I’ve had a very eventual winter between finding out I’m pregnant, becoming a BibRave Pro and just general Minnesota winter weather (polar vortex and all) so let’s check out the top blog posts from the winter! Which, funnily, includes a lot of posts from last year’s Eau Claire Marathon training.Read More
2018 was another big year of races for me! I ran 6 races altogether, including 3 PRs, plus I trained through the winter for my second marathon. Today’s a round up of all my races in 2018!
Started off the year with a very cold 5K PR! It felt like sub-zero temps but I still managed to knock two minutes off my PR form 2016.
My longest race before the Eau Claire Marathon, which I used as a tune-up race to check on my pacing and fueling in a race.
After a tough winter training for the Eau Claire Marathon (including a blizzard the weekend of my last 20-mile run which meant I took it to the treadmill), I ended up getting a seven minute PR at my second marathon.
My last race of the spring which turned out to much hotter than I excepted. This was my second time running the hills at Stillwater.
My last PR of the year, a 24:32 finish time which meant I took 2 minutes off my PR from the Valentine’s Day TC 5K in February.
My last race of 2018, I was originally training for a 10K PR but ended up running it for fun!
How did your 2018 race season go? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for Mike for coming along, biking along the course and being my photographer!
I can now say that I’m a two-time marathoner (woot!) and I have a new marathon PR! In about six months, I was able to take seven minutes off my time from the Twin Cities Marathon and get a sub-5 hour finish at the Eau Claire Marathon.
But let’s back it up a little from the marathon finish, to just over a day before when we arrived in Eau Claire. Mike and I had dropped Vinnie off with Mike’s parents and driven in the day before. Before checking into our hotel, we stopped at the expo so I could pick up my bib. It was a pretty small expo so we weren’t there for long. I also grabbed a couple more GUs for the race and a bumper sticker for my car, plus had Mike take my picture in front of the #RUNEC sign.
After we checked into the hotel, we relaxed for a little bit before heading out to Chipotle for dinner and stopping at a CVS to grab some snacks for the night. The rest of the night was just relaxing (we watched an episode of Handmaid’s Tale) and eating chocolate. The pre-race ritual of champions for sure.
We went to bed early to make sure we got enough sleep and I got in an awesome night of sleep even though we were in a hotel. I had made sure to bring my pillows with to make sure I’d sleep better and it felt awesome. I woke up at 4:45 a.m. and started getting ready for the race. I had brought our French Press and coffee grounds, along with oatmeal, for my breakfast. I knew there was a fridge and microwave in our hotel room and I didn’t want to rely on the hotel for breakfast.
It was a short drive to the start but when we got there, the parking lot was full already. There were two other ones at the University of Wisconsin so Mike dropped me off so I could get to the start line and he biked back from the car (and biked most of the course too).
Race start was really simple, no corrals since it was a small race so everyone just lined up according to pace. I started off with the 4:45 pacer and after the national anthem we were off!
The race a mixture of full marathoners and marathon relay runners, which made it interesting every time we hit the spot where the runners traded off. Because the new relay runners would be on fresh legs and passing everyone running the full marathon and it was a little bit demotivating until I figured out how to tell if they were relay runners. If someone passed me with an ankle band, I knew they were a relay runner and it didn’t get me down as much. I ended up getting passed by just 12 people running the marathon and I passed 11 people!
I stuck with the 4:45 pacer until just after the five mile mark where I felt really good and just continued along. That was a big mistake as I would find out later in the race. I went through a big mental struggle starting at around mile 19 and it would be been so helpful to be running with the pace group. I had been passed by the 4:45 pace group right around mile 19 and I started feeling the heat and sunshine.
But before that 19 mile mark, I was feeling good. I kept it at a good pace even without the pace group but I was going a little bit too fast compared to where I should have been running for a 4:45 finish time (and faster than I would have gone with the pace group). It was a gorgeous course with a lot of nature to see and views along the river. That helped a lot with keeping me going even though it was getting near 70 and sunny with little shade.
