Crosscut By 2: All over but the runner's high

In which our intrepid columnist makes it to the Seattle Marathon, nearly outruns two old ladies, keeps pace (for awhile) with a barefoot guy, and still has complaints about the race.
Crosscut archive image.

Monte Enbysk runs the 2008 Seattle Marathon in the fog.

In which our intrepid columnist makes it to the Seattle Marathon, nearly outruns two old ladies, keeps pace (for awhile) with a barefoot guy, and still has complaints about the race.

Editor's note: Monte Enbysk, an experienced (but not elite) runner, was thrown off his Seattle Marathon training schedule by an injury last month. He has chronicled his comeback effort and 'ꀔ with this final correspondence 'ꀔ his race day for Crosscut. His previous installments are available here.

Despite a leg injury and 10 days of missed training in a critical phase, I finished the Seattle Marathon on Sunday. So my marathon No. 17 is in the books. The weather was great, dry and not super-cold, and I met my goal of beating last year'ꀙs Seattle Marathon time.

So why don'ꀙt I feel that good about the run?

I guess it'ꀙs because it could have been so much better. I really felt the lack of being able to do more long runs (20 miles or more) in my training. I was able to squeeze in just one. I finished Sunday in 5 hours, 28 minutes, 14 seconds, which was disappointing to me after reaching the halfway point in 2:25. I was running on fumes through miles 17-23, and forced to walk up most of the hills in that stretch. I caught a second wind in the last five kilometers, smelling the finish line, but it still was slow-going.

I was not adequately trained, and may not push forward with a marathon if I get into a similar injury situation down the road.

OK, let'ꀙs leave my excuses for a minute and talk about the event. Despite the rant I just made about my training, I had fun Sunday.

Charlie Sunderlage, 29, of Bellingham, reportedly running his first marathon, won the men'ꀙs race in 2:32:26. I got to watch Charlie run gazelle-like heading north after doing the Seward Park loop while I was still going south to do the loop myself. (I'ꀙm happy to say that at least I reached the halfway point before Charlie crossed the finish line.) A fellow Bellinghamer, Lauren Breihof, 20, won the women'ꀙs marathon in 2:58:58.

Every year, more than twice as many people run the half-marathon as the marathon. Alex Crabill, 21, a Tacoma native, won the men'ꀙs half in a fine 1:08:54, and Kristi Houk, 25, of Port Orchard, won the women'ꀙs half in 1:22.

All told, 10,751 people finished the marathon run and walk and the half-marathon run and walk. That includes 7,309 finishers for the half-marathon run and 2,229 for the marathon run. (Here are individual results.)

A highlight for me in the marathon was running a couple of miles and chatting with barefoot runner Todd Byers, 46, of Long Beach, Calif. (formerly of Seattle). Todd, one of at least two barefoot runners Sunday, said he enjoys the 'ꀜfreedom'ꀝ of running without shoes, and says he has no problem navigating surfaces barefoot (he even does trail runs barefoot). He'ꀙs done more than 75 marathons barefoot and about 250 marathons altogether, and has his own website, Barefoot Todd, the Barefoot coach.

Todd runs effortlessly, with a smooth, easy stride; you have to look down to see that he'ꀙs running with bare feet. Many runners did, cheering for Todd as if he were a rock star prancing by on the asphalt. Todd took it all in stride, happily speaking to anyone who asked about his lack of footwear. He ended up falling behind me before the halfway point but then passed me around Mile 22 and finished in 5:21:22.

Back to my excuses. Every runner spends part of any race that could have gone better compiling excuses. Here are some more of mine from Sunday:

  • My splits were 2:25 for the first 13.1 miles and 3:03 for the second 13.1 miles. One could argue that I went out too fast.
  • I had to pee the entire race. I didn'ꀙt stop to relieve myself, but it slowed me down anyway.
  • I found myself ahead of a couple of different women, seemingly in their 70s. I did not want to show them up, so I slowed down each time (not really) to let them pass me.
  • I spent too much time early in the race enjoying the, ahem, scenery.
  • The weather was too nice. My best Seattle Marathon time (4:38 in 2006) came in the pouring rain.
  • I wore shoes. Running barefoot, I might have been able to lift my legs more easily and keep up with Todd.

Thanks, everyone, for reading my posts. Marathon No. 18 for me will likely be next spring. In the meantime, I look forward to my next run being a 5K.


Please support independent local news for all.

We rely on donations from readers like you to sustain Crosscut's in-depth reporting on issues critical to the PNW.


About the Authors & Contributors