Third time taking on the Tallahassee Marathon (second time taking on the full) and I have yet to show up feeling 100%. I tapered the best I could considering having run New Orleans just two weeks before.
The Tallahassee Marathon is a smaller race that brings out about 850 half marathoners and less than 350 marathoners. Hal Higdon was the guest speaker at the EXPO and I believe runners from all around Tallahassee came to the Expo to hear him speak. With two little girls in tow and standing room only to hear Hal Higdon speak, I decided to listen for just a few minutes. There were a few more vendors at the Expo this year and it was great to see and talk to some running buddies I hadn’t seen since last year’s marathon.
RACE DAY – 38º F
5:15 – Get up, get ready! Every time I have run the Tallahassee marathon, my lady friend has been with me and this time was no different. Perhaps too much information for some of you, but I know my lady runners out there can relate. UGH. To top it all off, I packed my nutrition, gloves, ear warmers, arm warmers, and post run nutrition in a bag and left it on the table as I walked out the door. When did I realize this… 20 minutes before the race as I sat in my car in a chilly parking lot.
For breakfast I had made a peanut butter sandwich and I still had half of it. I looked in the backseat of my car to see if my kids had left any snacks, most of the time they do. I was not so lucky this morning. Why did I have them clean the car out yesterday? I found a saltines wrapper and put half of my sandwich in it and stuffed it into my FlipBelt. Knowing I had run New Orleans with little nutrition, I knew I could get through Tallahassee if I was careful.
I decided to start at the very back of the pack. Nerves, nutrition concerns, and belly cramps had me feeling a bit miserable. I was grateful for the cooler temperature; last year was foggy and warm. As we rounded the first mile, I was genuinely concerned I might not make 26.2 today. After mile 3 , I began to settle into a comfortable run/walk groove. At mile 6, I parted with my favorite, old, grungy University of Colorado sweatshirt. I had not planned on parting with it, but since I left my cold weather gear at home, I had to wear what my trusty old sweatshirt.
The Tallahassee Marathon is an out and back run on St. Mark’s Trail. Around mile 8, the half marathon turns around while the full marathon continues on the trail. Once you pass the turn around, the marathon gets quiet, runners get sparse, there are few sideline supporters, and it becomes mental. At mile 8, I was grateful to sprint into the ladies room and not a port-o-potty.
At mile 12, I was grateful for a water stop that had bananas and fig newtons. I had never had fig newtons while running, but I thought it would be better than an energy gel. The turnaround! Sometimes you feel so good when you know you are headed back and today was no different. I knew I had a long way to go and there were few runners around me, but I was grateful to be on the journey home. By this time, the sun was out and temps were climbing. For some reason during these lonely miles I started to think about how I was going to approach the race in 2016 – try and set a half marathon PR or trim off time at the full distance… these thoughts always fade away around mile 23.
At mile 17, my tri coach pulled up on a bike to check on me. I was not excited about this. Not only was I to the point where it starts to get hard, but now I had to talk too. Not really. I am not sure how long we chatted, all I know is that I never saw the Mile 18 sign, which is where I hit the wall last year. Mile 22-24 has some gentle hills which prove to be tough. Last year, I must admit I cried at mile 23. I had hit the wall, was walking, my right IT band was hurting, I was miserable, and I was walking with a guy who was trying not to throw up. This year proved to be different. I came in to mile 23 tired, but was able to keep on pushing. I took a moment to look behind me and was surprised to see lots of runners, for some reason I always feel like I am the last person out there.
Mile 25 had the last water stop. The water stop is supported by ladies from our Moms Run This Town (MRTT) running group and I was so glad to see them. Their support and words of encouragement helped me tremendously. I am so grateful for the volunteers that stay on the course for hours and hours as the later runners finish.
The last mile did not hurt too bad. I was tired, had a hint of IT band discomfort but was still able to maintain a decent stride. It was a different feeling to come into the stadium and finish the last lap feeling good.
NOTES & PACE
I sipped water at every aid station. I drank one bottle of Herbalife H30 throughout the course, ate a fig newton at mile 14 and mile 25. I took a few bites of my peanut butter sandwich at mile 10 and mile 20. After the race, I ate two more peanut butter sandwiches (I was afraid to eat the pizza that was provided), a banana, and drank a few bottles of water. Already thinking about 2016.
|22||10:23||Mott’s gummies (3)|
|23||10:56||Hit the wall and the hills|
Thanks to Endurance Imaging for capturing photos of the race!