After I got passed by the 4:45 pace group, I started struggling mentally and my pace started dropping. I was even thinking if I was going to drop out of the race. Luckily, I had started reading Deena Kastor’s book Let Your Mind Run which was all about how positive psychology had helped her reach success.
So I started working on changing my thoughts from “I’m so hot, I don’t think I can make it” to “My legs are strong, I’m still running. There’s a water stop up ahead and I’ll get some water there”. It took about a mile but I got my mind back on track to finishing the race. And that’s how I made it to the end, water stop by water stop. Drinking a glass of water and dumping another one over me to cool down.
I started doing mental math at around mile 20 and realized I could easily make it to the finish under the 5 hour mark if I kept up a 12 minute mile pace. So that became my focus for the last 6.2 miles. Half of those miles were over the 12 minute mark but the other ones made up the difference with being under.
And at the end, there was an uphill section right before the 26th mile. Who puts an uphill right before the end of a marathon? I walked up that one but I speedwalked the hell out of that hill. When I finally glimpsed the finish line (with a short distance to go) I pulled out everything I had to sprint to the end.
Finally seeing my watch where I stopped it at the end almost brought me to tears. 4:55:07. I had made it in under 5 hours and finished over seven minutes faster than the Twin Cities Marathon.
I got a bottle of water as soon as I crossed the finish line, even before I got my medal, which was the best thing ever. I chugged that as I got the medal and made my way out of the finishing chute. I didn’t even stop to get the free food, I just wanted to see Mike. Plus, we were getting donuts at a food truck there (they were key lime and amazing!).
Eau Claire Marathon Stats
Average Pace: 11:16 per mile
It’s here, the final week of tapering and race day! So let’s just get into it!
Monday, April 30
One last day of cross-training and I went into it feeling great! My allergies have started to kick in, along with the no caffeine, so I was worried I’d be too tired to do spin class. But I had a burst of energy before the gym and felt great through my strength training workouts and spin class.
Tuesday, May 1
3 miles ~ 32:07 ~ 10:40 min/mile
Even though I had a great cross-training day, my legs felt so heavy on this run. And they didn’t feel like that during the work day so I’m not sure what was going on. I did get in a short yoga session after this run even though I didn’t have much time since I went to a gnome painting class that night. I had about an hour to stretch, shower and eat before I needed to head out and somehow I got it all in!
Wednesday, May 2
4 miles ~ 42:30 ~ 10:36 min/mile
My legs felt so much better on this run. I had originally thought about doing hill repeats but once I got out of work (it was my last day before the marathon) I just wanted to run through the park. So I just went on an easy run and enjoyed the sunshine and warmth.
Thursday, May 3
Rest day number one and I had a busy day even though I wasn’t working! I did a 60 minute Runners Love Yoga video after my morning walk with Vinnie and then headed out to run errands (including grocery shopping). Then, after I packed part of my stuff for the marathon, Vinnie and I headed to Minnehaha Falls for a walk. I haven’t walked down there (even though we’ve lived in St. Paul for almost four years) and it was gorgeous. Vinnie loved it and he was so exhausted afterwards. We also got in our nap for the day (and Vinnie continued to sleep throughout the rest of the afternoon).
Friday, May 4
Second rest day but we were busy with Mike’s sister’s college graduation. Vinnie and I got in a long walk in the morning along with an energizing morning yoga video. Even with all the driving, I still hit my 10,000 step goal for the day!
Saturday, May 6
2 miles ~ 20:36 ~ 10:16 min/mile
Shakeout run day! Two quick miles before the marathon and my body felt great! Legs were moving fluidly, no strange aches or pains. The plan for the rest of the day is to travel to Eau Claire, head to the expo, get some dinner and relax.
Sunday, May 7
26.2 miles ~ 4:55:05 ~ 11:16 minutes/mile
I officially have a new marathon PR! Look for my race recap later in the week.