Disclaimer: Slightly long post!
Vermont City Marathon 2015 was my best marathon yet, so I figured I’d do a little race recap. VCM was the first marathon I ever ran, and after such an incredible experience last year I decided to do it again this year for a few different reasons:
- With the race being in my resident town, it was convenient for me to not have to travel. Another convenience of a hometown race -> all of my long training runs were done right on course. This was an advantage because I was able to train on the harder parts of the course which helped my mental game tremendously. I made it a point to run Battery Hill almost every week leading up to the race (which was where my downfall was last year).
- The course is amazing. From the beautiful views of Lake Champlain & the Adirondacks to the amazing crowd support, you really couldn’t ask for a more scenic route It’s not too hilly with the hardest one being around mile 15. There isn’t too much elevation change, with the hardest hill being around mile 15. The crowd support is definitely the best I’ve seen in a race. The neighborhoods were my favorite part -> all of the residents stand outside cheering us on, playing their instruments or blasting music. They even hand out fruit/water/ice pops… that definitely kept my motivation up. Another positive thing about this course, it allows your friends & family to see you multiple times without them really having to go too far. It loops back through the downtown area 3 times after the start & before the finish.
- The volunteers are extremely helpful and do a great job at the water stations. I remember vividly running it the first time and struggling around mile 22 but they had ice pops at an aid station, sure got me going again.
- Since this was my first marathon, I wanted to run it again & PR it… which I did!
I ran this race with my friend Maria (who I ran Hatfield McCoy with). She came in to town Saturday afternoon and we made our way to the bib pickup/expo. I love this expo because it’s big and has a lot of awesome vendors. While looking at the race merchandise, I realized that a picture of me from during the 2014 race was on a pair of leggings, so of course I had to buy them! (in the pink shirt on the pic to the left) I literally couldn’t stop laughing at this. After the expo, we had dinner at The Bluebird BBQ with some of our best friends before prepping for the next day & heading to bed.
Race morning called for bagels with jelly and nerves up the wazoo. Our boyfriends dropped us at the race start downtown and we waited for go time. With a crowded race start, we didn’t cross the starting line until around 4 minutes after the gun went off. From the beginning of a race, we decided to keep the 4:45 pace group in our sights to try to run as far with them as we could. This provided us a 15 minute cushion as our goal was to finish in anything under 5 hours. The first few miles went pretty quick and we were on beltline before I knew it. The weather started to get a little concerning here. The clouds in the sky got dark and it started to drizzle, but the weather ended up staying relatively perfect. There aren’t too many spectators along this section but it was cool to see the leaders and elite runners pass by. We got to see Olympian Deena Kastor which was extremely motivating!
The beltline ends around mile 9 where we made our way back into the downtown area. Maria and I were both still feeling really good at this point. Eventually we reached the halfway point where runners get on the bike path for a couple miles before the “Assault on Battery Hill”. Once we got to the hill, I was ready to kick it’s @$$. Taiko drummers are at the foot of this hill which pump you up to get to the top. My boyfriend was waiting for me at the top and gave me a kiss before we continued on. This was when the race really began.
We made it a point to force ourselves to properly fuel which made a huge difference. There’s an awesome neighborhood around mile 18 where every single resident is outside, with matching t-shirts, handing out lots of fruit/extra water and really motivating us to keep going! At this point we also ran in to our friend’s uncle on his bike which put a little pep in my step.
(above picture is from ~mile 18)
Around mile 20 was when I hit the dreaded wall. I actually felt pretty good fueling wise, but there was this pain in my knee that I had never felt before and really messed up my game. Cue the walk/run. Eventually, we made it to the final stretch of the race which was a nice downhill leading us back on the bike path. Around mile 22 was when it really started to get tough. We were still on time to run a sub-5 so we made our way, slowly but surely, to the finish line. I can’t help but think about how much different the outcome would have been if I didn’t get that knee pain.
With the finish line in site, we picked up the pace because we just wanted it to be OVER. It’s funny during the last few miles of a marathon. I always question why I do it to myself but once I cross the finish line, I know exactly why. Although the clock said 5:01, our official chip time was 4:57! Goal accomplished! My first sub-5 hour marathon which meant a PR!!! I literally couldn’t have done it without you, Maria. We had lots of friends at the finish which was truly amazing. You guys rock.
Overall, I 100% recommend this race. First-timers and veterans alike, I promise you will love this race!