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Birch Bay Marathon Race Report

Sorry for this much delayed race report/absence from blogging over the past week. For 1,349 reasons I have been too busy to sit down and write!

If you followed my daily sweats from last week, you know I got to travel to Washington state for work.

You also know that the first thing I did was plot out my run schedule. This involved 1) emailing Tall Mom Mel and joining her and the lovely Zoe for their 15 mile run on Saturday, and 2) finding a race while I was there. The race of choice? BIRCH BAY MARATHON in Birch Bay State Park in the very Northwest Corner of Washington State.
cold and waiting for the start
I selected this very bare bones race for its scenery (can you say panoramic ocean views and the cascade mountains? My good cam is unfortunately in the shop- my less than stellar replacement just does not do the views justice. Trust me. To die for awesomeness)

I did not select this run for its race amenities, can you say sketchy pre-race email:

“EXPO will be SATURDAY from 5pm to 7pm at the MAIN HUGE Bathrooms on Birch Bay Dr. I will run everything out of my 2007 dodge ram white 4 door truck.”

My reaction to this email went a little like this: laugh, grow scared, pack pepper spray.

I decided in light of my Goofy Challenge (+2) that running 15 miles on Saturday and 26.2 on Sunday meant that I was going to run the marathon slowwwww, enjoy the BEAUTIFUL course, and take lots of pictures. And that’s exactly what I did. A
ll the pictures of me running? Totally posed. I would run up on a water station and ask the volunteers to take a picture of me. They obliged but definitely thought I was crazy. Doesn’t this chick know she’s running a marathon?

Before the race began, I met a Marathon Maniac in the parking lot who had done the race before. I asked him if the course was as beautiful as I was expecting. He said “No way, it really isn’t anything spectacular.”
Well, he lied. The course was outrageously amazing. The first few miles were along the beach and then we started a two loop course where we ran towards the mountains and then along the water. I think you Washington folk are spoiled and stop appreciating how beautiful your state was. At least my maniac pal certainly has forgotten what other parts of the country look like!

A few miles into the loop part of the course we hit what I deemed the HeartBaker Hill of the Birch Bay Marathon (we could see Mount Baker as we ran). The hill wasn’t all that bad the first time around. It definitely was long and steep, but I kind of like hills, so I enjoyed the ascent. When we hit it again at Mile 18, I did feel quite so fond of the hill.
On the second half of the loop we were running above the water and even when there were trees you could see the ocean and mountains through the woods and it was G.O.R.G.E.O.U.S.

Hands down this is the prettiest marathon I have ever run. I will be looking to run more marathons in Washington state when I return for future work trips. If you are doing any particularly spectacular ones, let me know. I’m pretty easy to persuade.
post run with bling in hand

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111 Responses to Birch Bay Marathon Race Report

  1. I wish I could run a slow marathon in 3:57, but I guess I first have to run a marathon. That definitely does sound gorgeous, glad you had such a good time!


    You are so speedy. Seriously, was the race expo conducted from a truck? That might be the funniest thing ever! I totally want to go run a half out in Washington next year … so, if you get any good suggestions let me know!

  3. IT looks like the medal is fun. A closer photo is needed. I want to race this one for sure!

  4. Great pictures. The email from the director is funny, but races like this remind you that is all about pure running. Way to go!

  5. Yeah, that email would have made me pause a bit! Glad it was as beautiful as you hoped!

  6. Great race pics! I am so jealous that you ran such a beautiful marathon. Oh, yes and the prerace email is hilarious.

  7. Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)

    Hooray! Congrats on a great race!

  8. OMGosh! The pre-race letter was hilarious (and scary)! By the way, is that the dodge truck behind you in the post-race pic?

    I love small, scenic races. They are the best!

  9. Mel -Tall Mom on the Run

    Soooo proud of you.. Next time you know you are coming let me know so I can plan.. Once this training cycle is over I will be VERY ready to run more Marathons for fun! Hugs over and over Em you are tops in my book.

    And FYI I love love love Washington and would never ever overlook the beauty that we have here. SPOILED!

  10. Fair Weather Runner

    wow you are amazing, and that marathon (although maybe a little creepy seeming;) looks amazing too! nice work on the entire weekend, and glad you snapped some pics, sooooo pretty!

  11. Very nice. Hate that you said you ran it slow and it was still sub 4, but whatev :)

    Glad you loved it so much. I enjoy every minute of the scenery here and everyday think about how beautiful I am. I wouldn't say spoiled though — we put up with alot of shitty weather too. Most people don't consider Washingon St. a viable place to live..rain, dark…blah, blah, blah. Jokes on them!

    Nicely done.

  12. I still cant believe you did 15 the 26.2! You are awesome. Course looks so pretty. What a great race to do!!

  13. Amanda - RunToTheFinish

    OMG!!! That race email would have freaked me out! So glad you had an amazing time though

  14. Looks very scenic. I need big races otherwise I'd feel like i was running a marathon alone—that's just not how I roll. =)

    Wow for being bare bones you still got a medal!

    so jealous you got to meet Tall Mom and Zoe.

    Slow—ahem, that would be record breaking marathon pace for me. It's all relative right?!?!

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