|Waving from the Race Start!|
Here's my Woodlands Marathon race report! My 18th marathon, The Woodlands Marathon, took place in a wooded community north of Houston, Texas, on Saturday, March 5. I was a VIP because I attended a marathon talk and I lined up right behind the elites in the race - fun!
Weather: Clear skies, 50 (Nice!) - 70* (I don't think I was sweating until mile 13, but 70 is a little too warm.)
Course: Fairly flat course with some hills, shade trees at the beginning, but not at the end. I'm slightly sunburned.
Expo/Packet Pick-up: At packet pick-up, I stopped at many of the tables to chat and see what was offered and it still only took me 30 minutes to get through.
|4 AM Race Day: Blurry-eyed. Get Ready!|
Race Morning: I woke up before my alarm went off and decided to stay up at 3:40. Because of that, I finished eating by 4 - a good thing! After getting dressed, I listened to the Fuel Like Meb video (here's my review on his book, Meb for Mortals). I was nervous, but I knew I had trained for the distance and that I'd feel better as soon as the race started. And I did!
Fuel Pre-race Day: No carbohydrate-loading this week for me. Last year, I finished faster after carb-loading (2015 race report), but since my pace has slowed down since then I don't think I can blame the lack of carb-loading for my finish time.
Fuel on Race Morning: oatmeal (topped with banana, raisins, brown sugar, instant caramel vanilla coffee), toast with peanut butter and honey, green apple Gatorade, vanilla bean GU gel at the start (but I forgot to have water with me - didn't bother my tummy, though!)
|I Started Just Behind the Elite Runners|
Getting to the Start Line: I live close to the start of the The Woodlands Marathon. I left home at 5:50 and parked at 6:10. That left me plenty of time before the 7 AM race. I had a little trouble getting into the starting area as a VIP, but I finally made it into the start area just behind the elite with time to spare.
Fuel During the Race: Gatorade Endurance drink and 5 GU gels (one every 5 miles or so): Salted Caramel (last gel, salty gel tasted so good at 22.5), Lemonade Roctane, Strawberry Kiwi Roctane, Vanilla Bean, Strawberry Banana. I drank at every aid station - every couple of miles or so.
I'm glad I had extra gels with me. I only saw one GU table rather than two like I planned on and the GU gels were served after the water and not before like they should be. I couldn't take gels and Gatorade exactly as planned, but I told myself, "Just roll with it!" I did and that gave me some extra confidence during the race so it's all good!
|VIP Food Tent|
Fuel Post-race: They had the best post-race food I've ever seen! For the VIP, Brio Italian chicken pomodoro, bison burgers and for the others there was Chickfila, Cane's Chicken and breakfast burritos. The very last thing I saw was exactly what I was looking for - chocolate milk!
Shoes: I wore the shoes I won in a giveaway (Yay!): Asics Gel-Quantum 360 shoes. I thought a bug bit my lower leg towards the beginning of the race and then I felt a stinging on my leg around mile 20 and on. After the race, I saw that my shoe tongue slid to the side and rubbed me raw, but I'm glad that I see no signs of black toe nails.
The Finish: The best part of my race was how good I felt throughout the race. Starting out at an easy pace and gradually putting forth more effort is new for me, but because I felt so much better towards the end of the race I plan to run the rest of my marathons this way. Rather than finishing with slower miles, mile 20 and on was run in 9 plus miles. My overall average pace was 9:45/mile and my last mile was my fastest at 9:04. I finished in 4:15:54!
|That's me waving near the finish line. So fast - I'm a blur!|
Next Up: I don't know which race I'll do next, but I know what I'll blog about - racing without a watch. I used the Strava app instead of a watch. It was fun to try something new, but a little risky even when I trained that way. Have you tried something new in a race?
Race Facts (emailed to my husband on 3/9 because he was set to receive timed updates during the race - he didn't, but I'm happy to see the numbers)
10K Splits: 9:51 (downhills!), 10:06, 9:31, 9:34/mile
Average Pace for Last Mile: 9:04/mile (my fastest)
My Overall Average Pace: 9:45/mile
Finish Time: 4:15:54
My Finishing Place
362 of 888 - males and females
95 of 323 - all females
8 of 27 - females (age 50-54)