I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday! Rob and I got back from visiting his sister's family in Arkansas on Tuesday night, so we spent Thanksgiving here in Maryland with my family. It was nice to not deal with all the traveling during the holiday like we usually do!
Since Sunday's race I have sat down to write my recap a few times, got some words out, left it alone, and then came back to it later. I thought I would start out by sharing some "race logistics" and thoughts on the Route 66 Marathon event.
-the expo was not too big, but had alot of good stuff. We got there right at 10 am on Saturday and had to wait in like for about 10 minutes to get our packets, because I think everyone else had the same idea.
-we stayed at the Hilton Double Tree, which was about .5 miles from the start line but 1.5 miles from the finish. There wasn't alot around the hotel, but we had a rental car so we were able to drive everywhere we needed to go (like out to dinner and to target to get water and stuff like that).
-It was a really cold start (27 degrees but felt like 21) but ended up being a really good temperature for running. It was in the high 30s for most of the race and sunny. The wind didn't pick up until the second half of the race, but that was my only complaint about the weather.
-the start line was well-organized with 4 corrals. The lines for the bathrooms were kind of long but moved quickly once it got closer to the start of the race. The race started right on time.
-There were water stops every few miles. I had mentally noted when I wanted to take fuel (and matched that up with water stops) and they were spread out really well.
-The crowd support was really great. Even when the marathon split off from the half-marathon there weren't too many places without cheering.
-The hills were harder than I expected. I had read other race reviews and heard from other bloggers that it was hilly, but I did my best to train on hills. I still think I expected it to be flatter than it was, and my garmin map did make it look tougher than the map on the race website.
-The finish area was well organized and fun! After finishing there was a section to walk around, get your picture taken, grab water, etc before getting food. This area was only for runners. After getting food (bananas, oranges, granola bars, and pasta- which was something I had never seen at a race before!) we exited the "runners only" area. Then there were a few places to get beers, a massage tent, and a live band.
Now, for more of a recap of my own experience in this race.
Last week, I was feeling pretty calm about the race without as much of the usual nerves I get leading up to a race. Over the course of Friday and Saturday I started to get a bit more anxious, but I think an appropriate amount. After all, a moderate level of anxiety is needed to perform our best.
Meanwhile, I had been spending alot of this time focusing on the mental strategies I would be used for this race. I had just finished reading The Runners Brain on my flight in, which was perfect timing leading up to the race. There were alot of helpful and practical strategies in there that I was able to work on. I did pretty well with focusing only on the things I could control- like fueling, clothes, and staying positive.
A little side-story: I have been eating oatmeal before all my long runs this training cycle. When I looked at the hotel website I thought that the room we booked had a microwave. Well, it didn’t, so the regular oats I had packed (measured out, along with a measuring cup to add water) weren’t gonna work. We ended up going to a grocery store on Saturday night to buy a 6 pack of instant oats (but I paid like $2 extra to get the organic kind that were literally just oats and nothing else).
Anyway, here are some more thoughts about how the race went for me:
-My goal was to run between an 8:20 and 8:25 pace for a 3:40 finish time. I ended up running a 3:41:46, at about an 8:27 pace. However, I did pretty well running off of effort and if it weren't for those extra .3 miles I ran (due to all the turns) my pace would have been 8:22 according to my Garmin.
-I got alot of good advice leading up to the race that I carried with me throughout (from my coach, the book I had read, and all of you!) and when things started to get tough I was able to pull some of that to focus on.
-I never "hit the wall" and I think I owe that to fueling early and often. I didn't carry water with me for this race, so relied on the water stops. As I said, there were plenty, and they also gave out nice big cups!
-The most challenging part of this race for me was the wind in the second half. There were certain miles where it just felt like I was running non-stop into the wind. I remember at mile 22 I had really wanted to start picking up the pace, but it was all I could do to run an 8:45 mile due to the wind.
-For the last 2 miles I was able to push the pace to under 8 minute miles, although the wind still got the best of me at some points. I knew I had trained for a fast finish so I gave it everything I had. However, right around mile 25.5 there was this last hill that came out of nowhere and was very frustrating.
-The last .2 mile was a straightaway with crowd support all along the sides. Bart Yasso was standing in between the half-marathon/marathon sides cheering us on (at least I think it was him- I was pretty delirious at this point) but I ran past and he cheered me on and tapped me on the shoulder.
-When I finished I remember my legs shaking and not knowing what to do. I walked as much as I could grabbed some water and a gatorade, and got my picture taken. I found a corner to stand in (I was scared to sit because I really didn't think I could ever get up). I made my way through the food and grabbed some snacks but was happy that I had checked a bag with a protein bar to eat when I was ready.
-I was also glad I packed some dry clothes to throw on because it was cold! I got a text around this time from Kristy (my coach) and then my sister. I was trying to track Rob but the app wasn’t working. Long story short- we didn't find each other and he eventually called me that he was back at the hotel (he didn't run with his phone).
Well, that was longer than I anticipated! Thanks for sticking around if you actually read all of that:) This was the perfect race to finish out the year...although I guess there is a small chance I do a short/fun race in December but it's not very likely. I am excited to get back to other workouts like yoga and more strength training over the next few weeks. I haven't even begun to think about my next big race, and I know I need a good break from training!
-What is your ideal racing temperature?
-Have you dealt with wind during a race?
-Do you have any more races planned in 2015?
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