Thursday, November 17, 2016

City of Oaks

Every year it seems I end up racing on back to back weekends. This year doing full marathons on consecutive weekends made it extra special. Only 8 days after finishing the Triple Lakes Trail marathon it was an early Sunday morning for the 10th annual City of Oaks marathon in my hometown of Raleigh NC. The course actually came about 2 miles from our house at one point.

That Sunday morning also contained the time change, when we on the east coast roll the clocks back magically overnight and gain an extra hour of sleep. This would prove lucky for me, as I was quite well rested at the start.

The start line ahead of me

and the starting crowd behind me

Running for the company line
We started at the NC State Bell Tower on Hillsborough Street, something I run past all the time. We went into downtown and came up to the Capital building with the sun directly behind it, which was really cool. This was a beautiful course. I took the phone with me and tried to get some pictures, but eventually it ended up in the pack.

Starting strong

I'm ready to run!

Huge pack of runners going down!

This is going up to the State Capital building. You can't see it for the sun

It was great to get into downtown for the first few miles. Yes there were some hills, but I kept seeing mile splits on the Garmin like 8:34, 8:41, even a few in the 8:20's. Getting out of downtown and more into West Raleigh, I did stop at a port-a-let for a quick poop, so that mile was about 10:20. Hopefully that won't happen again? I was ahead of the 4 hour pace group when I stopped, then behind them when I finished.

I did pass the 4 hour pace group again, then in mile 9 ran past the church as well. They had an aide station setup there, and I got cheered on from one of the preachers (who just signed up for his first full marathon) and plenty of other friends and their kids. That was really cool.

Around mile 10 we ran through Meredith College, and then the halfers turned left to head back down Hillsborough street to the finish, and we went right onto the Reedy Creek Greenway for some time on the paved trail. I had to stop again right around here. Again, I was ahead of the 4 hour pace group, and they passed me again while I was on the crapper. Again, I passed them not long after I was back on the trail.

We actually turned onto the House Creek trail, which I have never run before. I didn't realize how long it was, but this was a big out and back section. It goes up towards the North Hills area, and under Glenwood Ave. Again, this is where the real hills are. Going down in mile 14 or so wasn't too bad. I hit the halfway point in 1:57, which is pretty decent.

By mile 18 I had already made the last turnaround and was still ahead of the 4 hour pace group. So guess what I had to do for the 3rd time? yeah. that. This time they passed me again and I couldn't catch up. I was still clocking some decent miles, plenty of 8:47 to 9:20 miles. In mile 21 the wheels really started to fall off. I could feel the lactic acid building stock and it wasn't clearing out the way it should be. So I upped the fluid, kept my head up, and just kept going. Mile 23 was the worst. It was mostly straight uphill, including that bomber from mile 14 in reverse. That was over 11 minutes.

Still eventually the hills subsided and we got back onto Hillsborough street heading to the finish. I clocked mile 25 in only 9:10, which may be the first time that has happened.

With my big-ass spinning medal

Finish line is back there
Officially I finished in 4:06:48, a 9:25 pace. Just good enough for 183 / 509 overall, 140 / 345 men, and 23 / 53 men 40-44. That's solidly in the first half of the mid-pack, and I'm dang happy about that. I really felt surprisingly strong through mile 21, and thought I could break 4 hours. Without losing about 2 minutes at each of 3 poop stops I would have been a lot closer. Still, I'll take it. This is quite a win for me overall. I got 2 marathons in 8 days and 3 marathons in 36 days for the win. This is #3 of my 12 marathons in 8 months streak.

Overall this was an amazing, well organized race on a beautiful day and a beautiful course. Since I'm used to running these roads I didn't think the hills were too bad. This is a wonderful way to see Raleigh on foot. My 24th marathon is in the books and I couldn't ask for anything more.


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

24 marathons - dang that's impressive! And I'm impressed how well you did considering that you ran a marathon the previous weekend. That's nice that the race fell on the weekend of the 'fall back'. Always nice to start a race feeling more rested. Bummer about all the portapotty stops, though!!!

Abby said...

Wow. That is amazing. I cannot believe you ran a marathon that fast the week after another. I usually go out and struggle through 5/6 at an ugly pace. You are just killing it.