I’m so excited to have another blog post from one of our recent marathoners! Sara ran the Midsouth Marathon in Wynne as her first marathon in about 10 years….and, guess what, she PR’d! Here’s her recap:
Wynne, Arkansas Marathon 2013 by Sara Yarrow
There weren’t many people running this race so the start was easy to get to and I wasn’t “corralled” into the back behind 30,ooo people. Unlike larger marathons I actually started only a few seconds after the clock time. I started my watch, started my interval app and started my GPS/speed app. And then I started running.
From previous runs I knew to start off slow. Not too slow, but not running like you feel: like you’re about to win with “Chariots of Fire” playing in the background and adoring fans cheering you on as you dodge flowers being thrown at your feet. After the first few miles my speed was 6.0 and I felt good. I felt I had good form, was taking my walk intervals and I started fueling early.
If you’ve never been to Wynne, Arkansas (as I had not) it reminded me of the Mississippi delta with slight rolling hills, curves, blind spots, dead snakes ( we were assured that the Cross County Road Department would sweep the course to remove dead possums and raccoons), fields of cotton, combines, various other tractors I couldn’t identify, and churches. Lots of churches.
This is when I noticed what a great thing this “interval” running was. I was behind a group of girls who I played “leap-frog” with for a mile or two. Eventually I noticed their form started to change. I could see they were running out of steam. I kept looking at my shadow and noticed that my form looked pretty good. Eventually I passed them. Wow. This was a first. My aggregate speed was still 6.0 at this point and I felt really good.
At this point I focused on running the flattest portion of the road, avoiding the reflectors in the middle (I’ve tripped on one of these in a marathon), maintaining my form and speed and tried not to step on a dead snake or get run over by a tractor. My aggregate speed was still 6.0 and slowed to 5.9 around mile 17 but I was ok with that as I wanted to conserve energy for the end. At one point on a hill/curve I couldn’t see anyone in front of me or behind me. The most impressive part at this point is that I’m still passing people! So I’m writing my “blog” in my mind and thinking of voting whoever invented intervals for some sort of award. That and the pace band. Pure. Genius.
I’m still at an aggregate speed of 5.9. I’m able to zone out and mentally not beat myself. The water stops were every mile but they weren’t marked so I had to ask “what mile is this?!?” at several stops at this point. Some of the volunteers knew, some didn’t. I continued to check my time with my pace band and knew I was much faster than a 5 hour marathon and still slightly faster than a 4:45. My goal at the beginning was a sub-5 hour marathon. My new goal at this point became a sub-4:45.
MY. PHONE. DIED. Nothing. Done. I no longer had a friendly voice telling me my speed every minute. I no longer had the “Raiders of the Lost Ark” theme song to motivate me. It became me and the road. And more road. This was how my husband and others could track me. According to them I either died right there in Wynne Arkansas and would be another piece of road kill to pick up or my phone was no longer working. I was alive and well. My phone, on the other hand, was dead.
When this happened I reminded myself that one thing I love about running (besides the camaraderie) is it’s ME vs. ME. I just kept going and repeating “you can do this” over and over again. I relied on my watch so I could still take intervals every 8.5 minutes. I continued on. One foot in front of the other. Trying to remember the words to “Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Plus, HOLY (Explicative)! I still continued to pass people!
What I thought was the finish was a “timer” we ran over and onto the track at Wynne high school. It was, like I said, a small marathon so the lack of pomp and circumstance didn’t surprise me. It wasn’t clear to me to continue around the track to the real finish line. After a few seconds of walking and a little confusion I asked a guy “am I done?!?” and he told me that no, I was not in fact done and needed to run about 1/4th of the track.
The real finish:
Because this marathon was small I was the only one who finished at my time. My five and three-year old girls ran on the track with me which was awesome. My personal paparazzi, my husband, took pictures of me crossing the real finish line. I walked around a little bit, grabbed some grapes (which my three year ate) and got warm.
Overall I’m pleased with my time. I’m a true believer in the interval running. I’m 10 years older, have birthed two children, pay more bills than I thought possible, chauffeur my kids around, cook (sometimes), run and have a little gig on the side called a full-time job and still beat my PR from my 20s. I felt like I finished strong but I really want to finish stronger next time . . . and faster!
Great job, Sara! Thanks for the reassurance that mantras, pace bands, interval training for marathons, and strategy pay off!