Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hambletonian Marathon recap

Goshen and the Hambletonian Marathon is approximately 45 minutes away from our home and the option to pick up the race bib the morning of the race morning made this race very convenient. Perfect to just relax the day before the race.
As I have mentioned earlier, the training leading up to this race has been I would say perfect. No injuries or other cramps. Some minor aches here and there but that is totally normal. Of course I was checking the course and weather forecasts anxiously during the week and I knew I was up for a really touch marathon and challenge. The course with its rolling hills are tough as it is, with winds up to 30mph I knew it was going to be brutal. The winds were going to come from north west, and that means full blast head wind for the last 6 miles.

Alarm was set to 4:45am, of course I woke a bit ahead of the alarm. As usual oatmeal breakfast with an egg. I choose not to drink coffee the morning of the race to avoid frequent pit stops during the race. All gear was packed the evening before so I was ready to jump on highway 84 to Goshen. It was a bit chilly in the am and i could definitely feel the winds when I got up to Goshen. I was thinking arm sleeves and gloves but decided to go without and Im glad I did. Bib pick up was just 5 min walk away from parking and by the Hambletonian Race track they had line up plenty of porta johns, easy to access without any lines. The village of Goshen and the historic race track Hambletonian was a great experience, cute town with a really cool looking horse race track hidden behind the main street. My dad as a trotting race fan back home in Sweden, always talked about the Hambletonian Trotting race and it was cool to finally see were the race and name finally came from I will definitely bring my parents to Goshen next time the visit us here in US.

I did my warm up and routines at the parking lot 2 min from the start, trying to stay warm. I was getting in the right mood to tackle the 26.2. With me I had a couple of salt tabs and 4 Huma gels.

At the start I was a bit to "hot" when some one blew the starting horn 20 sec early, I "jumped the gun". I had started my watch and did not have time to reset it and I knew I was going 20 sec off the whole time. Not a big deal, but it throw me off for a few seconds.

The Start!

 At start approximately 10 runners took of in a higher pace. It was hard to tell who was marathoners and who was relay runners. The plan was not to go out crazy, follow the plan as the first loop is very hilly. First hill came almost immediately, it felt easy and I felt good. The winds were strong but did not really bother me at this point. For the first 4 miles its pretty much up 0.5 miles and down 0.5 miles. I felt the miles were ticking fast. At mile 3 I caught up with a relay runner and were using her draft. She was using a 6:45 pace and I felt good getting some help, trying to preserve my energy. At mile 7 I had to stop for a 20 sec pit stop. Kind of frustrating as I had had good company but I had to do it. I t feels like no matter what I do, I always have to stop. At mile 8 the first part of the Heritage Trail started, for about three miles the course were on a softer packed (not to soft) trails. Mile 8-10 was on this trail and it was almost flat. At mile 11 you're back in Goshen, some quick turns and you pass the start line and the first relay change. Second loop use the 2 first miles of the first loop. Two big hills almost immediately after you leave Goshen. Again did not feel to bad to climb the hills and I passed 13.1 around 1.28. I was happy with that time, it was were I wanted to be as I knew that the last 6 miles are flat.
Purgatory Road mile 14apx

Trying to run strong!
 At mile 14 I started to get ready for the big hill at mile 15. I have heard from volunteers that I was in fifth place. From mile 13 I had started to see a runner ahead of me and when the "big hill" at mile 15-16.5 started I could clearly see that he had hit the hammer and the wall. He was standing still running. Hill was tough and felt endless but it was a great feeling when it was done. I knew at this point that I had one big hill left at mile 19.5. Of course the long hill cost me lot of energy but I felt OK and I could keep the pace after the hill. Again I started to prepare myself for the next task, what they call the "Cowbell Hill". I didnt not think this was going to be that much of a task and I was going to get an fast run to the finish. But the story is different, "Cowbell Hill" felt like a massive wall and I struggled a bit on the way to the top, trying not to hit hammer and to explode.

Almost at the top

"Cowbell Hill"

After the hill I was trying to pick up pace, but at this point I had straight head wind. With my history of late marathon hamstring cramps, I started to get worried for that as well. I used my last gel at mile 21 and took my last salt tab at mile 23. I also used some Gatorade from the great volunteers to try to get some extra fuel. It was frustrating to see a sub 3 go away at this point but I kept pushing pace around 7-7.10. Last 6 is flat on the Heritage Trail again, this part of the trail is paved. At mile 25 I passed runner in third place, he was totally out of gas, getting help and form one of the bikers who followed the top runners. It was a great feeling and a proof that I ran my race as planned.

Coming in to the Hambletonian Race Track was a great feeling! But the lap on the track felt forever. And by finish I think my calves had enough. Finish time was 3:02:31 gun time and 3:02:26 chip time.
Back in Goshen!

Finish line Video!

Overall I'm very satisfied with my performance today. I knew going in to this race the course was brutal (and sure it was) but i didn't count on the strong winds. Mother nature is nothing you can do about and its the same for all the runners in the race, but I do think the strong winds and running solo breaking the winds cause me a sub 3 today. Would I have done the race differently? Nope, the plan was to keep the pace I have been practicing, 6:45 ish. I followed the plan ran by effort over the hills. I was fueling well. Maybe i need to practice on more hills and late speed work to be stronger in the end! Coach Caleb Masland put me in the best position for this one and I rate my performance as my best marathon race ever. I have to say overall I'm happy with my #nononsense approach....

Hambletonian marathon is a great small town marathon. Great scenic and challenging course. All volunteers and staff were great and what can beat a craft brew (Newburgh Brewing) at the finish line!!!!

Shoes: Salming Distance. Great light weight shoe, 8.4oz. Kept feet and legs fresh. I was never worried about my feet. Shoes felt light over the hills and had a great transition and kept me on my toes over the hills.
Singlet: Salming. Lightweight, breathable no chafing and great looking. All you can ask for!
 Socks: Feetures! Elite socks. No chafing and no blisters.
Gel:Huma gels: I keep getting back to this chia seed gel. Works great with my stomach and I can feel the energy. Used lemon with caffeine. Taste great!

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