Let me start by saying that I did not want to run this race. I’ve been training almost exclusively on the trails for my upcoming 50k so the thought of pounding out 26 miles on the road was not that exciting. But with that being said, it was a well-timed long run, a great venue to test my hill climbing strength, and a place to really nail down my fueling strategy for the 50k. I wasn’t planning to race it. But really, who am I kidding? It’s ALWAYS a race. My public goal was to not wreck my legs, but my secret goal was to place in the top 10. Even top 5 maybe. Last year I also ran the marathon as an “eh, it’s there I might as well” race. I negative split it in a big way and ran a 3:11, which was good for 7th female and 2nd in my age group. This year I was stronger, faster, and more prepared so I figured I could do at least that well without blowing myself up for the 50k. But I still told everyone I was keeping it casual in case things didn’t go well.
Cut to race morning, 5:30am. I’m in Wave 1, surrounded by all these tall, wiry elite-looking people, feeling just a bit out of my league. The guy on the mic started counting down. “3… 2…. 1………” We all stood there, finger on Garmin, waiting for a “GO!” or a bell or something. A few seconds pass before someone in the crowd yells “GO.” A few runners jump, and then eventually someone takes off so we all follow. Continue reading