Because I had such a great race last year at Richmond, I thought I would give it another go this year. Plus I signed up early and got a super good deal! Gotta love all the swag you get from completing this one! Leading up to the race I was feeling like I could put more of a push in, since Steamtown felt “easier” then most marathons. So my intent was to break the 3:15 mark this time around and average close to 7:20 per mile. Which I think was totally feesible BUT some other things were going on this week.
First off Thursday night, I couldn’t get a good nights rest. And usually that is the most important night to sleep (2 days before the marathon). I told myself to just head to bed earlier on Friday and I would be fine. After our normal carb overload arrived at our AirBnB (no hotel) this time around. And this was probably mistake number 2. The bed was smaller than I had wanted and not the most comfy. But the biggest distract was that the neighbors upstairs starting pounding the floors for an hour straight around 1:30 AM… and would not stop. Not fun.
Tossed and turned and got maybe an hour or 2 of sleep. The beauty of the airBnB we picked was that it was right on the race course and a block away from the start line. Awesome! Walked over, got set and proceeded to wait in a VERY long porta pottie line. Way longer than I wanted and after 15 minutes of waiting, finally got to go… But now I was jogging through crowds of people trying to get closer to the start line. I saw the sign for the 3:30 pace group and didn’t see anything else. Bummer. So much for hanging with 3:15.
The race starts and I keep up with the crowds passing pretty much everyone I see, just gradually.
Mile 1: 8:17 – A lot slower than I wanted, but it felt like I was going faster.
Mile 2: 7:39 – easing into things, still passing by people.
Mile 3: 7:18 – Pass by some Winston Salem folks here, wish them good luck.
Mile 4: 7:29 – Take my first blok here, pass the 3:30 pace group here, they seemed to be going a lot faster than 3:30. Took me a bit too because they were sort of blocking the course. Ran into Mitch, and chatted with him briefly before pushing it further.
Mile 5: 7:20 – feeling fine.
Mile 6: 7:31 – I think I took a S-cap here.
Mile 7: 7:06 – The downhill mile, all the more reason why I loved Steamtown so much. I really should find more downhill courses… =)
Mile 8: 7:29 -2nd blok here.
Mile 9: 7:17 -Some slight downhill, cruising along. Beautiful river to run by.
Mile 10: 7:34– I remember I wasn’t checking my pace, I was just sort of running.
Mile 11: 7:29 – Again running.
Mile 12: 7:31 – 3rd blok here
Mile 13: 7:23 – Cheering crowds picked up the pace a bit. Came through the half around 1:37 which is where I wanted to be.
Mile 14: 7:19 – crowds are dispersing.
Mile 15: 7:32 – Running on a lonely stretch leading to the bridge.
Mile 16: 7:39 – Ran the bridge faster than last year, found a good pack to stick with. (4th blok)
Mile 17: 7:44 -Cylinders started to shutdown, felt tired and also realized I was running uphill. It was also hot! 59 degrees outside at this point.
Mile 18: 8:05 – Some more uphill, and strong headwinds. I decide to stop at a water station to try and compose myself.
Mile 19: 7:40– More winds…
Mile 20: 7:55 – Losing my focus, and not having my music REALLY hurts me here.
Mile 21: 8:38 -No one to talk too, no one to run with, nothing to listen too and no crowds…. Take my blok here, forgot to take it earlier.
Mile 22: 8:22 – yup, this sucks do some mental math and realize I will not make my goal and if I don’t put some pep in my step I won’t beat last years time either.
Mile 23: 8:10 – I have walked through all the last 2 water stops…
Mile 24: 8:21 – Just lost all motivation to push harder. Take my last blok and spit out half of it.
Mile 25: 8:00 – Nearing the end, I just tell myself to maintain, no rush just finish this out. I run through the last water stop and take the fluids precisely while in stride, good practice i say.
Mile 26: 7:43 – I see a familiar face and yell to my left and its Anu, screaming “Go Chris!”. Seeing her made me pick up my pace and actually care again. I put in one final push telling myself to get close to 3:20. This is the first marathon I have seen here cheering for me since Twin Cities, and it meant a lot. even it was only the last mile.
last .2: 6:37
Official Time: 3:21:39 — 7:41 pace – 300th overall
A lot of take-aways from this race. First off, only hotels for marathons and or FOR SURE quiet places to sleep. Go to bed early 2 days before and drug yourself if you have too. Sleep over anything else. Make sure to pack a granola bar, and or oatmeal cookie with you to eat while waiting to start, you didn’t have enough breakfast in the morning. CHARGE everything the day before and double check the night before. Having my headphones not worked because I made a rookie mistake of not charging them was brutal. Pace charts need to be done the night before, and place them in your gear so you can use the tattoos, forgetting to have number to go by was not fun. Being cold is a good thing, take your jacket off in the pre-race area and get COLD!
Last but not least, it’s fine to just “run” but you also need to keep tabs of your miles, pace and how you feel. I didn’t really monitor my pace too much compared to steamtown, and that’s partly because I wasn’t enjoying the race. Very little crowd support, very little runners to run with, and just feeling out of it… all contributed.
I am happy with my time though, considering all the things i had working against me for this one and I know exactly how to combat the race if I were to re-wind a week and do it again. I actually feel pretty much fully recovered (writing this 3 days post-race) so a quicker recovery then steamtown.
What’s next? A turkey run, pacing a half marathon, and of course the Frosty 50k! After that…. i will go back to the drawing board for marathons next year.. maybe Shamrock in March… or something else “colder”.