The weather conditions just kept changing for the Earth Day Marathon in Gambier, Ohio today. This is a nice, small, well organized race originating out of Kenyon College. The course goes through about 4 miles in town, then an out and back on the Kokosing Trail, and then another longer out and back on the asphalt Gap Trail.
I got in the back of the pack, and we started promptly off. The only “hill” in this course is within the first 1/2 mile. I walked it, noting I was able to pass a few runners who were still trying to get the leg turnover going.
Actually, the four miles or so through town is not completely flat, there are still some uphills and downhills. A nice downhill spins us down onto the Kokosing Trail. This is under some trees greening up, with some white trilliums blooming.
I was wearing my Garmin, and a little amazed to see my miles: in the 1100’s and some in the 1000’s. Huh.. do I slow down, or keep going, as I feel fine, and I’m really running on how I feel.
I get to the 13.1 mile mark, and Cheryl and Julie take my picture. I get through here in 2.26.47. I head out on the Gap Trail.
At this point, it’s getting warm out there. The rains from over night has left it pretty humid-the first major humidity of the year. I’m starting to slow down a bit after the 1/2 marathon-I’m seeing the pace fall off into the 12’00 and 1300’s.
Around the 17 mile mark, the water stop has ICE! I’m pysched! I put some in my water bottle and dump a cup down the back of my running bra. That helps to cool me down a bit.
My friend Ron Dukes catches up to me around here. He keeps me company and we chat and reach the turn around spot. At this time we can see the ominious black sky ahead of us. The approaching storm actually helps by blowing some of the humidity away.
My friend Cheryl Splain catches us around mile 22. She’s worked the day for the Mt Vernon Newspaper, reporting the race for the paper. After she interviewed the winners, she headed out to run a few miles and pace me in. About the time Cheryl arrived, the rain started. It felt really good.
My pace was still off, and when I glanced at the Garmin, I noted it still read 17.18. I must have hit the stop button when I got the ice. Arugh!! I just went ahead and turned it off.
We caught up with Ann at mile 24.5 something. It turned out she was a friend of Julie’s also, and running her first marathon!! The rain started here in full, and Cheryl and I kept chatting away to distract her. We turned the corner to enter the track, and Ann pulled away in order to beat the barefoot girl running. I also tossed down my water bottle as I hit the track, and yelled at Ann that I was right behind her. But Ann was putting the hammer down for her last 0.2 mile lap, and she finished a good twenty seconds in front of me.
I finally look at the clock as I come through the finish, it looks like a 5.10.something.
I’m good with this. I wanted to run a sub 5 hour marathon, but I probably went out a bit too fast, and then the heat/humidity kind of slowed my speed down in the second half.
Good food afterwards: chili, both meat and meatless, and ham, roast beef, and veggie sandwiches, with cookies and soda. AND plenty left, for us slower runners!!