As I explained in my pre-race ponderings post, I set my expectations lower so I could have a successful race. I wanted to go out slower, manage the hills and finish strong. At the beginning of the race I realized that 13 miles is a long way to go and I wondered if I could do it. I walked through each water stop, thanking the volunteers and chit chatted with a couple runners along the way. John ran the race with me but I don't remember us talking too much. Pretty much he was always a few steps in front of me (so much for actually running with me) so I was continually pushed, which was good. I don't feel like I charged up the hills or truly raced the race but I also didn't cry at mile 11 because I was worn and spent.
My goal was under 2:07 and to finish strong. My finish time was 2:03:59 and John (who let me finish in front) was 2:04:01. Even though I was 6 minutes slower than last year, I felt more confident at the end (although I've been wondering why I didn't push it more). I won second in my age group (3rd year in a row) and John got 3rd in his age group.
The race is old fashioned. It's not chip timed, uses a tag finishing board and everyone waits for all runners to finish before the shuttle buses back to the visitor center leave. The last runner came through about 3.5 hours so there was plenty of time to mill around and talk to people.
I recognized one lady who has run the last three years, is much faster than me and wins her age group. This year she moved into my age group and yes, won the age group. I talked with her and she ran 9 minutes slower than last year and didn't think she'd be back next year. There's a chance next year, depending on who shows up, that I could again place, maybe win my age group.
The marathon runners continue past the half finish and I handed out oranges. At that point they had been running 13 miles, with the last 3 uphill, they still had to climb another hill and it was quite warm. They seemed so thankful to have the orange. As I'm handing out oranges I talked to a guy standing by me who looked familiar. It turns out he is best friends with my running coach and I had met him a couple times and follow his blog. It's a small world.
In this race I also had the honor of running with the International Flag of Friendship. Giorgio sent me the flag to run with in my next race. I pinned it to my leg and surprisingly, no one asked me why I had the American Flag on. Maybe they thought it was related to the olympics (which only had 2 days left).
|Before the race wearing my flag|
|Post race, back at the visitor center|