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Lithia Loop Trail Marathon

Yesterday, I ran my 23rd marathon.

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And of those 23 marathons, this one comes out on top in a couple of categories:

Most under-dressed for the conditions: check.

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Barely above freezing temps, pouring rain, and harsh wind on top of a mountain definitely requires more than a singlet and short shorts. NOTED.

Before you judge me for making a rookie mistake 22 races past rookie status, let me explain. I based my wardrobe decision on the fact that I like to race cold and the lack of rain at the start. (I was also left with about .5 minutes to make this decision and get ready to go after googlemaps landed us at the wrong location.) I blame the sudden onset of winter and rain showers starting .4 miles into the race for throwing me off. Last weekend, a long sleeved shirt was too much to run in, this weekend, I was ready to kill a polar bear for its fur by mile .6.

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And the other category that this race takes the cake in: most elevation change within 26.2 miles.

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9200 feet to be exact.

The race started with 9 miles of unrelenting inclines, followed by a few more miles of slightly gentler inclines, and then spent some time rolling around before throwing some steep ass declines and an endless series of switchbacks at us for the last 6 miles.

My mom heard one of the top male finishers say that it was the hardest of the 40+ marathons that he’s raced.

I’m only at 23 of these guys, but I wouldn’t entirely disagree with his statement.

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My mom is not really an all-star at operating my phone’s camera. Or, I was just way too speedy at climbing a few thousand feet for her to capture in focus. LET’S GO WITH THAT.

I stuck to my plan to take the race easy, although there’s only a certain level of “easy” that you can attain with this kind of elevation profile. But I was proud of myself for keeping my adrenaline in check and not racing for a gender finish here. Also proud of my legs for being strong enough to run nearly every step of that incline and feel great doing it.

I was pretty darn distracted by how cold I was, but I focused on enjoying the views on top of the mountain, because WOW, Ashland, well done.

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Source because let’s be honest, I lost the ability to move my fingers well before the top of the mountain.

And used my discomfort as an opportunity to work on channeling my energy toward what I could control about the race (my own running and how much fun I was having for the 26.2 miles), and not on what I couldn’t (my poor planning and the harsh weather conditions.) Hearing Matt Long talk about control before IMLP drastically changed the way I handle setbacks (in life and running) and shaped how I invest my energy in the things that are within my control, instead of wasting time and heart on the things that are not.

Hopefully at JFK, I will be a little wiser about what I’m wearing and the weather will be perfect for running 50 miles, but there will inevitably be factors thrown at me that are outside of my control. Yesterday was a good reminder that shit happens and good practice for building up the mental strength that has to deal with that shit.

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4 hours, 5 minutes, 30 something seconds and a lot of hills after taking off, I crossed the finish.

And then proceeded immediately to the prize that my eye was on for the duration of the race.

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The bartender, fellow patrons of the brewery, and my mom kept telling me how great I looked. Although, I believe instead of “great” they said “miserable.”

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The bartender was almost as good as my mom was at taking pictures.

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Overall, a great race that was well executed and stacked with awesome volunteers, and a fun day down south in Ashland. I’ll for sure head back down for another rendezvous around their hills.

38 Responses to Lithia Loop Trail Marathon

  1. Your lips are literally BLUE in that beer picture! Poor girl! I’ve been sorely underdressed for races before – when I first started running I didn’t own any cold weather running clothes because I live in New Orleans. I showed up to a 30k in I think capris? The warmest thing I owned. It was a shocking 19F at the start, and it was run on top of the levee in brutal winds off the river – I was so cold that I never sweat.
    Good race, as usual, can’t believe the elevation on that baby.

  2. At my last race I was so cold and was wearing shorts and a tank-top. Around mile 9 my hands got weirdly swollen and numb and I ran super fast to be done because I was really freaked out by my weird giant hands…. There’s not much point to that story other then being freezing during races is really awful! Good work plugging through it though.

