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Tecumseh Trail Marathon - RunMarathon

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Bloomington, Indiana
United States
Total Time = 4h 28m 18s
Overall Rank = 133/635
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 4/29
Pre-race routine:

We arrived too late for packet pick-up on Friday night, so I got up at 6, showered, and picked up breakfast at the coffee shop before heading out to the finish area to pick up my packet. I brought my early-bird son and the dog, and we were rewarded with a beautiful sunrise over the forest and farms. Back to the hotel, where I waited with the kids until it was time to get on the bus to the start. The buses were a little late, so the start was slightly delayed to give everyone time to check their gear bags and use the facilities. I looked around for familiar faces, and found the college student who'd gotten a ride with us from WL. He was all smiles and nervous energy (first marathon, done on a dare), and I wished him luck before finding my place in the pack. I looked up to realize I was standing next to my friend in orange from last year's race, and we shook hands and wished each other luck and then we were off!
Event warmup:

  • 4h 28m 13s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 10m 14s  min/mile

I started out at an easy pace, giving my legs time to warm up. It was chilly at the start, but forecast to warm up to the high 50s, so I was wearing shorts and my legs felt cold for the first few miles. I took it easy on the hills, but walked only a few of the steeper hills in the first half. I kept my stops at the aid stations short, just refilling my water bottle and sometimes taking a handful of pretzels. The weather was beautiful, and the trail conditions couldn't have been much better. The streams were running high enough to make the crossings fun, but not so high that you couldn't avoid getting wet. At the deepest crossing, an HHC volunteer was out arranging logs and stones for us to hop across. I thanked him enthusiastically as my feet stayed dry. At the halfway point (~2:03ish), I felt fresher than I had in my previous TTMs, so I felt good about my chances of hitting goal #1 (not walking the last 5 miles) and even goal #2 (finish within an hour of my road PR), but it was too soon to think about my super secret stretch goal (4:30). You're not really halfway done at the halfway mark at the TTM.

The second half starts with a hill that is laughably steep (like the 500 hill for my local peeps), and then continues up and down some pretty big hills with the last big climb at mile 19. I walked all the big hills, but tried to walk them with purpose (dare I say power walk?). I tripped on a stick and wiped out within sight of the 5.5-to-go aid station, and was slightly disappointed that no one teased me. At the same aid station, Mary from the tri club recognized me and introduced herself. She was stopping as I ran through, but I'd seen how strong she was running and knew she'd be passing me soon. The next couple of miles felt long, and I concentrated on keeping my mental focus. Heading back into the woods after the last aid station (3 to go!), my body was going and taking my mind with it. I knew I had a course PR in the bag as long as I didn't walk, so I was motivated enough to keep running but not motivated enough to keep running hard. I trotted along, getting passed now by stronger runners and passing a few who were more gassed than I was. Mary came up behind me, and I used a tiny uphill as an excuse to walk for a minute and let her go.

Coming out of the woods onto gravel road (last mile.2!), I scored a small victory by not stopping to walk and collect myself as I had last year, but kept running until I got to the last and final hill. A guy near me looked at the hill in disbelief and said "are you kidding me???" (or possibly something more colorful). I told him it was the last one, and up we went. At the top, I went back to my painful shuffle run, and tried not to look down the road for the turnoff to the finish. It was a huge relief to reach that final turn, and I thought I was smiling as I ran down the chute, but the finish photos will likely tell another story. As I passed the finish clock it vaguely registered with me that I had beaten my super secret stretch goal. I'd been dwelling on the negative (how much time I'd given up in the last 3 miles) instead of the positive (I'd run the race as a whole better than I'd expected).
What would you do differently?:

More and longer long runs for a stronger finish.
Post race
Warm down:

I made it through the chute without falling down or throwing up, and even though I knew I shouldn't do it, I made my way to the nearest tree and sat down. My kids were tugging at my sleeves and giving me hugs, and wanting me to get my post-race cookies for them. I knew the soup would settle my stomach, so I finally dragged my sorry self over to the food line and picked up my soup and gave the kids my chips and cookies. Then I sat down again and enjoyed the fabulously hot and salty soup. As I ate it, I remembered to think of Roni out there running the North Face 50 miler in SF and sent her a mental "go girl!" As we watched the finishers coming in, my daughter made my day by telling my husband she wanted to start training for a race like this. She's 8, and I can't wait to run it with her some day.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm getting closer, but I have more work to do on my endurance and mental focus for a strong finish.

Event comments:

Love the TTM. Awesome course, terrific organizers and volunteers, and the nicest runners you could hope to spend the day with.

Last updated: 2011-12-05 12:00 AM
04:28:13 | 26.2 miles | 10m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/29
Overall: 133/635
Performance: Good
Course: Hilly point-to-point course, mostly single track with some fire roads and sections of gravel road.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2011-12-05 3:09 PM

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Subject: Tecumseh Trail Marathon

2011-12-05 4:19 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
Awesome job eating it! Man, I wish I was there for that! Huge pr!!!! Awesome job, btw...I heard a song about a dirty hippie on Saturday before my run and thought about you!
2011-12-05 4:21 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Extreme Veteran
NW Georgia
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
Congrats on an awesome race and accomplishing your SSS goal!!!
2011-12-05 4:37 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Tosa, WI
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon

A Faceplant and a Super Secret PR smashing all in one race?  We want pictures!!!  


2011-12-05 4:51 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Frisco, TX
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
An Endo on a run?  Where are the pics of that?  Great job on beating all of your goals!
2011-12-05 5:53 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Sendai, Japan
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
Awesome job Julia!!

2011-12-05 9:10 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Brevard, North Carolina
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
Awesome job girl.  You, Roni, and Sam are my trail running heros.  I don't think most people realize how hilly Bloomington is!  You rock.  I'm thinking about doing my first 1/2 mary in Bloomington next spring. 
2011-12-05 11:30 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Wherever the trail takes me, WA.
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
well done!!! Very very jealous!
2011-12-05 11:44 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
You are so awesome!! Congrats on smashing all three of your goals!! It's been such fun to track your amazing races all year. Way to knock it out of the park on the last one!! Your legs never cease to amaze me!
2011-12-05 11:58 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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san francisco
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
I am so happy for you, Julia!!! Love that you hit your SS goal! You are one tough running machine. Time to dwell on the positive!!! Big PR, baby!
2011-12-07 4:01 PM
in reply to: #3927115

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Silverton, Oregon
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon

Loved reading your race report, Julia! Way to stay strong! Fantastic PR!

Thanks for the shout out too! I felt all that positive energy coming my way... that's what kept me smiling.

2011-12-09 8:35 AM
in reply to: #3930182

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: Tecumseh Trail Marathon
Awesome job Julia!
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