16 Weeks of Training. 680.3 Miles. Resulted in a 2 Minute 25 Second PR. Disappointment doesn’t begin to explain how I felt crossing the finish line. While I realize that a 2+ minute is a great PR, it wasn’t what I had trained for (you can view my race goals here).
But first let’s recap the race. It was the 40th Anniversary of the Glass City Marathon, sponsored by Mercy Health.
The weather was perfect. Starting in the low 40s/high 30s and climbing comfortably. The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day to run a full marathon.
We will fast forward through the morning and begin at the start line.
Start: I lined up slightly behind the 1:50 Half Marathon pacer because I couldn’t find the 3:40 pace who showed up right before the wheelchair race began. The corrals seemed really crowded, but I didn’t figure out why until after. The race started almost 8 minutes late (at 7:10am). But there was a beautifully sung National Anthem and a “fly-over” from Mercy Health’s LifeFlight; however, there was a lot of grumbling in my corral because having LifeFlight at a marathon doesn’t exactly give you warm-fuzzies!
Miles 1-6: Once we were off, I realized those crowded corrals made for a crowded first mile, and I quickly lost the 3:40 pace group. My plan was to take the first 3 miles comfortably easy even if that meant not running with the pace group. I wasn’t going to repeat last year, when the pace tried to make up for lost time in the second mile. I was running passed too many walkers, when I realized that because the corrals and sidewalks were so overly crowded they were unable to get back to their actual corrals. At the Mile 2 water stop, I quickly ducked into a porta-potty because I had to go. Around Mile 3, I saw my Dad, and then shortly after I passed through the Girls on the Run NWO water stop. I grabbed gatorade here, which I never do anymore, because my stomach was hungry and I knew this wasn’t good. Of course when Mile 4.5 came and it was time for my fuel, I dropped one chew. I had settled into a comfortable 3:45 pace.
Average Pace: 8’46”
Miles 7-13: I was really enjoying the race. I loved the signs and the crowd involvement. I even “participated” in the race atmosphere by responding to cheers and signs. I may have asked the beer stop before mile 7 where the shots were. I was feeling really good; confident that this was going to be the perfect race. After we headed into Wildwood and lost the half marathoners, I noticed how thin the crowd was. It almost felt like there was a loss in the energy. When we hit the “hill” by the manor and my legs felt sluggish. It should have been an easy. I’ve run that “hill” so many times. When we hit the university trail I noticed my pace was starting to struggle even though my legs felt fine. Between Mile 10 and 11, I thought the 3:55 was behind me and got really nervous, but it wasn’t them…yet. Once that came into my head I saw my pace begin to slow even though I was trying to get my legs to keep on track. It of course didn’t help that at Mile 13 the fresh pairs of relay legs came onto the course.
Average Pace: 8’53”
Mile 14-21: King Road wasn’t my favorite stretch of the course. The road was still open to traffic as the marathon course was utilizing the bike lane. Vehicles were NOT obeying the posted speed limit signs or even or even taking into consideration that there were runners on the road. I walked through the water stop at Mile 14 because I wanted some Vaseline for the chafing under my arms, but none was to be found; my right foot also felt like it was on fire, similar to how it felt around Mile 25 during WDW Marathon. It also was getting difficult to drink on the run with all of the walkers at the water stops. Around 14.5, I tried using my Aquafor to address my chafing issue, but it didn’t work. I was carrying a water bottle, but tossed it around Mile 15 and then pulled out my iPod to start listening to music to give me a little bit of motivation. At the Mile 16 water stop, I stopped for some Vaseline. Right before Mile 17, I felt a hand on my shoulder and there was Krista. I cussed a bit because that meant the 3:55 group was with me. Her words of encouragement and the feel of the pack behind me motivated me slightly to get back into my pace, but it didn’t last long. My legs didn’t want to move faster (although the pace felt really easy). When the 3:55 group passed me at Mile 17, I started walking and the tears came. I felt completely defeated. And mentally I was done. I tried running, but kept stopping to gather my thoughts and get back in the race. By mile 20, I knew my PR was on the line. At the last relay point which was up the hill in front of the manor I was walking just to save my legs I saw a coworker and then a grade school friend. I ran to her for a hug because let’s be honest I needed it. And she was cheering and smiling and who wouldn’t want to feed off that. I left and started running. I took a GU because I was out of chews and didn’t want to bonk when I needed to finish strong.