  3. Brrrr- that sounds like a really tough 4 hours of your life. I’m not a fan of running in the ran in general, even when it’s warm rain. However, like you mentioned, it’s a great way to practice mental toughness.

  4. I remember when I was training for my first marathon we had an October snowstorm, and I ran 20 miles in it. I knew if I could do that, I could face anything on race day! Sounds like a great race despite the weather and crazy elevation!

  5. Dang you’re so hard core. And great choice of beverage for warming up. What kind of brew is that?

  6. I was pretty underdressed for Silver Falls… it hailed while we were out there… but at least I had my arm warmers! Great work!

  7. erm, do I have to sell my runner soul to pop out a 4:05 marathon as an easy run?!! Just a TAD in awe here :)

  8. Well done! I heard the weather arrived just in time for the race yesterday.

    Also, love the pic of the town! I can see my old house on the hill.

  9. Great job! Short shorts and a singlet are the only way to race. The weather needs to get its shit together.

  10. Great job! Especially with the conditions – weather can be a bitch! I hate being overly hot, its just so uncomfortable but freezing your butt off sucks too!

  11. great job!

  12. I’ve learned that if I’m comfortable before the start I’ll be miserably hot as I run, so my wardrobe choice would’ve looked like yours. I need to remember your words on focusing on what we can control and not wasting energy on what we can’t.

  13. You literally eat marathons for weekends! Wahahahaha! Happy to hear about your weekend exploits and say “hi” to your mom for me. Both of you are champs for heading out there in those temps and Em, please wear more layers next time. :)

  14. That elevation profile is crazy!! Congrats on #23!!!

  15. That recap cracked me up. I love the start picture where everyone else has more clothes on than you! I make rookie mistakes all the time (my favorite is trying something new on race day), so I can totally relate. Awesome job on the marathon in tough conditions and a tough course.

  16. Congrats on your marathon!! Those conditions sound pretty unforgiving but your a rockstar for pushing through. glad your mom came out to support you & hope she treated for the beers-you deserve em! good luck at JFK!!

  17. Oh goodness that sounds crazy cold! Good for you for pulling through!

  18. YOU LOOK FREEZING! Hope you feel okay this morning. Brrrr.

  19. that elevation map made me tired just looking at it. you are going to crush the 50k!

  20. That’s the thing about Oregon – spring, summer, winter and fall – the weather is subject to change at a moment’s notice. From day to day, let alone weekend to weekend, the weather will be drastically different.

    That incline looks brutal! Way to go – you continue to impress the hell out of me!

    BTW – was the race in or around the Pacific Crest Trail by chance? Amazing….

  21. […] Lithia Loop Trail Marathon […]

  22. Two words: arm warmers :)

  23. Awesome race! Really inspiring, and a great way to end a peak before JFK. I’m really excited to see you nail that race. Regardless of what happens though, it’s been a good journey!

  24. Congrats on marathon #23! Awesome one indeed..and finishing to get beer is the best! After Wineglass marathon this year, I had a Guinness in my hand within 15 minutes…perfection!

  25. Ha! I totally saw you during the marathon. I was the person that ran 12 min pace up AND down the hill :) I was actually going to ask about your oiselle top- I was thinking about applying for the team next year. Good luck in your training and I’ll probably see you at an Oregon ultra! Frozen trails 50k in December? Could be fun!

    • You should have! And you should! <3 Ois. If you have any questions about being on the team and such, feel free to ask away! Frozen Trails is alittle close to my goal race, but I'll probably be out volunteering! Are you coming up for sure?

  26. That’s a great time for that amount of climbing – well done! You’re going to rock JFK.

  27. […] Caldera Brewing is an Ashland-based brewery that obviously had to be tied into our trip down south for the marathon last weekend. […]

  28. […] Lithia Loop Marathon (my final big long run), I dropped my weekly mileage down from my peak (of 100ish miles) to just […]

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