2015 Hayden Lake Marathon

October 17, 2015
Hayden, ID
Event website

I combined my remaining states for the 50 States Club with some training runs. Idaho’s Hayward Lake Marathon fit the schedule. I haven’t run more than 13 miles since the Rock the Ridge 50 miler, and that 13 mile was last week.

With no pressure on this run, I decided to try it with only water. No sports drinks, no coconut water, and no food. I already expected to blow up at Mile 18 since I haven’t been running, so why not blame it on doing something extreme on a really hilly course?


That night while I slept I thought it might be more extreme than I bargained for. I had the sort of sleep I usually get when I’m at high altitude where the shallow sleep breathing doesn’t give me enough oxygen (or maybe doesn’t get rid of enough CO₂). I almost woke up a couple times trying to take a deep and went to check the elevation the third time. I’ve only ever experienced this above 9,000 feet and only on the first night of such a trip. That is, until this trip to 2,200 feet. No ideas there.

But this is just the sort of marathon I like. Cool temperatures, lots of shade, a course around some geographic feature, and a small field of runners. Nothing fancy.

I started off at an easy pace. The field was interesting because we ran single file on a two way road with no shoulder. This kept the pace slow at the start. With only 50 runners, by Mile 4 everyone was in small groups out of sight from everyone else, something

At the start I was running behind a woman who was going the pace I wanted. After she walked through a rest stop, she was pacing off me. She probably felt like passing me on these hills, but our paces were too close. I was surprised at how this got me up the hills. She’s the only person I saw for miles.

We leapfrogged for a bit and I thought she’d dropped me when she took a long downhill aggressively while I was trying to save my quads. I’d catch glimpses of her around a corner and eventually caught up without putting myself in the red. I was trying to keep my heart rate around 75% of my maximum.

The miles flew by. I figured I might make it to Mile 15 before I had to take a break. But I kept going, even up the huge and brutal hill at Mile 17 that the race director warned us to not burn out on.


After that I wanted to start taking it easy. On a really hilly course I’d covered 20 miles in close to three hours. For me that’s amazing. On no training and no food and only water. Okay, I had two bites of a banana, but nothing else.

From there I was on my own. I’d walk the rest of the hills to save my leges for the next two weekends. I took a long bathroom break mostly to simply sit down. I walked through the aid stations.

As usual, someone at the side of the road said “last hill” on the fourth to last hill. Maybe these people never run or walk so don’t realize that even gentle inclines seem pretty bad after 20 miles.

At the end of the race, right at the lakeshore, I waded thigh deep into the cold, cold water. I normally don’t do ice baths and that sort of thing after a race merely because they aren’t convenient. If there’s a pool at the hotel I’ll dip in that, but they are hardly cold. This lake made my feet numb, which is what I wanted I guess.


And that was that. I’ve now run Idaho. I have three states left and Oregon scheduled for next week.

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