Ok, little secret, I really had visions of a 3:20 at the Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon. Pretty cocky, I'll admit. I thought if I was in shape to run a 3:15 marathon or even a 3:10, 3:20 would be within my reach. Running effortlessly for the first 14 miles it seemed within grasp, especially when I knew I already had 4 minutes in the bank for a 3:30. Reality struck around mile 16 when I was struggling to keep up the pace on the downhills. By mile 17 I was slowing as runners were catching me. Once I started to walk up 9 mile hill the race was over.
Big deal, once I was walking and slowed down, I saw the deer and the turkeys. It wasn't like I was completely zoned out for the first 18 miles, just focused. I still saw the monkeys and the signs that reminded me that I was an idiot for running this marathon. Percy Warner Park is still my favorite place to run in the middle Tennessee area. Every detail about this race is geared towards making this a fun and inviting event for the runners. It's also family and spectator friendly. I can see why volunteers come out in the cold for hours to help the runners, they're angels. If I don't run it next year, I'd definitely volunteer in some capacity. (even if it was an unofficial, adult beverage aid station at the crest of 9 mile hill)
I'm glad I brought a chair. I set it up right in front of the finish chute. It gave me a place to stow my pre-race warmup clothes and post race warmups. Surprised more people didn't bring chairs. Had the family came, I'd probably have brought a small tent for them to crash until I came across the line or just to stay warm for the first couple of hours. The large field for the finish area had lots of room for the kids to play. I fire would be nice, but I doubt the Park Service would allow it. I wonder if they would allow a grill? A cheeseburger would have been great.
First race where my shoelace came untied, very unsettling. It was coming up the hill before 3 mile hill, mile 7, maybe 8. I've never had a shoe come untied in a race, nor a marathon. Probably, burned up a bunch of energy blasting up the hill after that. (M7,7:32,M8,7:32,M9,7:45)I know EB told me stop and tie it. I wanted to wait until the top of 3 mile hill. She'd brought a honey bear container with water, because she didn't want to take any of the water on the course. It started leaking from the start so I carried it until mile 14. My right arm is still sore today, don't know why, I've carried water for distances up to 50k?
Seemed like I didn't take in enough water on the course. I was purposely only doing water about every 2 miles, but it seems like I must have missed a station or 2. I know I forgot to take my succeed until an hour after I should have. From mile 18 until the finish I took water and gatorade at each stop. Glad I brought two pairs of gloves, one with fingers under a pair of mittens from the start. Once my hands warmed up; I just wore the gloves until around mile 20 or so when they started to get cold and I switched to just the mittens.
Stayed comfortably warm most of the race. Didn't overdress. Did get a little chilly in a couple of spots, especially after I doused my legs with water at one of the aid stations. Saw lots of tights, glad I didn't wear them. Had this been a flat course marathon I'd probably have gone with the arm warmers and a singlet.
This course did seem to beat my legs up a little bit more than a typical marathon. Only 2 small blister issues, that weren't even an issue until post race. May explain the soreness in the top of my foot and outside of my shin on that leg. Should have run yesterday, but waited until this morning. I went 4 miles and it really helped get a lot of the soreness out of the legs.
Race swag was terrific. Not to many races where you get a long sleeve technical shirt with YOUR name on it, plus a t-shirt. All marathons have a medal, but what do you call it if it's made of wood? A bumper sticker and a tattoo. Plus, post race door prizes for everyone, pick what you want. The bib has your name on it or your alias. I wore a bib on my back with "Old Man".