Average Pace: 9’38”
Mile 22-26.2: My legs and head were still fighting after I left the relay point. But I knew that as long as I didn’t give up, I would PR and maybe even break 4 hours. Around Mile 24, I had to stop and untie my shoes. My feet were swelling and it got really uncomfortable. When I got up, my legs decided they felt like running. I saw my Dad at Mile 25. Right after passing the student rec, I saw my fellow ambassador Lisa, and thought if I could just catch up to her we could finish together, but my legs having finally decided to work I cruised passed.
Average Pace: 8’43”
Finish: As I rounded the last turn at Mile 26, I knew I wouldn’t break 4 hours, but I sure as hell was going to come close. With 0.1 miles to go, I let it all out. Immediately at the finish, I really just wanted to curl up into a ball. I felt like the last 16 weeks were a complete waste and that I failed.
Official Finish Time 4:00:30 (6 Minute 26 Second Course PR)
Average Pace 9’10”
-Fast Mile: 26 (7’58”)
-Slowest Mile: 19 (10’45”)
-Number of Miles under 9 minutes: 13
-Number of Miles under 10 minutes: 11
-Number of Miles over 10 minutes: 2
What Went Right: I finished the race and didn’t feel my usual puking sensation. I honestly felt like I could run a few more miles easily afterwards (why wasn’t this a 50K? lol); I felt better after than I did during my last 18 mile training run. I loved the light-weight feel of my Hoka Tracers and was happy to try out my new racers; despite having sore feet and having to adjust my laces because my feet started to swell, my legs felt amazing. There was great support out on the course and I learned to fall in love with the volunteers. My shoulders/back didn’t bother me. Even though I had a mild meltdown that could have completely derailed my PR, I was able to pull it together and pull it out. I finally successfully completed an entire training plan! Let’s be honest, the first three fulls were kinda fly by the seat of my pants sort of things. And this one I gave it my all. I wanted to see what I could really do with the right training- and I learned that while this training made me a better and more confident runner, I have some tweaks to change in the future and I am so excited for what comes next.
What Went Wrong: I spent too much time on my feet Saturday. Partly due to my recent poor eating habits, and my personal habit of overworking, I felt exhausted all week and not having a day of rest on Saturday didn’t help. I was not at my racing weight; I didn’t notice it physically slow me down, but I can’t help to wonder if the mild weight gain I had towards the end of training had any effect on my racing abilities. The weather was perfect, my legs felt great, my heart wanted it so bad, but my head got the best of me.
What Did I Learn: My race pace replicated my long run pace, although I had better long runs; next training period I want my long runs to represent my goal marathon pace more accurately. I need to get my nutrition back on track and get back to a comfortable racing weight. I need to take time off of long distance training and focus on building speed at shorter distances to increase my turnover (which was lacking on race day) and I feel like this will help get my mind and legs together on the same page. Obviously I need to work on my mental game; my PMA (positive mental attitude) carried me far, but not quite far enough!
What’s Next: Currently I don’t have a fall marathon; I really wanted to run Wineglass but I could possibly lose out on a critical month of training and I think I need to use that time to focus on other adventures. I’m looking at shorter distances, maybe a 10K come the fall or even a half marathon.
Closing Thoughts: It was really hard to write this race recap and dissect my performance. I am not proud of how I performed. While a PR is fantastic, I trained for a certain pace and ended up finishing almost a whole minute per mile slower. It’s disappointing to work so hard and yet fail to reach your goals.
Thanks to Toledo Road Runners and Run Toledo for sponsoring such a great event!
Question: Did you race this weekend? How did it go?