Going into race week, I really wasn’t sure what to expect training hasn’t really been the best, but I was healthy, how bad can it be I did get in 1-20miler even if it was on the treadmill. I have come to realize that racing is all mental.
This is Marathon #6, the 3rd time in Akron, the course is very hilly and for the first time not sure why the course was modified to so called “easier” course they really should have left well enough alone. Representing CLIF, so have my CLIF bar gear on, short sleeve CLIF shirt, with a black Capri with white piping and CLIF sock since it was chilly at the start had on my arm warmer covered with the tattoo sleeve.
This race has a 7am start but because we are starting and running around downtown really needed to get out there by 6am before all the road closing starts, it really sucks when you have to park about a mile away. I found my usual parking spot in between the start and finish line in the city parking lot, which is free during the race. Reclined the seat back and dozed a bit regardless of all the energy around me it still was only 5:30am. I had my usual CLIF bars with coffee on the drive down; I love the bars not too heavy and enough calories to get me through the first 12 miles, that is the way I have trained with them either 2 before for 12miles or none before then 1 every 6 miles.
Left the car around 6:20 to check in gear and meet up with fellow runners. The goal is still the same break 4:30 I came close in Houston with 4:31 and that course was relative flat and I was 5 pounds lighter, but none the less that was still the goal.
|With Shelby from the Towpath Turtles|
Decided to start behind the 4:30 pace group led by Judy, to avoid the initial congestion by the pacer. The start was like an L with people running under 4 hours on the vertical and over on the horizontal, they under 4 hours where completely through the start line before we were allowed to go so once we started running we kept on running because the congestion from the precious group was completely cleared, so it took me almost 8 mins to cross the start line.
I felt fine from the start and the intention was to stick with the 4:30 pace group as much as I can, I noticed that we were running reasonably fast around a 9:55 – 10:10 pace even thou I understand the logic because of the hill there is always that concern of running too hard so early in the race.
By mile 2, I was quite warm so rolled down the arm warmers was so glad I didn’t have long sleeve on, I decided not to carry fluid knowing that Akron does a very good job with the aid station and I started a week before the race drinking Powerade to condition my body to it but since it has only been a week my body does what it does best doesn’t care for it so I had to pee even thou I went twice before the race started. On the second loop back downtown there were lines of POP with no line so I ran in and took care of business hoping this will hold me till the end, I had to speed up to a 9min pace to catch back up with the 4:30 pace group I was still determine not to get drop since I felt fine.
We broke away from the half marathoners around mile 11+ and headed into the valley, really steep downhill don’t remember this either, oh well, now time to start the Towpath session this part is nice and flat but really not my favorite not that much crowd support and I hate those small lime stones they always get into my shoes, which they did but I did ignore it since it was causing any damage. Ended the Towpath section around mile 16 and now we have the hills to look forward to, this is the section with the biggest change so instead of one big hill around mile 17+ to 19+, we now have the pleasure of non stop rolling hills from 17+ to miles 22+. I was determine not to walk the hills regardless of how slow I am running, with everyone walking around me I knew once I start it was going to be an invitation to walk the rest and I really didn’t have that much of a cushion.
When you have a pacer that has a 3:47 marathon PR running a 4:30 pace means going up the hill was a breeze and all we mortals were suffering. We stayed together as a group up the first hill but it soon became apparent that most of my groupies didn’t train for the hills of Akron and by mile 18.5 we were down to 4 from about 9 with the pace leader about 5mins ahead, we could still see her and since she walk through the water stop I know we can catch up but the hills well they kept on coming. By mile 22 it was just me and Larry left and he was beginning to cramp up, I encouraged him to take him more electrolyte at the next aid station and went on my merry way.
At mile 24, I looked at my Garmin and did a quick mental math if I can drop the pace down to under 10mins pace I may just make it under 4:30, boy is this going to hurt, I could still see the pace leader also and I know we were coming to the end of the rolling hills, so how bad do I want it, I was so tempted to give up because everybody was walking around including all the relay runners. All of a sudden I saw the Pace leader stopped at mile 25+, I guess she realized she was going too fast and was going to get to get to the finish ahead of time, she shouted for me to keep the pace and keep going I was so happy knowing I was finally going to get this 4:30monkey off my back.
|With my BGR sisters|
|She finally made it back after another stop to the medical tent, we need to work on nutrition.|
Official time 4:29:36
Age Group 30/75