I wanted to run a marathon on my birthday. My original plan was to run Missoula in Montana, but since that wasn't feasible the only other marathon on July 12 was in Vermont. This worked out since it was driving distance and we found a bed and breakfast where Sammy was welcome. On Friday July 10 after work we drove up and spent the night at my in-laws in Northern New Jersey, just shy of the halfway point. Seeing them was a bonus and helped break up the drive. We arrived around 3:30 PM on Saturday, and after dropping Laura and Sammy at the hotel, I went to the packet pick-up. It was warm and outdoors - my first outdoor marathon expo. The race director promised me bib #38, but it seems she forgot and gave it away to someone else. The gave me bib #138 which was fine.
|Packet pick-up. My first outdoor expo.|
Prior to the race, I ran into Bart Yasso. He was running this race, and I saw him a few times along the course. As for the race - this was my masterpiece! I ran a smart, well-paced race. I started slow, took the early hills appropriately, and finished with a solid kick. It was a very hilly course (check out the course map and elevation http://www.madmarathon.com/Maps.html) on a warm day (race temperature at the start was 61 with 91% humidity for a real feel of 63; I hit the half at 73 degrees with 71% humidity for a real feel of 79; and the finish temperature was 76 degrees with 61% humidity for a real feel of 83 degrees. I also had a negative split as I hit the half around 1:39:30 and 1:38:04 second half. I rose from 21st overall around the 10K mark to 9th overall and won my age group. First, take a look at this course:
|This map reminds me of the Shire.|
|Look at those hills!|
My splits: 7:00/8:25/7:13/13/23/39/04/23/8:45/7:36/8:12/7:39/18/31/41/40/35/37/20/48/20/32/8:18/7:01/6:45/7:27/ 1:09/7:03 pace (final .16 by my Garmin)
At the 10K mark was my first chance to count how many runners were ahead of me. I counted 20 ahead of me and began trying to pass them one at a time. Since they were sprawled out, I had a good chance to view each one. Some stopped to walk making a pass easy, but most I just had to catch by running steady, surging past them, and continuing on my pace. During the race, I motivated myself as I kept telling myself that I had special birthday superpowers! It's not every year you can run a marathon on your birthday, especially for summer babies.
Unlike past races, I did not feel like I faded late in the race. I credit my coach for his inclusion of tempo workouts, both on my speed day and incorporated into my long runs. I also think my strength training and yoga has contributed to my ability to hold a marathon pace for the entire race. I only faltered when trying to catch one last guy in the last mile. It was an uphill finish, and while we both struggled, I couldn't find that last bit of strength and guts to make the charge. Obviously, I was very pleased with my race, and I believe that this was a sub three hour marathon effort. The guy who I couldn't quite catch and finished thirteen seconds ahead of me is a 2:57 marathoner. In retrospect, I believe I should have pushed harder that last mile, but it is easy to say that now. In the moment, I was climbing one final hill and was in discomfort. Thankfully, my father caught me on video finishing the race.
|How do I celebrate another 26.2? Beer me!|
|Sammy loves ice cream!|
|We went to the Waterbury Ben & Jerry's faculty after the race.|
We toured around and visited the floor graveyard:
|The scary flavor graveyard!|
|Paying respect with a stone to a flavor I used to enjoy.|
|Laura loves her some sugar!|
We got dinner from some place in a barn known for their flatbread and took it to eat at the B&B. Along with some local beer, we made a nice picnic and enjoyed the weather. In the morning, she made us breakfast and we hit the road for a long drive back to DC. State #21 and Marathon #31 completed!