel too discouraged until about mile 20. By this time, even walking caused my hip to hurt. I couldn’t decide whether it hurt more to walk or run, so I did a little of both. As I could barely lift my left leg, my gait consisted of running with my right leg, and sort of shuffling my left leg along the ground in a rolling motion, then repeating the action over and over and over… It was a slow process.

Meditations in MotionI finally finished the marathon, collected my shirt, medal and pin, all of which are awesome, and got to sit down. Bill was there, and he got me a little food, but I really wasn’t very hungry. I was in a lot of pain and very glad to be finished. My race time was an hour slower than my previous slowest marathon time.

I am now in the process of visiting medical professionals to try to rehabilitate my hip. My friends Nancy and Amy are great inspirations for me. Nancy is a very good runner, but she battled injuries for years until finally getting a Boston Qualifying time again at this race. Amy had not run a marathon in almost three years due to injuries, and she ran this race much faster than she expected. When I look at them, I can say with confidence, “I will be back.

I would definitely recommend this race to anyone considering a marathon. I have nothing negative to say about the race. The communication from the race director was good, the amenities were fine, the logistics were easy, the support was fantastic, and the course was spectacular. This was the prettiest, easiest marathon course I have ever run. The tunnel, while not my favorite part of the course, was a novelty that I was glad to have experienced.

When my hip is better, I am coming for you again, Tunnel Vision Marathon!

I am linking up with Running on Happy and Fairytales and Fitness for their Friday 5, Shank You Very Much for her Dream Team, and Holly from HoHo Runs and Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home for their Weekly Wrap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

79 comments

  1. Sorry to hear things went South for you Laurie, congrats on finishing the race 😀, I know how you feelt as my right hip does that to me if I walk to far in one day, I hope you recover from this dear.

    ❤️✌️
    BY FOR NOW

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh I’m so sorry; I had a half like that once & I can’t even imagine what it must have felt like to go on for double that distance. 😦

    At least the race was well run, unlike my last fiasco! It sounds amazing in fact. Love Snoqualmie; it’s so beautiful there!

    Here’s to a quick & full recovery.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh what a bummer your hip decided to bother you so bad during your race. I commend you for slowing down and getting to the finish line all in one piece. I hope you find a plan to rehab it, and hopefully whatever it is you need to do can get you back out there running very soon.

    I do not think I would be able to run through a tunnel that long. It sounds VERY cool, and it is something I probably could have done 5 years ago, but not right now. That is SO NEAT though!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I do plan to rehab my hip. I have a doctor’s appointment on Tuesday, and I hope to be back to running soon!

      I anticipated being slightly freaked out by the tunnel, but it actually wasn’t bad at all. I understand your apprehension, though.

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  4. Laurie- I am so sorry you are injured. Rehabbing is so frustrating I think. I am in awe! I grew up just west of there and have ridden that trail on my bike many times. I have never had the courage to do the tunnel. I think it takes so much courage to be a distance runner. I am cyclist not a runner. I know the mental endurance distance events take on a bike. I imagine they must be so much greater on foot. Congratulations on finishing! and conquering the tunnel!

    Liked by 2 people

    • What a beautiful spot to grow up! I would love to go back and spend more time there. I saw lots of bike riders on the trail and rock climbers, too. The tunnel was really not bad when you are surrounded by 500 other runners – all with lights! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so sorry to hear that your hip decided to misbehave during the race. Cudos to you for finishing despite the pain. I’ve only had one DNF and it was mentally worse than any pain I’ve ever had in a race.

    I think the tunnel sounds cool and as long as you could see where you were going, I don’t think its a big deal. I love that the race is downhill. I say I’m done with the marathon distance but I would consider running this one!!

    I hope you’re back.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Wendy. I have not been able to run in the week since the marathon. I am seeing the doctor on Tuesday. I hope to generate a plan then. I would definitely recommend this marathon. There are 3 versions at 3 different times during the year, and they all sell out – for a good reason!

