Marathons: Paul #17, Leah #7, State #3 : Baystate Marathon 2012
21st October 2012, Lowell, Massachusetts, USA
Finish Time (Leah) = 3:50:24
Finish Time (Paul) = 3:51:17
From our close finish times you might initially think we ran together and Leah sprinted off at the end, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While I was working on the East Coast we decided that instead of my usual return home for the weekend, Leah could fly out and we could add another state to our list. This is around the time we started thinking seriously about doing 10 States to get the 50 States vest (see 50 States).
It was fall / autumn and all the leaves were turning different orange and yellow colours. I’ve seen this in the UK before so I didn’t know why everyone was making such a fuss about it here, that was until we spent the day touring the White Mountain National Forest the day before the marathon. The colours were spectacular and so many different shades all in one place. Even the pictures I took don’t fully do it justice.
On the morning of the race we set off and Leah sped off, as usual. I let her go and settled into my pace enjoying the trees, leaves and scenery as I ran. It was a great course. We did two loops of it and I noticed new things on the second loop that I hadn’t even noticed on the first.
While I was enjoying the run, unknown to me Leah was suffering big time from her fast first half. She had run the first half quicker than any other race she’d run before but was paying the price. She was fighting with her pace and through pain, slowing down more and more each mile. It’s interesting to compare our watch data as each mile beyond 13 I got progressively closer to catching her up just by running consistent pace. Of course I didn’t know this at the time.
As I got towards the end of the run I was still running strong and had actually sped up for the last 2 miles as I realized I was on for a record time and would beat my best time of 3:53. As I rounded the final corner I heard the announcer call out “…all the way from Denver, Colorado!”. I knew that wasn’t me because I wasn’t in the line of sight yet, but I thought… surely that’s not Leah? I turned the corner and ran down through the finish to a new PR/ PB of 3:51. I couldn’t believe it! The first thing that hit me after I stopped running though was how much pain every muscle in my leg was in though.
You Waited For Me!
Then the first person I saw was Leah, standing right there at the finish line. I thought she’d decided to wait there for me and cheer me on through the finish, which was nice. However as I approached her it turned out she was only there because she had just crossed the line too and could barely move. All she could say was “I.. need to stretch”.
Normally we’re in a lot of pain after finishing marathons, but after 5 minutes of stretching we feel much more human again. Not so with this race, for either of us. We did all the stretching we possibly could but were still in so much pain. For me at least, the joy of the new record eventually managed to overcome the stiff muscles.
As far as race goes, this was a great race in Massachusetts during the fall / autumn colours, I would highly recommend it. As far as race experience goes, I have pretty good memories whereas Leah.. not so much!
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