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The Bass Pro Marathon Race Report- 3:02:40

The Bass Pro Marathon Race Report- 3:02:40
The Bass Pro Marathon Race Report- 3:02:40

On Sunday morning I ran my 9th marathon.  I had a very specific time goal in mind.  I had trained hard for that time.  I knew I was capable of getting that time. But it didn’t happen.

I arrived in Springfield, Missouri Saturday afternoon with my friend Tish along with two of her children and one of their friends.  Tish used to live in Springfield so we stayed with a close friend of hers in the area.  It was great! We got our packets, ate dinner early and I felt very at peace Saturday night when I was laying out all my gear.

Sunday morning was fall back on the time change which was also very ideal! I think I was able to get at least 7 hours of sleep which is a lot for me the night before a marathon.  (I’m usually in bed awake worrying but I did much better this time.)  We left for the race by 5:50 and were there by 6:30.

At the start it was about 35 degrees and windy but temps would mostly be in the 40’s-50’s for the race.  The wind got up to about 13 mph but wasn’t as much of an issue as this race.

The Race:
My magic pace number was 6:45.  I wanted to hit that pace or close to so I could go sub 3.  I could do this for 3 hours right?  At least that’s what I was telling myself.

Miles 1-5:  It took a few miles to find my pace.  This was the only section I was really “with” other runners.  The half and full marathoners split off right before the one mile marker so the race crowd got small in a hurry.  A lot of turns and rolling hills in this section from the getgo.  I knew there were a few women up ahead (although I couldn’t see them) but I didn’t know how many.  The pack I was running with was all guys.
(6:45, 6:46, 6:39, 6:36, 6:55)

Miles 6-10: Around the 10K mark I settled into my own place and was really on my own the rest of the race.  I could see the two guys in front of me go back and forth on placement but I was on my own.  Every mile seemed to drag by so slowly.  Somewhere around mile 10 someone shouted to me that I was the third female.  I knew first and second had to be way up there because I never saw them.
(6:46, 6:44, 6:50, 6:49, 6:46)

Miles 11-13: I kept talking to myself and knew I just needed to make it to the half way point.  That was my first goal.  Get to the half marathon point and keep a 6:45 average.
(6:44, 6:43, 6:47)

Half Marathon Split: There was not an official checkpoint for this- I just looked at my watch and made note of the time.  I knew I needed to be under 1:30.  This is actually my first time ever to be under 1:30 at the halfway point of a full marathon.  Last fall at this time my half marathon PR alone was a 1:28 so I reminded myself that this is progress no matter how the last half went.  I had about a minute of pace wiggle room the second half which isn’t much but it was there when I needed it.
(1:28:45)

Miles 14-18: Towards the end of this stretch the guy that had been following me for about 10 miles (and breathing very loudly which was annoying) decided to finally pass me.  It was exhausting trying to keep my pace and listen to this guy move up like he was going to pass and then fall back.  Fine.  Go for it.  Then I won’t have to hear you breathing.  I was getting tired but I did the mental math at 17 and knew if I just kept it at a 7 min pace I would still make my goal.  Could I at least keep a 7?
(6:46, 6:46, 6:50, 6:49, 6:46)

Miles 19-26.33: And this is the section I wanted to quit all together.  I hit the wall HARD and could not move my legs any faster.  My pace fell apart and I wanted the race to be over so bad.  Somehow I managed to pass back the loud breather after two miles of following him.  And once I passed him I never heard him again.  As much as my pace slowed no one passed me on this section which was surprising.  From mile 19 on all I saw were 7’s.  No more 6’s.  And mile 23 was a 7:44?! A full minute off my pace…. My mind had checked out.  And this was the most populated section of the course.   These miles are the last section of the half marathon course as well so I started seeing a lot of walkers.  They were very encouraging and would cheer for me when I passed them.  I just wanted to say, “I’m not fast- can’t you see I’m dying over here?!”  Or “I wanted to be so much stronger than this.”  I didn’t feel like I deserved any of their sweet encouragement.  I just wanted to stop running.  The last 10K of Boston felt SO MUCH BETTER than this.  Then a bike pacer guy came around mile 24 and led the way the last two miles.  I guess he was doing this for the overall winners?  I knew I was still in third but I didn’t know how much of a lead I had and I really didn’t want to get passed the last mile!  Tish had run the half and was waiting for me right before mile 26.  She ran with me a few feet to cheer me on.

