I ran the ORRRC Marathon yesterday, and it was a great race! I placed first overall female, my time was 3:15, AND I got a new PR!! Let me walk you through my race experience. Or should I say run you through my experience
Race morning began a chilly 36 degrees. There was actually frost on the ground when we arrived. We got there just over an hour early because we were concerned about finding parking. It’s a small town, and there were about 1,700 runners entered! Parking ended up not being a big deal–we definitely beat the rush. So we headed inside the YMCA (where the start was) and just sat there for about 45 minutes. Then I began my typical pre-race routine. I put my running shoes on, my race bib, and my watch. Then I headed out for a 15 minute warm-up. I felt great warming up (other than it being a little brisk). After this, I went to the start line to “save my spot”. With 1,700 runners total and only 300 of them being marathoners, I wanted to make sure I didn’t get stuck in the crowd at the start.
I had a friend who agreed to pace me for “as long as he could”, and he told me he’d meet me a couple blocks into the race. I stretched, loaded the gps on my watch, and waited for the gun. This was my only complaint about the entire race…..the start was……confusing.
There were no announcements, everyone was lined up, and suddenly we hear a gun. Several of us thought that meant the race was starting, so we began to go. Then the timing team quickly told us not to start and someone mentioned we were supposed to have the National Anthem first. So, we waited a few more minutes, then some random guy (was he even working for the race?) yelled and told us all to go. Ok……so we went! Apparently when the gun went off, the timing DID start because for the first few “check-ins” the race time read 2 minutes faster than my watch. They must have fixed it though, because by the time I hit the 10k mark, it matched my watch. Other than that, the race was beautifully organized!
So, now to the race. I began slightly fast–it’s hard when there’s over 1,000 half marathoners starting with you… but once my friend joined me, I settled down into a 7:20ish pace. My goal was to maintain between 7:20 and 7:30 pace. The first 6 miles flew by. I felt great (yay for happy legs!), I was in the lead for women, and the course was awesome. I was wrong about the course by the way, it wasn’t COMPLETELY on the bike path-there were several off-path sections that helped change up the scenery.
However, around mile 12, my left glut muscle (and then later IT band as well) started to hurt….and it wouldn’t stop hurting. It progressively got worse until around mile 21. This picture below was taken at mile 15….I hurt. BUT, my friend was STILL pacing me, so I was able to maintain a consistent pace until mile 19.
My friend was getting tired at this point (I certainly wasn’t expecting him to stay with me that long! Best pacer ever!), so he stopped at mile 20. This was almost my breaking point. I stopped at the aid station, drank a cup of water, stretched my IT band, screamed out loud, and then ran off.
And actually, somehow, it was then that I got my second wind. I consciously made the decision NOT to quit, and that gave me a purpose. I picked up the pace, and widened the gap between me and the second place runner. I was able to pass a few guys in the last 6 miles too! I was still hurting and my legs were tired, but I was going to finish–in first. I was not going to let those girls catch me! The miles clicked by, and finally, I made it to the finishing chute!
I came in just as it was starting to get a little too warm for full-length tights! The clock read 3:15:22! I accomplished my goal time, I won, and most importantly….I was DONE!