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Up Topic General / Letters and Opinions / Vermont City Marathon Race Report 2018
- - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-30 3:13 PM
I don’t remember which order we signed up for our spring marathons, but JP and I found ourselves doing 3 marathons in the span of 7 weeks. :shocker!: That’s no big deal for him, but since the most I’ve done is 2 in one YEAR, and that was last year, I was hesitant about running all 3 full distances. I figured I could always drop to a shorter distance or DNF if it came down to it. VCM was to be the third of the three marathons. I have heard rave reviews from everyone that I know who’s done the race, so I was excited as we embarked on race weekend.

We got to Burlington, VT, Friday night. I couldn’t sleep so I thought a lot about the race. I knew I wasn’t in sub-4 shape, but I thought 4:15 would be reasonable. Yes, that would be close to my PR, but I thought I could do it. But then I started questioning myself (since it was the middle of the night :roll:) and decided I should go out with the 4:30 pace group since that would be easily achievable for me and it wouldn’t be a death march in the end if I found the 4:15 pace too aggressive. <foreshadowing>

JP and I did a 2-mile shakeout run Saturday morning. It was upper 50s and humid, the same conditions predicted for race day. I made a mental note to drink lots of water on the course even if I didn’t feel hot since the humidity was so high. We showered and dressed and hit this cute little place in Winooski for brunch. The breakfast burrito was delicious but in hindsight probably wasn’t the best choice. :meh: After breakfast we headed to the expo to pick up our bibs and do some expo-ing. We both bought some hideous Hoka recovery sandals. They are super ugly but feel really good on our feet! We then chilled out for about 45 minutes waiting to go meet Meb. He was running in the relay the next day and was signing autographs in a booth at the expo. I was really excited because I am a huge Meb fan. We got in line and waited maybe a half hour before it was our turn. Meb introduced himself and shook our hands, and then he took pictures with us. My phone case says, “Run all the miles. Eat all the tacos” and Meb read that and laughed and we talked about tacos for a minute. I told him I was a huge fan and that I was also from San Diego so then we talked about where I lived and where he lives. Then he told me his best friend’s name is Martha! I am BFF with Meb! Then he signed my bib and a postcard for JP and he told us good luck and we were on our way. “To Martha, Best wishes & run to win, Meb” is what he put on my bib. I was so stoked. :grin::grin: It was at that point when I said fuck it, I will go for it in the race and signed up for the 4:15 pace group.

After the expo, we drove down to the lake to see the start/finish area. Then since it was raining we decided to drive out to the Ben and Jerry’s plant about 30 min away. Our plan was to do a plant tour and then eat some ice cream. By the time we got there, there was an hour long wait for a tour and an hour long wait for ice cream. We opted for the ice cream line. 45 minutes later, I was enjoying some triple caramel crunch. Holy yum! We finished our ice cream and headed back to Burlington. We found an Olive Garden for dinner. Turns out it was not only marathon weekend, it was prom weekend! Lots of high schoolers dressed up in fancy dresses and suits. Plus a bunch of hungry marathoners. The chick who sat us was going to be at an aid station the next day. After dinner we went to CVS for water and snacks, then back to the hotel for the ceremonial laying out of flat Martha. : pbbt: We chilled out the rest of the night watching HGTV and then finally went to bed.

