I added the ATT Marathon to my race calendar pretty late – about a month before the race itself. I added it as a “training race” (or a ‘C’ race) to prepare for the MST 50k three weeks out. I’ve been mostly doing single track hilly/mountainous ultras for a while and feel like I’ve lost some speed at a more road like run, and figured I’d be doing a long training run that weekend anyway, so why not?
I met Sarah and David at Lowes in PBO at 5:30, and Sarah’s husband drove us over. The race states to arrive by 5:30 even if you have a parking pass to guarantee a spot, but we arrived closer to 6. There were still no issues parking. It was a bit chilly (42F?) but I opted to leave the vest behind and just run with arm warmers, gloves, and a 200 weight icebreaker tee. I also had a buff over my ears. While it was a bit chilly walking to the start and checking in my post race bag, once in the starting corral it wasn’t bad — lots of heat with all the bodies!
My plan was to run out with Mark Manz who was to lead the 3:40 pace group for a mile or two or three, and then speed up and shoot for roughly an 8:00/mile pace avg. But I didn’t see Mark there so I thought I’d jump in with the 3:35 group. David was up ahead in the 3:30 group. About 2 miles in, the 3:35 group was only 10s behind the 3:30 group, so I felt like the pacing was off. I had come up on David and ran with him for a few. Once we turned on to the ATT, it’s a slight downhill, and I knew it was time to pick it up. I passed the 3:35 group and quickly decided to pass the 3:30 group too — I didn’t like being behind a group.
So then I was in no man’s land… I watched the 3:25 group up ahead, but didn’t really close the gap much at all. Looking at my watch, I figured they were more in the 3:22-3:23 range and was content to just run my race. There’s not a lot to write about for the middle portion of the race. It’s like a T, so you go north and turn around, then south and turn around, and then back to the “trunk” of the T and back to the start/finish. The two turn arounds let me see the various pace groups and other runners a couple times.
I held steady until the south turn around and was really feeling good. But I recalled from the 2014 race that I imploded from mile 23-25 or so, with the every so slight 1-2% grade really wearing me down. This time I thought if I could just get over that climb averaging under 8:00 for each of those miles, I’d be pretty happy. I ended up doing 7:40 or so and it didn’t feel hard at all.
At that point I really picked it up a notch, and finally felt like I was working. But with just a couple miles to go, now was the time, C race or not. I knew I’d be under 3:20, and thought briefly I could even go for a PR (3:17). But alas I had waited too long to have a shot at that! I finished very strong in 3:18:44 on my watch and had a BQ by 6+ minutes. I was very pleased with that!
Here’s the pace chart… So much for 3:40 (8:25) to start! But it never felt hard.
And the splits for the markers on the course… Love the negative split and passing 40 runners in the last 10k!
Strava race analysis:
And final results:
Post race photos:
(David ran a 3:31 and was 2nd in the 60-64 age group!)
I’ll update here if I get any other photos from the race photographer…