Wednesday, November 19, 2014

marathon recap 2.0

I ran my second marathon on Saturday morning. It was the Anthem Richmond Marathon and the coldest on record since the race began in 1978.

We met with other runner's from Fleet Feet Winston-Salem in the lobby of the hotel at 6:45 am for a quick picture and pep talk from our fearless leader. Then we headed to the starting line. It was 25 degrees but surprisingly with all of the crowd gathered it didn't feel that cold.

I was tremendously nervous. In April, with it being my first marathon and just wanting to finish I wasn't very nervous at all. I had confidence knowing that I could and would finish it. This time, having a time goal made it so much more difficult to relax and my stomach was in knots before we got to the starting line.

My Goals
I would have been thrilled to finish in 5:20, satisfied to finish in 5:30, and extremely angry if I hadn't been able to finish in under 6 hours. There were only pacers for 5:00 and 5:30 in the back. I started directly behind the 5:30 pacers and kept with them for the first two miles. I knew it would feel slow but they were doing evenly paced mile splits and since my "real" goal was to finish in 5:20 I thought that would be good to start out at their pace. The pace should have been 12:10/mile overall for my goal and 12:36/mile overall for the 5:30 pace goal so I made myself not go in front of them for a bit.

By mile 3 I really couldn't stand it anymore so I pulled slightly ahead. I still couldn't feel my toes but everything else was fine. I had hand warmers in my gloves and the run was feeling pretty good. I laughed at a sign near the beginning that said, "You've already set a PR! This is the coldest Richmond Marathon on record!" and another that said, "I just want to cross the street."

Here's what I wanted my splits to look like and what they actually were according to my RunKeeper.

I was a few seconds ahead of pace for every mile (even in mile 10 when I went to the bathroom) until mile 17 when I started struggling. My goal sheet said to cross the half at 2:39 and I hit mile 13 at 2:39. I wanted to be at mile 20 at 4:05 and I reached that point at 4:09. By mile 21 I was running then walking short intervals.

I kept ahead of the pacers until the last 7 or 8 miles. Jonathan ran from mile 13 almost to mile 20 with me and then my dad met me at about 20 and ran to the finish with me. I was glad to have both of them there.

The crowds were amazing. There was a marching band and a few party stops with loud music. There was another cute three-person sign with the Frozen characters on them: "Do you want to run a marathon?" "It doesn't have to be a marathon." "OK Bye." There were lots of people in their yards cheering and supporting and offering beers. I actually took a cup of coke from a kid around mile 22 and I really don't know what I was thinking when I did that.

Anyway, it wasn't a bad run necessarily, but I never really felt like I found my groove the whole run. At one point I tried listening to my audiobook which I can zone out to sometimes but it didn't work that day. I really didn't want to deal with switching to music. I fueled with salted caramel Gu and really struggled to quench my thirst which I think was a result of the Gu and the cold and not hydrating enough with those.

The course was absolutely gorgeous! I loved the part by the river. The sunshine shining through the leaves was beautiful. It made me feel like I was at home running Salem Lake which is one of my favorite places to run.  Compared to Raleigh, the course was so much less crowded. I think that was because the half and the full courses don't really run together. It was windy on the bridges but warm in the sun.

The downhill finish was glorious. I saw my mom, Jonathan, and my training partner Kristine there cheering. I hated that there were three sharp turns in the last quarter of a mile so you could never really SEE the finish line. That just means that if I run it again I'll know what to expect at the finish. Here I am at the end realizing I'd just crossed the 5:30 mark.

My thoughts overall: I'm so glad I did this race. While my time wasn't exactly what I wanted, it was a great experience. I wish I had done the Richmond race first instead of the Raleigh one. It's certainly a learning curve and you gain so much from every experience. For example, I've noted that from both of my full marathons that I wished I would have pushed a tiny bit harder that last mile. I wish I had pushed a bit harder at the end to finish stronger. especially to get rid of that darn 40 seconds, but it was still a PR of about an hour and ten minutes and I'm pleased with that.

I've made myself commit to taking a season off from full marathons and not signing up for another before next fall. I'm pacing the Mistletoe Half and I'll probably do two or three other half marathons before then, but I'm hoping to train for Richmond again next year and have just as much fun.


Beth Cotell said...


Unknown said...


merritt said...

Pretty amazing, Courtney!!

Kristine G. said...

Nice recap! Congratulations on a very good race!

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin