2015 Steamtown Marathon

Another day, another marathon right? Suuuurrree. Well off I went to travel to Scranton PA an 8 hour drive that I decided to split up into two days to ease the pressure on my legs.  After months of training in the heat, humidity, hills, and other nonsense I felt ready for this one. Did i mention I got to train in Boston for a week, thanks to a work trip?! Some pictures below.

Boston2

THIS IS BOSTON! not Scranton =)

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Doing an 8 drive solo is never an enjoyable experience but I tried to zone out and prep myself for the race during the time I had. Finally got to Scranton Saturday afternoon and opted to go to the expo first. Got my packet, grabbed some throwaway gloves and headed back to the hotel.

Drive

Driving to Scranton, beautiful!

Upon checking into the hotel they told me late checkout was not available the next day and that all guests were required to be checked out at 12 noon. I was obviously shocked by this since I booked the hotel months in advance and requested late checkout and was told it was marked on my reservation and shouldn’t be a problem. Running 9 marathons this is the SECOND time this has happened with the last one being my last marathon in Ohio. Still angry over this I started to get a little heated with the front desk exclaiming the situation and asking for some extension. I didn’t pay the amount of money I paid to “shower at the YMCA” because they have free showers for all runners. They told me they had a “big group” coming in the next day and needed the rooms. So this big group must be pretty damn small for there to be a vast amount of rooms available to book the next day. And conveniently I could gurantee the ability to shower by booking a room the next day. On the phone with corporate for an hour yielded no results so I decided the best course of action was just to forget about it and never stay at the hotel or its brand again. Sheraton Four Points Hotel… for those wondering.

Back to the marathon prepping! Laid out my clothes for the morning, got my things packed that I needed too and found a place to eat. This nice Italian place right across the street from the hotel. Perfect. Grabbed some noodles with oil and parm cheese and a lot of garlic bread and ate my way to carb overload. Also a small glass of wine.

Clothes

All ready for the morning…

Hit the sack relatively early and woke up around 4:30 the next morning. More prep, ate a banana walnut muffin and a banana with peanut butter for breakfast, forcing myself to finish it. Also packed an oatmeal cookie to eat on the bus. Packed up my car since I would not be allowed back in my hotel after the race and got set to drive the finish line. A nice touch about this race is that they supply a nice supply of buses that take the runners from the finish line to the start line in Forest City. 

It was a bit chilly outside so I had my handwarmers in my gloves keeping them warm and my throw-away sweatshirt. Got onto the bus and an older gentlemen sat next to me. Nice guy but I felt really bad for him because he realized about half way through that he left his GU in his car. He told me he has ran previous races and he never ate enough during the race and how he was prepared for it… He obviously was upset. I told him to ask around as some people pack extra’s. I had just enough for myself or I would of given him one or two. 

Got off the bus and arrived at the high school and was greeted and welcomed to Forest City. Nice kids who guided us into the gym to drop our bags off and tell us where everything was. I proceeded to the bathroom immediately before the lines got long and then gave my bag away and listened to some music in the high school hallway. Danger Zone, etc etc.

About 10 minutes to the start I made my way outside so I could get “cold”. Waited a while and then others gradually started filling in the ranks. I lined up a little behind the 7:30 pace marker as I wanted to start off slower. National anthem was song, I threw my sweatshirt off.. waited for the cannon.. yes a freakin cannon. and BOOM we were off. 

Mile 1: 7:55

A very slow starting race, lots of people all un-organized going crazy to try and drive up front. Just kept a slower rhythm and gradually picked it up about half-way through. Big downhill that I didn’t get to use at  all.

Mile 2: 7:25

And right into the pace of things. This is exactly what i need to maintain for 24 more miles…

Mile 3: 7:27

Some uphill here, but nothing to be concerned with.

Mile 4: 7:10

Took my first blok here and met up with a fellow runner with a “Got Hills?” shirt on. We chatted the next few miles away.

Mile 5: 7:09

Still chatting about other races, long-term goals and the weather.

Mile 6: 7:18

Bam 6 miles have passed just like that and I feel fine. I decide to toss the hot-hands here.

Mile 7: 7:17

Cruising right along, the course is flat here.

Mile 8: 7:23

Pretty flat, no changes, take my second blok here. All systems are a go still.

Mile 9: 7:22

Gradual downhill, nothing big. I catch up to Mr. Got Hills who took off in the previous miles.

Mile 10: 7:13

Get passed by a guy wearing a pink tutu. Older gentlemen, find out he is 60 years old and he ran an ultra the previous weekend… ya. I will let him pass me.

Mile 11: 7:25

Staying nice and consistent, run into another runner here who has an aussie accent. He is determined to break 3:20 and wants to run with me for a 3:15.

Mile 12: 7:24

Take another blok here, I remember commenting on how beatiful the course was. Just imagine leaves overhead provided some shade and all the brown and colors of fall completely surrounding you. Just stunning.

Mile 13: 7:23

Half marathon complete! I remember I came in a little faster than I wanted, by about 20 seconds or so. But overall, very close to what I wanted. Didn’t really feel tired.

