I haven't signed up for a fall marathon. I had this delusion that today's 20 miler would go so beautifully and give me a huge confidence boost. I wouldn't be able to log on to active.com fast enough as soon as I got home.
That's not how it went.
The running store I work for, Charm City Run, does a superb job putting on races, and this is one of my favorites. At least based on the one other time I ran it, in 2010. It was my first ever 20 mile run while training for my first marathon. I spent the whole day on cloud 9, because I couldn't believe I'd actually run 20 whole miles. We even spent the day at the Visionary Art Museum and went out to dinner to celebrate.
Again, today was different.
|So long ago - before I even wore Brooks!|
This race is point to point, so you park at the finish, and they bus you 20 miles away to the start, which is the Pennsylvania/Maryland border.
I got to the finish area about 6:30am and met two of my friends. They were wearing these totally adorable matching outfits, and I was so mad they hadn't told me in advance so we could all be triplets.
|We had this idea to look gangsta and then....this happened.|
I felt in no way prepared for this race. Since July's 6 hour race, the only time I'd run double digits was last weekend and that was only 13. Not only that, I'd basically taken the first 3 weeks of August off from running entirely. So my plan was to run by effort, not pace, and keep it reasonably hard.
I rarely run with music now, so I felt my marathon playlist would get me through, especially since I just added Katy Perry's new song. Plus, everyone knows that marathons are all fun and games until mile 20, and then things get real. In this race, you got to stop at mile 20 and didn't even have to deal with that damn .2.
For about the first 9 miles, I felt great. After that, it all went to hell. My reasonably hard effort went from about a 9 minute mile to about a ten minute mile. Or slower.
Serious positive splits here (running the second half of the race slower than the first half). Positive splits get a bad rap when it comes to running strategies, but I feel when the temperature during a race starts in the 70s and climbs into the 90s, it's a solid plan.
The heat was unbearable, it was so humid that my feet were sloshing in my shoes like I'd dunked them in a pool, and it hurt to breathe. I'd taken my inhaler before the race, but sincerely regretted leaving it in my car during the race. I attempted to take a salt pill at mile 6, and it turned out those were right next to my inhaler.
The last mile leaves the shaded path and is uphill in direct sunlight. As you may imagine, that was super fun. Here's a picture of my friend Alex finishing where you can kind of see the hill.
|Well, maybe not, but trust me it was there.|
After I finally finished I stumbled drunkenly (like, seriously I was weaving and couldn't walk in a straight line) over to a shaded sidewalk in front of a (closed) store and just laid on the sidewalk for about ten minutes until my friend Matt found me and was like "what is wrong with you".
|I'm about to go to work and buy our entire stock.|
Obviously, I got a special post race dessert. If you have a Wegmans near you, I recommend buying one of their colossal whoopie pies as soon as possible.
This is the kind of thing that like 98% of the population eats maybe a quarter of and then cries uncle. I did have to take a break, but I assure you I ate the entire thing, and loved every minute of it. I was also satisfied at the end. Some people get that feeling after just a square of dark chocolate, and others need this monstrosity to get there.
What's your favorite store bought baked good? Be specific, I may visit your city someday. If its something from a chain or you are local (aka something I can actually get), be even more specific.