Paul was only running the half marathon, so his bus wasn't leaving for an hour but Dana, Chris, and I took the 30 minute ride to the start area. 2 of the buses took a wrong turn and headed toward the Half Marathon start line but luckily our bus driver was smart enough to go the correct way. We arrived and scooted out the back door and were first in line for the 5 port-o-lets. Good thing as the line got long very fast.
It was cool, mid 60's and the sun wasn't out yet and we were in a park surrounded by either fields and a few houses. The lines of the port-o-let never seemed to be getting shorter and it was apparent that everyone would not be done before the 6:00AM start. They then announced that they would be delaying the start until everyone was able to use the port-o-lets. This delayed the start about 20 minutes. This upset us, especially Dana who was planning on running a 2:42 time and was ready to go at 6.
Dana in the lead of the Marathon in the first 25 yards.
I tried turned on my Garmin, but nothing happened. I knew I charged it up but something just wasn't letting it start. ugh! I left my other watch in the car so now I was going to have to run the race without a watch for the first time ever, run on feel alone. Oh well, go with the flow.
I started slow and easy. It was a long training run after all. The race is mostly on a crushed limestone bike trail and was flat, at least until it left the trail 2 times for smaller 3 mile jaunts. At mile 5, we left the trail for the first time and hit some hills. Not too bad, the worst part, in my opinion, we the downhills which were too steep to really run down. You really had to hold back and work the quads.
Here I am at about Mile 9. As you can see, it was sunny and pretty warm already.
At mile 11, we left the trail again for some hills and the start of the half marathon. As I passed the half mark, I asked another runner what tour time was (there were NO CLOCKS on the entire course). She said 2:01 so I guess I was running well. I felt like I was running really easy so I decided to pick it up a little to maybe try to break 4 hours. I began passing runners every once in awhile and I knew I was cruising pretty good.
It was a sunny day out and the temps were rising. By mile 20, it was kind of hot out, at least it was hot for running 20 miles already. I was getting blinded by my sweat as I stopped at aid stations with sweat going in my eyes. At mile 20, there was a good 4 mile stretch of trail that had no relief from the sun. By mile 22, my legs were getting heavy and I knew I was slowing. At the aid station at mile 24, I asked what the race time was and one guy was able to tell me about 3:42. I did some quick math and determined I needed to run 8:00 miles to to break 4 and I knew that was not going to happen. I decided to just run as easy as I could and try to enjoy what I could.
Near the finish line, I was ready to stop and drink some Chocolate Milk.With 1 mile to go, I saw someone closing in on me. I didn't want them to pass me as no one had passed me since the half mark. I was able to keep my place and cross in 4:05:40, not bad for a 26.2 mile training run. I ended up in 64th place out of 172 runners, passing 25 since the half marathon point.
Dana didn't have a great race as he wished. He was disappointed with a time of 2:56:40 (it is all relative, isn't it) but he did take 2nd place overall. Chris ran pretty good and finished in 3:21:34 and in 20th place but he did win his age group. Paul ran the half marathon in 1:55:00 and in 49th place. He took it easy as he was also doing a triathlon the next day.
Here are my thoughts on the race:
They didn't have nearly enough port-o-lets at the start line. There is no reason they should have started the race late. Paul told me that this happened in the half marathon as well.
The volunteers were excellent and very friendly. The aid stations were easy to navigate and we were taken care of great.
I can't say anything about the packet pick up or expo because Dana picked up our stuff the day earlier.
The course was OK. Many times I had small gravel in my shoes from the trail but never stopped to clear them out. It never became and major issue. The hills helped mix up the course from all flat and were not too bad.
No clocks on the course. Why??? At a minimum, they should have had them at the half and at mile 20.
The shirt design kinda sucked. While it is a short sleeve which I like, it has a big iron on like patch on the front that will not breath.
The medal baffles me. At first glance, it looks kind of cool until you realize the name of the race is not on the front. You have to turn it over to see the race name on a plate. The front looks like an advertisement to me.
Kudos to the race for having tons of Chocolate Milk at the finish line.