I ran the Mystic Places Marathon this past weekend, and managed to knock almost 15 minutes off of my PR. My best race so far was in Cleveland where I ran a 3:07:05. My goal was to run under 3 hours, but I did not even run at 3 hour pace until mile 19. After 7 miles, I decided to stop trying to slow down and to just roll with it. I went through the halfway point in 83:30, 6 ½ minutes ahead of pace. The best I got was about 8 ½ minutes ahead of pace, which started to degrade from miles 21-25. I did the last mile and a half at 6:30 pace, though, so I did not mind. My official finishing time was 2 hours, 52 minutes, and 37 seconds. I am still over 2 ½ minutes from , but I do not plan on running that for a few years anyway. My goals for the marathon are to run a 2:45 at some point in the next year or two, and to run one in every state and DC. I am 12% there now.
The race was a lot of fun. I had some good conversations with folks near the start, but from about 10 miles forward I basically ran the race by myself. There was a relay runner that caught me for a few miles, but we did not talk a whole lot. I got to see a lot of the same spectators two (or even 3) times, despite them not moving, and I got to see the field as I was on my way back and they were on their way out. Thankfully, my fiancé and my sister did not bother trying to see me at the 17 mile mark (where they bussed spectators out to) because I was over 8 minutes early getting there and they would not have had time from the finish of their 10 mile races to see me. It was a good feeling to know that in the last few miles when I was starting to get a bit sore, that I could run a full minute under pace each mile back in and still not only PR but make my goal pace for that race. My finish was great, coming in strong and having both of my nephews running along side me for the last 80 to 100 feet or so.
The post-race massages at the race were second to none. I have never had one as thorough, and it was just what was called for to get me (mostly) mobile again after finishing. Instead of having people come in on a buzzer and only get 5 or 8 minutes, they basically took care of you until they were done. My sister lucked out since her kids took tips from the massage therapist and all four of them worked on her at once.
A couple of the elites had gotten the wrong numbers and chips, so there was a lot of confusion over the results and it took them a long time to get it all sorted. The band that was playing in the mean time was pretty good, however. They had cold showers available, but when it is overcast and in the low 50s that did not seem very desirable. I heard that the clam chowder after the race was pretty good, but I did not have any.
I would not run the race again for a few years, given my 50 state goal, but I could see myself running it again at some point. There are a few bumps in the road to make it interesting, you can’t get bored because there are constant turns and changes going on around you, and the race officials for the most part seemed to be on the ball (except with switched numbers of a few athletes getting money).