Lansing Marathon 2012 Race Report

The Details:

  • 3:52:18
  • 2nd place AG*
  • 115 out of 404 overall
  • 22 out of 161 females
*Technically I was 5th in my division, but since I’m now officially old, the first 3 in my division were the Masters female winners, so that left me as the 2nd place age grouper.

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:

17 thoughts on “Lansing Marathon 2012 Race Report

  1. I’m sorry you didn’t get your goal time! I know it can be so soul crushing to have weather get in the way of your hard work!

    Well, congrats on the AG place anyway 🙂

  2. You ran an amazing time despite that wind. I have been in that dark place in many marathons and know exactly how you feel. I have sworn off running marathons on at least half my marathons including last week at Boston. Way to push and finish despite being ready to give up. You will get that time next race. And I love that you went and picked up your hat, damn wind. And that dessert looks DELICIOUS!

  3. Melissa

    Great work, Cindi! Sorry conditions weren’t the best. It’s too bad that marathons are always judged on the last 26.2 miles that you run and not all the other hours and miles previous that you put in! You had a GREAT training cycle and we all know what you are capable of time-wise. Even with that, 26.2 miles of running (especially in hard conditions) is impressive in itself. Don’t forget that! Congrats! 🙂

  4. I think you did a wonderful job under the conditions! Sounds like this was a tough race mentally and physically but you should be proud of yourself for sticking to it and for finishing in a time that tons of people would love to have. Also, 2nd in your AG? That’s awesome!

  5. Elizabeth Allen

    I know this wasn’t the race you’d hoped for, but I sthill think you did an amazing job.

    Though I must admit, I snickered at the thought of dropping F-bombs at the sheep! Baaaa! (Shaddup you MF’ing sheep!!!!) 🙂

  6. I’m so sorry this race didn’t work out as you hoped–that’s the frustration (but also the challenge) of marathons. This will pay off big-time for you in your next one. I learn something about myself in every race, too, and the process isn’t always fun. But wow that ice cream…….just wow.

  7. Spike

    I feel you on the wind. Miles 16 to 19.5 were so difficlut that they made the final six miles (even with the half runners joining us) rough. Also, the Redhead loved your tweets yesterday.

    Also, did you notice that the sheep are numbered, like the Serta sheep? Why do they do that?

    1. I did not notice that the sheep were numbered. Maybe part of the University’s sleep study program? Makes it much easier to count the sheep as you are trying to drift off to sleep . . .

  8. i’m so, so sorry. gosh, i’ve been there SO many times. relentless headwinds are the most awful, soul-crushing conditions to run in (and yes, i’m still saying that after running in 89 degrees last week).

    and you threw f-bombs at the sheep?! nice!

    i can’t believe you polished off that dessert. i’m really impressed.

  9. Nolan

    Agree completely with you about the wind. The course wouldn’t be bad if it was calm, but the fact that windy+hills=hell. For me though I had a pulled hamstring since last Sunday, so my planned time of 4:00 was going well until mile 14 and the wind took too much force over my leg and it literally stopped moving for 10sec, but I finished at 4:25 with a grade 1 pulled hamstring, first half was at 1:50. I was dropping F-bombs to mother nature and to myself at least 50 times in the final 12 miles. But congrats anyways!!!!

  10. Tina Mielke

    Still a great time! Sorry it wasn’t the time you wanted or deserved. You work hard and continue
    to impress me with your training cycles. Love the dessert picture! I run for treats.

  11. All things considered, you still totally rocked this race when you take in account that nasty wind! I’m glad that you were still able to enjoy your visit to the mitten and enjoy all the great food we have! 🙂 Don’t let this race define you, you have that time in you!!!

  12. Jeana

    I am so amazed! I could never do what you do! Don’t beat yourself up to much. Move on and kick that wind’s ass next time. See you soon.

  13. Terry

    You described the race very well. Captured my experience too . Miles 16 -20 was my demise too. Even my 160lb frame couldn’t with stand that wind. Brutal is what it was. After the 3 finishers ahead of me move into the masters group I ended up first in my age grouper. Still don’t know how that happen except perhaps, everyone felt a little of what we felt. Terrific job!

  14. Maria Pfeiffer

    I’m sooo sorry, Cindi! But please don’t let this deter you…. you are an amazing runner who continues to make BIG progress and still dedicate so much to your family and job. Hang in there … it’s still the YEAR OF CINDI… make it happen! 🙂

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