Mile 14: 7:26

Smooth and steady, Aussie guy and I talked for a bit during these miles. Helped them fly by. He was just commenting and repeating nice and easy to 16.

Mile 15: 7:21

Running through some parks, stunning.

Mile 16: 7:29

Made it through 16, I turn to see Aussie guy a few seconds behind me. So I know he is still on pace. 

Mile 17: 7:24

Consistent. Love that I am maintaining the steady pace. 

Mile 18: 7:30

Take another blok here and run into another group of runners. These guys seem to be slowing down a bit. I ask what time they are gunning for and all of them responded, I don’t know.. just running.

Mile 19: 7:43

Ended up passing that group shortly after, but one of them latched on to me. For some unknown reason my pace slowed during this mile. Looking back I remember just randomly slowing here. 

Mile 20: 7:24

Starting to work harder, it’s becoming a challenge to maintain the pace.

Mile 21: 7:34

Out of the parks and into a city area, kind of bland looking

Mile 22: 7:27

Industrial area up ahead, no runners to latch onto, mostly everyone is starting to walk or slowing down. I am doing mental math here trying to figure out what pace I need to hold onto, maintain is all i can think.

Mile 23: 7:58

Forgot to take my blok at 22, took it here instead. This mile had the first of two hills. It was a shorter steep hill, nothing I couldn’t handle, but it did slow my pace down. And lots of other runners decided to walk it. 

Mile 24: 8:09

Another hill here, this one a bit longer, then the previous. Again nothing huge, but I remember feeling this one more than the other and it slowed me for sure.  Getting the split times after this mile was complete, I knew it would be very close.

Mile 25: 7:26

My mental math says ill make it just in under the 3:15 mark! wooo. Who is this I see up ahead, it’s “Got Hills” guy he is running slow, then he stops to walk. I pass him and try to encourage him to keep moving. I guess he was feeling was good up to this point? Either way a confidence booster for me knowing I might of been just like him If i kept up. Maybe?

Mile 26: 7:46

Wait oh crap, that’s right I have to run another .2 miles… Why does your brain always forget about this? Essentially 1 lap around the track and my watch reading something something 3:14 I try and muster anything I have left, but at this point I am gassed. Somewhere, I see a marking on the road… Last turn. 

Last .2:  1:42 — 6:27 pace

I see the finish line, I start counting in my head the seconds that i need to get 3:15. 40 seconds… 30 secs… 20 secs. Still haven’t crossed. Goal time has passed, but i still put in one last effort kick.  I can see the clock. New PR! 

3:16:21  —  206th overall, and 16th age group.

I do the whole wobbly walk thing and someone walks with me for a bit says congratulations and I get a medal. I remember trying to stop both my watches before feeling dizzy. 

Walk around dazed for a bit, look for Got Hills guy to come in. He does about 3 minutes later and asked if I got that new PR. Yup I say! I asked him what happened and he exclaimed he started cramping up really bad. I say congratulations, wish him the best and move on. Grab a quarter subway sandwich and chips and a banana, was completely not hungry at this point. Even though they had pizza, pasta, cookies etc. I didn’t want any of it. lol 

Get my bag, laid on the ground for a bit and stretch and then hobble off to my car. 

Overall, I think the course was great, the volunteers were amazing, the support was missing in a few areas, but otherwise a solid run marathon. I really appreciated the small town feel on this one.

 

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Post-Thoughts

Evaluating this marathon I realized I did a lot of things right and I thought I ran a super smart race. I lot of people rushed out of the gate and pushed the pace down the hills, but I held myself back respecting the marathon distance and realizing that I had a long way to go. I took the first half of the course rather easy and used it to propel me for the second half. I still didn’t have a negative split, I think I probably would have if it wasn’t for the 2 hills at the end so I am okay with it. 

If i could change anything about how I ran the race, I probably would have started up a little closer to the front, to get that first mile time down a bit more, and I also would have gone about 5 seconds faster on some of those downhill miles. Nothing crazy, but just enough to push for that 3:15 goal. 

Recovery has been pretty great post-marathon. My quads didn’t bother me at all, just left hamstring is the only thing still banged up from the race. IcyHot ftw. 

I am running Richmond again this year, in about 4 weeks or so. So i will do a gradual recovery into a build up for the race. I will try and do the same thing at Richmond, except push a little harder to see if I can grab that sub 3:15, which I think is doable if I run it smart. But if I am not fully recovered I will scale back if needed.

Did a few things different this cycle. Incorporated a higher mileage plan (70 miles max) did doubles on Tuesdays and a speed series with FF during the summer months. All of these things lead up to a good base, which I can hopefully still use for Richmond and beyond.

Thanks as always to my family and friends for their support and tolerance over the last few months. Thanks to my lovely fiance (next September baby!). And Thanks to my training partners for always pushing me during those long runs, short runs, hot runs, and terrible runs. 

Until Richmond…

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1 Response

  1. Ilana says:

    Good work! I think the more miles approach has really helped you a lot.

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