I’m a bit behind, but LAST weekend (April 26th) was the Garmin Marathon. I was originally supposed to run the full, but I am SO glad that I dropped down to the half marathon instead!The race started off great! I didn’t have much of a goal in mind, but I knew that I wanted to beat my time from the Rock the Parkway Half two weeks ago. I started off sticking with the 2:05 pace group and to my surprise I wasn’t have any issues keeping pace with them! And they were booking it!
The course calls itself “Wickedly Fast”, but clearly there is no governing body over false claims like this 😉 This course has rolling hills and they were no joke! I was sore for days after this race and all in my quads from these hills.
I was able to stick with the 2:05 pace group for the first about 8 or 9 miles. I already mentioned it, but they were really hauling it! Check out my 10k pace on the receipt below: 8:44.. that’s 1:54! I’m no expert at pacing (and the 2nd half of the course was far less hilly), but dang!
I was having a great race! I was worried I might burn out, but I was feeling very good the entire time. I even totally surprised myself at mile 7 when they were handing out Gu! Crap! I had totally spaced out and was supposed to take the one that I was carrying at mile 5! Whoops.
However, the day had other plans for me. Around mile 8 it started drizzling and by the time I got to 9 the heavens had opened and it was a downpour. I have never ran in rain this hard and it even hailed a tiny bit. I was drenched. My shoes were soaked and they felt like they weighed a billion pounds. The course also veered off of the roads and onto a paved trail that was just a tad slick with tight turns. Argh. It also wasn’t possible to really pass on the narrow trail either.. Especially tough when you are trying to stick with a pace group. I lost a lot of time here because I was trying to be careful of my steps on the muddy trail and I kept getting stuck behind people I wanted to pass.
I ended up getting really frustrated at this point. I was definitely on track to PR (my current PR is 1:59:58), but now I’m struggling to keep up with the pace group, I’m nervous about slipping, I’m drenched and I can’t get around people. Grr.
The aid stations were also understaffed. I completely lost the pace group around mile 10 once I stopped to wait in line for water at an aid station. There was no Gatorade either which would have felt really nice at this point… but I really wanted that PR. I soldiered on and I could even feel the insoles of my shoes sticking to my feet instead of the bottom of the shoes with each step.
We eventually got back off the trail and into a residential zone. They had coned off a path about the size of the trail for us to stay on, but the roads were flooding and unless we were going to run single-file, the section was way too small. At this point I was thanking my lucky stars that I dropped from the full. Man, I couldn’t imagine going another 22 miles at this point!!
Finally the finish line was in sight! They had a cute yellow brick road set up and even though the rain had tapered off, there wasn’t much of a crowd cheering in the finishers. Even the announcer wasn’t really saying much. I got a medal (still in the baggie) and a water and went to find Paul who had finished already.They did have the best beer tent I have seen at a race! And the beers were free! Finally, something that wasn’t understocked! 😀 I was still soaking, so I got in a loooong line to get a mylar blanket, but they ended up turning everyone away. I was FREEZING, but they said they needed to save some for the marathoners. I may or may not have had a few choice words for the guy turning us away. I feel bad for it now, but that was kind of the final straw. I was so cold and we had another 45 minutes or so to wait for our last friend to finish. I know the race can’t do anything about the weather. I wasn’t mad about the rain, but I was mad about having to wait for water on the course, having no Gatorade and now having no blanket.
Afterwards I looked at the race’s Facebook page and I didn’t see any other complaints. I think I was just in the wrong place in the wrong time during the race. I didn’t hear anyone else complain afterwards about waiting in line for aid stations or being told they ran out of Gatorade. I think the 2 hour pack is often the busiest, so maybe I was just in the heat of it… As for the mylar blankets, it clearly wouldn’t have been an issue if it didn’t rain.. but I’m still a little miffed.
Anyway, I didn’t end up with a new PR, but I felt awesome knowing I had that faster pace in me. I think if the conditions had been right and the race better managed, I would have had my PR.
I actually have another half this weekend: Running with the Cows! This is the final event in Heartland 39.3 Half Marathon series so I’m hoping for no rain! This will be my 4th time running this race, so I know the hills and what to expect (no trails here!) I’m excited to see if I can go sub 2 😀