Marathon #11 can best be described by one of my Dad’s many sayings: sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. I won’t leave you in any suspense – I didn’t get the bear.
I didn’t have a terrible race. I didn’t go out too fast, didn’t hit the wall, didn’t dehydrate, didn’t develop aches or pains, or didn’t fuel properly. My first 13.1 was run in 1:48 and the second 13.1 in 1:52. A 4-minute positive split. Not terrible – I’ll never be a negative split marathoner – even splits are the way to go for me.
All I can say is that I got tired (no shit, right?). My mind was saying “go, go, go” but my legs could not maintain MP. My pace would slip, I would rally back for a little, and then my pace would slip again.
the bad and the ugly
On paper, a sub-3:40 (8:20 average pace if you’re using 3:39) should have been easy. I just ran a 1:41 half 3 weeks ago (7:45 average pace). My MP would have been 35 seconds slower than my HMP. That’s huge. This was not a stretch goal.
But the marathon is a fickle bitch of a race. Anything can happen. You’re on top of the world for one mile and praying that it will all end the next mile.
I wanted to use the first 2 miles as a warm-up and then settle into 8:20 pace. I was holding back here. I obsessively checked my Garmin to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast. The first few miles were within RB and then we entered a rails-to-trails section. This was definitely my favorite part of the race. It was gorgeous and the trail running put me at ease.
And then we headed out for a long stretch to Lewes and Cape Henlopen State Park, passing some of the biggest and most beautiful houses I have ever seen.
I needed to pee. Like real bad. I first noticed it around mile 7 and I thought the feeling would go away. It only got worse. With the exception of my first marathon, I never have to stop and pee during a race. Ever. I gave some serious thought to just peeing myself but my stage fright is way too bad for that. Plus it’s really difficult to “let go” while running!
I HAD to stop at the next porta potty. I was going to lose time either way. If I didn’t pee, the feeling would only get worse and slow me down. I ducked into the next porta potty I saw, peed as fast as I could, and then tried my best to make up for lost time (that’s why mile 18 is 8:53).
Miles 14-16 went through Cape Henlopen State Park. This is where the so-called “hills” were. It was more like gentle rolling hills – nothing that will really break you. The payoff was gorgeous views of the sand dunes and ocean.
This is where the tiredness set in. I didn’t hit the wall; it was just harder to maintain MP. I felt OK and tried to rally back with mile 21 but my paced slipped again in mile 22.
We made our way back to RB via the rails-to-trails section. I saw Jess around mile 22. I have never met Jess before but we both knew we were running the race. I introduced myself and we ran together for the next 4 miles. We were both having a tough time and although we didn’t talk it was nice to have someone there with you…providing silent encouragement and motivation. Thank you, Jess!
I passed mile 25 in 3:30. I didn’t know how close to 3:31 I was but I remember thinking I can do this. I can run a 3:39. It’s funny how you forget that you have to run 1.2 miles to finish. I would have had to pull the fastest 1.2 miles of my life to get a 3:39.
I saw my Garmin switch over to 3:40 and my heart sank. I was so close…I could see the tent where the finish line was. I crossed the finish line in such a fog I never stopped my Garmin until 30 seconds later.
Overall – 197/823
Female – 47/323
AG – 10/45
I so badly wanted to run a 3:3x marathon and was totally capable of doing so but it wasn’t my day. I left nothing on that course and did the best I could do on that day…which is all you can really ask for in a marathon.
the race itself
I would definitely, absolutely, positively recommend this race. The course was beautiful (and flat) and RB Running Company organized a small and fantastic race. I lucked out with the weather – it was 100% overcast with no wind. I could see how even the slightest bit of wind could cause havoc on some of the out-and-back portions.
I also got to see Matt about 4-5 times on the course. He kept popping up every couple of miles.
The best thing about the race was the after party. A huge, heated tent with catered food, live music, and beer!
I mentioned this in another post but it’s worth mentioning again. I stayed at Avenue Inn, right around the corner from the start line. The race started at 7AM and I didn’t leave my hotel room until 6:45AM. I was warm, dry, and used the bathroom to my heart’s content.
Writing this recap has been cathartic. I was hoping it would be. Up until yesterday, all I could think of is how I didn’t run a 3:3x marathon. I hate how that overshadows that fact that I PR’d by 2 minutes. If I were a client I would have looked at those splits and told them they ran a terrific race and they should be proud. I need to listen to my own advice.
On the plus side, I get a break. A real break. Not a let’s-run-a-50K-and-then-another-marathon break (remember how I said I was going to take a break after Boston)? I’m going to focus on barre and running what I want, when I want.
I literally could not keep up with all the comments on FB, Instagram, and Twitter. Thank you, thank you! It really did mean a lot.