Monday, November 28, 2011

NCR Trail Marathon RR - Maniac Certified!

Can't believe I'm done racing for 2011. Where did the year go? For my last race of the year, I raced the NCR Trail Marathon in Sparks Glencoe, MD. When planning my fall marathon, I knew I'd race Philly. Later, I realized that I wanted to attempt joining the Marathon Maniacs, I found this race and knew I'd have to race it. So glad that I did!

I woke up early the race day and got myself ready. I was too tired to get everything ready the night before and I paid for this later. My mom/my race sherpa and I hopped in the car and started the 1.5 hour trek to the race location. About 45 minutes on the road, I realized I had left my Garmin watch at home. What was I going to do?! I downloaded the Nike+ app on my phone, hoping for the best.

After getting a bit lost, we found the location to be picked up (they had shuttles to the location). I got there, got my bib and chip, then met up with fellow Marine Corps Marathon Runner's World fourmite, Eileen. We chatted and got to know each other. So glad to meet her in person! Right before the race, another fourmite, Billy, joined us and we snapped his great photo:

Yay MCM fourmites!
Soon enough, the race started! To say this course was really different from Philly would be an understatement. The course was along a flat trail course (until the end, which was uphill. Yeesh!), with the surface mostly being crushed packed rocks. The race only had about 500-600 racers, which felt like so small compared to Philly.

Photo I snapped at the beginning of the course
About two miles into the course, my phone died (stupid Nike+ app taking up so much battery life). I honestly didn't know what to do since I had zero clue what pace I was running, but I couldn't stop, right? I ended up finding this redheaded guy ahead of me and stuck with him for as long as I could (I've got quite the love of redheads, so I had zero issues following him :D). 

Around the turn around point (it was a out and back course), I was hoping that I would get an idea of my pace, but the clock wasn't working. Around mile 15 or so, I was running next to a guy and asked him what pace we were running. He said we were running 8 minute mile pace. Um, that's too fast, but I kind of just went with it. I was able to keep up with the redhead and his fast pace until I passed him around mile 17 or 18. 

The last 9ish miles of the race were tough. I could feel racing the first 17 or miles too fast, so I could tell my pace was really slowing down. Normally, I would beat myself up about the pace, but I felt very zen and at peace with it. Instead of getting upset, I just told myself to keep going and finishing was all that mattered. 

The last 1.5ish miles are uphill and man, did they stink. Again, I somehow was just at peace with how slow I was and just cared about finishing. As I was coming up the last hill, I saw my mom/sherpa at the top. I just had to turn and run about 100 meters to the finish. My goal was just to finish the race and I told myself if I could break 4 hours, especially without a watch, I'd be over the moon. As I ran towards her to get to the finish, she yelled, "You're going to break 4 hours!" I literally stopped for two seconds to stop myself from choking up. I've cried when I've finished races, but this was the first one where I found myself on the brink of tears during a race. I pushed to the finish in a final time of 3:58:02, which is my second fastest marathon! So happy to have had a decent race and to have broken 4 hours!

The other great thing about finishing this race? I'm officially a Marathon Maniac (#4630). While I only have the bottom level entry, I'm just proud to be an official member!

I also raced in a dashiki. Why not, right? I raced my last two marathons in some sort of funny costume item, so I knew I had to keep up the streak. I found it in my brother's closet and loved racing in it. Racing in abnormal running items allows me to take myself and the race less seriously. How seriously can you take yourself when you race in a tutu? Not very, which is a good thing! Can't wait to race in more odd things in the future!

My next race won't be until the Surf City USA Marathon on February 5th, so I've got a few down months to train for that race. Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!

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