1. July marathon on the east coast 2. in a state I haven’t done 3. during the family reunion. For me, the Mad Marathon in Waitsfield, VT was a running trifecta.
The one thing I love more than the challenge of the distance itself is sharing marathon miles with others. My Uncle, an experienced three time Ironman, joined me for his first standalone 26.2. We agreed to run as much as possible together but allowed the other person a pass if/when they needed to speed up.
At 7:30 am, we began under clear skies and temperatures in the low 60s. 1200 lined up, with just under 500 doing the full. I have a bad habit of getting swept up in the half marathon stampede and going out too fast, so it was great to have my Uncle there to keep my pace in check.
As “The World’s Most Beautiful Marathon”, this race earned it’s tagline as we began on Route 100 and headed north, passing through a neat covered bridge that crossed over the Mad River. Almost immediately after the mile 1 mark, we began winding up a hill. A really steep one. It just kept on going…and going. This was not going to be easy.
Around mile 15, I took Uncle Tre up on that pass. Having been conservative in the early miles, I was able to pick up the pace to 8:30/mile, taking advantage of gradual descent. I was focused only on my “second 10 miler”, having split the race mentally into 10, 10, and 6 miles. Breaking down into manageable parts is how I handle difficult situations, be it running or otherwise.
A sign that read “your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ass!” lifted my spirits , as did the many spectators along the course with treats, sprinkler systems, and words of encouragement. Just after mile 22, I saw my own support crew: my Mom, Mima, Aunt Theresa, Cousin Caroline, Mother-in-Law BJ, and Father-in-Law Scott. They were so enthusiastic the runners around me joked that they wanted to “share my family” and asked which races that specific crew would be at in the Fall!
Once I hit mile 23 at just under 3:40, I was averaging low 8 minute miles and knew that I was hovering the line for my overall time of either 4:01+ or 3:59:ish, which is (as the name implies) required for the 50<4 marathon club. I pushed to a 7:20, 7:16, and 7:13 in the final miles to secure a 3:59:26 finishing time, making me 17th female overall and 3rd in my age group.
Sharing state #28 with my Uncle, who crushed his previous marathon PR from a dead flat IM marathon course, was the highlight of this event. Proud of the sub 4 on a challenging course, too. George Costanza style, I’m leaving the “Under 29” age group on a high note!