Once I made the final turn I could see the big finish.  I saw a 3:02 and at least wanted to make it in before it went to 3:03.  I was tired, mad and frustrated at myself but I made myself smile when I crossed the line.  It was still a PR and I needed to be happy about that.  It did not go the way I wanted but I needed to be thankful and appreciate the fact that I finished and had still run my fastest marathon ever. 
(7:02, 7:09, 7:05, 7:22, 7:44, 7:25, 7:26, 7:21, 2:09- 6:29 pace)

 

Photo Courtesy of Jaime- thank you!

 Official Time- 3:02:40 (6:58 avg.) 3rd Overall Female/ 13th Overall


Official Results can be found here.

After the race I was able to meet up with my friends and meet runner FB friend Jaime.  It took a few minutes to regroup but they were all very encouraging.  I decided not to focus on the failed sub 3 goal but to be happy with my PR no matter how big or small.

Tish, Jaime & I

I was also able to talk with the first and second place females at the awards.  They have each run faster on other courses.  This made me feel good about at least setting a PR here.  The winner has run a 2:37 before and is a two time Olympic Trials qualifier.  And that explains why I never saw her on the course…

Top 3 women finishers

Tish set a HUGE half marathon PR (1:36:28) and won 2nd place in her AG.  Way to go Tish!


Best Race Shirts Ever:
This really deserves its own section.  LOVE the race shirts they made this year.  Front and back are so cute!




Post Race Thoughts:
I WILL get that sub 3.  It will happen.  I had to remind myself that exactly one year ago I ran a marathon this same weekend and my time was 3:11.  Here we are 12 months later and I have cut 9 minutes off my time since that race.  I know I just need to be patient and keep working at it.  It’s so easy to find myself thinking about what I did wrong and not look at the positive.  Those last miles of a marathon can be very mentally and physically draining- especially when things do not go as planned.  I quickly remind myself that I’m healthy and get to do what I love but more importantly I am surrounded by people I love daily. 

Although in this particular race I never felt a moment of pure running joy I know it will happen again.  For some reason this race never felt “easy.”  Even in the early miles.  The pace was easy (the first 18 miles anyway) but mentally it was exhausting from the start.  I might have stressed myself out too much? I’m not sure.  Lots of lessons learned for for next time…

The St. Judes Memphis Marathon is coming up next month and it will be my next attempt at a sub 3.  I will be writing more on “back to back” marathoning coming up but this will be my 4th time to do something like this.  (Piggy back one marathon off the training of another.) For some reason I have always done better the second time around.  I’m hoping this will be the case again.

I better wrap this up.  I’m ready to move on and look ahead.  Thanks for the encouraging Facebook, Daily Mile messages and texts.  I appreciate it!

Note from my Abi when I got home. This made me smile and laugh. So sweet!

36 Comments

  1. Congrats girl – that’s just awesome! Sounds like it was a super tough race and you still kicked butt. Oh and the breather? Hate that – had one of those at the Soaring Wings Half. I went faster just to get away from him LOL.

  2. OMG, you are amazing! I can’t imagine how much work it takes to even improve by 9 minutes at the pace you run. You have my adoration! I always kid around that I sure do enjoy the mid-pack – if not for the company, push from others, but just to know which way to go on the course! And UGH – I hate the heavy breathers! I always wanna tell ’em to slow it down a bit. If they’re breathing that heavy, they’re not gonna be able to hold that pace (point proven in your story above.) GREAT JOB Chin Up – You’ll get that sub-3. I dream of a sub-4 but have a good 16 minutes to shave off my PR yet… advice?

    1. Yes, Jess! That is another thing about when it gets spread out- figuring out which way to go… There were arrows on the ground and usually at least one volunteer at every turn but it was a lot easier when I could see the people in front of me. And as for your sub 4… You can totally do it! I don’t know anyone who trains and races as much as you!

