Spontaneous marathoning will give you a crazy mixed bag of feelings. Worry, excitement, bravery, stupidity, everything you can possibly feel before going to the unknown. I signed up for a marathon one week before the race! I really had no idea what to expect.
The St. Brons Marathon is held in Plover, WI, a tiny town just outside of Stevens Point. I started with 39 other marathoners, that’s right! Just 40 of us, taking on 26.2! The course was an out and back through country roads. It was a perfect fall morning with a 40 degree start, sunny skies and temps creeping into the 50s by noon. I’ve never had perfect marathon weather, so I was hoping that I would have an amazing marathon!
The first four miles I averaged 9:13, awesome! Perfect! I was moving at a comfortable pace I thought. Then very abruptly I warmed up and felt like I was running through a furnace! I frantically removed my layers which caused my heart rate to skyrocket, so I slowed down a bit. It took a mile to recover from that moment of panic. But I never returned to those low 9s after that. Once I passed the turnaround for the 13.1 race I felt weary and unsure if I should keep going or not. But I’m stubborn and drove 2 hours to do the race, so I kept going. As I kept going I was surprised at how hilly the course became. It was non-stop rolling hills between miles 6-18. I walked up the hills, conserving energy, unsure how my legs would react to this distance only 6 weeks after Ironman Wisconsin.
By mile 18 I saw 3 hours on my Garmin and knew a PR wasn’t in my cards that day. Not that I was expecting a PR, but kind of hoped that the perfect weather would make me fly. When I realized I wouldn’t PR, it didn’t bother me. I took in my surroundings, beautiful blue skies contrasted by glowing orange and yellow leaves. I was 8 miles from comfort, and there was nowhere else I’d rather be.
Mile 20 usually motivates me to pick up my pace, but the course turned onto a road with 15 mph headwind. Oooof. I fought it by running to every other telephone pole. I did end up passing 2 people on this stretch into the headwind. That motivated me to keep moving forward as fast as possible, I didn’t want either of them to pass me! My marathon math wasn’t calculating very well, and numbers kept slipping from me. I finally settled on getting there in about 4:45, which I did, 4:44 !!
I’m pleased with this finish as I had no idea what to expect going into it. It was only 6 weeks after Ironman, and I registered a week before the race. I walked a ton, I faced some ferocious wind at mile 20, and got to the finish of my 8th marathon. That’s a success in my world!
Maybe next year I’ll actually train and get third in my AG! Maybe.