One hundred forty-two seconds.
That was the difference in my race yesterday. A meager 2 minutes and 22 seconds stood between me and the Boston Qualifying time for which I have been working for months. I’m not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.
And then I got over it.
How? By realizing that I still ran a personal best marathon by more than 5 minutes. Once again, I went out a little too fast, though for this, I blame other people more than myself. I thought I was going out with a group of guys shooting for a 3-hour race. Turns out , they had bigger plans, and I found myself tagging along at a pace that was nearly 15 seconds faster than I intended to run. No matter, I’ll just train for that next time.
In fact, I’ve got a lot of ideas for things to change in my training plan for next time, but today, I want to write about the race itself. Registration was easy, and as far as marathons go, the price was pretty reasonable. I don’t know anything about available accommodations, as I stayed with friends, but there are a number of hotels near the start line, so I imagine you can find something if you plan ahead.
I was a little disappointed in the expo, but I must acknowledge that I’ve been a little spoiled. I’ve never done a marathon with less than 3,000 finishers, and this year’s Sunburst Marathon had 446, according to my results page. The national scale to which I’m accustomed does not apply. The expo actually taught me a lot about what to expect from the race. Looking at it through local eyes, it’s much more impressive.
The start was well-organized, and fortunately the College Football Hall of Fame let us stand in the lobby, as it was a chilly 48 degrees at race time. The course itself was fine, but not one I would enjoy running again and again. The two long out-and-back portions were extremely fatiguing mentally, especially seeing everyone come back at you after the turnaround. I saw some complaints (for past races) that the course was not clearly marked, but I found it easy to follow. The only issue with that was the lack of spectators in long portions of the course. When I found myself alone at mile 23, I honestly wondered if I had wandered off the course for a moment, only to find a water stop around the next turn.
My biggest complaint about the course in general had to do with the surfaces on which we ran. There was one insanely slippery bridge, a road made out of bricks (like cobblestone, but not), and lots of potholes and split asphalt. Late in the race, those things took a toll on my feet. Also, there were some issues with closing streets. I had three or four vehicles drive past me on the course at one point or another. Less than awesome.
It’s all worth it, though, when you turn into that tunnel. I raised one arm in victory as I headed to the field, a huge grin spreading across my face. I wished they had put something other than water on the field for us to have as we crossed, though. I understand that they want you to take your pictures and move on, but I wanted to savor the moment on the field just a little longer.
Swag-wise, the race was a little below average, though again, I know it’s a local race. The medal was nice; a very simple design, but pretty, and better than some I’ve seen. I like the shirt, too, though I’ve never been a huge fan of having the thirty sponsors listed on the back. Still, nice logo, and a tech tee at that. There was pretty much nothing else of value from the packets. Most of what was in there was information about other races in the area, which naturally doesn’t matter much to me. I think they were saving their money for the food at the end. There was a really impressive amount of food, but all I cared about was the chocolate milk. Every race should have chocolate milk at the end. It’s awesome.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience a great deal. I probably would not do the marathon again, but if I’m back for a reunion weekend some year, I might do the half. The staff was great, the volunteers were enthusiastic, and the finish line was unmatched.
Not a bad way to spend a Saturday morning.
Warmer than yesterday, but still cool
2.15 miles (Yes, I ran today, but more on that tomorrow.)