I run lots of marathons with lots of different goals. I selected the Erie Marathon to be my fall goal marathon, meaning, this is the one that I wanted to have my fastest time of the year.
My goal was to break 3:20. I was pretty relaxed about this goal, and decided I would not be upset with something just over 3:20, but a sub 3:20 was what I was going to shoot for.
Bill and I drove the 9 hours from Waukesha, WI to Erie, PA the day before the race. We arrived in time to for packet pickup, and to visit the expo. I got my packet, and checked out the race perks. Our goodie bag is a reusable shopping bag with the marathon logo. I use reusable bags all the time, and this one is smaller than my others, and will be perfect for a quick trip to the grocery for a few items. The race shirt is blue, long sleeved, cool design, and it is small enough for me. Yay! I am jazzed about the race perks.
We go to check out the outdoor expo. There are 2 vendors, one local running store, and one national one. A quick look around, and I see a guy, waiting for his wife, with a 10 week old baby golden lab puppy named Luna. Luna was so calm and cute and fun and soft, I wanted to put her in my reusable bag and take her home.
After we were done at the expo, and Luna was tired out, we did a little sight seeing on Presque Isle and drove the course. The course does 2 loops through the state park. It is pancake flat, shaded, and scenic.
We went and checked into our hotel - the Econo Lodge. Our room smelled a bit arm pitty, but was otherwise clean and comfortable. For the record, Bill did not notice any unusual smell, and after a few minutes, I no longer noticed it either.
Race morning brought us nearly ideal conditions. 60 degrees, overcast, slight drizzle and breezy. OK, not perfect for spectators, or husbands with cameras, but I like these conditions.
I planned to start with a 7:30 pace, and see how it felt, and see how long I could maintain that. I ran the first mile in 7:15, and it felt really good. I continued pretty steadily, ranging from 7:04 to 7:19 per mile, and kept feeling good. After 10 miles, I was the fifth female. Around mile 11, I passed a woman. I kept looking ahead for more women to pass. I'd get jazzed when I'd see a long pony tail, but, these turned out to be guys. I eventually found and passed 2 more women.
About mile 24, I started to feel tired, and slowed to a 7:30, and then a 7:44. I sped up for the last 2 tenths to finish with a 3:09:45, and second female.
I found Bill after I finished, and he congratulated me. I called my running friend Dennis to let him know how I did. He basically had 2 things to say "I am proud of you." and "See, I told you so." He was volunteering at Dylan's run in Milwaukee with all our other running friends, and he shared the news with them.
After getting some post race food, we went into downtown Erie to take a peak at the Tall Ships festival. We didn't have much time, so opted not to spend the $15 per person to go on and near the ships, so we just got this picture from the parking area.
We jumped back in the car, quick trip to the hotel, which offered marathoners a 2pm checkout. Bill appreciated this very much, since this meant he didn't have to ride 9 hours home with an unshowered marathoner.
On the way home, I had a pecan mudslide for dinner at one of the turn pike service plazas.
It was a short trip, but a great weekend. Great race, great course, great perks, great husband, a surprise PR, and sharing my accomplishment with friends. And a puppy. And ice cream for dinner. It doesn't get much better.