What a day....
Clarence DeMar is a point to point marathon. We had to park our cars at Keene State College, which is the finish line location. From there we got bused up to Gilsum, NH about 20mins away. I was there early enough to hop on the first bus. My friends Melissa and Jenn came up not too long after on other buses. We chatted for a while and at 7:40 we had to head down to the start line which was a 10min walk downhill. By then the temperature had warmed up to the mid 40's. I took off my sweatshirt before the walk and was only in my club singlet and shorts. I was freekin' freezing!!
At the start my friend Jenn asked me if I had a finish time that I wanted to meet. I honestly hadn't given a time any thought. My previous marathons were shy under 4 hrs, so if I came close to the same, I would be happy. I did want to come in faster, but I had said before, my goal was to finish the race strong. I did not want to feel like I was dying at the end! Ha!
So, the gun went off a little bit after 8am, and we were off!
Clarence DeMar Marathon is also know as the down hill marathon. Look at the elevation drop:
So that being said, this marathon felt like it was going fast. The first half was mostly a blur. I ran it on and off with Jenn. Occasionally one of us would stop at a water stop while the other continued on, then we'd eventually meet up again on the course. By mile 14 I had moved up ahead went on my own. I was feeling good.
I had my iPhone with me and it was playing music, but I hardly listened to it. I had the headphones pinned to my shirt and every now and then I would put one ear bud in. But mostly I spent the race just chatting with other runners. Yes, I am a talker!!! By mile 18, I started to feel a bit tired, so I put my music on just to get my mind somewhere else.
By mile 21 I got my second wind and was moving. Most of the marathon felt like you were running through a state forest with its beautiful scenery, but by this point were back in Keene and running through some neighborhoods. Mile 23 came along and this is where in my last marathons my legs gave out so I was expecting that "wall" to show up soon. Mile 24, still cruising, and cruising by a few other runners. Mile 25 came up and I was still feeling strong. I couldn't believe it!
Mile 26 sign just ahead. Through out the race I hardly looked at my Garmin. I knew I was doing good. I looked down at it. All I saw was 3:30-"something". I didn't want to believe it. Only one runner ahead of me. I picked it up so I could pass by her. Done. One final left turn and there it was, the finish line! I could see the timer - 3:40! A 14min PR!!! I couldn't believe it!!! As I crossed the finish line, I pointed at the sky I thanked the big man upstairs. This was truly a gift from him.
In awe the rest of the day. On cloud nine. On the mountain top!
All that training, all the effort, all the sacrifice, all the time I put into this, it really paid off.
As far as stats, if you are interested:
Pretty much even splits! (mile 13 bathroom break :) )
It could also be that it was a mostly downhill marathon that helped. None the less, it does not take away that I felt good and strong throughout the whole race. 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles no matter how you cut it.
This marathon is also one of the most scenic marathons I've run. Like I said before, it felt like you were running through a state park. The trees, lakes and the view from a dam that you run across at mile twelve is UNBELIEVABLE!!! A must do, for any runner out there!
So phew... Marathon #5 in in the books! Today, the day after, I'm a bit sore but overall feeling pretty good. I'm taking a couple days rest then I'm right back at it. Bay State Marathon is 3 weeks away!
Thanks for reading! Have a great week everyone!!!