Winter time in Rochester...
Believe it or not, I initially hoped to post this race story before 2011 got underway, but clearly that did not happen. I had a great race experience, loved this marathon, and would definitely run it again! This was the last beautiful, warm-weather, sunny day run I've had as I now count down the days of the long cold winter to SPRING!! Although, I did have double IT band pain for most of the 26.2 miles and a slower finishing time than I prefer, I still count this as a great marathon. Obviously, completing an Ironman, a half-iron tri, a marathon, and then another marathon, all within 3 months- is a recipe that equals SLOW! :)
The Weather: Beautiful! Sunny! Cool at the start at around 30 degrees but it warmed up to the 40's and was a perfect sunny run in a skirt and long sleeved shirt. I didn't feel the least bit cold and recognized it would be my last sunny, dry pavement run for awhile since my home in Rochester was getting dumped on that day! (SNOW!)
The Course and the Crowd: I loved the course, it took us briefly through the downtown area, then through several nice neighborhoods where the homeowners were out on their lawns cheering the runners on all day! Lots of people complain about the 9 mile loop around the lake that begins around mile 12, and some years it can be chilly and windy. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this part of the run, it wasn't cool or windy, and since I had never run there before, it was beautiful. The only two hills of the entire race come at mile 20 and are nothing to worry about, not steep or long, over pretty fast. Definitely a course I would run again and hope for no nagging injury pains to get in the way.
ITB: My IT bands started hurting on both sides relatively early in the race, well before the halfway point. By mile 14 I had started stopping at every mile marker to briefly stretch both sides. This helped me run through the pain mentally knowing I could stop and stretch at those places and every stretch helped a bit though the pain never went away. I've had worse IT pain in other marathons and training runs in years past, but it was definitely there and nagging.
Number Nineteen: Woo Hoo!!! I made it to the finish line of my nineteenth marathon and I realized a long time ago that if I intended to run as many marathons as I can, that they certainly won't all be fast or PR's, so I'm happy to have finished it! And now I plan on triathlons too for the rest of my life, including an Ironman every 2 or 3 years, so I'm going to enjoy every day that I'm able to be out there! But I do plan to focus on speed and get a fast marathon under my belt again. Time will tell...
Will I go back? Absolutely! I loved meeting up with my old running friends from one of my first ever running groups in Arkansas for this race! Also, I have family in Dallas which makes it easy to travel there when I get to visit with them, too, in addition to a marathon. Besides, December is great running weather in Dallas!
Winter Update: Since the day I got back, we have had steady, constant snow on the ground in Rochester. There are plenty of days when there is dry, clean pavement to run on despite the piles of snow on the ground itself. There are also days when the roads are snowy and like running in sand even though they've been plowed, not my favorite. If you have to run on snow, the best kind is frozen and icy and you just run right on top of it with that crunchy snow sound all around you. There are also days in the teens and single digits, or days with wind! After that, days in the 20's and 30's feel almost perfect in comparison! I had a blast running a 4 mile snow shoe race a couple weeks back. It was a gorgeous trail run through the woods with everything completely snow covered. Temps were below zero that day, but there was no wind and running in snow shoes is such a workout that I was literally HOT out there! Seriously! I'm just enjoying running, training for nothing, hitting a spin class here and there, a new thing for me, and still making it to my favorite yoga studio 1 to 3 times a week. Of course I still meet up with my fabulous running friends every Saturday for our weekly long runs. Excited for March when we might start getting less snow and warmer temps....one can only hope! :)