Race day
I got up at 5:15, and my stomach was not happy.:cry: I sunscreened everywhere, then bodyglided everywhere, then got dressed. I grabbed a banana on the way out the door, thinking it would help settle my stomach. It didn’t. We picked up the shuttle to the start area at the hotel next door. I hit the portos twice, and by the time I was done there was nothing left in my body. I again reminded myself to hydrate at every aid station and took a pre-race gel. I lined up with 4:15 pacers and made a start line friend who bent down to adjust his shoelaces at the same time I did. We chatted about the race and our goals to stay between the 4:15 and 4:30 pacers, and finally the race started. The 4:15 pacers went out at 4:00 pace for mile 1. I thought they would reel it in, but they got even faster in mile 2. :mutmad: I tried to put some distance between myself and the pacers, but to keep them in sight. On the “out” part of the out and back between miles 4-8, I met 2 nice ladies, who were also trying to figure out of the 4:15 pacers were on pace. I informed them about how fast they were actually going. Lady #2 was running her first marathon, so she was trying to slow us all down. I saw and cheered for Meb on his way back from the turn-around. I saw JP as well, and he looked strong. Then we saw how close we were to the 4:00 pace group when we passed them really close to the turn-around. On the way back, we saw how far out in front of the 4:30 pace group we were because they were pretty far from the turn-around. At that point I knew I’d be seeing them later in the day since we were still going too fast despite our best efforts to slow down. I decided let the two ladies go out ahead of me because they weren’t slowing enough for me. I got water at each stop and took a gel every 5 miles, and my stomach finally settled about 10 miles into the race. :happy: I caught back up to the ladies at about halfway when they stopped to walk to combat the too-fast pace of the first several miles. They split up, with lady #1 leaving lady #2 and me in her dust. I knew it was going to be a rough day for lady #2 as she immediately started walking again. :sad: I crossed the half in 2:07 so I was right on pace for a 4:15, but I knew I was still slowing down.

The crowd support for this race was great. From the people brunching on the main street through Burlington to the families that set up their own aid stations complete with live entertainment, you could tell the locals really love this race. There was one moment of hilarity where this little boy, probably around 4 years old, was trying to give runners half of a banana. He spotted one guy who was walking up the hill towards him, and the boy says very earnestly (and loudly), “YOU look like you need a BANANA!” :laugh::laugh: All of the runners, except for that guy, dissolved into laughter. Other funny moments include the woman holding a sign reading “MeAW! I am happy to be here” meowing at all the runners and all of the spectators and aid station volunteers telling me that they loved tacos too (my bib was personalized with “TACO LOVER”). : pbbt:

In the second half of the race I took to walking through the water stops. There was a baby hill right before mile 15, which I thought was THE HILL that I had heard about, but then I turned a corner and saw the real hill. It was very big and it hurt. :cry: I made it 3/4 of the way up but had to stop to walk. I was TIRED now. I wondered if anyone was still with the 4:15 pacers or if everyone else had burned out from the too fast pace too. After the hill at mile 15, my start line buddy caught up to me and chatted me up. He was lamenting his lack of long runs, and I was lamenting my excess of long runs, ha. We had picked up the pace while we were chatting, and I wanted to slow down, so he said he’d see me later. I hit the block party at miles 17-18, which was awesome. :cool: Again, lots of people who set up aid stations and were giving out ice pops, fruit, and beer. I ran through the screaming downhill at mile 21 which really really hurt and then caught back up to my start line buddy at mile 23. I ran with him for a while, then he dropped back. I got passed by the 4:30 pacers at mile 24. I tried to stay with them for a half second, but it just didn’t happen. I looked for Champ on the lake ( the Loch Ness monster of Lake Champlain : pbbt:) and just took in the beautiful view knowing I was near the finish. I could hear the finish line 3/4 mile before I got there. It was at this point that I started fighting leg and foot cramps, so I played off the crowd support in the last 1/4 mile, while keeping my eyes focused on the finish line. They announced my name as I came across the finish line, and when I stopped, my right calf immediately seized. I was happy it held off until I was finished at least! 4:33:17 chip time, good enough for my 3rd best marathon overall out of the 9 I’ve run. :grin: Medical helped me until I saw JP, who had finished in 4:05. I got my medal, space blanket, disappointing snacks, and then hobbled back to shuttle while trying not to cramp anymore.

