What an exciting week of training! I’m really behind on blogging after a whirlwind weekend and playing catchup yesterday. I really enjoyed my first week of taper…maybe a little too much! I ran 30 miles and biked 12 miles this week. A far cry from the previous week of 57 miles! No taper crazies…yet. The reality of NYC Marathon being less than 2 weeks away is settling in!
Months ago, I had registered for the Marathon 2 Marathon half marathon in Marathon, TX, which was on Saturday. That’s a mouthful! My BRF had signed up for the full so that we could train together since I had gotten into NYC through the lottery. We had booked our hotels, lined everything up for the weekend, training was going outstanding for her, and we were pumped, especially because the weather was looking beautiful for race day. And then….my BRF had a family emergency come up and couldn’t race. Everything was ok in the end, but she decided not to run the race (understandably). So…what was I going to do?
My husband wasn’t crazy about me driving hours (8 hours to be exact) by myself for a race, running by myself and then turn around and drive myself home. But, this was my third half marathon in October, and I had gotten it in my head that I was going to run three halfs this month. My husband knew there was no talking me out of it. 🙂
So, I took the day off running Friday to prepare for a long day of driving ahead.
The race was in way, way west Texas, close to Big Bend National Park. I had hoped to get to the park, but there were bear warnings the week before the race and some parts of the park were closed because of it. So, I thought it best to avoid wildlife encounters.
Marathon, Tx is a tiny town and has only two hotels and a bed and breakfast, all of which were quickly booked up months before race day. So, I had booked my hotel an 55 miles away (the closest biggest town they had suggested). No problem. I checked into the hotel, dropped off my stuff, drove 55 miles for packet pickup in Marathon. Registration included a free pasta dinner for all runners at two locations: The Gage Hotel Restaurant (right next to packet pickup) and the Historic Ft. Stockton Visitor Center. I had chosen the Ft. Stockton location because that’s where my hotel was, but when I saw this menu and the runners already eating, I was disappointed with my choice.
I went to the visitor’s center where it was a little homier. They offered pasta, crockpots with three sauces and garlic bread. It was fine and I was happy for the hospitality and free meal. I didn’t need that whiskey marshmallow anyway….
Then, I drove 55 miles back to my hotel. ugh.
Race day morning was gorgeous! I took the sunrise picture (above) on my way down to the start in Marathon. I got to Marathon in great time and got on the bus to the start line. The starting line is 13 miles away from Marathon on the highway that leads to Ft. Stockton. I was excited about the race and was talking to the person next to me. She wasn’t really chatty, though. She probably kept thinking, please stop asking me questions and talking to me.
We got to the starting line a little later than expected around 8:20 am. There were four races going on with staggered start. The full marathon started at 7:30 am and the half started at 8:30 am. Despite the cold temps, I knew it would warm up quickly because there is no shade at all out there. I ran in a singlet and skirt and I also used arm sleeves for the first time. I figured I could take them off when I needed to.
There wasn’t much to the start line. No loud music. No DJ spinning tunes. No MC. Just three port-a-potties and lines more than a dozen deep. I got in line to use the facilities, but as the clock was ticking, I realized there was no time to use the potty before the start. The guy in charge said with a chip start there was no worry because the time at the end would reflect our start and if we needed to stay in line, we could. But, I thought. That just messes with your head having start after so many people. So, I jumped out of line just in time for them to start. I broke out of the pack pretty soon with some guys and was first woman, soon to be passed another woman going at a good pace. I was hoping to beat my PR of 1:44 for this race, so I was trying to maintain a good pace. The course is pretty flat, but there is a large hill around mile 8-10. It doesn’t look big on the elevation chart, but believe me. It’s a big long hill.
I settled into a brisk pace for me and tried to keep the woman in my sight the whole time just so I could try to get my PR not to pass her. She was going pretty fast, and I didn’t want to burn out in the first few miles knowing that the hill was coming up. Around mile 5 she slowed down and then she completed stopped at a water stop. I kept going, and was now the lead woman in the race. The whole time I kept thinking, this is weird. I’ve never been the lead woman. Someone is going to pass me, for sure! And if not, the chip time will definitely show that I haven’t won. I have gotten second overall woman in a race, but to be the lead…that’s another thing. There were plenty of men in front of me, so I just chugged along, knowing that once the chip times came in, I might do well in my age group.
The finish line was in sight!
I crossed as the first female with a time of 1:47. Not a PR, and I was a little disappointed, but I felt I ran well. My lungs were burning afterward, and it was a little hard to breathe after I got my finisher’s medal. I stood around stretching, keeping an eye on the monitors and saw that I was first in my age group. yay! But, as I looked at all the other times, I saw that my time was indeed the fastest. Doh!
And sure enough, they called my name as overall female winner. I collected my award: a giant belt buckle, and drove 8 hours home. 🙂 I know that will probably be my last overall win, and I’m savoring it!