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Soldier Marathon - Run

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Columbus, Georgia
United States
Soldier Marathon
72F / 22C
Total Time = 4h 18m 42s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = W50-54
Age Group Rank = 3/34
Pre-race routine:

Because qualifying for Boston is now at 2017, my BQ time is <4:10. Knew it was an audacious goal because it would be 20 min PR but wanted to not let fear keep me from trying.

We thought we were going to have major thunderstorms for this race but they held off. Instead we got the heat and humidity. Thankfully it was overcast.
Event warmup:

Managed to catch the Porta just before the crowd hit them. Then a little warmup to test gear, make adjustments, and do some strides.
  • 4h 18m 42s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 09m 52s  min/mile

I had a pace bracelet with Steve's suggested paces. Lined up a little ahead of my target pace because I knew that others would be starting ahead of their groups and I was trying to avoid dodging people. Perfect placement.

My adorable hubby met me at Mile 9. He was thrilled to see me ahead of pace. He ran with me a couple of paces and gave me a kiss. Highlight of the race! Hope he is recovered enough next year to run.

I was ahead of pace for about 13 miles and considered pulling back to my target pace but I did multiple gut checks and felt ok. But then around mile 15ish, I was putting in the effort but was getting very diminished returns. And I got so thirsty. Although I had been drinking at every aid station (Powerade unless I had just taken a gel, then water), maybe I need to have been taking 3 or 4 cups versus two or gulp, one. I was so focused on not wasting time, I might have screwed myself. At mile 16, I popped 2 endurolyte pills.

At mile 17, OMG major calf cramps hit. So hard it pulled me up short and thank God, I didn't say all of the cuss words that were occurring in my head because a volunteer was right there. But God, it hurt!! I had my Advil in hand and limped to the aid station and downed them. Grabbed a banana too. Right at that point, 4:10 pacer paced me. I decided that I could still catch her and set out.

Advil helped tremendously and I began pounding down the boardwalk. The cramps were coming up on random steps but I was still managing a good run. Good, but not enough to catch the pacer but I was still hoping to catch her near the finish line. Every aid station, I popped more endurolyte pills and hit the gels every 30 minutes. I knew I was about 2-3 min back and really, really, really tried to make it. About mile 19, the calf cramps got worse and while I had been feeling like someone was twisting my calves with pliers on every 3rd or 7th step, I had been managing a run. Now the cramps would pull me up short sometimes. I still gimped along and made up some time but around mile 23, I was 90% sure I wasn’t going to make it. Still kept going. Then at mile 24, my brain realized it wasn’t going to happen and I came to peace with it; I was very happy with my effort. I had a solid PR, I didn't slack off, and I kept my head in the game. Around mile 25ish, I will admit that I decided that I was not going to kill myself coming in and quit attempting the faster pace and just went to an ez run; hoped that the cramps wouldn’t pull me up short at that pace but another one still got me right around mile 26. A soldier came and shook my hand and hugged me and I wasn’t going to rush thru that. Crossed the line with a 10 1/2 min PR.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. But I believe that you should always learn from your races so I always look for the areas to improve. I did not do enough pace runs and I didn't drink enough. I've run in hotter weather but not at that pace for that long. Some people may say I should have slowed in the beginning (was about 20 sec faster than predicted) but since I've always used that thought process as a crutch before, I'm glad that I didn't slow. Yes, it might have caused me to blow up and if so, I'm fine with that. The goal of this race was to NOT PLAY IT SAFE.

Post race
Warm down:

None because a friend was waiting for me, another Tally girl talked to me, and I was trying to get to my hubby. Did do some minor stretches but couldn't stretch too much because was still too cramped. Finally got some good stretches done on the yoga mat an hour later.

Drank, drank, drank. We were about to leave so went back to the food tent to see if there was anything I wanted to eat. My hubby ran to me and said they had just called my name and he thought I had 3rd AG. Course I didn’t believe him but he kept insisting they called my name. So I went over to the awards area but they were on the men’s AG then. Waited and then when they finished, I went to the table. Another girl was there and she had 2nd and I had 3rd; damn, if I hadn’t tanked that last mile, I might have gotten 2nd. Nay, I don’t think so and I don’t care. They put us both on the podium and took our pic. So flipping cool for this lady. So damn cool!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I knew I should have put more pace runs in during my training but couldn't figure out how to fit them in my schedule. Well my calves showed me that was stupid.

Event comments:

The volunteers at this race are awesome. There is a lot of military personnel on the base which is humbling. And there are scores of high school students in Columbus volunteering, cheering, and just making me feel like Columbus is raising their kids right. The volunteers were superb.

I will point out one negative but it wasn't the race's fault. I went to the pace table during registration to see if I wanted to join a group. The person there overstepped the boundaries and among the many things she told me about HERSELF, only asked me one question - distance of my last long run. She promptly replied that, as a coach, she thinks I should do 23 miles to prep for a marathon. Out of all of the questions in the world to ask, she dispenses advice on that one question. Really Chick, was I supposed to genuflect before you? Pleeeasssee. I only mention this because if anyone encounters that kind of person before a race, realize that the problem is their ego and/or home training and not your race training.

Last updated: 2015-06-24 12:00 AM
04:18:42 | 26.2 miles | 09m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 3/34
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: First 7 miles thru Ft Benning and the remaining course was thru Columbus, GA. Crossed the bridge into AL for about a mile.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2015-11-10 9:37 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Tallahassee, Florida
Subject: Soldier Marathon

2015-11-11 1:34 AM
in reply to: #5151732

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Bellingham, WA
Subject: RE: Soldier Marathon

Congrats on a great race.  Way to fight through the cramps and hang in there.  Keep at it and I'm sure that BQ will be yours.

2015-11-11 5:34 AM
in reply to: popsracer

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Subject: RE: Soldier Marathon
Oooh, nice marathon!!
2015-11-17 1:36 PM
in reply to: abake

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Subject: RE: Soldier Marathon

Awesome job - way to get the PR and really push yourself. Dealing with those cramps doesn't sound easy and you pushed yourself right to the last mile. Very impressive! 

2015-11-18 10:03 AM
in reply to: #5151732

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New user
Austin, Texas
Subject: RE: Soldier Marathon

Congrats Pam! I had a good chuckle over the last part about the coach. Maybe if you had bowed to her presence right then and there, you would have BQ'd. All in hindsight I suppose. Thanks for the great writeup.

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