Well, I have now joined the ranks of the marathoning moms! That’s right, on Sunday, I did the ORRRC Xenia Marathon! So, let me give you a little recap on the race.
I’ll actually start off with a little background. I had been training for this race basically since December, although not seriously until January. I decided back at the end of 2015 that I wanted to get a PR in the marathon this year, and I figured a local, low-cost marathon was a great one to try for in case my training went south. So, I picked the Xenia Marathon! Considering I had a baby and was dealing with getting used to being a full time mom, employee, and athlete, I did a decent job training. I got in 3 20-21 mile long runs, though I did my last one 4 weeks prior to race day. I felt like my endurance was where it needed to be, but I wasn’t sure about my speed because all of my long runs had been slooooow.
So, race morning came, and it was a brisk 28 degrees! The baby had a terrible night and was up 3 times and then super early, so I was operating on very little sleep. However, the one good thing I had going for me was I was used to that!! Since the race was only 15 minutes from my house, I got all my gear ready, fed the baby, and was out the door an hour before the start of the race.
When I got to the start, I parked (right across the street from the start!!), and then did a quick 10 minute warm up. I then walked over to my friend’s house (1 block from the start!!) to use his restroom (yay for no port-a-pottys!) and pump (you want to be as light as possible for the race 😉 ). By the time all this was done, I had about 15 minutes before the start of the race. I planned out with my same friend who’s house I borrowed, that he would run with me for the majority of the race (um yea, best running friend EVER!). So then, I walked back over to the start, put my backpack in my car, sucked down my espresso gel and hammer bar, and wandered over to the start line!
I felt pretty good while I waited for the gun to go off. I was wearing capri tights, short sleeve shirt, arm sleeves, gloves, and ear warmer. It wasn’t too windy, and what wind there was had been blocked by the buildings. We started, and off I went at a blazing 6:45 pace! Ops, I was aiming for 7:15-7:25! It took about 4 miles to get settled in to a pace, but I finally did drop down to 7:14.
The first 9 miles went by pretty comfortably and I was having a great time! Then, we turned off the bike path onto a country road where there were NO trees, annnnnd the wind hit hard. I had begun to sweat on the bike path where we were protected, so the wind made my sweat feel freezing on my body! This was a long section, but I was able to maintain my pace and recover well once we got back onto the bike path again in Cedarville.
We were only on the path for maybe a mile here, and then we went back onto country roads around the backside of the town. These roads were also very open and VERY windy. This time, as we were cresting a hill, I noticed something hard hitting my face. “Um, is it sleeting??” I said to my friend. Yes, yes it was. Lovely… This section was about 5 miles long and so so so cold and windy! I tried as hard as I could to maintain my pace during this part, and amazingly I did! I was so happy when we got back on the bike path as it was “all down hill from there”. I knew the entire rest of the race was on the bike path, so mentally I knew what to expect.
I started to get colder and colder though, and by mile 18, I was pretty stiff. Then at mile 19, I was passed by a girl (until this point, I was the first female). I told myself not to worry about it though. My goal going into the race was to break 3:15, and I was on pace for that. I hit mile 20, and my pace slowed a tiny bit. We’d just crested a hill and my legs were cold. We had to do a small out and back section for mile 21, and I slowed a bit more during that mile. I checked my watch and it clicked at 7:27-my slowest of the whole race. I got my butt back in gear and forced my pace back to 7:20 and held that for mile 23. Then the last 3 miles, I gave absolutely everything I had and got my pace to 7:15 again!
I rounded the corner with .2 mile left, and I could see the finish line. I checked my watch and saw I was going to hit 3:10! I tried to push harder and “sprint to the finish” because I really wanted to break 3:10 after seeing it was possible, so I dug and dug! I came through the finish completely spent and my time was 3:10:05. I was pretty happy with that since it was over a 5 minute PR for me!! GOAL MADE! Also, I checked my results after, and I was 9TH OVERALL (8 people total beat me!), 2nd female, and 1st in my age group. Yea, the girl who beat me was a young pup.
Anyway, it was a great race even though it was cold. I felt good and didn’t get too fatigued. I stayed steady for the most part and only fell off my goal pace for a couple miles. All in all, I am very satisfied with both my effort and my result! I’m now even more of a supporter of training while pregnant because I truly believe that’s how I was strong enough to do so well just under 6 months post-baby!!
Any of you race competitively after having babies? What’s your experience??