*aka, Dayton Marathon Race Report
So, yeah. I’m a little excited that after 8 months of torturous un-running, I trained for and then ran my 12th marathon!!!! AND I had a blast!
But let me back up. I know it’s been a while since I wrote. I’ve been busy, plain and simple. I know, I know, who ISN’T busy? But that’s the reason anyway.
Since last I wrote, I ran the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K. It was a hot-as-hell day (85% humidity, barf) and I ran an 8-mile warm up to the start– starting at my apartment and running over the Q’boro Bridge and up the East side of the park into Harlem. By the time I arrived, I was DRENCHED. I ran the thing in 23:38 (7:38 pace) and then ran a very slow 3 mile cool down (before which I finally met the lovely Meggie in person!)
As I stated before, my training program was the uber low mileage and very short 8-week Higdon “senior marathon training program,” which peaked at a whopping 30 mpw. I plugged along at that program, with 3 runs per week– one short, one slightly longer, and one long– and 2 days of Flywheel.
I have to say, after doing the Pfitzinger’s 18/55 plan (18 weeks of training with a peak of 55 mpw) last summer, this one felt like a walk in the park. I also really enjoyed incorporating Flywheel into my training program, which you may recall I began doing very begrudgingly as replacement cardio when I couldn’t run. Now, I LOVE it and am a solid devotee.
One other race I did in advance of my marathon (I’ll get to it, I swear!) was the Bronx 10-miler last Sunday. This one wound up being one of the more hilarious races I’ve ever run, mainly ’cause I was doing pretty awesome for the first 10K or so (7:59, 8:06, 7:52, 7:44, 7:30, 7:27) and then nature called and I had to make a little stop. That was annoying. What was more annoying was that after I ran away from the port-o-potty, I realized I couldn’t find my phone, so I ran BACK to it, burst in one some dude taking a wizz, exited and waited for him to finish, went in again, and couldn’t find my phone anywhere… then after standing dumbly for a minute trying to figure out what to do, I discovered it deep down in my sports bra. After that, I pretty much stopped giving a sh*t about the race and finished in 1:23:09 (8:19 pace.) One of the best things about this race was running into my buddy, Ali, who had been sick for a while and who I was delighted to see out running again, and kicking serious ass.
Stolen from aliontherun <3
Annnnd… 6 days later was the Dayton Marathon!
Dayton is my hometown and I was more than a little excited to run my hometown marathon for the first time. I was obviously also more than a little nervous, given the cruel journey of angst and sadness that plantar fasciitis had taken me on (how’s THAT for drama?) Seriously, though, I wasn’t sure how well-prepared I was with my meager mileage. But, I didn’t have my heart set on any huge goal and just hoped to break 4 hours. I was also super excited for T, since it was his first marathon!
We flew in on Friday morning and my mom picked us up and took us to the expo. The rest of the day was spent eating, resting, and visiting with family.
T and I woke up bright and early (4:30 AM) on Saturday, showered, and got to the start!
Let’s do this!
We left just after 5 AM because I had read a lot of complaints about the traffic at the marathon start. However, this year they must have fixed all the issues that were mentioned because we were there and parked by 6… with a good hour and a half before start time. We hung out in the car with the heat on for a while and then headed to the start.
At the start, I ran into my good friend Jamie. She was running the half (her first.) She is a local celebrity. I used to work with her at WDTN, I was in her wedding, and dated her brother for, oh, 5.5 years. Anyway, it was wonderful seeing her!
It was a gorgeous morning and I documented a bit of it with my flip phone (yes) as we anxiously waited.
only 26.2 miles ’til I’m back!
See you “soon”!
so awesome beginning and finishing amongst these bad boys
That’s a lotta bananas…
Before long, T and I had made our last potty trip and had to split up. There weren’t corrals, but I positioned myself near the 4-hour pacer and T positioned himself further back. Then, there was an awesome flyover, which really revved everyone up. Ordinarily, I’m not an aviation enthusiast, but this was a pretty sweet way to get started.
The anthem was sung, the gun went off, and off we went!
The weather was absolutely perfect. We could not have asked for a better day for this race. It wasn’t long before I saw a familiar person– Julia, who was running her 30th marathon in her 3oth state this year for Titanium qualification for the Marathon Manics. Holy crap. By the way, this was her 60th marathon overall. Anyway, Julia and I ran together for about a mile before I bid her adieu.
Oh, just running on the most gorgeous fall morning I ever did see!
