There is one thing I've learned in the last year and a half of racing, and it is that a bad night's sleep the night before a race does not necessarily affect performance.
After going to bed at about 1:30 AM and waking up at 4:45 AM, I was feeling very tired this morning. Sometimes I hate running.
Darcy picked me up at 5:15 AM and we headed to the race start at Soldier Hollow. Since this was the inaugural year of the marathon, it was very small. There were about 80 full marathoners and 45 or so relay teams. We all huddled together and swatted mosquitoes that were the size of bats while we waited for the race to begin at 6AM.
My stomach was hurting this morning and it made me nervous, but luckily it didn't bother me after I started running. I'm sure a lot of it was nerves. I didn't feel very prepared for this race because I haven't been working hills like I normally do. I knew what was in store for me and knew it would be a very tough race. I'm telling you, those full marathoners were BRAVE.
We stared on time and ran parallel to one of the most vibrant sunrises that I have ever seen. It reminded me so much of this one that I got to watch on my third leg at the Del Sol Ragnar. I wish so bad that I could have had my camera with me.
Mile 1: Felt awesome! I knew this would be my fastest mile because it was the only one with an elevation drop. Ran a 7:04 and lost 92 feet.
Mile 2: Still holding strong. I kept saying "Nice and Steady" the whole way. I knew I had to save some juice for the hills at the end. Ran a 7:33 with a 60 foot gain.
Mile 3: I walked so that I could drink some water at the water stop, but I was still feeling really well. Ran a 7:43 with 34 feet in gain.
Mile 4: My stomach started bothering me so I was trying hard to focus on other things. The sunrise. The 4 leading men in front of me. Ran a 7:59 with an 87 foot gain.
Mile 5: By the time I finished this I knew I had achieved my first goal- keeping a pace of 7:40 for the first five miles. Ran this mile in 7:55 with a 62 foot gain.
Mile 6: This is when the fun began! I quit looking at my watch because I didn't want it to wig me out mentally. I didn't have a pace goal for the hills- I just wanted to run without stopping. I was so glad I wore my New Balance Minimus shoes! I think it made a huge difference. I ran this with an 8:37 and 131 foot gain.
Mile 7: This was a dramatic difference in incline from the previous mile I had just run. I was passed by the only woman that passed me- a full marathoner- during this mile. I ran it with a 9:33 with a 259 foot gain.
Mile 8: Oh dear. Calves burning. Hamstrings burning. Quads burning. I just kept pumping my legs. Had to keep them moving. 11:47 mile with 383 feet in gain. Seriously.
Final .74: Kicked it into gear during the last .15 when it leveled out for a second. Finished strong and felt amazing! Ran this last little bit with a 10:53 and it had 317 feet in elevation gain.
Overall I had an average pace of 8:43/mile over the 8.74 miles, and I climbed 1,333 feet up a mountain!!!!!!!!! WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!!!!
I am so proud of myself. I wanted to do this so bad when I ran Guardsman during the Ragnar, and I was so happy that I could redeem myself during this race.
I handed off to Sara- who killed it during her leg. Sara handed off to Darcy, and Darcy finished strong! We ended up taking 1st in the Women Relay! There were only 2 other teams that had crossed the line before us. We ran the marathon in 3:52- which was incredible for such a difficult course. We were hoping to finish in under 4 hours, and we did it!
The winner of the marathon was a 17 year old guy- he ran the 26.2 in 3:34. Stellar.
This was such a great race. The crowds were small, but very encouraging. I talked to Mark, the race director, and he said that next year he was probably going to push it to September. The mountains would be stunning that time of year! I can't wait to do it again.