Sorry about the delay, I finally sat down to write the recap! I usually have tons of immediate thoughts about what went right, what went wrong, what i could have done different. But it happened, I had the perfect race. I guess I can Tarantino this race recap since most of you already know the result. 3:20:59. I’m a 3:20 marathoner and qualified for Boston!
This smile sums it up: i’ve been extremely content and overwhelmingly happy with the outcome.
The week of the race was littered with ups and downs. The weather wasn’t looking favorable and I was afraid I was catching a cold. My diet the week of the race consisted of carbs, water, nuun, zicam, vitamin c, and a few nights of 9+ hrs of sleep.
I had a few pep talks from clients and friends when the forecasted wind started stressing me out. Basically, I was ready to trash my goals for a sub 3:30 marathon because of the wind, but was quickly reminded that I trained super hard for this race, i’ve ran in crappy conditions all year and I could do this if I raced smart. Saturday came and I was feeling confident and ready to run.
My bib number was perfect: 2600. I know it’s a little superstitious, but the bib from the Parks Half Marathon I did in September was 2612 and i’ve had good vibes about 26 this entire training cycle. This was the first time running a marathon that the miles didn’t scare me. I was prepped and ready to run 26.2 miles, I was only nervous about the weather.
I had pasta for dinner and the rest of the night was spent finalizing my playlist, hydrating & eating, charging electronics, choosing what to wear for the windy morning, and coming up with a game plan for the windy race.
The plan was to go out slower than goal pace for the first 10 miles in order to conserve energy that might be wasted against headwind. I kept telling myself that the Hansons Brooks Method I used, trained me for the back half of the race, not the beginning. The book said the first 10-16 miles should feel good. And that was my plan. Make sure the first 16 feel good and comfortable while staying close to goal pace. Then i could reassess and start speeding up. According to the weather and the course map, the wind was blowing from the west, and the last 6 miles were heading back to Philly, eastward. At mile 20, cross your fingers, pray for a tailwind and if worse comes to worse, you made it to 20 miles you push as hard as you can and don’t stop.
Game plan in place.
The next morning came quickly, but i felt good. I was prepared to do my best, I trusted the training and my race plan. The hotel (the Sonesta) had shuttle service to the start, which was pleasant. It was cold out, but not awful. I used the bathroom, got right back in line and used it again 20 minutes later–best advice for a marathon, don’t wait until you have to go to the bathroom, just get in line cause you will.
I headed to the start corrals, focused on positive thoughts, my breathing, making sure shoelaces were double knotted and comfortable, Garmin was on, and the sunrise… it was pink and orange and beautiful.
Then we started. My playlist began and I settled easily into an 8:00ish/pace. As usual during a big race there was crowding in the early miles and i wasn’t about to fight it and waste energy. I settled right behind the 3:35 pace group and stayed there for 4 miles.
My ipod was playing super relaxing music, just what i wanted to keep my breathing normal and pace slow. This was probably the first time during a goal race I wasn’t feeling any pressure or anxiety while running. My inner dialogue was a lot of: “this feels too easy. Good, it’s supposed to feel easy, it’s only mile 5.” I kept holding myself back doing anything stupid so early on.
For the most part, I didn’t notice the wind, but was happy i was wearing gloves, a headband and sunglasses! We had one major gust here and there, but not enough to where I felt like it was affecting me. At one point there was a gust for a few seconds that caused me a guy running beside me to look away, shield our faces and cringe a little. When it stopped we both looked at each other and laughed. I feel like that dude was having a good day too.
Laughing into the wind, I started thinking about when to run faster. I was approaching mile 10 and finally had some elbow room as the crowds thinned out. I could see my paces getting slightly faster and I was feeling better with each mile, stronger with each step. I bartered with myself a bit. Make it to the halfway mark, see how you feel and we can start slowly getting into a faster pace.
Mile 13 came quickly, I felt better than alright, it was the easiest 13 miles i’ve ever run in my life. Alright halfway time to work a little and see where we’re at come mile 16. I have the legs under me and the workouts behind that supports a hard 10 mile effort. Come on 16…
“I wonder if I can go to Crossfit on Tuesday…” <—Literally what was on my mind right before mile 16 beeped at me. “Okay, now this is too easy. I have a BQ as long as I don’t do anything stupid. I have 4 miles until the turn around point where the wind should be at my back. Four miles to speed up and deal with wind and hills and then I get pushed home. I’ll let my legs fly at 20. Just get there first.”
Mile 20? 7:30? Alright it’s time for the legs to show off. And like that. I switched gears and started hauling forward. I was hyper alert and aware of my body and knew I had a 4th and 5th and 6th gear to shift into. When 20 came I was actually excited to see how fast I could run after holding back, saving energy and being smart. I wasn’t going to hit a wall. I wasn’t going to be disappointed. Even knowing I had a Boston Qualifying time, my mentality shifted to, “let’s see how much time I can go under.”
I flew. I did not have one person pass me the last 10k. I had a smile on here and there and was constantly reminding myself to be grateful of this body. I realized that all the hard workouts…all the tempos in humidity, the mile repeats on hills, all the Crossfit Wods where I thought my heart would surely explode, were exactly why I had the power and mental stamina to not just muddle my way through 26.2 miles, but to own them. This was my workout of the day and I killed it.
I was powering through the last mile and started getting a cramp in my left foot. At this point I was ready to be finished, but I didn’t see signs of how far left I had. I knew I was close and this is where the tunnel vision set in. One foot in front of the other, throw your arms forward and get across the line. I heard the crowds shouting and in my right ear the loud speaker said, “Cori Maley, Silver Spring!” I didn’t even realize where I was. In an instant I saw a time clock, a banner and my foot go over the first timing mat.