Post race
We got cleaned up and spent the afternoon in Burlington. We had delicious flatbreads at a flatbread place, then we went for round 2 at the Ben and Jerry’s in Burlington. There was Ben and Jerry’s at the finish line, but they were only samples and we weren’t about to wait around for that. We relaxed a bit, hit another local place for dinner, and then back to the hotel for an early night since we had an early departure time Monday morning.

Overall a great race, excellent course, well organized, with the best crowd support. 5/5 would definitely do again! :grin: Again, I am struck by how much I enjoyed the marathon while not having a time goal for myself. That said, sub-4 (and hopefully an eventual BQ) are still my big goals. My next race is in the fall, where I will re-engage in the sub-4 quest. Thanks for reading! :hug:
Parent - - By Mookiethedog Date 2018-05-30 4:21 PM
Nice! :hug:
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:41 AM
Parent - - By old turtle Date 2018-05-30 4:36 PM
Excellent 3rd marathon in 7 weeks. Loved the report too! Congratulations!
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:41 AM
Thanks! :grin:
Parent - - By SRoo Date 2018-05-30 5:06 PM
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:42 AM
Parent - - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-05-30 6:06 PM
Really well-run on what sounds like a very cool race, despite enduring early stomach issues and missing your possible PR goal. :cool: And quite an entrancing report of the pre- and race. :grin: Congrats and thanks!

p.s. I've met Meb and indeed he is awesome. :wink:
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:42 AM
Thanks! :grin:

And Meb is totally awesome. He took time out for each person he met. One of the reasons I am such a fan!
Parent - - By Arimathea [us] Date 2018-05-30 7:47 PM
Good report! Love the detail. Snickering about the "You look like you need a BANANA!" I'm sure everyone except the runner thought it was hilarious.

You probably don't remember dbloseven from RWOL, but she had a story about gels before the race. Las Vegas. She's waiting for the race to start and hasn't eaten anything. Her DH is trying to get her to take a gel. She is not wanting a gel at all. After some attempts to talk her into it he finally says "JULIA! Just put it in your mouth and swallow it!"

Good thing they didn't start the race right then because everyone around them was howling with laughter.

3 marathons in 7 weeks? You do realize you just qualified for Marathon Maniacs?
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:43 AM
The banana thing made my race! :laugh:

I remember 007! Too funny about the gel! :laugh::laugh::laugh:

I am Maniac #14579. Joined yesterday! :happy:
Parent - - By Arimathea [us] Date 2018-05-31 8:53 AM
Welcome to the club! :grin:
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 1:14 PM
Parent - - By IB Date 2018-05-31 8:38 PM
Welcome to the club, #360 here.
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-01 7:11 AM
You are OG :cool:
Parent - - By IB Date 2018-06-01 7:18 PM
Are you saying I'm an old guy?  :mutmad:
Parent - - By jaszflamus (I like wool!) Date 2018-06-01 7:34 PM
I thinks she meant OMG.
Parent - By IB Date 2018-06-01 7:35 PM
I think maybe you've had one too many.
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-04 7:26 AM
I didn't say you are AN OG, I said you are OG, Original Ganster. OGs aren't old guys! :cool:
Parent - By IB Date 2018-06-04 10:24 AM
:wink: :happy:
Parent - - By sideshowbob Date 2018-05-30 8:21 PM
Congrats for a great race and report
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:43 AM
Thanks! :happy:
Parent - - By indie [us] Date 2018-05-30 8:58 PM
Great report Martha. I've always wanted to run this race but not been able to convince N. : pbbt: Congrats on 3 in seven weeks, I am exhausted thinking about it. What race are you planning for fall?
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:45 AM
Thanks! :grin: You and N should totally do this race, I think you would both love it. Vermont is beautiful!

Fall race: I am dithering on the 10k or full marathon at MCM this year. Alternately, I might decide to do Steamtown to redeem my DNF there from 10 years ago (plus DH already has PA and I guess now I'm trying to do 50 states with him). I am already signed up for Kiawah Island in December, so if I don't do either of the other two, that will be the goal race.
Parent - - By Arimathea [us] Date 2018-05-31 8:54 AM
You have California, I know. What other Western states do you and DH need?

