I wasn’t sure how to write this race recap because it took me a while to process the race. I’ve PR’d twice at GCM before, but this year, it was not my goal race. Last year I worked my tail off to PR in the full marathon and I had a lack luster day at the races; this year coming off of LA training, I really wasn’t training very much more than to finish the race. So going into race day, I was not sure what my expectations were.
Race Week Training
I. Did. Not. Taper. You read that right. No taper. And if you read my 2015 PR Race Recap of Columbus, then you’ll recall I did the same thing. My mileage since LA has been low, so there wasn’t much to taper. I ran every day what felt good, and I didn’t run when I didn’t want to.
This year I transitioned from training for LA to training for GCM, while substitute coaching for Dave’s Running Marathon in Training program. During this transition period, I noticed that compared to this time last year I was running on average a minute/mile slower.
Race Day Wake-up
Sunday morning’s wake up came at 3:30am. Breakfast was a oatmeal with blueberries and peanut butter, and coffee. I used my morning walk with Addie to help me determine what I would wear for the race. After our walk, I packed my bags and we headed to campus. After a quick photo op with the Oiselle Volée flock, there wasn’t much time for a warm-up so I headed to the Start Line.
I still had no game plan. I decided to start with the 1:55 pacer, except I couldn’t find them. I had set my watch so I had to manually lap each mile, and I was hoping this wouldn’t have me watching my garmin too much during the race. As I waited for the race to begin, I had 3 Raspberry ProBar Bolts and 2 Margarita Clif Bloks to start the race off.
Miles 1-3: 9’00″/8’41″/8’43”
I wanted to keep it relaxed early on since I really had no idea of my racing capabilities. I saw a fellow Dave’s MIT coach pacing her group, so I began with them as my rabbits. Shortly before Mile 1, I spotted Cory and Steph, hoping I wouldn’t regret trying to catch up to them early on. I stuck near them until right before Mile 2. I grabbed water around Mile 3 and decided to try to drink while running (and hopefully not choke!).
Miles 4-6: 8’40″/8’35″/8’31”
I was expected to feel fatigued and slow down at this point. Around Mile 4.5, I ate 3 Raspberry ProBar Bolts and 2 Margarita Clif Bloks. I was pleasantly surprised that my legs felt fresh and I had energy enough to sustain my current effort. I was pretty happy so far in the race. I was seeing my dad multiple times and Bob, one of the head coaches for Dave’s MIT, which helped keep me up beat being able to spot them along the course. (Side Note: this made me super excited to spectate the Cap City Half Marathon the following weekend.)
Miles 7-9: 8’32″/8’44″/8’39”
Around mile 8, I wondered if I had the potential to PR. I knew there was plenty of miles of the race remaining, but focusing on the possibility kept me moving forward. I was pleasantly surprised about how I was doing as we made the “turn-around” on Central Avenue and headed back towards campus. I forgot to fuel so I grabbed it around Mile 9.5.
Miles 10-13.1: 8’40″/8’19″/8’31″/8’11”
I passed Steph around Mile 10 and I knew she was struggling. I wanted to open up at this point in the race, but quickly realized I didn’t have the legs for a huge push. I knew without it that a PR was out of reach, but I would be damned if I wasn’t going to hang on and try for at least a sub-1:53.
Official Finish Time 1:52:30 (only 47 seconds off my PR)
Average Pace 8’35”
Holy Batman! My previous races at GCM had me working hard for my finish times. Relatively speaking, this race felt like a cake-walk. I was reminded why Ottawa Hills is called “Ottawa Hills” but really surprised (and absolutely amazed) how my body handled them and my pace.
Pros: It was the perfect weather (probably because it was almost the perfect “date”–you can laugh if you’ve seen Miss Congeniality and know what I mean). GCM still isn’t my favorite race or course, but I’m trying to learn to see why so many people do love it.
Cons: I can’t get it out of my mind but I think there are some major security issues with this race (yeah I said it).
I’m done racing for the time being while I train for a GORUCK Heavy! If you’re interested, you can find all of my Race Recaps here!