What an exciting day. I drove up to Pennsylvania and ran the Gettysburg Marathon.
I don’t like running in the cold but with a marathon, I toughed it out and ditched my sweater and pants and ran in short sleeves. We are talking about 35-40 F degree here.
By 8 am the temperature warmed up a bit. After a mile I was sweating.
I was kind of expecting a fast race. It was not my fastest time, but it was a time I haven’t had since spring 2019 (3 running seasons away), that is a long time ago. I take it and am very pleased. Note, I am 15 pounds heavier now, so it is a major accomplishment to lug this heavy body to run a time I did when I was 15 pounds lighter.
With more experience now in race day management, I was able to track my time better during the race. The first half I finished in 2:01. I was pretty steady at finishing under 4 hrs even though I didn’t expect to finish under 4 though.
The second half was much harder. My performance degraded drastically, and I couldn’t maintain the 9.5 min pace. However, I did better than many of the past races in holding off hitting the ‘wall’. Due to Covid countermeasure, I carried my own water and food. I didn’t realize at the time, but my wall came at mile 25. That was good because in the past, it usually came earlier around mile 18-20. This made the difference of finish under 4.5 hrs or at around 5 hrs. If I didn’t carry my own supplies, I might hold off the breaking down till even later.
I pushed myself though. In many of my marathons I usually started slow and pushed hard in the second half. This time I started hard and tried strave-off the lost time/slow down in the second half.
I reached mile 19 by 3 hours. My goal was to reach mile 20 by the 3rd hour. This seems like a disappointment but I am actually pleased. The mile 20 goal is so elusive and I don’t think I will ever reach it. I feel good to able to get nearer and nearer to this goal. I think in this race is the closest I’ve ever been.
As about the race, Covid19 plan by race management was great! We had individual time start time. Everyone was 6 ft apart. Everyone had their mask on.
There were plenty of aid stations. Volunteers were great. They discouraged (not allowed) spectators. There was no crowd support. That is fine with me any way.
The road was open to traffic. Occasionally, we had to move to the side or cars shifted to the opposite side etc. This might be dangerous to some. I felt safe though. I ran in country roads this summer so I was not too disturbed by it. Most cars went by slowly. There were one or two instances that they didn’t slow down and flew by between runners. Jerks. We’ve heard the story how some neighbors were mad about the race closing down the roads in a previous year, and they might still carry some grudges against us runners.
Was the course hilly? I had 1000 ft gain. It was more hilly than other courses I have been on. It was not too bad.
I think it was a beautiful course. Running in the countryside gives you that peace. You see endless farmlands, combining with nice fall weather, it was beautiful indeed.
The course was a 6.6 mile out and back. We marathoners did the loop twice. So you see almost everyone twice or sometimes 4 times. There were two turn around points. One thing we missed was the half marathon people. Well not really miss them because usually they crowded up the roads, and finish earlier and eat all the food. This time they were not there and the race felt empty. Due to Covid19 measure, the Half Marathon would run the following day. So they didn’t run when we ran. Also in the afternoon, I think they had a 5K race on the same course.
I wore my maniacs club shirt. So other maniacs recognized me and shouted out. The race was mostly quiet. Most runners wore headphones so it was a very quiet and very few interaction, even during post race. Due to Covid19 there were very little interaction even though it was an in-person race. I made friends with one or two people. #80 did a good job. He was with me around mile 6 before he sped up or I slowed down. I saw him again after finishing.