DD is in Spokane so I will likely do that one year -- not this fall because CPCU is the same weekend in San Diego, but maybe in 2019.
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 1:14 PM
We need all of the other western states aside from CA!
Parent - - By Arimathea [us] Date 2018-06-07 9:50 PM
I am doing Crater Lake in August and will probably do a 50K in Spokane in October.

Missoula is a nice marathon.

You might try this one for Idaho: I did it a few years ago and apart from a snafu with the buses it was good. The bus charter company could not believe that people would actually want to charter buses for 4:30 AM and so decided without checking with the RD that they must have meant 4:30 PM. We wound up carpooling up to the start, fortunately it wasn't a very large field. And I gather the RD ripped the bus company rep a few new bodily orifices.

I've done both Brookings and Leading Ladies in SD and want to do Mickelson Trail as well.

Every race I have done in Nevada has since been discontinued, but Joyce at Calico Racing has some nice small ones. Reno also looks interesting. I would not do Vegas on a bet.
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-08 7:43 AM
and so decided without checking with the RD that they must have meant 4:30 PM

I want to do the Extraterrestrial Marathon in NV if they still have it. E1970 did it. They haul you out into the middle of the Nevada desert in the middle of the night and you run 26.2 miles back into Vegas. :cool: I think it starts at midnight if I remember correctly.

Thanks for the suggestions! :happy:
Parent - - By IB Date 2018-05-30 9:44 PM
Nice work, glad you enjoyed the race. All the best to you in training for the fall marathon.
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:46 AM
Thanks! :happy:
Parent - - By cowboyjunkie Date 2018-05-31 6:59 AM
That's so cool about Meb :happy: You did really well! Especially with the other two marathons so recent. You make me want to go back and run it again.
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 7:46 AM
Thanks! :happy: This is definitely a race I would run again.
Parent - - By Xtreme Taper Date 2018-05-31 8:56 AM
Congratulations on a VCM finish!! I was a marathon virgin when I ran there but have great memories of the weekend, the race, and even that hill at mile 15. Seems you are getting comfortable with the distance so that should help a lot as you focus on a faster time this fall. Oh, and are you officially a marathon maniac now?
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 1:16 PM
I am Maniac #14579! I joined yesterday.

Seems you are getting comfortable with the distance so that should help a lot as you focus on a faster time this fall.
I agree. Running these last 2 marathon "for fun" has instilled a lot more confidence in me than I would have expected!
Parent - - By george [us] Date 2018-05-31 9:28 AM
Dang, that's a lot of marathoning in a short period of time! Nice work; you finished right around my wife! I hope you are taking some serious recovery now!!

I actually thought the "Assault on Battery" was smaller/easier than expected, but the whole rest of the course was tougher and more challenging than I thought!
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-05-31 1:18 PM
I am seriously recovering! Tri training for the summer, then back to marathon training in the fall.

Congrats on your VCM finish! You smoked it! :shocker!:

but the whole rest of the course was tougher and more challenging than I thought!
Very interesting! I guess maybe since I was coming off of Big Sur that I thought the course wasn't that difficult. :wtf:
Parent - - By george [us] Date 2018-06-06 12:47 PM
I just looked at the elevation profile for Big Sur, and DAMN! That spike in the middle looks insane!

Here is a comparison of the two courses. Looks like VCM is a fair amount easier than Big Sur (and with good reason!).
Parent - By IB Date 2018-06-07 8:37 PM
Looks like about 500 feet in two miles, not that bad. Interesting site you linked.
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-08 7:44 AM
What a cool site! Yes, that big hill was a bear, but what you can't see on the elevation profile are the rolling hills after that hill. : pbbt: So many hills!
Parent - - By blazer85 [us] Date 2018-05-31 3:01 PM
You qualified for Marathon Maniacs! 

