It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged (and more on the reason for that soon enough), but I thought I’d get back in the game here with my Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon recap, which I ran in June of 2016. Luckily, I log all my runs on another site so I don’t have to just try to remember everything that was going on during the race. And obviously I have my GPS data for splits.
Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon Expo:
The expo was held at University of Alaska Anchorage, in their fieldhouse/basketball arena. Nothing too crazy, but a nice mix of vendors. I asked if I could pick my own number just for fun and they almost let me, but now I can’t remember why they didn’t. I think the number I wanted was a designated half-marathon number, but I thought 868 was good. I like even numbers.
Considering I’ve only run very large marathons (Chicago, Boston, and Columbus…which isn’t a large marathon, but starts with the half marathon which does have a large field size), the start line area and hype for the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon was quite different than I’ve ever experienced.
The full and half marathoners do not start together because each is a point-to-point course and the half start an hour and 30 minutes after the full so runners are finishing around the same time.
Aunt Sonja, Uncle Dave, Hanna, and Jane all came with to the start area, which was the parking lot of a high school, and hung outwith me right up until I had to line up…which was about 3 minutes before gun went off. I got to meet some of their friends who were also running, use the port-a-potties a few times, and stretch out for awhile.
Miles 1 – 3: 7:36, 7:39, 7:45
This was way too fast. And I knew that, but I felt like I was moving slow and even though I tried to slow myself down further, it didn’t really work. Legs were tight, I think from it being chillier and only wearing shorts at the start.
These first few miles led from the high school down a highway – but we weren’t on the road – this is a small enough race that we were on the bike path to the side of the road. It was a long, straight stretch.
Miles 4 – 10: 7:46, 7:32, 8:09, 7:55, 7:51, 7:45, 7:51
I started making friends with the few people around me. We chatted, talked about races we’ve done in the past, etc. So many of the people I talked to were just doing the Anchorage Mayor’s Marathon as part of training for ultra-marathons or Ironman triathlons. These Alaskans are tough!
The bike trail continued until about miles 5 I believe and then we got onto a gravel trail – what they call the tank trail, which is on US Army land. I had read a few race reviews/recaps in the few weeks before the race and was nervous for this because so many people said you’d be running over golf-ball and baseball-sized rocks. Let me assure you that this was not the case at all. There were a few patches that had more legit rocks than gravel, but I can’t say I felt like I had to be looking down and watching my feet the entire time. I was trying as much as I could to just relax and enjoy the scenery!
The support crew was at a turn on the trail at mile 9 (where Aunt Sonja took this picture from) and I actually even stopped for a few seconds to grab a sip of a water bottle they had. I ended up doing this later in the race as well; They didn’t have many official race water stations that I remember, so it worked out nicely that I could take some water from them…and that I wasn’t trying to PR in this race so I could afford to stop for a few extra seconds.
Mile 11: 8:33
There was a steep hill in this mile that I ended up walking up some of. Just couldn’t muster the strength to get up it. Chicago is flat.
Mile 12: 7:30
Due to the walking break, I lost the group of people I was running with. This resulted in my being alone, running through the wilderness on Army land where no spectators were allowed. It was not particularly comforting and I was sure a bear would come and eat me. Sooo I’m pretty sure that’s why I sped up.
Miles 13 – 17: 8:51, 9:01, 8:20, 7:34, 8:12
Miles 13-14 I believe were when we got off the Army land/tank trail and onto more of a technical dirt trail. I came though the half at exactly 1:45 and at this time, I had caught up with one lady who was in the group of 3-4 I had run with earlier in the race, but I couldn’t stick with her. The majority of these miles were all running, with a few short walk breaks.
Miles 18 – 22: 8:51, 7:56, 8:12, 8:47, 9:58
There were a lot more walking breaks during miles 18 through the finish. But I got to see my support crew I think 3 times during these few miles!
The course was entirely on either a bike bath or a trail until the very very end, when you finished on a road and then on grass.
I was so happy in this picture because I had just seen the crew 2 times in the last mile or 2 already and then they quickly made it to another spot before I got there so it was fun to see them so much! And I think this was around mile 18-19 so I wasn’t COMPLETELY dead yet…but I was getting there.
Miles 23 – 26.2: 8:47, 8:39, 8:37, 9:52
Finally, the end! I did manage to catch up to a guy from the pack earlier in the race – we kept alternating between running and walking and catching up to each other or falling behind. So that kept me going for the last few miles, but they were rough. These miles were still on the bike path and in the last mile we were running right next to the ocean. Then, we had to come up from sea level to the finish area and that was anything but pleasant. The worst hills of the race, right there in the last quarter mile. But finally made it to the top and was able to push it in.
(Sweaty Band = Simply Satin)
Finish time: 3:38:26
Overall, I finished this race eager to do another marathon. Not having the pressure on myself to meet a certain time goal helped and I chose not to run with music so I could just try to enjoy my surroundings while I ran. During the race, I did have some thoughts of finishing under 3:35 to potentially be able to run Boston in 2017, but my desire to do so was not strong enough to prevent me from my late-mile walk breaks.
The weather was great for this race – a little on the hotter side, especially at times when we were in the sun, but nothing to complain about really. The summer sun in Alaska is a tricky thing – even when it says one temperature, it feels soooo much warmer (probably by about 10-15 degrees) because you are so much closer the sun.