I ran my first marathon on Sunday, right here in Tallahassee. It was pretty convenient in that it started and finished on campus and was predominately run on the St. Mark's Trail. I decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to qualify for Boston due to the time I took off trying to get rid of a cough I caught over the break. I had accepted that Boston wasn't going to happen and just wanted a nice solid race. The GWTC 30k had KILLED me a couple weeks ago and I was resigned to being slow. I thought I'd finish anywhere between 3:20 and 3:50. Turns out that I was right in the middle at 3:35:22. I placed 7/17 in my age group and 64/208 overall.
The Tallahassee Marathon course was incredibly well supported. Water stations about every two miles. Plenty of restrooms (I had to stop twice during the race to pee...the high cost of hydration!). If you're thinking about a marathon, this one is excellent. It's a flat course with lots of amenities. The race packet was quality (coolmax shirt, free 12 month subscription to Runner's World, etc).
I wanted to go out slow and hold on to a steady pace until mile 20 where I could pick it up if I felt like it. I ended up running with a few different packs of people, most of them dropping me after a mile or 8. I started talking to some people...I mean, we were having conversations...That's weird for a race. I guess the marathon pace is so slow that if you couldn't talk then you'd be going too fast. I did pick it up between miles 20 and 21. At mile 21, I consumed half a cup of my "power smoothie" (see recipe below) which I viewed as a secret weapon. It kicked in at mile 22. Everything was fine until mile 24. I was staying on pace and feeling good...but mile 25 felt like it was a mile and a half long. The last 1.2 miles was pretty sweet though. It was getting back on campus and it had a track finish. I probably ran 7 minute pace or better on the 280 meters of the track finish.
After the race, Sarah was there to pick me up from the ground and help me find food and massages. I was a little delirious and had a hard time talking. The massage was golden...probably the #1 reason why I wasn't that sore. The #2 reason probably involves me going to swim for about ten minutes then jumping in the hot tub before I went home.
Power smoothie recipe:
1/2 bag Publix frozen mixed berries
2 shots Hammer gel
2 scoops Hammer HEED (High Energy Electrolyte Drink)
2.5 scoops protein powder
6oz mixed berry yogurt