I signed up for this race after the Fort 4 Fitness marathon, when I got a PR but missed my goal of going sub-4:20. I felt like with a little more training and push I could do it. The Veteran’s Marathon is affordable and – bonus! – nearby. And I did it! 4:18:48!
I previously ran the Veteran’s Marathon in Columbia City in 2010 (please see that post for a funny video of Dave and Mosie… ah the days when we were young..). I liked the race okay, but it was pretty hilly and the second half, which looped out in the country, was pretty lonely. They since reconfigured the course so the marathoners just ran the half marathon course twice. I liked the course much better this year – it was still out in the country but didn’t feel as tedious or long and the support was better than I remembered. It was still mostly just water stop people (bless them!) but they were excited and encouraging. There were still hills but nothing monster. I walked up one hill, at mile 23.5, and ran the rest (or chugged slowly). They were bigger than I’m used to, but nothing insurmountable.
The morning of the race was cold (27 degrees!) but no wind and the promise of a sunny day to warm things up. I wasn’t sure what to wear for the race and bugged Kimberly about it on voxer to maker her help me figure it out. In the end I decided on shorts, tall compression socks, a tshirt, a long sleeve tech shirt, and gloves. Waiting for the race to start and the first couple miles I definitely would have appreciated a buff (my nose was so cold!) and hat, but both would have been completely unnecessary after a few miles, so I’m glad I didn’t have them. I took the tech shirt off around mile 14 and tied it around my waist.
I also wore a hydration belt that was loaded with my phone, 8 fruit leathers, and two bottles of my homemade sports drink (honey, lime, himalayan salt, water). Once the water bottles were empty (around mile 15) I filled them with gatorade at the water stations. This worked well because the water stations are a little spread out at the Veteran’s race (every 2 or so miles, sometimes less, sometimes more) and I’ve found when I sip drinks it’s much easier for me than gulping cupfuls. The fruit leathers worked well as fuel – I stumbled upon this right before my last long training run, when I realized I didn’t have any fuel, but did have Aldi fruit leathers. They’re flat and pack well, taste great, and digest easily. I ate one at miles 3, 6, and 9, took a GU from a water stop at mile 12, fruit leather at 15 and 18, then drink the rest of the way in (my stomach felt ok but the thought of eating something sounded awful). I think I fueled well during the race, but probably could have done better beforehand. I ate two pieces of toast with coffee at 6am and packed a fig granola bar to eat around 7:15, but totally forgot about it until the gun was about to go off. So that was smart. I don’t think it changed the race that much, but still. Rookie mistake.
All in all, it was a great race. The course was a little long – 26.3 (even on their website it’s listed as 26.3, which is baffling to me). I felt like I ran well, pretty consistently (my first half was 2:07, second half 2:11 so I slowed a little, but not trainwreck), and at the finish was pretty certain I could not have pushed more or done much differently during the race. It was a satisfying race and I was really proud of it. Coming back to the marathon now with three kids I feel like I’m mentally tougher – I can recognize during a race when I’m tired or want to walk, but it’s easier for me to push through that and just keep going whereas before I might have given in.
This puts me at 9 marathons, which means marathon #10 should be something fun or special, right? Any suggestions?!?!