Thursday, October 21, 2010

Race Report: Baystate Marathon

As you guys already know, we ran the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA on last Sunday, October 17th. We've finally found the time to sit down and blog it out. We'll do our usual his/hers race reports, as we ran this marathon solo. :)

This was only my second solo-marathon (without Miss Bethany pacing me), so I didn't really know what to expect. In my last solo-marathon, I struggled to a 4:07, so I was certainly hoping to beat that at Baystate. My A++++++ goal was and always has been to go sub-3:50, my A goal was 3:55, and my B goal was 4:00, and my C goal was 4:07. I wasn't fully sure how the race would go, so I started out at a conservative 9:15 pace for the first 3 miles, kinda just going with the flow until the crowd thinned out and the half-marathoners (who started with us marathoners) branched off. Around mile 3-4, I started dropping the pace down until I hit my average pace of about 8:45 min/mile. Once I hit this average pace, I hung here for a while, feeling really comfortable. I figured it felt good and it still kept me within striking distance of that 3:50 if I decided I felt really good in the second half. I hung at 8:45 min/mile for a while as we finished the first of the two-loop course, and I still felt strong holding this pace around mile 17 or so. From miles 17-22, I started to slow up a bit, and saw my average pace slow to about overall average 8:50 pace. I knew the 3:50 would be a bit out of reach, but I knew I was certainly going to come in under 4 hours. Despite a slowly increasing average pace, I still felt pretty solid finishing the second loop of the course as I headed for the basebdall stadium finish. I made my way into the stadium and crossed the finish line in a time of 3:58:34, Garmin read 26.32 miles, overall average pace 9:03. So I had slowed a bit in the last 10k or so, but it was nothing like the real slow-downs that I had in past marathons. I feel like the ultra-running and the few marathons and trail races that I did this summer have helped with the endurance a bit. I feel like I'm building up that base to the point where I can comfortably run 26.2 without much trouble. Now if I could only get a bit of Miss Bethany's speed.

I felt pretty good after I finished, with minimal soreness, and just a blood blister on the inside of my foot. I was very satisfied with my time, considering that my previous best solo-marathon was 4:07. One thing that this race showed me was how much having Miss Bethany pace me really helps. It seemed so much easier in Disney 2010 with her keeping me on pace, and keeping me going. It wasn't as easy trying to keep myself on pace and going strong.

So up next is the StoneCat Trail Marathon on Nov 6th. That's probably one of the races I'm looking forward to the most. Miss Bethany's first 50 miler!

Miss Bethany:
My goal going into this race was to PR, so I was looking for about a 3:28. As soon as the race started my breathing felt a little labored and, of course, my feet were frozen. Thankfully toes thawed by about mile 3 as I was getting into my rhythm. I definitely wanted to be conservative for the first 13 miles so i stayed right on 8:08 pace until mile 10. After mile 10 I started picking it just a bit and was on 7:57 average pace by mile 15. Around mile 13 the bottoms of my feet started burning, just like they did in Boston this year. The burning was uncomfortable but not unbearable. I felt really strong and powerful the entire race but around mile 21 my feet became unbearable. It felt like someone was peeling the skin off the rough part of my feet, it really hurt! I thought for sure that I was going to have huge blisters on the balls of my feet, which worried me since my 50 miler was 3 weeks away. At mile 21, I decided to take a 30 second walk break. From this point on I walked for 30-45 seconds every half mile. I obviously lost time walking, but when I started running again I was able to get right back on pace. My legs felt really strong and I didn't even feel tired. It was frustrating that I kept walking but I knew it was for the best. I finished in 3:34:54 and according to my Garmin I ran 26.31 miles. I was really pleased with the .31 as I was trying not to weave. My feet were on FIRE when I finished and I was afraid to take my shoes off because I knew I was going to see nasty blisters...but there was NOTHING, not even a hot spot, no red, nothing. hmm, weird. The bottom of my right foot still hurts.
I was really pleased with my race and my time. It wasn't the PR I was hoping for but I don't care, I'm very happy. (But seriously, how did I run 6 minutes FASTER on this course last year??) Looking back on the race, I realized that all I ate was a couple shot blocks and a few honey stingers, no GUs and no Gatorade, just water. My legs felt great after, a little soreness the next day but nothing major, all soreness is long gone now and I'm ready for the 50 (I think?)!

