Race Autopsy: The 2010 Vermont City Marathon

The synopsis

If for some unknown reason you don’t want to read seven hundred words on my running of the Vermont City Marathon here it is in a sentence.

I ran VCM in 4:27:16 smashing my previous marathon PR of 5:45.

The Lead Up

Ah Vermont, the land of Ben and Jerry’s, beautiful vistas and some of the largest mountains on the East Coast. It is gorgeous, and a great place to run.

On Friday night, I flew up from D.C. meeting E at the Burlington airport and then taking a cab to Stowe, where we were staying. Slept for a good eight hours and then spent the day with my parents who also made the trip.  Went to the expo, sat around the house chilling, and basically freak out with nerves about the coming race. Saturday night E made a delicious pasta dinner and I was in bed by ten o’clock where I proceeded to toss and turn for hours.

Sunday I was up at five, had two eggs and toast and was out the door by six fifteen. I was at the race start by 7:30, and then proceeded to wait in line for the bathroom for twenty minutes before dashing to the start to line up with the 4:45 pace group and listen for the start of the gun.

The Race

I had promised myself that I would go out slow in this race, and I did… sorta. I stuck with the 4:45 pace group for the first couple of miles. About four miles in, the two leaders of the 4:45 group decided to split up, one of them would be doing a steady jog for the length of the race and the other would pick up some speed on the downhills in order to make up for time lost on the uphills (Vermont is really hilly). I went with the woman who was banking time on the downhills and then when the first uphill start around mile six, I just couldn’t bring myself to slow down. Instead, I went on ahead alone.

Somewhere around mile eight I met up with a woman and ran with her until around mile 8, where to my astonishment, I’d caught the 4:30 pace group. I was a little nervous that this meant I had gone too fast, too early, but decided to just say screw it and stick with this bunch. The 4:30 pace group leader was great, just the kind of talkative, supportive person I needed, especially in those last five miles. A pace group is an interesting thing, as the miles piled up a group of ten of us stayed with the leader and created a sort of peer pressure group which assured that none of us were going to slow down. Around mile twenty four, a guy named Nam and I took off ahead of the pace group leader and just gave it all of what little we had left. Nam clearly had more than I did and pull away from me at mile 25. I just kept pushing, trying to ignore the pain in my knees and hips and crossed the line at 4:27:16.

Summing Up

Reflecting generally on the race, I’d say it is a fun run. It is hilly, with an especially steep incline around mile 15, some of the course got pretty lonely, with little crowd support, but maybe that was just because I am slow. The weather wasn’t bad until the last couple of miles where the temperature had climbed into the eighties. I enjoyed the race, but I don’t think I will do this one again. Next year, I’d like my spring marathon to be a little earlier to avoid the chance of high temperatures.

On my performance, I’m really very happy with my time. I had no idea going into it what I was capable of doing. I would have been happy with anything under 4:45, and going under 4:30 is really pretty fucking great for me.

Now, of course, I can’t stop thinking about going under four hours.

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About seanv2

Scholar, gentleman, jock. I run the website Milo and the Calf. There you will find the Boston Qualifier Questionnaire where runners share their stories of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. You'll also find my thoughts on endurance sports, ancient history, Judaism, and hundreds of book reviews.
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