Nice job. Your story on the pacers is why I won't run with pace groups....unless nooner makes me BE the pace group with him!:laugh:
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-01 7:12 AM
:laugh: I figured I would try a pace group since this was a no pressure race and I wanted to see how it felt to run an even split race. :meh: I should have gone with my first instinct of going with the 4:30 pacers!
Parent - - By jennyO Date 2018-05-31 3:11 PM
Great job!  Pace group leaders should NOT go out too fast!  That's the whole reason they are there - to set an even pace. :mutmad:  (BTW, SNF and I have been pace group leaders at marathons going back over 10 years now.  So I know of which I complain!)
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-01 7:13 AM
Thanks! :happy: I definitely felt bad for the people who were relying on the pacers to get them to a PR since they were doing such a bad job of pacing. :sad: I definitely let VCM know about it in their post-race survey.

I am impressed with those of you who can pace consistently! :cool:
Parent - - By Schantzie [us] Date 2018-06-01 7:31 PM
I was hoping this would be a good race for you, and your 3rd fastest marathon, especially your 3rd of the spring is amazing. 

I'm so glad the calf cramps held off until the finish line.  They are so painful :cry:  but you know what helps muscle cramps?  A BANANA !!!!!  :grin::grin:


BTW the way, I'm campaigning for a July 4th marathon near my new 'hood, called Sauve Island, a National Wildlife Refuge on the Columbia River.  There's a full and a half, not much in the way of elevation change and none of the pesky trains that tend to interrupt the Portland Marathon.  It's about 20 miles from our place.
Parent - - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-04 7:29 AM
Thanks! :grin:

Suave Island sounds awesome :cool: but we can't make another west coast trip so soon. Maybe next year? :wtf:
Parent - By Schantzie [us] Date 2018-06-04 4:10 PM
It would absolutely have to be next year.  I will be there this year, but all attention will be on grandbaby, (hope, hope)   Also, it will take at least a year to get the house fixed up to host company :roll:  Let's all mark it on our calendars now
Parent - By Arimathea [us] Date 2018-06-07 9:51 PM
Not this year but maybe another. Portland is on the way to DD's.
Parent - - By nooner [us] Date 2018-06-05 8:54 AM
Great job! The neighborhoods really come out to support that race. I scored a nice beer around mile 20 when I ran it.

Doing that many so close together does help you get used to the distance, but it will be good for you to focus on some shorter stuff during the summer to get your speed back.

Let me know when you all start making arrangements for Kiawah Island. Our group normally rents condos right near the start.
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-08 7:45 AM
Thanks! :grin:

I will def let you know about Kiawah! :cool:
Parent - - By Tommeke Date 2018-06-05 11:01 AM
Congratulations :cool:

Not a pacer fan either. They do tend to go out too fast.
Plus, a pace is something very personal. I'm usually a slower descender and a faster climber. It's hard to adjust that in a race.
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-08 7:45 AM
Thanks! :cool:

I figured I might as well try out a pacer since it was a no-pressure race for me. If I try one again, I will definitely talk to them beforehand and ask what their plan is!
Parent - - By Eric1970 Date 2018-06-07 4:51 PM
Great job Martha! VCM is a great race. I loved that finish along the lake for the final few miles. I'm a bit disappointed that you turned down free samples of ice cream, but that was probably the fatigue.: pbbt: (FWIW, I think Ken and I waited around for seconds. :laugh:) Rest up! :cool:
Parent - By Beastie Girl [us] Date 2018-06-08 7:47 AM
Thanks Eric! :cool:

Haha I think in the back of my mind I knew we were going to Ben and Jerry's again after the race so that made it easier to skip the ice cream. : pbbt:
Up Topic General / Letters and Opinions / Vermont City Marathon Race Report 2018

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