This past weekend was the Roadrunner Akron Marathon also know as The Bird Marathon by many locals.
It a a very scenic course which is not known for being particularly fast! It has a bunch hills thrown in and takes you through many of Akron's most scenic areas! The course is increasingly popular as the race director really seems to do a nice job in providing a nice race experience for participants going as far as to shake every finisher's hand. Additionally marathoners have always got nice giveaways such as free shoes or jackets in past years. Another awesome feature of the race which has opened it up for many new participants has been the 5 person relay division that they offer (yes, the relay is all I have ever done here besides all the training runs on the marked BLUE LINE). On top of that all there are two other huge bonuses-
1. Finishing in Canal Park stadium and having a prime viewing area to watch everyone else finish and
2. Free Beer at the finish line, 2 per participant!
So four years ago, four of my fast friends and I set out to lay down a fast time and take the women relay division. No dice on that in 2007. Ran a 2:53:31 and took 2nd womens team overall. Tried again in 2008. Ran a 3:02:47 and took 2nd again! Thought third time might be a charm but ran a 3:05:30 and took 3rd. This year we lined up with silly fast ESpeed as our anchor and had a good shot!
We ended up finally beating the team that usually gets us but some silly fast other team showed up and again we were number 2!
However, our team, Five Fast Femme Fatale Freiks ran our fast marathon time to date, a 2:51:56, absolutely crushing our time the last couple years! Hell ya, maybe we will continue to get faster with age!
As far as my relay leg. It was the second relay leg of 5.7 miles. Week one after REV3Full, I swam, biked but did not run. I have been very nervous with my tibia ALL YEAR so I decided to let her rest. Then this past Tuesday, I decided to run with F^5 teammie, CV. We ran a 2 mi w/u and started into mile repeats. Did first one ~6:20ish pace, then a little break, and then another one around 6:20ish pace and then I started limping away (calves got tight and right hip flexor was grabbing) into a 1.5 mile cooldown as CV went on to do 3 more alone. Oh that was not smart to do that my first run back. Oh I miss the good ole days of just being able to run hard and all the time like I used to!
So I only ran one more time Thursday for 2 mi easy before Saturday's race. Needless to say I was a wee bit nervous. But I had friends around and was pretty relaxed. As I got to my relay leg, I went to turn on my garmin but I had nothing. Bummer, I really have got used to glancing at it for pacing look at pace and HR. Oh well, I took it off and went for a warm up run getting in some nice striders. I was feeling ready to go.
As teammate ML arrived in 3rd place I took off in hot pursuit to catch #2 women team. I got within about 10 yards and stayed there. I believe my first mile and a half was around 6:20 pace. The first 4 miles of my leg have some decent little hills in there and they were starting to wear on me at that pace fast. It was sooo hard to believe so many of the people around me were all going to run the mary or half at that pace! Yikes! About 3 miles into my leg team #2 female started to pull away but I kept her in my sights. I started to slow and was dying inside a little. I saw one mile at 7:05....crap! I was not sure how much longer I could hang on but it is amazing the pressure you feel not to let your teammates down! I sucked it up and finally I hit the downhill section of my leg! THANK GOD! I was not gaining on second team but at least I finally quit fading. As I climbed that final uphill grade to the exchange I was spent...short course hurts!
I ended up with a 38:30 for my leg which works out to be 6:45 pace for the 5.7. I guess it is not too bad on that section of course and coming off the full. Then it was off to the finish line to celebrate!
The highlight of my day was watching my sister, and my wonderful Gville friends complete their first Akron Mary relay ever as they are all new runners this year and did fantastic. Their team, 5 Rookies finished at a 4:01:33 which I think is one heck of a debut with my sis smokin that anchor leg!