Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shamrock Marathon: Race Report

I finally ran a marathon! Yes! My last marathon was in 2009, so I had no idea what type of goal to make, so I never did! (actually I didn't place a goal time on this race until 6 days before!) After thinking over my training and fitness I came to a goal of 3:48-3:50. I felt confident about this goal....and I came pretty close.

It was a gorgeous day for a run! The day started cloudy in the 50's, the highs were only predicted to hit the low 60's, partly cloudy, this was perfect in my book! I was so nervous, I was shaking placing my bib number on; but I was also so ready and excited! I had a feeling it was going to be a great day, a great race, I was so ready to go!

Race plan: My plan was to start slow at 9 minute mile pace for the first 10k, then drop to 8:45-8:50's for the remaining 20 miles.

Race Recap:

Miles 1-6. (8:52, 8:52, 8:59, 8:52, 8:57, 8:52)
I felt lite, my legs felt strong and rested, I had tapered right. I was nervous at the start so it was definitely work not to want to speed up and run with the masses. It was also conscience effort to keep my breathing steady, due to my nerves. Looking at my times, I stayed pretty consistent at a 8:52 pace, slightly under my goal pace for the first 10k, but I felt like I was running too slow, and that is exactly what our Coach told us it should feel like for the first 10k.

Miles 7-12
8:50, 8:49, 8:44, 8:39, 8:40, 8:51
I was feeling great, and dropping my pace felt easy. My nerves were finally calming, and I was settling into pace. The 8:40's felt easy but I decided to pull back and hold at 8:50's-9 to be conservative. I had many more miles ahead of me and I became intimidated by that fact, I doubted my fitness, so I slowed my pace...

Looking back today, and knowing how great I felt the whole race, I should have pushed my pace just a little to have kept it at 8:40's zone. (Next race!) That being said I am very happy with my race, my pace, how I felt and my time!

Miles 13-19
8:48, 9:04, 8:55, 9:08, 8:57, 9:05, 9:02
The crowds here were electrifying, there were so many people around, it was great! Here is where I got to see my boyfriend for the 1st time too, since the start.
I also met up with Capital Area Runner's Coach, George, at about mile 13- he had Gatorade ready for me to grab.
He ran up beside me, and as I was filling my hand held with Gatorade, he was giving me race pointers/advice. It was so great to see him and hear encouraging words, and I am so thankful for the Gatorade hand off!

Side note: At mile 17ish a man collapsed, I mean just fell to the ground, fainted. Five runners ran to his aid, and the remaining of us started to yell, " medic, medic!" The marathon is a beast...I hope he is okay today.

Miles 20-26.2
9:21, 8:59, 9:32, 9:26, 9:12, 9:41, 8:57, 7:46(0.2)
The last 10k was getting HOT! The cloud cover had disappeared, dam! Mile 20 was my first walk, just briefly, and really this was more of a mental thing than a physical- I felt fine, I was just cautious.

Per Coach's order, I had drank at each and every water aid station. I also had my hand held, and drank every time I thought about it. I was cautious to not dehydrate. I was determined to remain hydrated for the whole run! (Pee color report post 26.2 miles: it was mostly clear. Hydration goal met! TMI? Sorry...)

Mile 24 was my hardest mile- no trees, hot, I began to mentally hit "the wall", I walked here a bit too. (ughe!) I actually began to give up on my sub 4 hour goal and changed it to a just finish goal-dam you sun!

Soon after I became okay wit this new goal, I spotted my boyfriend running on my right! He tells me now he yelled encouraging words to me, but I couldn't hear him, (I had pumped up my music so loud at this point just to drown out my heavy breathing) so I just responded "can't talk"! (HA!) My boyfriend, while not realizing it was exactly what I needed to get out of my just finish goal funk and back into my sub 4 hour goal; it was such a relief to see him!

Another great fact, my boyfriend having nice fresh legs, was also running a faster pace than me; so without him realizing it, not only was he a mental pick me up, but he was pacing me! My pace picked up and mile 25, 26 to 0.2 felt strong and fast, all thanks to his pace push!

Crossing a finish line has never felt so amazing, I have been waiting for this feeling since October 2010! I was all smiles!! (and a few happy tears).



  1. Awesome race! I can't even imagine running the end of a marathon in heat like that, especially without shade but YOU DID IT.