Race Report: Silver Comet Marathon

The whole week leading up to the Silver Comet Marathon and for many of the miles DURING the marathon, I was thinking that I never wanted to sign up for another race. Haha. So much stress anticipating race day when you have worked so hard for a goal! But I’m so glad that I keep racing and pursuing big goals. It’s so satisfying and we grow so much from the journey.

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Leading up to the race. Weather reports leading up to race day were not very promising, with thunderstorms predicted through race morning. I even searched alternative races for the following weekend just in case my race was canceled. Because of the predicted foul weather, Jon and I decided that it would be best for him to stay home with Cadence and join us for the finish. The course didn’t offer many places for fans to hang out, and with the rain, it would be pretty miserable for a toddler. Rain came through on Friday night to get everything wet, but it was not raining when I woke up. Just super humid.

Race check-in was uneventful (just how you want it on race day!), and I porta-pottied and jogged for a few minutes. I should have warmed up better, but it was either go to the bathroom or warm up. In line for the porta potties, I met one of my Instagram friends who had been messaging me about the race. She helped calm my nerves so much since Jon wasn’t there. So nice to see a familiar face!

Race Start. The start of the race was incredibly anticlimactic. We followed the race director out into the street and then the guy at the mic way far away yelled “Go!”. We all just stood there like, “What, go?!” Go! So off we went down the street!

Starting out didn’t feel difficult, but it didn’t feel super easy either. I don’t know that I’ve perfected the taper, and I surely know that I didn’t have a good adrenaline push at the start with that kind of send off. Thankfully it was not raining, but the temps were in the low 60s and humid. Also, the ground was very wet. We started out in the 6:30s paces. There were a few guys up front, and I found stride with a guy named Mike who was running the half marathon. I was so thankful for him because the morning was hazy and everything was so quiet. It was easy to get lulled into a slower pace. The RD made it clear that music was not allowed on the course, but I would have loved to have had a fast beat to keep me alert and moving fast on the course.

The half marathoners split off at mile 8, and I was sad to see Mike head on to his finish (where he PRd!). There were very few volunteers on the course, and many of them were not ready when I ran through. Water was placed on tables, but the volunteers did not stand up to hand it out, so I had to run under the tent on the side of the trail for water. I am thankful for the volunteers, but this was not ideal for hydrating. My nutrition was fine with a Honeystinger gel at ~mile 8 and ~mile 15, plus Honeystinger chews a bite at a time here and there. We had a few little rain showers throughout the morning, which helped cool me down, but they also made the ground slick again. There were also leaves and pine needles on the course, which weren’t ideal for fast running.

There was a little split off at mile 8.5 that I did not expect. I knew that our turnaround was at 15, so I was confused when we reached that point, and I waited for the guy behind me to catch up and confirm the direction. I didn’t lose much time, but it did make me lose momentum. Soon enough we were back on the course and headed to the mile 15 turnaround.

Halfway there! By mile 13, my paces started to consistently be in the 6:40s. My goal was to run in the 6:30s to 6:40s, so I didn’t mind the pace but I did not like it that I was declining so early in a race. My calves were pretty tight from the extra energy of running on a slick surface, and I was running completely alone, passing a few police officers, volunteers, and people out for a stroll. It was pretty challenging to stay focused and fast in the conditions, especially as my body started hurting. I really just wanted the race to be over, which is disappointing because I always want to enjoy my races. They are so short compared to the training leading up to them, and it’s fun (usually) to run fast!

I am thankful to the race participants and volunteers who cheered for me. It helped make a difficult race so much better! I started to REALLY slow down by mile 20. From 23-26.2, all of my paces were in the 7s and I couldn’t even pull out a fast finish at the end. My legs were so shot from the distance and slick surface. I am sure that part of the tiredness that I felt is just indicative of some of the areas that my training was lacking, but I do believe that the extra energy to run on a slick surface, as well as the warm and humid conditions, just made everything harder. I really could have used a cheer squad or music!

And the finish. I ended up finishing first female with a time of 2:57:40.  Seeing Jon and Cadence at the finish line was the best sight in the world! I love my family and the way that they support me. I did get a PR, but barely.  I am grateful to have at least PR’d, but I’m disappointed that I didn’t move the needle a little more.  I do think that on a different day (and potentially a different course) I can absolutely run faster. But when you race, you race in the conditions presented on race day. And we learn so much in the process!

The course itself was pretty decent. As described in the course description, the course was rolling hills. My Garmin tracked 756 ft of gain, which isn’t pancake flat, but it’s not San Francisco either. I like a little hill, and it was the only thing on the course to break up the monotony.