I saw my parents and T’s at mile 5, and I stopped to hug everyone. Splits at that point were kind of all over — 9:06, 9:15, 7:48, 8:34. I was feeling OK, not great.
I carried on, in the zone, casually trying to stay around an 8:40 pace, because that was what felt comfortable, but I wasn’t thinking too hard about it. I was stopping at nearly every fluid station for water and/or Gatorade because I couldn’t shake an unquenchable vague thirst. But the course was pretty delightful– a few inclines followed by soft declines. I texted with T a bit and he sounded like he was doing great. At mile 10, there was a huge crowd and lots of people calling my name, which was exciting. I slapped a bunch of kids high fives and smiled and waved at everyone who cheered.
After Fairborn, (which was mile 10) it got a little sparse and I started wishing I had brought along my IPod. I tried to focus on reaching the halfway mark and when I did, I got a burst of energy.
8:42, 8:44, 8:45, 8:32, 8:32, 8:27, 8:32, 8:53, 8:50
Before I knew it, I was at mile 14. The miles seemed to be flying by all of a sudden, and I continued to feel that way even though it was a quiet area with not many spectators. I should mention that the majority of this race is run on an Air Force base, so there is limited access for civilians. The volunteers at the fluid stations were AMAZING and so encouraging, though, and the military people who were watching were really great, too. I was in the zone at this point and really feeling as though I was out for a relaxing run on a beautiful fall day. It was incredible.
8:37, 8:39, 8:39, 8:33, 8:26, 8:47
As I reached mile 19, I started getting a bit antsy for the race to be over. Not because I was feeling miserable by any means, but I just wanted to wrap it up and start celebrating by hanging out with my family and T and his family. I knew that everyone was waiting for us at mile 22, so I pressed on and looked forward to it, telling myself, “Only a few more miles ’til I see everyone at mile 22, then it’s just a breeze from there ’til the finish!” There were a few tough hills at this point– including a significant-ish one at mile 21 as we went over an overpass. I said incredulously to the 2 dudes running next to me at this point, “A hill at mile 21? What the hell is this?” They didn’t respond and I was a bit offended. (T later told me they were probably gasping for air as I breezed past them, so we’ll stick to that theory. ) I saw my mom’s sign as I approached the crowd at mile 22 and then I saw T’s parents and mine, as well as my brother and my niece!
Very shortly after the 22 mile mark, the full marathon met up with the half, which had started an hour later. At this point, I had been running for a little over 3 hours, so it was a bit frustrating to find myself dodging people walking the half who were not staying in their pre-ordained lane and were walking 5 abreast. However, I was having such a good day and I was almost done, so it didn’t bother me nearly as much as it could have.
A few more small inclines appeared and I climbed them, recalling that the elevation chart had shown the course finished on a downhill. Before I knew it, I spied the finish! I cruised on in, got my medal and my space blanket, and found a spot in the grass to sit down and suck down some Gatorade and stretch.
8:45, 8:48, 8:42, 8:41, 8:59, 8:32, 8:12, 7:15
My watch said I’d finished in 3:47:11 and I was pleased with that finish time. (My official finish time was 2 seconds faster, woohoo! )
It was a weird and peaceful feeling to be sitting at the finish of a marathon alone, pleased and feeling good and not obsessing over my pace or finish time. I knew I could have finished a bit faster, but in the end, I likely wouldn’t have PRed and would have just felt physically like sh*t. It wouldn’t have been worth it. I also found it interesting that my time was less than 2 minutes slower than my time in NY last year, and I have never felt worse after a race than I did after that one. That race, of course, was 3 weeks post my PR in Columbus and NYC is a notoriously difficult course. But still.
Eventually, I met up with my parents, my brother, and my niece. They told me how hellish the traffic was for them and apologized for not being there to see me cross the finish. I just felt bad they had dealt with traffic and was happy to see them. Two of my besties, Jill and Jess (+ Jill’s little baby, Raymond) surprised me by showing up, as well. I received a text from T who was about to cross the finish, so I went to watch and screamed my head off like a crazy lady. T did extremely well, especially considering that he hates running (:)) and he had some knee issues crop up in the later miles. I was absolutely elated to see him finish strong, and he seemed pretty pleased himself.
The rest of the day was spent with our families, beer, and food. What more could I have asked for?!
In summary: I LOVE THE DAYTON MARATHON! It may be my favorite race. Hometown pride here! Oh and the foot? Feelin’ good! *Knock on wood!*
Next up… NYC marathon. Am I crazy? Don’t answer that.