Towpath Marathon Recap

Sorry it took me so long to get this up folks! I had the Kara Update done early so I wouldn’t have to worry about a post, post race. I normally spend Sunday night and some of Monday morning writing up my Monday post, but Kara came down with Croup (a respiratory virus) so between going to the pediatrician, caring for her and working from home, no post went up. I did enjoy the extra cuddles though!

Sick Kara

I’ll do another post on the actual trip but as for the race… I cut down on my crusiferous veggies starting Friday and increased my carbs. Saturday eats: Breakfast: a banana and coffee on the way to the airport, oatmeal at the airport. Lunch: Publix Cuban sub that we brought with us. Dinner: Spaghetti with marinara and chicken at Olive Garden. Snacks: apple, pretzels/peanuts on both legs of the plane ride, pb&j, half a pumpkin bagel- the Lender’s Pumpkin Spice bagels are SO GOOD!

The race was Columbus Day weekend and there was a boys soccer team staying at our hotel. Of course they ran up and down the halls all night and I barely got any sleep. This was expected (the lack of sleep) so I made sure to get a good nights rest both Thursday and Friday. The race didn’t start until 8AM so that played in our favor. I got up at 5:45 to pump, ate a pumpkin bagel and drank a glass of Nuun. I struck my FIERCE  pose with my new addition…

Fierceness

We left the hotel at 6:45,  I ate 1/2 a banana on the way and pulled into the parking lot by 7AM- right on time. I planned on eating the whole banana and 4 dates, but I was NOT feeling like eating (I know, so weird for me) and only had 2 dates 30 minutes before the race. It was about 45 degrees and we were all bundled up. I hit the porta poty up twice and got in a half mile warm up, just to shake my legs out. Before I knew it I was running a marathon! (sorry for the pic quality, it’s from a video Todd took)

towpathstart

The course was completely flat, except for the start… it was slightly down hill, which was perfect! My plan was to run the first mile at 8:20, 2nd at 8:10 and then bring it down to 8:00 until halfway through and start lowering it a bit from there. Well, the downhill killed that plan, but for the best. In training, it always takes me a few miles to get warmed up, hence the 8:20, 8:10 planned miles, but the downhill automatically made me go faster. I settled in between a 7:52-8 min pace and did my thing!

Ohio

I was feeling great and even helped pace a girl for miles 10-15. At first I was worried about chatting with her, that I would be exerting too much energy, but looking back, I think it was a good distraction half way through. The race only had 381 finishers, so I was alone or only had a few people around for a good portion of the race. While big races are fun and motivating, I love a smaller race and didn’t mind the quietness, but the girl, was a good diversion. Not to mention, it was GORGEOUS with all the fall leaves and stream/river on the side. We don’t get the season of fall, so it was a nice change 🙂 The above picture doesn’t even do it justice. The red leaves were the best!

towpathsplits

I got water at mile 6 and took my gels at mile 8, 12, 16 and 20. I took water with my gels and between those gel miles I took Gatorade. I wanted to make sure I never got dehydrated or ran out of glycogen. As long as my tummy didn’t hurt, I kept taking in the good stuff. I hit one small wall at mile 24 and ran a 8:10 pace. Not sure what went on there, but I was still able to pass a few people on the way to the finish, which is always a good feeling. Exhibit A:

passing

In the picture above, you can see the Towpath. It was crushed limestone and not trail-like. I didn’t have to worry about tripping over roots or getting stones in my shoes. I really think it helped my feet and legs. I crossed the line in 3:27:30 chip time, which was good enough for my A goal of qualifying for Boston, 1st place in my age group and 9th woman overall. I was so happy and proud of myself 🙂 All the hard work paid off. Kara was pretty worn out from the race, too 😉

towpathpostrace

The post race was small and that was fine by me. They had Subway, which was perfect, considering I finished around 11:30- lunch time. Don’t get me wrong, I totally could’ve gone for pancakes, but the turkey and swiss on white was just what I needed. I had a banana while walking around and the sub on the drive to the hotel. I can’t forget about my amazing post race massage! There wasn’t a line, so the lady worked on me for like 15 minutes. It was great.