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  6. I’m so sorry to hear about your hip 😦 I have had some hip pain during my last two long runs, and those were only 10 and 11 miles. You are such a trooped for powering through a marathon with that pain. I hope that you get some relief soon!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Tunnel of Light is run on the exact same course that I ran. The course is easily the fastest, prettiest course ever. You should have a great time. The tunnel was not scary at all – there are always other runners with lights on all around you. I never felt crowded in the tunnel. Have fun at the TOL marathon!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on a such hard earned finish! The course sounds like my ideal route. I love a downhiller and the novelty of running in a long train tunnel would be so cool. I’m very sorry to hear about your hip. My left hip has been cranky off and on for a few years now. The last really bad flare up was from hiking in the Smokies this Spring and it still hasn’t quite calmed down. Although I think it is bursitis or arthritis, I’m very interested to hear what you find out and what they suggest as a plan of action. Fingers crossed you’ll be back on the road very soon! Thanks for linking.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The course was the easiest one I have ever run. And beautiful, too!
      My hip has been cranky for a year. Last summer, before I did the Berlin marathon, I was water running to train, but Berlin didn’t make it hurt more. This summer was a different story. I haven’t been running since the marathon! 😦

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  8. Ah mann. I’m sorry Laurie. I’m sorry timing had to play this game with you. But congratulations of giving it your best, for finishing, and most of all for having this incredible outlook on your experience!! THAT is the sign of a winner right there. You will be back, of course you will. But for now I really hope you have a speedy, healthy recovery. Hips are no joke 😦

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh you poor thing, how dreadful. And massive kudos to you for not giving up, I really admire that. I love the look of this marathon, too, though the tunnel looks a bit scary (and what does it do to your running watch??). Hope you feel better soon.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I would definitely recommend the marathon if you are looking for a fast time. It was the easiest marathon course I ever ran. GPSs do not work in the tunnel. I don’t wear one – I just wear a cheap sports watch – so it was no problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry your race didn’t go to plan and that you had to deal with such strong hip pain…it does look like a beautiful course and the running through a tunnel sounds so cool! Hope you are feeling better.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. What a total bummer! So sorry for all your frustrations and discomfort. I had a similar (be not as severe) hip issue when I ran Route 66 (Nov. ’16). Actually, I think my pain was more in the groin, but every step with my left foot felt “off” from the second mile until the finish. I passed the 13.1 finish and spent the next five miles debating whether to turn around or not, but eventually warrior’d on and finished. Thankfully, my endurance pulled me along (as did yours), but it was a very frustrating experience on a very fun race course.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Oh wow, you certainly do have a good attitude toward a race that didn’t pan out as you’d expected. I sometimes wonder if I gave up on running marathons too easily after my back injury, but when I get into the later stages of a half sometimes and my sciatic nerve starts complaining, I know I made the right decision.

    I hope you get the problem figured out quickly and can get back on the road to recovery soon.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Oh wow Laurie, I’m so sorry. I DNS’d two marathons due to hip pain that would not quit. I’m amazed/impressed you were able to push through that pain as it is no joke. Wishing you speedy and complete healing. You will indeed be back!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. What a fighter you are! I don’t know how you kept going with all that pain. You still got that medal – you did amazing out there just to get to the finish. My husband did a Half Marathon last weekend and he got to the finish but a lot of pain at the back of his knee. He had an ultrasound done yesterday and doctor says he shouldn’t run for 2 months. He is gutted but I know he will be back with a bang just like I know you will be back to take on this Marathon again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, your poor hubby. 2 months of not running. I started physical therapy this week, and the therapist thinks I should be able to start running again (only 1 mile) next week.

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  15. […] I wrote earlier about a trip my hubby Bill and I took to Colorado and Oregon to visit two of our sons and their families. You can read about that trip here. We were home less than two weeks before we again boarded a plane for the West Coast so I could run a marathon in Washington state, about 30 miles east of Seattle. You can read about that disastrous marathon here. […]

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  16. Thanks for sharing your story with this race. It’s encouraging to hear how other runners have fought their way through challenging circumstances. We’ve all had those races. I’m so impressed that you battled through until the end of the marathon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Washington state marathon was the prettiest, easiest course I have ever run. They actually do races there several times each year on the same course. I would love to go back and have a re-do.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Use this marathon experience and learn from it – while the outcome is not what you anticipated or wanted, you did the best you could on that day. The more you listen to your body (giving it proper rest and recovery and not running through pain/discomfort/injury), the longer you will be able to enjoy the sport of running.

    Liked by 1 person

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