I was super pumped to have qualified and been able to run that race. Having never thought of myself as an athlete I was in awe to be starting among these finely chiseled runners.
After 2 years of injury hell I finally turned a corner in November. It was like someone unlocked the door and I got to emerge from injury jail.
I asked my husband for 1 of 3 races for Christmas -- Shamrock 1/2 Marathon, Revel Mt Charleston or the Sugarloaf Marathon. He signed me up for ALL 3! I was super nervous to train for 1 marathon let alone 2 fulls and a 1/2 in 2 months! I secretly (probably not so secretly) hoped to BQ.
I built from approximately 25 miles a week (and ALL sorts of varied cross training...just ask anyone who follows me on Strava 😂 -- #sorrynotsorry) up to 50 miles per week with nary a whisper from my hamstring.
Everything was going amazing! I had 2 x 200 mile months and then the stupid COVID-19 pandemic started. I'm not going to lie I checked and rechecked Revel's website a million times. They were confident the event would take place and then the state of Nevada outlawed any large gatherings. Ugh. Cancelled.
Shamrock's decision was written on the wall, but race organizers didn't want to admit it. With 25,000 runners, a destination on the East Coast and a huge beer tent as a draw there was no way this could be held. Cancelled.
My last hope was Sugarloaf. The marathon takes place in Maine in the middle of May. No one is in Maine and it's super small. My only thought was they wouldn't let anyone from NY or NJ participate. Nope. Dave messaged me: Cancelled.
Not going to lie I didn't take Revel's cancellation well. Shamrock's was expected and Sugarloaf's was a sucker punch.
I had all of this training and no where to go test it.
I very quietly decided to go out on the morning of 4/4 to run my own marathon - the same day I should have been running Mt. Charleston.
I went to a local park that has a trail around a lake and a somewhat quiet road that I could make a roughly 3.5-3.75 mile loop. The park has a port-a-potty in case I needed it. My car became my aid station.
I ran with my handheld the entire time. It was never an issue. I don't know why I don't carry that thing more often!
MY rules were:
1) Don't turn off my watch at all -- unless I am refilling my handheld and grabbing a Gu. I reasoned if I was in a race I wouldn't have to stop at all. I could just walk through the aid station.
2) Employ a run/walk routine so that I didn't feel the effects of actually running a full marathon.
As I pulled into the park a fine drizzle was coming down...of course. Sigh. I used the port-a-potty before I started running and was good for the rest of the time.
I jogged out of the park and up the road and felt good. Ran down to the stop sign/railroad tracks and turned around. Entered the access road of the park and settled into a 1.2 mile run/ 1:00 walk ratio. As I entered the trails for the loop around the lake suddenly my heart rate spiked and my breathing became very labored. I tried to push through, but I ended up stopping and...stopping my watch. Ugh! It was a mini freak out breakdown, but within 30 seconds I had given myself a stern talking to and got going again.
I looped around and stopped at my car to grab a gel since I would be out in the middle of a loop for the 5 mile mark.
At 10 miles I realized I was already tired but knew from running this same exact route 2 weeks prior that I was fine to carry on.
Every loop I passed by a goose who must've been sitting on a nest. I would get about 5' away from her/him each time. We just gave each other a nod. On the other side of the street there were some geese who were not sitting on a nest who would hiss at me so I would hiss back.
After one of the times filling my handheld I realized it was leaking and spilling everywhere. In 1/2 a mile I had lost approximately half of my fluid. I stopped my watch and got the lid on correctly and kept on going. I totally misjudged how much fluid I would need and really had NONE to spare. (I took gels at 5, 10ish, 15ish, 21ish)
My pace with the run/walk was awesome. I'd average high 8s while running (not including walking minute) the roads and mid 9s while on the trail.
When I finally got to my last few miles I knew I had a walk break coming up at 25.5, but had enough in the tank to push through. My final mile was on the road and my fastest of the day.
Final time 4:09:12. (Lapsed time with aid station breaks and 2 "unauthorized" stops 4:15:18.) Elevation gain of 373'. Roughly 7.5 loops.
I ordered myself a custom finisher medal from NJ RD who does woodworking on the side. Have to say I love it!