After I finished the race, we waited for my friend to finish 2nd female (which she later found out that she had pneumonia while racing and still getting 2nd!).  Then we grabbed pizza while we waited for the awards ceremony. I received a neat trophy, and chatted with the RD and her daughter.

The Silver Comet marathon is a great small local race. It’s organization is great. The trail is beautiful (although I prefer dryer conditions). For my next goal marathon, I think I’ll stick to more mainstream races that offer a few more of the perks like crowd support and a bigger running field.

 

I wrote a pre-race report here talking a little bit about my training over the last 12 weeks. It was a little uncoordinated, but I learned a lot and I found a better fit with training and family. I am so thankful for all of the support that I’ve received through this journey of running and motherhood and family. I’ve had some incredible friends who have made the journey that much more rewarding. Most of all, my husband is my hero. ❤

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Do you have your own personal cheer squad too? 🙂

Upgrading from 1 year to 2 years old

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Cadence turned 2 years old on September 29th, and I can still hardly believe that she’s grown so much. It seems like last year I was a newly postpartum momma trying to figure things out. But actually a lot has changed between last year and the year before. Here are the top 10 things that are different between Cadence’s first year and second year.
  1. It gets more fun. I thought that I’d miss my tiny little baby, but I love experiencing every new thing that Cadence learns. We seem to have accelerated as she’s learned to communicate better, and I love every sweet little syllable out of her mouth.
  2. Breastfeeding doesn’t have to stop at one year. In my head I thought we’d be stopping at one year because that’s kind of what society says. But Cadence never got the memo, and she’s kept up nursing like a champ. I stopped pumping at 16 months (I was donating milk to my sister’s adopted son), but Cadence kept up nursing after daycare, before bed, sometimes during the night, and in the morning. It works really well for us, and I love it.
  3. Daycare doesn’t get easier. In fact, I think it gets harder. Back to #1, this phase is more fun than ever, and Cadence is learning so much! It kind of breaks my heart that I am not as big of an influence on her little life as I’d like to be. She comes home singing songs that I don’t know, and she already knows her ABCs and 123s like a star.
  4. Sleep might not happen until Cadence leaves for college. Just kidding. But Cadence still doesn’t sleep through the night most nights. I’m getting waaaaay more sleep than I used to, and I’m really ok with getting up with her. There is nothing better than a sleepy baby in your arms, and she won’t be a baby very much longer. When Cadence was <1 year old, I felt guilty and judged that I couldn’t get my baby to sleep through the night. Now I embrace it and feel really confident in the way that we have chosen to parent.
  5. Training is still possible. So far, Cadence has just rolled with my schedule. She used to play in the pack and play while I ran, but these days, she mostly just sits there and reads. ❤ We sing in the stroller, and she points out all of the puppies. Training definitely looks different with a toddler, but it’s more than possible, and it’s actually a really fun experience (see #1).
  6. Goals can still be big. I chased a few big goals after Cadence turned one year old (sub 3 hour marathon, 100k in Oregon), and it was really good for me to have something outside of mom and office to pursue. It takes support from a wonderful spouse to make these dreams happen with a baby, but that makes it even more rewarding.
  7. Your support system changes. When I had a newborn, I was plugged into a breastfeeding group, and I attended postpartum workout classes. After the first year, there aren’t any types of groups for mommas to plug into, especially for working mommas. I’m so thankful for the support that I had as a new momma because there is surely a lot to learn, but I think it’s kind of interesting that we don’t have more support for mommas of toddlers. Maybe there would be more extended breastfeeding if that were the case?
  8. My friendships are richer now than they were before. Maybe as the support groups have faded away, I’ve started to depend more on my girlfriends, but I have a few key friendships that I depend on daily for support. I hope that every momma has this in their lives.
  9. Discipline is a thing you have to start thinking about. As perfect as Cadence is, she isn’t perfect. Haha. Toddlers start to understand discipline around the age of 18 months. We try to limit our “no” and redirect when possible, but if Cadence blatantly disobeys, we do timeout. This is partly for her protection. We need for her to obey if she’s in a dangerous situation. It’s also a way to set the tone for an easy relationship in our future.
  10. The people in Cadence’s life really matter.  They mattered when she was one, but now she knows them and she interacts with them. She’s a little sponge! I am so thankful that we found a daycare that we love. Cadence’s teachers love on her and teach her so much. Cadence also gets to see her grandparents all the time. It’s so special that she knows them and has a special relationship with them. It’s not lost on me that so many people make an effort to love on our baby, and I am so so thankful!

Anyone else have something they would add? Am I in for even bigger changes in the next year?