Rachel from Plymouth, MI (Female)
Occupation: Running Retailer
Age on race day: 27
2006 Trail Marathon - Pinkney, MI
This was my 5th marathon and I finished in 3:55:30.
I consider myself an intermediate runner and I primarily run for several reasons including competition, fitness, and stress relief to name a few. I decided to run a marathon because in high school I ran cross country, and I was fascinated by the idea that a human being could actually go 26.2 miles.
The best training advice I received was to train on the type of terrain that I would race on so I spent every other week on the course itself training for the marathon. I got to know every mile of the course which helped on race day. It was especially important because it was a trail race. It was easy because it was within 45 minutes of my house.
The race took place on a beautiful Sunday morning in April, the perfect temperature, the perfect trail conditions, dry and well packed. The course was a 13 mile loop, run twice. There were about 150 people in the marathon.
The race is put on by a handful of people I know very well, so the "crowd" support consisted of about 5-10 people I know yelling at the top of their lungs at every aid station. The aid stations were about 4 miles apart. In between each aid station were miles of rolling hills through Midwestern forests. For the most part I ran these sections with a few other people but towards the end of the race it got pretty solitary, which I like.
I held back quite a bit, knowing there would be many steep hills at the 5-7 mile section and then at the end of the 13 mile loop. It paid off to relax in the beginning because I ended up doing a strong negative split.
I felt very strong in the end, as if I could have kept going. I've never felt that good during a marathon, and I attribute it to training consistently, starting slow, and properly hydrating during the race.
I didn't have any problems with my recovery. There is a lake at the end of the race, so I waded into the freezing cold Michigan lake in April and "iced" my legs. Then I went home and drank a beer.
Running Gear Recommendations:
Brooks Adrenaline ASR Trail Shoes They are supportive and rugged to handle any trail conditions. Search »
Smartwool Socks If there is one thing that I hope I can take with me after I die, its smartwool socks. I can't live without them. Search »
Pick a race that suits you. If you like running with a lot of people, and the excitement of race day carries you through a run, pick a big marathon like Chicago, NY or Marine Corps. If you like running with friends, and training with a group, get together and pick a smaller local race. If you like running through the woods, look for a trail race.
Plans to Run Another:
God willing, I'm planning to continue to run marathons. As long as I can put one foot in front of the other, I'll never stop running.
For future marathons, I am currently increasing my mileage under the same training plan, hoping to get my time down.