Marathons: Paul #49, Leah #39, State #33 : Pilgrim Pacer Marathon 2014
15th November 2014, Shawnee, Kansas, USA
Finish Time = 4:16:01
A big reason for entering the Pilgrim Pacer, other than it being a State we needed that worked in our schedule, was the medal had a pilgrim on with “PP” initials on his buckle signifying the race name. As the initials also matched my name, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have a “PP” medal.
As we got closer to the race date we realised it was going to be a cold one, completely the opposite of the weather we had the weekend before in Nevada. It was looking like it would be 19F / -7C and snowing. So a few days beforehand we bought some neck / face warmers to go with our winter running gear.
We flew into Kansas City the day before, picked up our bibs and made our usual night before dinner in the hotel with a bottle of red wine. The morning of the marathon we drove over to the start/finish area with the heating on in the car and heated seats on full. When we got out of the car we realised how freezing it was. We had 3 layers on our top half (including a wind resistant jacket), 2 pairs of tights, 2 pairs of sockets, gloves, the neck/face warmer and a hat. It was still cold. I wasn’t sure if I liked wearing 2 pairs of compression tights as it made it hard to actually bend my knees properly, but it was freezing cold so I decided to go with it. Another Marathon Maniac spotted us and came over to say hello, he was Andy “Tambourine Man”. He runs all his marathons with a tambourine on his back.
Luckily we didn’t have to wait around for long until the race kicked off. The face warmers were great to begin with but quickly they got a bit hot and hard to breathe when up around our nose & mouth. They worked better worn that way while standing around and then down as just a neck warmer while running.
After only 2 miles I was getting Achilles issues on one of my legs. I tried to slow down to run at a slower pace while warming up but it didn’t help. After 3 miles it was so painful that I wasn’t sure how I would have run the last 6 miles of a marathon if I was already at mile 20, let alone the next 23 miles. Leah asked what I wanted to do.. but there wasn’t much of an option, quitting certainly wasn’t one, especially after travelling out to another state and underway in a race that we needed to complete the state for. I didn’t really know how I was going to keep going though, suddenly the challenge felt double the length and double the difficulty and I was frustrated. I pushed on and put my iPod on to try to zone out. My Achilles had got so stiff that I couldn’t flex my foot properly and as we went over a curved bridge with wooden planks I caught the front of my foot on a raised plank and nearly went flying onto my face. I was not having a good time.
The course was an out and back, once for the half marathoners and twice for the marathoners. This meant that by the time we got to half-way we were back to where we had started from which was the parking area with our warm car and way home. You can also just finish and take the half-marathon medal / time if you want to rather than completing the full. As we approached Leah checked with me on what I wanted to do. As tempting as you would think it would sound in theory, finishing at half way didn’t even enter my mind. If I’ve done half then I’ve only got half to go. From that point on you’ve got less distance left than you’ve already run.
We turned around at the half way point and we stopped so I could take off the outer pair of running tights off. It was still cold but I had to try something. I instantly felt better. I couldn’t believe it and was a little annoyed at myself for not trusting my instincts that 2 layers of tights were restricting my knee movement. We set off for the second half with 2:13 on the clock. It was a relief just not being in pain any more. Then it started to snow. After another 10 minutes the snow turned to hail and we were running head on into the wind and hail battering us. Luckily after 20 minutes or so it stopped and went back to just being freezing again!
It was a welcome relief to finally head up the hill to the finish, we completed the second half 10 minutes faster than than the first, in 2:03, with a finish time of 4:16.
We were happy to have completed the State given the circumstances and I had definitely earned my PP medal.
Elevation Graph from my running watch:
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