  3. Congrats on your PR! Good luck at St Jude. I will be there too; it will be my second marathon (but the first one was in 2005, so this one seems like the first). Love your blog; so inspiring!

    1. Wow! Yes, that’s a lot of time to pass. Which one did you do in ’05? You will love St Judes! Running through the hospital campus is my favorite part. I heard we do it twice this year…:-)

  4. Haha – had to laugh at your comments on the loud-breathing-guy – I have totally had that same experience! And also the “weaving-side-to-side” guy…and the “incredibly-loud-footfall-guy”… and the “smelly guy”! I would try so hard to go faster to get away from them! In any case, CONGRATS again on your PR – as you said, 9 minutes off in a single year is INCREDIBLE and I have no doubt that you’ll get that sub-3! Sometimes even if we are all trained up, the race doesn’t go quite as planned and the pace feels harder than we know it should. This is probably a TMI question, but could your cycle have something to do with it? I know I have times in my cycle each month where the a pace feels amazing easy (usually pre-ovulation) and then times where I feel awful trying to hold that same pace! (close to the end of my cycle). Regardless of that though, you know you are trained for that sub-3 – and hopefully your next marathon race day will be that great day you need to knock it out. I KNOW you will get it. Fantastic job on working so hard this season and congrats on your new PR. 🙂 You’ve got a great attitude about it as well – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts! – Jenn

    1. Jenn, thank you for your comment! I’m glad you mentioned the cycle issue. I hadn’t really thought of that but I am thinking that might have had something to do with it… I did the math and I should be in a much better place for St. Judes!
      And so funny about the different types of runners in races. You nailed them!

  5. First, congrats on your PR. Like you said, if you think back to where you were a year ago, you crushed it But I know how it is to come up short. The marathon is a beast all of its own. I know you are trained for sub-3 and you didn’t go out too fast. So you clearly just had an off day that resulted in the last few miles being really tough.
    I hope the next few weeks of recovery/taper go well for you and I’ll be cheering you on again at St Jude’s!

    1. Thanks Michele! Yes, I am hoping I have a better day at St. Judes and can hang with it at least a few more miles! Your big race is coming up soon too! 🙂

    1. Thanks! Yes, I should have mentioned my calf issue. It actually did MUCH better than I’d anticipated. I started feeling a dull ache around mile 13 and it got stronger but was never throbbing like it did when I initially injured it. When I stopped running it recovered quickly and now (2 days later) I don’t even feel it.

  6. I think I remember you zooming by me. I was the fat guy in a blue shirt dying in the half marathon (first one for me…not sure if I’m going to be a repeat offender or not).

  7. You’re one of the strongest runners I know and yeah, sub 3 is obviously going to happen – just not that day. Still, amazing race and PR. I really think you are best at cranking out incredible 5ks, so for you to also be running a 3:02 marathon speaks to your wide talent. I used to be surprised and impressed by your races…now I’m just impressed. Nothing you achieve surprises me anymore!
    And one more thing.
    LOUD BREATHERS ARE THE WORST.
    😉
    Congrats, Tia!

    1. Thanks Gracie! I am starting to like 5k’s more and more these days. 🙂 26.2 can just be so intimidating and that last 10K feels like an eternity!!

  8. I can definitely understand your frustration and disappointment. But I also love that you compared yourself to a year ago and wow- what a huge improvement!! You do have the sub-3 in you, you’ll get there. This recap reminded me how challenging the marathon is… and how unpredictable it can be, no matter how well we train. Regardless, 3:02 is an awesome time!! Congratulations!!

    1. Thanks Laura! I’m excited for you and Philly! Hopefully this recap didn’t make you paranoid about that last 10K! 😉 You have had some very solid training and I know you will do awesome!

