The start was crowded as I expected, my first mile was like 9:30 because I was trying to squeeze through big groups of people. My second mile was a bit better but I couldn't wait to split off from the half marathon.
I talked to my ultra runner friend Charles at the expo and when I told him my goal was just to break 4 hrs, he told me to find the 4 hr pace group and stick with them until about mile 23 then "run home." So I found the group about 3 miles into it and just positioned myself right behind the lead group leader. I felt like I had to hold back a lot but I was comfortable so I went with it. The miles ticked off fast and people dropped and added to the group. I chatted with the pace group leader which was nice, so I knew I was holding a good pace. Gels were consumed every 5 miles and if there was an aid station in between I took a salt tab. I was really worried about electrolytes since I wasn't going to take Gatorade from the course, but it was humid so I supplemented with the salt tabs. The gels just didn't sit well for some reason, I was all kinds of burpy, which didn't really hinder me but it wasn't a comfortable feeling. Could be worse though!
Scottie and Alan were always within view through the run, my plan was to stick behind them and then smoke them at the end haha. I guess around 10 miles Alan pulled away and I ended up passing Scottie. He said his knee was wrecked, which really worried me. He has had issues for a few weeks and I was nervous if it was going to hold together. I kept going in hopes to continue my pace. Around 18 or so I started to fall behind the pace group. The lack of sleep was getting to me and I was just exhausted. My quads were sore and my pinkie toes were developing blisters from the compression socks. But I kept moving forward because the faster I moved the faster I would be done. I started walking through the aid stations at around mile 21/22 I think. I took my time to drink water and compose myself before I ran again. I grabbed a pickle at an aid station which was AMAZING! I love salty stuff on a run and this was perfection!
At mile 23 there was a gradual incline that I have run too many times to count, I knew it was going to suck and it really did. I walked about half of it because I just needed to rest. After that I was on a mission to keep running as I knew we would be off the trail and on to the road soon, I didn't want to walk in front of the small group of spectators out cheering people on. I walked the final aid station and then gave myself a pep talk that this was the home stretch, only a little bit longer and I could stop for good!
The last few miles were actually a bit brutal because there were lots of inclines (I hate to call them hills because they weren't that bad, enough of an incline to hurt at mile 25 of a marathon though!) I was cursing whoever planned this course and swore I would never run this race again!
I saw Jon and Janelle right before the final push to the finish and it really helped seeing a few happy faces! I turned into the sports complex and notice the steep ass hill to the finish. I wanted to die! I saw Scottie and Steph cheering me on but at that point I just wanted to throw up...which I told them lol.
Finally, I crossed the uphill finish line and I was done! Eleven minutes past my goal but I didn't care. I knew at mile 20 there was no way I was going to make it but I did the best I could that day.
What would you do differently?:
I really need more long runs during marathon training. I only trained 12 weeks for this since I was unsure if my ITBS was completely resolved from IMFL. I got in a 20 miler but then took a week off of running to ski, which probably didn't help either. When I PRed at Richmond (a hilly course) I did 3 20 milers and a 22 miler. I walked more near the end of Richmond then I did for this one but overall my splits were faster.
I am happy that I never had a mental breakdown, I hit a physical wall but never a mental one...I guess walking 2/3 of an Ironman marathon kinda hardens you up a bit!
I also think I need compression sleeves for races and not socks. CEP makes sleeves now so I may get a pair of those, my toes were squished too much in the socks (probably due to the swelling thanks to the humidity) and that caused lots of pain.
Sat on the space blanket and collected myself. I felt like I was going to vomit but I was able to settle my stomach with some water. Scottie, Steph, Frank and Danielle found me sitting and then I walked to the car to get a long sleeve shirt on then got some pizza. Oh delicious pizza. I was thrilled I didn't feel sick after this race, like I have in the past. I wanted a beer but only Bud Light was left so I passed, especially after we made plans to meet at Tyler's Taproom later.
I'm not sure I will run this race again. I train on the course, which isn't that interesting so boredom set in fast. It also isn't very spectator friendly, which really makes a difference those last few miles! Not a fan of the uphill finish either. I was disappointed that all of the good beer was consumed by the half marathon finishers and we were stuck with Bud Light, pretty small complaint but this isn't the first year of the race...plan better next year.
Overall it's a cheap, local race but you get what you pay for. I think I will run Shamrock next year since it is on St. Patty's Day and their swag is second to none!
Last updated: 2012-01-13 12:00 AM
Tobacco Road Marathon
70F / 21C
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I slept about 30 minutes the night before, no that's not an exaggeration. I wasn't nervous but I couldn't settle my mind and then we had some wicked storms that kept the dogs (or at least my dog) in a tizzy. I finally fell asleep around 3am just in time for the alarm to go off at 3:30am.
Up and at em, dressed, coffee and made oatmeal with peanut butter. We were off just after 4:30am to meet one of my co workers and car pool in.
I HATE running late for events and this one particularly has tricky parking and I wanted a good spot, which is why we left so early. I was super happy when we parked and had a prime spot just off the finish line. We all chilled out and chatted. Wish I thought to bring camping chairs or at least a blanket to sit on but oh well. Visited the porta potties multiple times, happy I didn't have the same issue as Shamrock last year..things were moving right along just fine.
One last potty visit and we lined up...or attempted to. The race started at 7am, both the half and the full...which really irritated me. I was way behind where I wanted to be but figured it would all shake out so I tried to not stress. I put on my Ipod before the start to get pumped up and before I know it we were off running.
Standing in porta potty lines is warm up enough :)