Post Race Massage

I left the race walking just fine and the days after I was only a little sore. I attribute that to the Towpath itself, proper mid-race fueling, the massage and training in the heat/humidity then racing in cold temps and no humidity. I was running again by Wednesday, two days later. My quads were a bit sore, but not any more than after a hard 20 miler during training. I was shocked at how great I felt. This is my favorite picture from the weekend…

FaveTowpathPic

This race wouldn’t have been possible without a few people. First off, Todd. He watched Kara on all those early morning and after work runs, put up with me and my craziness/tiredness and overall was such a great support and cheerleader. He wrote my plan and always put my mind to ease when I second guessed my training. My parents follow closely behind Todd. There were many days my mom would pick up Kara so I could get a run in. When Todd traveled (3 trips) I stayed overnight at my parents twice a week so I could get runs in. Yes, a 30 y/o with a child, a husband and her own home, stayed with her parents. My mom made me dinner multiple times and even food prepped for me a bit. I love my family SO much. I also couldn’t have done it without my training partner Kristin. She met me every Sunday to bust out some crazy miles and workouts and really helped me mentally when all my hydration issues due to nursing occured. She even carried a little water bottle for me on long runs filled with Nuun. Jolene was also a great support and running buddy! Every Sunday I would text her how my workout went in the car before I drove home, like she was my coach, haha. Her pep talks and motivating texts got me through some tough runs- not to mention our Halo Top dates. And of course my sister Kristin. She gets the award for mental/emotional support. She gets this award for life though, not just training, but I know I blew her phone up twice as much the past 4 months, haha. I love you Kris!

Sorry for all the sappiness. I know some of it was repetitive, but those people did SO MUCH for me this training cycle and all the time really. I am so lucky to have such a great support system in my life and I attribute that to a lot of my running success now and back when I was actually fast, haha. I’ll get back there one day. After kid #2, so stay tuned. Man that was a lot of thinking today… time to link up for Thinking Out Loud Thursday!

Now I need your thoughts… do I fit in one more marathon before baby #2???

This article has 22 comments

  1. Congratulations on a GREAT time and what looks like a really well-run marathon! Glad your fueling strategy worked and looks like you didn’t hit the wall at all (I don’t think running a slightly slower mile is really hitting the wall in a marathon). I love that you had Kara at the finish for you and the pic of both of you with your medals.

    Glad you are walking fine and seem to be recovering well from the marathon, and good luck with your next goal!

    • Thanks Amy! Things couldn’t have aligned any better. I was a fantastic weekend! Having Todd and Kara there made it so much more special 🙂

  2. Congrats!! I love that you ran a race in my neighborhood! I’ve run on the Towpath before for fun, but never done the Towpath half or full though because I’m not a fan of runs with too much nature – I prefer running in cities or a balance of both scenic and urban. But you made it sound like a good time!

  3. Congrats on a well executed race and a BQ!!!
    I think it’s awesome you were able to figure out your hydration/ nutrition especially since you are still nursing. I hope Kara feels better soon. I know it’s hard on everyone when the little one isn’t feeling her best!
    In regards to another marathon before baby #2- it depends on which races are you goal races for early 2017 or in 2018 assuming you are planning a 2017 baby. But to be honest, even with a LOT of planning, pregnancy seems to happen when you least expect it. I have no doubts that whenever you decide for a second child you will be able to bounce back quick and come back to the running scene faster than before!

    • Kara’s doing better! Still congested but overall pretty happy- she almost always is. If I’m running another one it would be late Dec early Jan, baby after that. The only thing on my radar for 2018 is Boston 🙂 Annnnnd getting fast again!

  4. I loved reading about hydration/fuel plan during your race. I don’t do enough of it, generally because my tummy will rebel…but it makes a huge difference.

    Your daughter is adorable!

  5. There are so many reasons I love this post!!! Your dedication to take time away from running because you wanted to make a baby, and the comeback you’ve had are SO inspiring. I am SO unbelievably proud of you.

    • Awww thanks, Brittany! That means a lot coming from you! You are quite the inspiration yourself and every time I read your posts it makes me want to be a better person… and find a good vegan place to try desserts!

  6. Those splits were so awesome!!!!! You did amazing! So proud of you!!! How did I miss that you placed top 10??? So excited to get some miles together now!!!

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