 Pre-race, waiting inside the arena

 Ryan at the finish!

Post race

****After the finish, Ryan said a woman recognized him from the blog, but he forgot to ask who she was!...If it was you, please let us know!!!!****


Running and living said...

Congrats to both! Bethany, OMG, I can;t imagine how you ran such a great time with burning feet. You should look into that since it happened before! You would have surely PRed had you not had the feet issue. Good luck at the 50 miler! Wow, 50 miles???? I heard wonderful things about Stonecat!Oh, and fyi, I take about 6 gels/marathon. I rarely take them in training, but they help a ton when I race.

marathonmaiden said...

bethany: weird about the feet burning. wayy lucky that you didn't get blisters

ryan: great race! it sounds like you've really been working on the endurance and it paid off

both of you: AWESOME! and i love the pics :)

Meg said...

I just loved the happy finishes, you always have the best attitudes! Sorry about the feet though. I have weird feet issues; burning, creaking, cold spots, all of it and I just kind of have to ignore it now. It comes and goes!

Silly Girl Running said...

Great recap! :)

Jennifer said...

Great race you two! That's so weird about your feet, I am sure you tried new socks, that would be my only suggestion, or perhaps the detergent you use in the wash. I once got a similar thing from walking on the beach without shoes, later that day, after the walk I had lots of burning but no blisters. I am excited to hear about your 50 mile race!

Johann said...

Well done both of you! Those are good times and the PR’s will come eventually. I try to always have a base to run up to 50km comfortably and then build up from there a few times per year for longer ultras. Life doesn’t always allow this but I try.

Denise said...

great job to both of you!! love that you do races together.

as for ryan's comment re: the ultra helping...that's exactly how i felt last year going into philly after the 50 miler. i think it definitely helped to have such a strong endurance base.

Marlene said...

Congrats to you both! Sounds like you both ran strong races!!

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Great job both of you! Such strong races.

I've heard other runners talk about their feet "burning" during runs. I don't know what causes it.

I am very eager to hear all the details about your 50 miler as I chickened out/wasn't supported by Hubbs to do one this fall. So I will have a little extra time to learn through others!

Jill said...

Bethany, I wonder what is causing the burning feet sensation? I'd definitely go have that assessed so you don't have that problem in the 50, that'd be way no fun!

Congrats to you both for running fantastic races - woohoooo!!!

Julie said...

Wow, congrats to the both of you on impressive marathon finish times! Love the pictures too!

Lisa M said...

hey Bethany-Its Lisa M..
Re: your feet.. (I couldnt help but chime in).. do you think it was on the skin that you felt the burning or deeper.. like tissue.. I am wondering if it is your fascia tissue that is bothering you
this may sound silly, but my Ex got hurt really badly skiing and tore up his fascia.. I had him roll his feet on a tennis ball every night to break up the tissue (scar tissue etc) and it really worked.. just a thought!
great job you two! I aspire to be like you<3

teacherwoman said...

Congrats to you both!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

great RR! Congrats to both - yay Ryan - PR. Maybe we can run together in Maine next year. Not sure how I will do on the hills though.

Bethany - ouch! Hope you figure that out soon. You are amazing to run through such pain.

oakley said...

This is a great blog..So nice and interesting.

Amanda said...

Both great races and you both finished strong! Congrats!!!

Running Diva Mom said...

you both are such rockstars -- love it! Great great great recap and love the after-race photo. you guys are adorable!!