  9. Congratulations on the PR! I can’t wait to see you get that sub 3. You’ve encouraged me greatly to take time to celebrate the smaller steps leading up to the big ones and I think that’s what this race was for you! It is just nutty how some races you feel that joy in running and some days you just don’t feel that. I’m cheering for you for the next one in four weeks- go get after it! 🙂

    1. Thanks Lindsey! If I only ran one marathon a year I guess I would expect a bigger time difference but when you run 4 or so a year it helps to be realistic. Taking off time is hard and tends to get harder (at least for me)!

  10. So amazing!!! I’m in awe of your race times!! I’m also doing St. Jude next month (this will be my 2nd marathon). You definitely have the mental strength too. That is something that takes lots of experience. I’m hoping to finish St. Jude in 3:35-3:45. At least that’s what I was told I was capable of : ) Last year the goal was just to finish (finished in 4:17). Question for you: Should goal marathon pace feel very challenging or slightly challenging in training?

    1. Great question Laura! I have heard it described as- “comfortably uncomfortable.” Does that make sense? This really describes it for me. It’s not necessarily “easy” but I can hold it for a long time. (hopefully 26 miles!) 🙂 Good luck in St. Jude!! I want to hear how it goes!! I’m hoping we have good weather this year!

  11. I have been waiting to read this and loved hearing all the details! Congrats on your PR!! Even though you didn’t make your goal of sub-3:00, you should be so proud of running a PR and keeping your head in the game when it wanted to quit.

    I can’t wait to see how you do in the St. Judes marathon. I have only run one back-to-back (earlier this year) and I ran faster the second time as well. I have no doubt that you will get that sub-3 very soon!

    I hope you enjoyed at least a brief recovery period after the race and I wish you the best in the next few weeks of training. Your pace through mile 18 was simply amazing and once you figure out how to hold on to that for a few more miles, you are going to CRUSH your goal!

    1. Thanks!! I know some people aren’t crazy about running two back to back. The closest I have ever done was 27 days and it was a little close in my book (although I still PR’d by 2 min). This time I will have 5 weeks. I prefer 6 or 7 but it is what it is. In my mind I’m counting this as a long endurance workout for St. Judes and yes, hopefully I can stick to my pace a little longer!

      Thanks for your comment! I hope you continue to feel better every day. I’m excited to follow your Boston training in the spring!

  12. I know it wasn’t what you wanted but in my books it was still awesome and you’re still a rockstar!. You WILL get that sub-3 one day. Just keep on doing what you’re doing and it’ll come.

  13. Congrats Tia! I think your sub 3 will happen at your next race! Running 26.2 this past week at such a good pace has really increased your endurance which is what I think you were missing based on your training; you are certainly a speed type runner, but that is also because most of your training is targeted to the 5k (lots of track, intervals). I have no doubt that you can get really fast at the marathon (talking olympic trials fast:) if you work more on the endurance part. Looking at the elites, marathoners are rarely 5K champions as well:);and Usain Bolt probably can’t finish a marathon, ha! This, for me, makes your last marathon even more impressive (and same for your mental toughness!). Truly excited to watch your progression Tia! The sky is the limit!

  14. Thanks AM!! I always appreciate your insight! Seriously- great coaching advice! I think I’m looking at this as a great endurance training run for St. Judes. The calf muscle thing really threw me off my mental game so I’m looking forward to going into the next marathon with some more confidence.

  15. Congrats Tia! I think you ran tough! In my marathon I crossed the half at 1:28:30, and finished in 3:07:11, so I completely fell apart! And I really wanted to stop the race around mile 17ish.

    Anyway, you did great, and the sub 3 will come! Congrats again!

  16. This race was HARD. It is so hard to PR but still miss such an important goal. I know you have it in you, just getting the right formula! Also, great placement!! Hard to beat top 3 🙂 And Camille is a force to reckon with. I bet you will give her a run for the money next time you are both at the same event!

  17. Hi Tia! Thanks so much for your comment on my blog. It is so nice to “meet” you in blogland and I would love to meet you in person in Arkansas in May! Congrats on your speedy marathon and the PR – and sorry about not getting that sub 3. It will come. You are so close! I am working towards that goal myself. I had a big setback due to injury this summer/early fall but am back to work/training and feeling good. Hopefully we can both get that sub 3 in 2014. 🙂

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