Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Lakefront Marathon 2013 Race Recap

The days before a big race, every runner spends at least a little time visualizing the best-case scenario for the event. If you can't see yourself achieving your goals, you never will. As they say, seeing is believing :)

Going into this year's Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon, I felt a bit like a marathon newbie. And in a way, I really was. Last year was my first marathon, but I ran it with a badly injured left hamstring. It was far from a best-case scenario but at the time I was just happy to complete the race without having to DNS or DNF. That year, any time that allowed me to cross the finish line was okay with me. 

A pic from last year's race. Hobbling throughout!

During the two weeks leading up to this year's race, I was buzzing with nervous anticipation. Since I didn't go through a taper period last year due to my injury, this was a whole new experience. I probably drove certain friends - you know who you are - nuts with all my silly questions!

After spending a good portion of this summer doubting myself and even wondering if I could get to the starting line of this race (winter, spring and early summer injuries), things started coming together late summer and I could feel myself hitting a training peak right in time for the race. It was a race that I felt anything could happen and it was exciting knowing that I just might surprise myself.

Race day finally arrived and I woke up ready to run! As usual, I ended up lining up a bit late - this is something I really need to work on - and ended up back with the 4:30 pace group. This was not where I wanted to be, but told myself to relax and use the first mile as a nice, slow warm-up just like I practiced nearly every Saturday morning this summer.

As the race got going, I was just so happy to be running without all the fear that I had last year. I settled into a nice, easy pace and the first few miles passed by so quickly, especially since I ran into a few friends along the way. Before I knew it, I had worked my way up to the 3:50 pace group and the miles were just flying by. I couldn't believe it when we hit the mile 9 marker and even more so couldn't believe how easy the race felt. 

The next several miles were pretty uneventful except for the fact that I was extremely giddy. A little voice inside my head kept me going by chanting "believe, believe, BELIEVE" and reminding me of everything I had to believe in - Believe in your training, Believe in the possibility of today, etc. 

Around mile 17.5 - still feeling fantastic!

I stuck with the 3:50 pace group until we hit mile 20 and at that point I knew I had to say goodbye and strike out on my own. I was feeling way too good to not try to push the pace a bit and wanted to see how close to 3:45 I could run. I kept waiting to hit the wall, but it never happened. 

As I ran down the little hill from Lake Drive to Lincoln Memorial Drive, I knew I was practically done with the race. I knew I could not only get close to 3:45, but I could actually go sub-3:45 if I pushed the last bit of the race. That voice inside my head started screaming a little line from my Oiselle Team friends, "Go Fast, Take Chances." I ran that final mile in 7:50, the entire time loving the race. 

Only another quarter or so to go!
All focus on the finish line ahead

Here are my results:

Time: 3:43:59
Pace: 8:33 min/mile  
Age Group Place: 26/216  
Gender Place: 145/1,499  
Overall Place: 542/2,158

A 38 minute marathon PR!! I was definitely thrilled with this result and never in my wildest dreams could have imagined this outcome. All I can say is that if you truly believe, anything can happen :)

Rehydrating after the race!

Although I am very pleased with this race, if I had to change one thing it would be to push a bit harder during the middle miles. Because it was in a way my first marathon, I didn't want to end up running out of steam before the end so played it a bit safe. I know I could have run a bit faster because I recovered way too fast from the marathon effort - I even wore heels the day after the race! Next time, I'll have the confidence to go a bit harder. 

This year's finisher's medal

Up until this race, I had been considering not doing a marathon in 2014 and instead, focusing bringing down my time in shorter distance races. But now . . . I feel it would be foolish to not do another marathon next year and try to get a BQ time. All I want to do is get back out there and start training.

So that's my extremely long story from last weekend.  Here are a few questions for you:

  • Did you race over the weekend? If so, how was your race?
  • Have you ever experienced a perfect race? Do you think such a thing even exists?
  • If you don't run, what was the most interesting thing you did over the weekend?

Thanks for sticking with me :)

- ST


  1. Congrats again on your awesome marathon!
    When I ran LFM in 2011 it was pretty near-perfect to me... it was my first marathon after a 4-year hiatus from running, and I was lucky to have family and friends cheering me on throughout the course. I spent the entire race feeling this overwhelming sense of gratitude. Looking back it was one of the best days of my life, finishing felt like a dream. The PR and perfect running weather didn't hurt, either!

    1. Thanks Laura! There must be something about LFM - lots of PRs and great marathon memories seem to come out of the race :)

  2. Awesome race Sun! I have friends who have ran several marathons who would love to run that time.

    Yeah, I raced in a 6k over the weekend in a trail race that was hilly. I have been gradually recovering from runner's knee from last year. I think much of it came down to the following - I was in great running shape, but had let my core and strength training fall by the wayside due to lack of time. I tried to train with more rest in my schedule, but ended up having to take 6 weeks off, but have had setbacks. It took a while to get my strength back and now the key is adding in cross training and hill training and not trying to do too much. I feel really slow now but it takes time. I'm hoping to run in a 9k race in a month.

    1. Thanks Dave! It sounds like your running is getting back on track. Glad to hear you were able to race a 6k over the weekend. Perhaps I'll see you in Chicago this summer for the Rock n Roll Half :)

  3. Congrats on your great race! I see a BQ in your future :-) It was a beautiful day to run and to spectate. I was at Atwater Park and the runners were so inspiring.

    I ran in a small 10K trail race on Saturday. I am still adjusting to trail running, but I was able to get a first place in my age group due to the small turnout. :-)

    1. Thank you, Cathy! Congrats to you as well - a 1st place AG award is fantastic!