The Ventura Marathon (and half marathon) is in its 3rd year and I’m proud to say that I’ve participated in some way each of those three years. Here’s a bit of a recap:
Year #1 (2013): I had been running for a couple years at this point and had even completed my first half marathon (Santa Ynez Wine Country, 2:31:01) by the time of the inaugural Ventura Marathon. So I guess I could have run, but instead I signed up as a volunteer for a water station. Actually not just me but me and another dozen or so members of my church. The date of the marathon happened to coincide with a special day of service in the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELCA), where church members were encouraged to volunteer in the community in some way. Other church members participated in some volunteer activities at the church. We all had a very good time and I was inspired to actually try and run the full marathon the next year. And… it was a nice, cool day.
Year #2 (2014): Once again our church participated in the marathon by volunteering at a water station. This year some students from nearby Cal Lutheran University joined us. I’m told that all who participated had a good time and were inspired by all the runners (and walkers) who passed by. As for me, I attempted my first marathon this day. Thankfully I was able to meet my goal, which was to finish. I did so in 5 hours and 51 minutes (course limit was 6 hours!). The entire second half of my inaugural marathon was hard, it was hot, but I did it! I was sore and tired for days, and already thinking about trying again. I then signed up for the LA Marathon, but then backed out because I had a series of nasty colds in January and February and thought that I wouldn’t be ready. The day I decided not to run the LA Marathon I signed up for my second Ventura Marathon.
Year #3 (2015): I wrote a post the other day about my preparation for this race. You can find it here: https://girlrevrunning.com/2015/09/12/preparation/
I had a very ambitious goal of 4:59:59, which would mean I needed to shave almost 53 minutes off my time from last year. Up until race day I was mostly confident about this goal. I wasn’t entirely confidant because of the weather. It was forecast to be even hotter than the year before… plus humid!
I awoke at 3:30am on race morning and saw that it was 70° outside. That was the low…and did I mention the humidity? In a calm, let’s do this frame of mind I prepared breakfast, got dressed and headed over to the starting line. Once there I sat in my car, ate, drank a cup of coffee and tried to relax. Then 30 minutes before the race I covered my back and legs with frozen towels (a strategy I read somewhere during the week for pre-cooling).
Race time! In my training I had been using a run/walk method for my long runs as a way to ease into my pace. This was helpful because I tend to go out too fast. So for the first hour I usually walked .04 every half mile. This worked very well for me in training and it was my strategy for race day. However, because of the heat I decided that I would keep up the run/walk pattern for 16 miles and then evaluate. I then decided that I’d go ahead and keep the pattern for the whole race.
I felt good…actually I felt awesome… until I overheated at mile 20. Mile 21 was hard but I knew my church members and family were at the mile 22 aid station and they could give me an emotional lift. Also, and importantly, my daughter, Megan was going to run the last four miles with me. I am so thankful that she did because she was able to gently encourage me in what became the hardest 4 miles ever.
I eventually began a run/walk pattern of 30 seconds walk and run as far as I could (usually 30-40 seconds)… just like when I was a beginner! With a half mile to the finish I felt very faint for a few seconds and decided that it would be prudent to walk all but the last .10 mile. With about .3 to go the 5 hour pacer passed me and I only cared a little! I just wanted to finish at that point.
And finish I did in 5:04:18. A personal record by a whopping 47 minutes! In 80° and humid conditions. I know I’ll get to below 5 hours…way below 5 hours eventually. For today I’m celebrating 47 minutes.