Runner: Matt Urbanski
Location: Snohomish, WA
Results: 2:32:05, 1st place and PR!
3 Bests – what aspects of the race did you like the most
- It is a flat and fast course. I set a new PR and was able to stay in a steady rhythm the entire run.
- The weather was absolutely beautiful and perfect for racing – 40s at the start, creeping into the 50s by the time I finished. It was a clear, crisp autumn day. Awesome!
- I loved the small town feel. There was a good deal of out and back so there was lots of cheering from other racers which added to the race camaraderie. Plus, I was wearing Space Cat Taco so I was getting some extra love from my fellow runners out there!
Not so much – aspects of the race that didn’t do it for you
Twice at turns I briefly went the wrong way. Not a huge deal b/c the volunteers yelled quickly and got me on the correct path, but the jolting stop/turn/accelerate is not something that feels good 16 miles into a race. I know I could be paying attention better so it’s mainly on me, and the fact that this is the only downside I can think of for the entire race is super positive.
Weird factor – what’s the weirdest thing about this race
This isn’t about the race but about my nutrition. I went by feel and literally only drank one swig of water the entire race, and I took in no calories. I wasn’t thirsty and I wasn’t feeling low energy or hungry. It was awesome and totally a first for me. I didn’t plan well and didn’t have my marathon-favorite PowerGels for the race. I wasn’t excited to choke down any of the Gu that I was carrying so that likely contributed to my not eating anything, but I simply didn’t feel the need the entire race. Shows how perfect the weather was that I wasn’t thirsty either!
Highlights of your race – what did you do well and enjoy about your race in particular
I set a new PR by almost two minutes! I also stayed steady the entire run with minimal slowdown overall. I may have even netted a small negative split! I felt in control of my run throughout, was not stressing or pushing through 16, and only around 18 did I start to feel the accumulated fatigue building up. That aspect of my run didn’t start getting really real until after mile 21 and even though I could feel my body wearing down, it stayed strong all the way home. Really encouraging.
Lessons Learned – share your pro-tips on the race to help the next runner or yourself on the next time around
- Eat and drink to thirst and hunger. I am glad I went with this and didn’t bother messing with any gels or the water stops along the way. Cool part of my race for sure. Caveat: I’ve been practicing with racing and fueling for a long time and feel like I have a good sense for the “feelings” my body is telling me. I recommend practicing this and learning about yourself before totally going on feel.
- Small town races are really fun. I have been doing the major marathons the past couple years and really enjoying them. I thoroughly enjoyed being in a smaller group, running country roads, and having minimal logistical things to deal with for the race. I showed up 75 minutes before the start, got checked in, warmed up again in my car, before doing a 10 minute warm up prior to starting. Plus, it was my first win in a long time so I’m likely a tad biased. 🙂
- There are a couple gravel spots in the middle of the run near the turn around on the second out and back. The RD said these were supposed to be paved this year but were not. I’m guessing it’ll be good to go and all paved by next year!
- Keep smiling and keep having fun. I said “thank you” so many times b/c I was getting so much love out there. Along these lines, wearing something ridiculous (Space Cat Taco) has it’s advantages b/c I was getting so many happy comments about my shirt!
Most important course specific knowledge to know about the race
- Be ready for sharing the road with other runners. This is particularly important if you’re running faster, but after about 10 miles, I was quickly in the mix with 10k and half marathon runners. The lead bike guy was awesome about trying to get people to make some room for me to get by but it was still some dodging and weaving, and this went on for much of the final 16 miles.
- And marathoners, be ready for that turn that I botched during mile 16. There is some gravel leading to the turn and the HMs do a hard right to get on the bike path while the marathoners go with the soft left.
- The hills are minor but there are some gentle rollers in the first half. I think the first hill up from the start might be the biggest but it’s literally in the first half mile and is therefore not very noticeable.
Organized and well run – did it feel like a well-oiled machine or were they flying by the seat of their pants?
This was the inaugural year and it went really smoothly. I signed up 10 days before the race, getting to the start and to Snohomish were easy, and everything about the race went smoothly. Well done!
Logistics – Anything special regarding getting to/from the race, hotels around the course, registration…?
Super simple. I think I paid $90 to register less than two weeks before the race.
Weather and typical race conditions
One of the highlights of this race. Beautiful fall day, cool temps, minimal wind, sunny skies, and just absolute awesomeness for racing. It could get ugly out there on the country road though if it were windy – like you could seriously get blasted if it was blustering!
Spectators – is this a friendly course for your friends and family?
I think there were plenty of spots you could get to in the first 10 miles, but after that, it would likely be more challenging given that they have the road closed. I think it could be done to get at some of the intersections, but it didn’t feel like there were tons of spectators out there. But with all the other racers, there was plenty of cheering.
How’s the swag?
I didn’t get a shirt b/c I signed up late (I could have paid more and gotten a shirt). The medal looks nice. I got a hat for winning. Decent, but for the price, not something I was concerned about.
The Overall Score – how many stars do you give this race and do you recommend that others run it
Solid 5 of 5 for a small town race in it’s inaugural year. If the weather were crappy, it could have been knocked down a notch, but seriously, it was absolutely gorgeous out there! Fun day and one I will remember!