Running an actual race, say what?! This was my 3rd time completing the Tunnel Marathon. The point-to-point marathon starts in Snoqualmie, WA at the Hyak trailhead on the John Wayne Pioneer trail and ends in North Bend, WA. It’s a fun, slightly downhill and fast gravel course filled with gorgeous views. With a loss of over 2,000 ft. of elevation at a consistent grade of 2.2%, the course carries you along. It is also in the top 10 races for a Boston Qualifier.
On race morning, it was in the 50’s and pouring. Not ideal, but better than the opposite and having to deal with the heat. The first few miles started out in a dark tunnel where a headlamp is necessary to be able to see since it’s dark and there are a lot of potholes. Once you get into the tunnel you can see this very faint light ahead that becomes more and more pronounced, hence “Light at the End of the Tunnel.” The remaining course is filled with stunning views that will leave you with your cup filled.
As I started to prepare for my final tapering week, I ended up with the unexpected – food poisoning. As a dietitian, I’m already very focused on my nutrition, however during that week I tuned in even more, ensuring my body was properly nourished, and controlling everything that I could, which made it extra frustrating that I got food poisoning. I went into race day adjusting my mindset a bit and telling myself to try hard but also listen to my body.
A big thing is learning to accept that some things are out of our control.
I started out the first half with great energy, hitting around 1:29-1:30, however that only lasted a short time as I then began to have the dreaded menstrual cramps. Yes, I ended up getting my period during the race. This is something that I never wish would happen but it did and that’s part of life. Usually running at a mild effort actually helps to improve my symptoms but the higher intensity did not agree with my body and I knew from there on out it was important to just listen to my body. Again, I reassessed my goals and decided to go with a pace that was comfortable and just kept moving. I knew that I’d finish if I did this. Even though I completely missed my marathon goal of sub 3, I was able to still finish with a BQ at a time of 3:12:50.
It’s times like these that make me realize that I’m so fortunate to be able to run and be healthy enough to get my period just as I should be. It’s something that isn’t talked about much and we shouldn’t be afraid to.
The way the race played out doesn’t defeat me. Sure, it makes me sad but it’s an opportunity for growth and a motivator to keep me moving forward towards my goals. I know that the sub 3 is right within reach and it’s only a matter of time. Next up – back to my home state of Massachusetts for the Boston Marathon this September.
A huge shoutout to my team, BDP, for all of their support and the volunteers/race director. Appreciate you all!
By Tanya Gallo