It’s hard to believe that the completion of Rochester Arthritis Foundation Marathon was number 9 for me. It wasn’t my worst run, it wasn’t my best. It WAS my least favorite marathon.
Ted and I drove to Rochester, close to a 3 hour drive, on Saturday. We found the “packet pickup” easily at Jubilee Center, about 3 miles from our hotel. Now I really don’t care about “bling” and all the goodies you get in a packet, they’re fun but not why I’m there. I DO care that if a T-shirt goes along with the bib, it’s available. It wasn’t. At 2 pm in the afternoon of packet pick up day, some t-shirts hadn’t arrived. Instead of having them mail it to me, I settled for a size medium. Too big so it will be a night shirt. On a positive note: I did receive an email that the shirts came in and could be exchanged race day morning, between 5 – 7 am. But who wants to mess with that on race day morning?! My own choice to settle for a medium.
We got to the hotel, a Hyatt, expecting the best, right?! First, the so called “welcome packet for marathon runners” consisted of a plastic bag with “Explore Rochester” magazine inside. NOTHING about the race. No directions from the Hyatt, the host hotel, to the starting line. Nothing! Next, one room key didn’t work. Hate it when that happens. In the room, there were empty soap papers on the floor, missed by room service. The coffee pot didn’t work. Grrrr… I need my coffee especially if I’m hungry!
Speaking of hungry, we were STARVED! Dinner was at 6 pm but it was 3 and we hadn’t eaten anything since 11:30. We made a stop at “Legends” for Nachos and a Veggie Burger. We ate about 1/2 leaving room for a gourmet Italian dinner at Pane Vino.
Ted teased me with a wonderful red Zin Of course I had a taste… or two … or three….or…
The wine was the best part of the meal unfortunately. I asked for fish, grilled in no butter, oil, etc. That didn’t happen and I didn’t eat it. Settled for bread and pasta. Ted enjoyed his meal and had no room for the left over nachos or fries left in the room.
Now for marathon prep: First, I shouldn’t have eaten fries since I never eat fries!
To bed by 9 pm.
Up about 6 times throughout the night.
Alarm at 4:30 so I could eat 3 hours before the race. *1/2 Sprouted Wheat Bagel with 2 tsp Natural Peanut butter and 1/3 of a banana. Had 1/4 of a Clif Peanut Butter bar an hour before leaving for the start. Took a gel with water before the race.
At 6:45 am we left for the starting line. Ted was on his bike.
It was cool and drizzling but we lucked out since the rain never poured down. In fact, the weather was perfect for this race. Temps about 53 deg., over cast.
A trip to the porto potties…oh no. Tummy upset. Those DARNED fries!
I lined up with the 3:45 pacer, Heather. She was right on. My splits spent with her varied very little from 3:29 to 3:37. She was keeping us at 3:34 average pace. I stayed with her to the 18 mile point.
The course for Rochester is pretty flat. The small hills are just that = SMALL. The 12 miles along the canal is mentally exhausting. It gets boring. The race starts on Andrews Street Bridge. Water at the start and plenty of potties to accommodate.
There are a few little turns before getting onto East Main Street to the 9 1/2 mile point where runners enter the Erie Canal Bike Path for 12 miles. After the first 9 1/2 mile start, you don’t run on traffic filled roads until nearing the finish. Finish is by the Red Wings store in front of Frontier Field. *Would have been cool to finish in the field!
Crowd support is minimal but the small crowds that were out, were TERRIFIC! Coming into the finish, I locked eyes with a spectator/volunteer on the side walk. He started yelling at me “Go Girl!” “Come on! Do this!” And ran me to the turn to the finish line. Thanks unknown guy!
Aid stations are plentiful but constricted. You have to be quick or you’ll miss the 4 – 5 people tending them. Actually, the water and electrolyte drink stations were better attended later in the race. Water was on one side, electrolyte on the other. The gels were handed out at miles 9 1/2, 15 1/2, and 20 and were Honey Stinger Gels. *I didn’t take these, had my own besides our pacer said they were VERY sweet.
Coming into the finish.
Ted caught me struggling. It was tough because I really had to dig that last mile. We got the medal immediately but there were no mylar blankets and it was windy! Coffee, cookies and delish pretzel rolls from Dunkin Donuts. Bananas, Oranges, Chocolate and Plain milk, pizza were also offered as post race support. *You could scan the QR code on your bib and get immediate finish results.
Go back… remember I said as long as I stayed with the pacer, the paces were right on? Well there was that elective porto potty stop around 18. I had to wait for a person to get out who wasn’t in the race then took longer than planned…UGG! Those French fries again! I say elective because it wasn’t urgent but I didn’t want urgency to kick in when there wasn’t facilities available.
I couldn’t catch up with the pace group. I tried but my splits from that point were 9:53 (stopping mile), 8:03, 8:21 then they shot up to 8:39 to 8:50.
Final finish time: 3:46:20. At last check for finishers updates, I finished 173 out of 566 marathoners. 1st in my age group with a pace of 8:39.
The race consisted of half marathoners, taking at different route at the 3 mile point and starting 15 minutes after marathoners (Marathon start at 7:30 am) and there were relay runners with relay points at 6 1/2, 12 1/5, 20 mile. The relay zones were great for motivation. A lot of people cheering us on.
So there it is. Marathon number 9 complete. Marathon number 10 will be EXTRA special. Ted and I are running together. We hope for a 5 hour finish or better. It’s Ted’s FIRST and hopefully not his last marathon.
From the Hyatt Hotel, under our door race day morning… a card…
“Just Run: People ask why I run, I say “If you have to ask, you will never understand”. It is something only those select few know. Those who put themselves through the pain, but deep down know how good it feels. “
The marathon is growing in popularity and seems to be taken on a more “casual” level. While running with the pace group and eavesdropping on conversations, there were a couple of people discussing doing back-to-back marathons. Guess one of those people would be me although I didn’t join in that conversation.
What’s your thought on marathons? Should we treat them with an air of casualness, running easy and many? Or, should we try to do only one or two main events per year and run our best by racing our marathons?