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? 🙂

Pre-Race Report to calm the nerves: the night before the Silver Comet Marathon

I’ve found that it’s kind of therapeutic for me to write a pre-race report, so here’s my pre-race report for the Silver Comet marathon. Why is it that writing things out always puts things into perspective?!

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been refining my goals for something practical given what I *think* is my current fitness level for my upcoming marathon. I think most people go through similar doubts during the taper when we start to visualize the race and realize how much work (and a little pain) are in front of us. In my head I haven’t done nearly enough. This training cycle is the first real training cycle where my goals were a bit more competitive but I didn’t have a coach. My previous training pretty much involved 100% intensity with my old coach, and that worked for me until I started to get injured.

This training cycle started out at a limp as I rotated cross training with running to try to protect my shins. I may not have gotten the speed that I wanted, but I also didn’t get a stress fracture. So I can consider that a little invisible victory. 🙂 I also wasn’t able to complete some of the “extras” that would help me with speed.

As I thought over this past training cycle, I was reminded that there is ALWAYS something that steals from the perfect training cycle, and that’s part of what makes us even more resilient. When it gets tough, we have to learn our bodies and improvise. So I’m going to consider this a successful training cycle, even before race day, because I learned different strategies for training, I learned some good recovery techniques for my shin, and I grew closer to God in the process.

Reading back through my training journal to the first week of training reminds me that I have put in the work with a variety of long running, intensity running, trail running, stroller running, cross training, and strength training. I’ve met new people along the way, and I’ve been able to run with some pretty incredible people.

So my Pre-race report is going to go ahead and call this training cycle a success. Now for my real goals.

  1. My ultimate marathon goal is an Olympic Trials Qualifier of 2:45. This is not my goal for this marathon, and I’m kind of excited for the opportunity to chip away at this goal. I got my sub 3 marathon on the first shot, and I kind of like the idea of working for an OTQ. (Not trying to sound insincere, it took me three shots trying to get a BQ–3:35:01, 3:37, 3:29. I know what it’s like to work for a time goal.)
  2. I would like to PR. My current best marathon time is a 2:58. I ran San Francisco in 3:01, and I think that I can do better on a flat course. You never know what race day will bring though.

And I had two process goals:

  1. Learn more about how I respond to different training strategies.
  2. And understand my body and it’s limits as I increase volume and prevent injuries.

Tomorrow’s weather is looking a bit rough with thunderstorms exactly when the race is supposed to start. My mind can’t help but think of all of the possible scenarios, but at the end of the day, I can’t do anything to help the weather and show up hoping to run.

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Thanks for following along on my training journey and good luck to all of the other racers!