Carmel Marathon Recap

The Carmel Marathon was my 7th full marathon. I feel like I should always learn something from a race whether it’s about my current training, race strategy, goals, or whatever. I did learn a couple things across these 26.2 miles and am happy to see that my training is paying off. Except for the fact that it was uncomfortably cold it was a great day to run. I ran the first 14 miles with a friend then took off on my own when he got a nasty cramp and had to slow down. Over all I PR’d by 2 minutes and 46 seconds coming in at an official time of 5:15:07. I really think that if it had been 10 degrees warmer I may have been able to shave another 5 minutes off my time. Yes, that is how much cold weather effects me on the run.

The Carmel marathon course is mostly flat with only a few inclines so it really is a great place to run a fast race. Due to A LOT of rain the previous week the course had to be changed to an alternate route as some of the course was flooded. Therefore, we were able to see a lot more of the housing editions of Carmel than I care to recall. At one point I even turned to my friend and said, “I didn’t realize that we  registered for the ‘Houses of Carmel Real Estate Marathon'”. That statement was a lot funnier after 12 miles.

The day was mostly sunny and beautiful, but unfortunately the temperature was in the low-30s with a high of 41 in the afternoon. Add in a 5-9 mph wind that chilled you to the bone with only a small reprieve when you were in direct sunlight and while it may look pretty it was not fun to be outside for 5 hours. I was dressed in head to toe under armour cold gear and was still chilly.

The volunteers on this course were great. The field for the full marathon was relatively small, but when just one or two runners came by an aid station, the volunteers erupted in cheers and words of encouragement. Again, they  were all great! There is a section in the last mile that goes through the Arts and Design District of Carmel. There is a lot of traffic as only one side of the street is shut down. I was especially appreciative of a group of people who sitting on the corner right before the final push up 116th street. They had a lot of handmade signs for everyone and made a lot of noise for every runner as they made their way toward the finish. It was great to see people out just to cheer on any runner who happened by!

Mile 25:

I have to call out kudos two-guys who were sitting in their front yard with a Budweiser sign, lawn chairs, a cooler, and a sound system of a couple speakers and an iPod. This isn’t so special except that they were sitting at the base of one of the only formidable inclines with the Mile 25 marker sitting at the top of that hill. As I rounded that corner and saw that hill I was feeling very tired. The two dudes started yelling encouragement then then yelled, “Hold on!” They must have seen that I was struggling a bit because two seconds later the stereo was pumping, Eye of the Tiger, as I started running up that hill. This was very much needed as by then I couldn’t stop to walk up the hill if I wanted to PR. Thanks dudes!

Marathon Learning:

  • I still hate running in the cold
    • I confirmed today that cold weather effects my pace much worse than running in hot whether
  • Core work is imperative to a strong marathon finish
    • Doing 1-2 sessions of core work per week will help your speed, running form, endurance, everything
  • No matter how tired you are, Eye of the Tiger can help you burst up a hill even 25 miles into a marathon

Next:

I have the Indianapolis mini-marathon in two weeks. I don’t think my training has been focused enough on speed to attempt a PR for this one, plus I’ll be just two weeks off of this full marathon so we’ll see.  Coming in with a decent finish time so I can be seeded for next year will be good enough for me. Let’s hope for a warmer day than I had for Carmel.

Happy Training!

Brian

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