This was just a test. And a great one! I wasn’t sure what the day would bring, other than the fact that I had been preparing all year… 1,000+ miles of running thus far, including fast stuff, long stuff, and the bulk of the miles in slow commutes to and from work.
That said, it was time for me to test myself at the marathon distance in a race. My last road marathon was in June of 2015, so it’s been a little while.
This marathon played into all my strengths: 2 loops, each with 3 separate segments, & flat, quaint country road. The timing, location, and elevation were all attractive, as I picked this race as a test during my buildup for the Wings For Life World Run.
Some notes from the race:
- I wanted to surprise myself.
- I didn’t really have a goal time. Sure, I had the high hope of setting a fast finishing time, but I didn’t want a number to dictate my race and my overall racing experience.
- I’ve been good about not looking at my watch while running, thus not letting it discourage me if I’m not hitting the splits that I wanted. I ended up glancing at my two mile splits, and was happily encouraged that I was “doing well”.
- I wanted to feel like I was floating… not laboring.
- Julia encouraged me not to key in on that finishing time, but instead on a finishing feeling. This was particularly important because this was not an A race. I didn’t want/need to shred myself into the ground. The point of this race was for confidence, and for my body to come out of it feeling good enough to continue training through the final month until WFLWR.
- So… Floating. It comes from cadence (181 steps per minute!) which translates to quickness, lightness, and consistency.
- Here’s what I woke up to:
- A skating rink in hotel parking lot at 5:40A. This gave me a sense of relief. Adverse conditions are always an excuse to under perform.
- It was 17F at the start. Though I was unphased. I’ve run in these conditions all winter. I never doubted my clothing selection and knew that I’d be fine out on the course. Special thanks to NP5280. Last month’s Sunrise 6K hosted almost identically chilly racing conditions.
- The only thing that would have made this race better is if I had a crew to hang with.
- Yes Julia, my Mom, Birdie, Pace, and MB were all able to listen to the race broadcast on the radio, which sounded fantastic. And while I would not have wished for anyone to be standing out in the cold spectating, it would have been that much more fulfilling to have a team racing together.
- I got to do a Radio interview and two newspaper interviews
- Aid station volunteers were high points on the course.
- With two laps of the out-and-back course, I became familiar with each aid station. Generally, I took a cup of Gatorade in stride, probably at every other aid opportunity.
- I carried two flasks of Honey Stinger gel, half filled with water. I emptied the first flask at the halfway point, and tossed it to the curb.
- Coming back on my first lap (mile 12), I caught an aid station crew jumping out of their warm car as I approached. I smirked an “Oh hey, guys!” as I continued through. Again, kudos for each one of them for being out in that bitterness for the whole morning!
- I hit that same aid station in the final miles and grabbed a slushy cup of Gatorade. I managed to splash the mix into my eye, and feared that I’d be blinded or freeze my cornea or something more painful. Thankfully, enough blinks kept my vision clear.
- In the end I WON my first marathon!! And PR’d the distance by oh 17 minutes in 2:36. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, and the volunteers who helped with the pancake brunch afterward.
- Bottom line: Confidence for Croatia was secured.
Some other media from race day:
- My race Strava
- Race Results
I hope some of this will ease the nerves for those racing the Boston Marathon next week! While it’s the grandest scale of racing, it’s still just 26.2 miles. Control your energy, manage your expectations, and float along!!
Endurance Changes Time,