I really wanted to get a marathon in this year/post pregnancy before Boston in April and our friend Dave was trying to qualify for Boston. We chose GR due to the smaller race field and hometown feel. Please Dave has ran this course before and really enjoyed it. My birthday was October 20th so what better way to celebrate than to run a marathon!
I headed out to Grand Rapids with my dad, step mom, son and infant daughter on Saturday. We went straight to the expo/packet pick up which was located at the local YMCA. I admired the Y. Much larger than the one I go to. They have 3 levels and the expo was held on the 3rd level of the facility. It was a small expo, but still had some nice vendors. When I finally made my way back to the packet pick up, I was surprised to find that my race number was 34. That is how old I had turned that day. Nothing like being bib #34 on my 34th birthday.
Anna w/ mommy's bib number
After the expo we checked into our hotel. We stayed a few miles from the start in Grandville. It was very convenient being right off the highway. it took us about 10 minutes to get there. We relaxed at our hotel until then evening and met Dave & Mike at Olive Garden for pasta. Once dinner was over we headed back to the hotel to lay out our race gear and get some rest.
Sunday morning came quickly. I was up early to pump (sorry guys). We dressed, had coffee & pancakes in the hotel lobby/cafe and was out the door by 7am. This was probably one of the easiest races to get to and park at. We were parked on the first floor of the structure, 2 spots from the entrance. We had a short walk to the start/finish area. We hit the porto potties, walked over the the start line and by 8am we were off.
The course was nice. Definitely a small town feel but those that were out were so supportive. The course offered an abundance of water/Gatorade stations and I believe they were handing out Gu at 4 spots! The most Gu hand outs I have ever received at a marathon before was 2. I was feeling really good and on pace to run a 3:35. Then came mile 19 and I started to get sore and sluggish. I kept pushing on but it was mentally tough. Mike was struggling and had dropped back at about mile 17. My dad and Dave passed me up at about mile 21. I kept them in my site the last 5 miles and crossed the finish line 39 seconds behind them. They finished in 3:38:23 and I finished in 3:39:02. Mike finished in 3:49:59. All 4 of us BQ-ed!!
dad, me, Dave & Mike
I was really impressed with the finish line food. Water, Muscle Milk, ice cream, chips, bagels, banana, oranges, pickles. I drank a Muscle Milk light but didn't want anything else. My legs were cramping and when they cramp after a marathon, I get nauseous. Very strange, I know. I also got to see Jeff at the finish line. it was great to see him and be able to chat about how each others races went.
Overall I am pleased with the marathon. Was it the 3:35 I had hoped for? no. But I would say that running a 3:39 4.5 months after giving birth isn't so bad. It's also my 2nd fastest marathon to date.
Age Group Place: 18/101