Thursday, October 16, 2014

Steamtown Race Report

I owe you all a race report.

This should read something like, OMG I just ran SteamTOWN!  The course is AMAZING.  Downhill for 23 miles, up for 3... sort of.  It's more like "mostly" down for 23, and 3 solid climbs in the last 3 miles.  I should be screaming in joy about running a sensible and thoughtful marathon.

But instead my life is a little dim right now and I am having trouble celebrating the moment.  I can't seem to embrace that I just accomplished a marathon sized race.  I DID EPIC SH*T.  and yeah.  It's not there.

We did have a great weekend.  Me and The Pixie Chix arrived in Scranton on Friday afternoon.  ROADTRIPPIN'

I did run 26.2 miles.

I did not run a PR, but I am not mortified by my finish time either.

What instead comes back to me is that I finally had a great race.  I started out at a controlled pace.  I ran the first 16 miles with TMB.  It was great.  We were so smart to hang together.  Neither of us got crazy, we both maintained our sanity.  We had decided at mile 16 we would run our own races.

I laugh as I look back because I realize TMB has never run a marathon with me.  She maybe didn't know how I get through a marathon is by cheering for the spectators.

"YOU ROCK #765!!!" They yell.... and I yell back, "YOU ROCK SPECTATOR!!!"
"Hey - CUTE HAT!"
"I need a HIGH FIVE FROM SUPERMAN" at the little kid dressed in his halloween costume holding out a hand for the runners.

AND that is how I've been doing it for years.  It's way more fun that just running by people quietly holding signs for Nikki or Jeff.

At mile 16 I just let my legs pick it up a little.

At mile 17 I let them hold the pace and settled in... and I was running alone.

Miles 18 - 23 were a blur of FREAKING AWESOME.

I was running well at mile 23.  What went through my head was something like "but, this is insane, I'm never running well at mile 23"...
I took this after the tears stopped.

I stopped, tied my shoe at mile 23, started running again and STILL ran a 9:25.

I picked up a runner who was racing for a PR and ran her to the end.  Every time we would roll into a crowd I'd yell, "HEY, THIS IS MY FRIEND ERIN!" and the crowd would cheer for her.  She got a nice 6+ minute PR by the way.

Between mile 16 and 23 I lived big.  I felt like a runner.  I embraced the suck and ran through it.  I thought, if I can hold race pace for these miles I will run Richmond for a goal time.

I pushed Erin from 23-26.  I walked a little with her.  I walked a little with me when my legs fatigued on a hill.  I could *maybe* have taken a few seconds off my run if I'd kept going hard but WHY?  I wasn't getting a PR, but Erin might... so why not push her down the road?


The answer to the big question:  I will not run Richmond for a goal.  I did hold race pace, and I did it really well, but I don't want to run 26.2 miles again right now.  Right now, I can't imagine wanting to run anything.

Post Race
My heart isn't in it.  And if I've learned anything about the marathon in the last 5 years it's that you better really WANT IT when you toe the line.  There's not room for wishy-washy.

Steamtown is a great race.  If I ever do another out of town marathon in October, I would go back in a hot minute.  It's small, organized, and simple.  Don't go looking for fancy swag or big rock bands.  Go run Steamtown for the personal touch, for the race director's handshake, for the quiet trails canopied by gold, orange and red leaves, for the smiles of the volunteers, for every single person on the mile 24 hill who spoke to me - and there were a lot of people on mile 24 to run for...  It was a race worth running.


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