July 5, 2010
The Independence Day Marathon is actually NOT on Independence Day, but the nomenclature of the Charlie Alewine Racing may have to do more with the limit of names around certain holiday times (Stars & Stripes, Patriotic, etc.). It doesn’t really matter. This is another one of those race “series” where people run a marathon a day on three consecutive days (but where I run one in one day).
I’m back out to the location of a previous race (a 50K that became a marathon when Laura didn’t want to wait), though this is a slightly different iteration of that Coto de Caza course. The trail is 80% horse trail; the other 20% is a little bit of street running and crossing streets in between horse trail sections.
The course starts out and we run from the Recreation Park to the main road (paved) and about a half mile RT loop to and from the guard gate. As we pass the Park, we hop onto the Horse Trail and it is rolling hills to the turnaround about 2.5 miles (with a downhill trend), and then it returns back to the Park, for a total of 6.55 miles.
I walk quite a bit on the uphill sections, just to conserve my strength. I am trying to stay consistent, and I also have a goal to win the race (though I am not sure that is possible today). The nice part on an up-and-back course is that you can see exactly where you are in the scheme of things, and also have the opportunity to greet, as well as encourage your competition. On three occasions, I get to see Aussie Alison Kirkpatrick, who is running the half marathon (and is the female winner and 2nd overall).
I finish my first loop in 65 minutes and am a few minutes behind third place and well behind the first and second place runners.
On my second loop, I catch the third place runner and vow to do all I can to maintain my pace and also play strategic tricks on him when I see him after the turnaround to dissuade him from catching up. I finish the second loop in 71 minutes, and am about 3 minutes ahead of 3rd place.
On the 3rd loop, I see a few more people. There were about 8 early starters and they were confused on the course, so they did the 2-loop version (basically a 13.1 mile loop) and we don’t really get to see them at all. I am pushing the pace on the downhill sections (because I know I will walk the uphills), but I don’t know if my strategy is working… or if the guy behind me went out too fast and is just slowing down. I finish in 73 minutes and am about 15 minutes ahead of 3rd.
On the final loop, the heat is starting to get to me a bit and I am not running very quickly on the downhills, but I am relieved to encounter 4th (and now 5th) place WELL behind me. I “lap” them on the downhill section. I finish in 4:47:12, which is a decent time for a trail marathon, especially one that I just decided to run last minute.