I took a huge breath in, and let it out in a cry. A tidal wave of relief, happiness and pride overcame me. I was proud of myself. Proud.
I was so happy it hurt. My time was 3:20:59… 30 minutes faster than my last, and 15 minutes faster than the Boston Qualifying time I needed.
This won’t be the last I talk about Philly. I have a thousand more thoughts on this race. For now i’ve been happy and content and enjoying the moment. Hang tight, tips for running your best marathon are going to be up soon!
Tuesday: Crossfit, 5m easy 9:15/pace
Wednesday: 6m whatever I felt like 7:38/pace
Thursday: Crossfit, 5m easy 8:10/pace
Friday: 1.5hr barbell skill work
Saturday: 10m easy 8:35/pace, 40 minutes lower body (PR’d deadlift 2 x 1 @ 195lbs)
Sunday: 5.5m trail running 9:41/pace
Total Miles: 31.5
Anyone running a December race?
How much time do you take off after a race?
12/05/2016 at 9:24 AM
Congratulations on such a well executed race! Cori eat world! December races? There is really just one – Celtic Solstice in Baltimore.
12/05/2016 at 3:20 PM
Thanks Russ! Oh and i’m seeing jimmy eat world in a week!!!! so excited! Good luck with the race, i’m already antsy to start training again for something
12/05/2016 at 4:16 PM
If it wasn’t a Wednesday night I’d have to go! You wanna run trails locally? Check out the mid Maryland 50k ultra and relay in February in HoCo. 5 loops of a 10k course not very technical. It’ll be cold though.
12/05/2016 at 4:21 PM
i’ll definitely take a look at it! and in Feb i’m doing the Cupid’s Undie Run.. 5k in underwear.. talk about dumb and cold. But it’s for a good cause, so you know.. i was forced into it haha
12/05/2016 at 9:29 AM
I was so happy and thrilled and excited and proud and just generally ecstatic at how this turned out for you! You absolutely crushed your goals … there is nothing better than the feeling of the ‘perfect run’, and to have it happen ‘on the clock’ of a race like this … priceless 🙂
12/05/2016 at 3:20 PM
Thank you thank you thank you! exactly it was priceless!!
12/05/2016 at 9:32 AM
This is absolutely awesome. Can’t say anything other than you completely OWNED this run. Huge congrats!!
12/05/2016 at 3:23 PM
Thanks! i’m still on such a high from it
12/05/2016 at 9:54 AM
What an awesome, positive race. Great job!
12/05/2016 at 3:24 PM
Thanks Michelle!! 🙂
12/05/2016 at 10:53 AM
Great Job and awesome race. Hoping for some of your results to help motivate through my upcoming race.
12/05/2016 at 3:25 PM
Yes! use it. During the entire month of October several of my friends and people I follow online hit BQ’s or generally had strong races. I totally used them as motivation through the last bit of training and during the race ❤
12/05/2016 at 2:06 PM
woohooo!!!!!!!! wow, that is an amazing negative split girl! way to crush your goal on a crazy day! i too had a pretty spectacular race; it was my first marathon in 5 years and my coach wanted me to go out and just run comfortably; i cannot believe that i also negative split and was so incredibly happy the whole time (except for a minute at mile 19 when it was slightly uphill with a headwind. i totally bawled at the finish line! as soon as i finished i emailed my coach saying, let’s chase that BQ so looking to eugene in the spring, and then try philly again in the fall. congrats again cori; been following all your training and you killed it!
12/05/2016 at 3:27 PM
Great job on the negative split!! That was one of my goals this race as well. Do you use Strava? New balance is giving away a free pair of shoes if you negative split the course. I just got my redemption code! here’s some info http://blog.strava.com/back-half-challenge/
12/06/2016 at 11:05 AM
I did complete the NB/Strava negative split form! Hoping for my redemption code soon! 🙂
12/05/2016 at 5:08 PM
So great-I was tracking you and SO happy. WOOOHOO BOSTON 2018! I love that you felt amazing during the race-that’s how I felt. Like once I felt good at 18 I knew that the wall was nothing to be scared off and that I was strong. SO happy the wind wasn’t too bad. Sad I couldn’t run Philly, but happy all this foot business started post-Chi!
12/06/2016 at 7:57 AM
yes! exactly, i was like: this is happening today and there was no fear. It was awesome! Your BQ fueled motivation this last month for sure. Hope the foot is healing fast!
12/05/2016 at 5:40 PM
HOW FANTASTIC! Congrats! That is SO exciting! I’ve run this half event before, and the full is on my list for next year. I’ll think of you for inspiration, BQer.:)
12/07/2016 at 7:20 AM
Thank you! and i highly recommend the full course- it was beautiful 🙂
12/06/2016 at 5:18 AM
Absolutely amazing! You ran a very smart race and it laid off. Congratulations!! That’s a time to be proud of. I was aiming for a 3:20 during my last marathon however, I trusted our pacer a bit too much. Knowing the pace felt hard I didn’t realize he had us smokin’ at a 7:15 during a few of the first miles. 😳 Needless to say I burned out early on. Pacing is everything!! And you proved that. 🙂
12/07/2016 at 7:21 AM
oh wow! yeah 7:15s would have zapped my energy that early on. pacing was key and i kept reminding myself I was going to make up a lot of time in the back half of the race. <–that helped.
12/06/2016 at 6:45 AM
Wow, what a great race! Its amazing that you felt that good during the entire marathon. So happy for you- congrats again!
12/07/2016 at 7:22 AM
Thanks Lisa! i really did feel good the whole time. I think it was due to all the positive thinking- it’s hard to feel bad when your mind feels good.
12/12/2016 at 7:39 PM
Congratulations on an amazing race!!!! You killed it! You raced an amazing race and deserve that BQ!! So exciting! I love philly!
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