On Monday I ran the Rochester Marathon for the fourth straight year. I finished the course in 5:21 which isn’t that fast, but given my lack of preparation was actually far better than I expected.
Coming into the marathon under prepared, my plan was to take things slow and just survive the course, to walk the uphills even when they came in the early miles. My dad was running the half, so we stuck together through the start of the race and passed the 5k mark at 31:36, which actually would have lead to a great time if we kept it up through the miles (and hills) to come.
We got separated at a water stop near mile four, and I walked my first hill just short of mile five, and my second just short of mile six. The next next three miles were a bit boring over a slow incline, before dropping through the river valley again and heading to the turn around point. I reached the half way point in 2:22. I kept this pace through mile 17, walking the steeper hills and taking gatorade at each stop, but otherwise jogging at a steady and consistent pace. For the next few miles I pushed on with a run/walk approach where I would stretch out the runs for any section that included a bit of downhill. Also as it got later in the day the temperature began to rise.
After passing the turn around point at mile 24 I knew I was in the home stretch and dropped into the final (and steepest) downhill of the race. I over extended my right leg a bit and felt a twinge in my leg. Thankfully I was already close to the end. I walked the large hill coming out of middle falls, but given my current pace this didn’t really set me back too much. At this point I was close enough to the end to want to push to the finish, but my leg would occasionally seize up and hold me back. With half a mile to go I decided to just go for it anyhow and run through the pain to the finish line, and ended up with a time that was actually quicker than where I though I was going to finish.
Despite not feeling that quick, my time was faster than last year, and only two minutes behind my pace from 2015. It was far from the disaster that it could have been while still being almost an hour slower than the Buffalo marathon earlier in the year.
My next race is the Can Lake 50k ultra-marathon in early October. Thanks to an upcoming vacation in California, I am not going to be all that well prepared for that on either.