2nd place AG*
- 115 out of 404 overall
- 22 out of 161 females
This was a very disappointing race for me. But I don’t want my disappointing race report to reflect negatively on what was a fabulous inaugural marathon, so before I talk about my race itself and what went right and what went wrong, a few words about the Lansing Marathon:
- With an inaugural marathon, you never know what your getting yourself into. But this was a great first effort. Between all 4 events (5k, half marathon, marathon relay and marathon), there were apparently about 2000 people. I believe the event was put on with two goals in mind: to get the community more healthy/active and to bring some vitality (and money??) into the local community. If those were the goals, I believe it was a success!
- I thought I would be irritated with the half marathoners and relay runners sharing the course with the marathoners. But since there was a small field of marathoners (404) it was actually nice to have the company/distraction of the others on the course.
- The course itself gave a good “tour” of Lansing/East Lansing. We started downtown, ran through MSU campus, went south into the boonies (farm fields), went through some neighborhoods, went through a nature preserve type place, then ran for a bit on the River Trail before coming back into downtown and finishing at the Capital. It gave an out of towner like myself a good taste of Lansing/East Lansing.
- In terms of level of difficulty, I do not think the terrain itself was difficult. (The crazy wind that we had on race day is another story, but that isn’t the fault of the organizers). Locals talked about this course being more hilly than the originally planned course, but I guess it’s all perspective and depends on what you train on because I did not find one single hill challenging (on the uphills; downhills are another story for me, but I have issues with downhills). The “long” hill between mile 17 and 18 that bloggers had talked about would be comparable, in my mind, to Lemon Drop hill at Grandmas. Not bad at all.
- The finish line food and atmosphere was very festive (except I was in a pissy mood because of my race). I ate two JUMBO cookies that were super yummy.
- There were, of course, some minor things that could use improvement, but overall it was a great race. Kudos to the Lansing Marathon race director and organizers!
Now, on to my race itself, because I’m sure you are dying to know. The highlights/lowlights:
- My goal was between 3:32 – 3:35 (8:05 – 8:12 pace), depending on how I felt when I started. Well things felt good, so I was optimistic. My paces for the first 10 miles were on target, between 8:01 and 8:17. I was hopeful that I would be able to maintain.
- Then at mile 11 we turned south and started dealing with very windy conditions for miles 11 – 15. I was initially by myself and fighting the wind. I was still maintaining pace, but only because I kept looking at garmin and making myself keep on pace. With the wind, my body FELT like it was working too hard for that pace. So I made the decision to kick it in, in order to catch up with a group of 3 runners who were about 100 meters ahead of me. Although I had to speed up (and tire myself a bit) to get up to them, I was very glad that I did because tucking in behind them and letting them break the wind made the next miles feel so much easier. So miles 11 – 15, with the wind were 8:14, 7:59 (sprinting to catch up to group), 8:09, 8:33 (very windy, even with group), 8:17.
- This whole windy stretch (and the next windy stretch) was in farm fields, so there was NOTHING to block the wind. And very few spectators. But lots of sheep.
- At mile 15 we turned west and finally were out of the wind. I felt very relieved and was still feeling like it would be a good day and I’d be able to meet my 3:35 time goal.
- Then at mile 16 we turned north. Since I was feeling good, I pulled ahead of the pack of 3 people I was with, thinking it was time to pick it up a bit so I could meet my time goal. BIG MISTAKE because shortly after that the wind came back, with a vengeance. It was unexpected for me because since we were running roughly parallel to the previous windy stretch, I figured the wind would be at our back. But apparently Mother Nature thought it would be fun to challenge the marathoners and switch directions of the wind. So Miles 16 – 19.5 were directly into the wind. And it was worse. (I’ve heard/read that it was between 20 – 30 mph). And, this time, I was by myself. No one to tuck behind. Just to give you an idea of what the wind was like, it literally blew all 117 pounds of me a step backwards at one point and blew me sideways at another point. And by the time my pack of 3 caught back up with me, about mile 17, I was exhausted and defeated and couldn’t keep up with them. Ugggg. Paces were between 8:34 – 9:11.
- So during this windy stretch from mile 16 – 19.5, I fell apart. Mentally. I started thinking negative thoughts. Telling myself this sucked. Dropping random F-bombs at the sheep. Asking myself why I even bother running marathons. And when the negative thoughts started they spiraled. I started laughing at myself, telling myself what a joke it was that I blog about how strong I felt going into this race, mentally, because of all the life crap I’ve dealt with successfully the last few months, but then when things get a little tough on the course, I gave up. I just couldn’t stop the negative thoughts about myself and how I was racing, and THAT is what ruined my race for me, without a doubt.
- Mile 20 – 26 were a disaster because of how defeated I felt. I gave up and started walking the (slight) downhills because I started imagining issues with my right thigh (there aren’t any issues; it’s in my head; downhills scare me for some reason and when I was already in a negative mood, it was compounded). I just shuffled along and just wanted to be done, so badly. I felt angry at myself about my attitude. My paces were 9:02 – 11:33. Sweet.
- The last .2 miles continued to piss me off. Mother Nature thought it would be really funny to wait until I was within sight of the finish line and then, literally, have the wind pick up and blow my cute bright pink hat right off my head and back down the course. I debated leaving it, because the finish line was in sight. But my time was already shot and it IS a cute bright pink hat. So I stopped and ran back down the course, bent over and picked up the hat and went on my way. Random dude behind me said “Very impressive” when I picked up the hat. I assume he meant that I could bend down and scoop up my hat after running 26 miles?? Or else he liked my butt.
So Marathon #9 is in the books. Not my best. Not my worst. And, as usual, I learned some things about myself that I need to work on and I also learned that running in the wind really sucks!
But I didn’t come to Lansing to wallow about a poor race performance, so I DID manage to get out and drink a bunch of good beer and eat a bunch of good food, including this skillet full of deliciousness:
Whoever wrote the menu and said it was a dessert meant for sharing with 3 or more obviously didn’t have me, after running a marathon, in mind because it was NO PROBLEM for me to polish it all off: