Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Race Report: Steamtown Marathon 2013

When we left off, the race was just beginning. It started with a bang, literally, with a cannon shooting off. Pretty epic start to the race.

Mile 1-5 (8:01, 8:12, 8:09, 7:51, 8:41):
This part is really consistently downhill, including a very steep part right at the beginning. I was holding back because it was so steep, a little crowded, plus I was super worried about the hills hurting my legs. I chugged along, just listening to people around me and taking in the sights. This part was mostly through small towns and the roads were annoyingly banked at some points. I think the spectators were just waking up, and they weren't too enthusiastic yet. Took my first Gu at mile 5. Mile 5 is also slow due to an emergency bathroom break.

Mile 6-10 (8:15, 8:24, 8:16, 9:12, 8:01):
I was still clearly terrified about the hills. I took them conservatively and let everyone pass me. My motto at this point was to not feel any discomfort during the first half, because I figured the second half would hurt badly no matter what. I have a healthy fear of the Wall. Second Gu at mile 10. I was taking Gatorade and/or water every couple of miles at this point. The course flattened out around mile 9, but you also run through the city of Carbondale, where I legitimately felt like a celebrity. I swear the whole town came out to cheer us on, and it was a wall of joyful noise. Also, another emergent bathroom break was needed between mile 8 and 9. Not happy about that.

Mile 11-13.1 (8:15, 8:17, 8:09, hit the half at 1:49:10 or so):
Although the course flattened out, it was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I started to realize how great I felt. I had a tiny pain in my left foot and my right calf was tight, but my stomach calmed down pretty well and I was really, really enjoying the run. Fun fact: my half marathon PR is 1:49:02, so I was pretty concerned I'd have a horrible second half since I was so close to my PR.

Mile 13.1-18 (8:06, 8:12, 8:16, 8:18, 8:13):
I continued to enjoy myself. Marathons are the best! I should do this all the time! The course was still flat/slightly downhill and we went on some trails at this point. They were nice and tightly packed, so it wasn't anymore challenging terrain. Plus, the scenery was amazing. In my training runs I often found myself craving Gu because I was running out of steam, but I actually forgot to take it at 15.

Mile 19-23 (8:28, 8:20, 8:17, 8:21, 8:16):
Yep. Still feeling good. Really nothing to report. These miles are still fairly flat and I remained slightly concerned I would bonk at some point. I was running so much faster than I had thought I would, and I was just really worried it would all come crashing down at some point.

Mile 24-26.2 (8:28, 8:19, 8:16, 6:55 pace for last 0.35):
The last couple miles have the only real uphill of the course. They slowed me down a little bit, but I mostly focused on taking tiny steps and chugging along. People around me were dropping like flies, and I found myself passing quite a few people. As I came into the home stretch, I let myself fly and breezed into the finish. It was amazing.

Final Time: 3:37:58

I saw Nick several times. He brought his bike and saw me around Mile 7, again after mile 8 or so, and then he rode alongside me for about a half mile before mile 21. It was wonderful to see him and get to chat, especially at the end. He is so patient and I was actually nice to him the entire time! Usually I get nasty and mean when I get tired. I'm awesome like that. He said biking on some of the hills that I got to cruise down was pretty challenging, so he got his own workout in for the day. He's the best.

The spectators on the course were intermittently awesome. I think in the early miles they were just waking up, then around Carbondale (mile 8) they were AMAZING. I got goosebumps and teared up, running through that area felt really great. There were pockets of other very enthusiastic cheerers, but also a lot of quiet areas. Considering I was super relaxed and running happy, I was ok with the quiet times.

I have a lot more to say about this race, but I'll leave you all with this picture.

I had my space blanket flowing behind me and Nick told me I looked like a superhero. So I went with it. 


  1. Congrats on a great race! I'm training for a sub-4, and this gets me pumped up. :) Love the space blanket picture.

    1. Thanks so much! I hope you get your sub-4, all the training is so worth it when you're done.