Attempt No. 3 of the year for a sub-3:30 marathon. The 2016 City of Oaks Marathon in Raleigh, North Carolina would be my last full, so it was time to go all out.
Because I had those two marathons under my belt all by the end of the spring, and the Pikes Peak Marathon done in August, my schedule for City of Oaks was abbreviated, at 10 weeks long.
Most weeks were between 35 and 50 miles and included an assortment of workouts to keep on my toes like hill workouts, interval gauntlets, and pace and tempo runs. I also had my Wednesday November Project mornings to ensure my body was always working.
I also had long runs of 10-20 miles and– because I had previously been burned my walls at around the 18-20 mile mark, added in an extra 20-miler to build up the legs a bit more.
Through all of this, I managed not to hurt myself, so I was already one step ahead of myself heading into taper town. Oh, and during my taper I ran in a 5k, where I PR’d and earned the top spot in my age group. Oops.
This whole “let’s do each marathon in a different state” thing is beginning to rack up my odometer.
Mrs. CR and I drove down to Durham on the Friday night before the race. We didn’t hit much traffic, but were eager to stop by the time we hit southern Virginia. We were hungry and ready for a bathroom break; Bojangles was our answer.
Seeing as I needed to carboload, I placed a pretty ambitious order with a couple biscuits that seemed filled with calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. But hey, gotta fuel up, right?
We devoured everything back on the road, but I quickly regretted each and every bite. From the VA/NC border all the way to our friends’ house in Durham, my stomach was the battleground of World War III. Miraculously, I survived the drive and the pain subsided, but it would be some time before I’d be able to, errr, get rid of that Friday night dinner.
Saturday morning, we went for an easy shake-out run, had breakfast, picked up coffee, and then headed to the expo. There, we filled our reusable grocery bags with as much free stuff as we could find before driving to downtown Durham for a bite to eat and some sights to see.
I had a veggie burger, sweet potato fries, and a couple beers (and probably a pitcher of water, too). We walked around the stadium of the minor league Durham Bulls and before we knew it, were at the grocery store to grab some munchies for Saturday night.
A couple hours and a few bags of Chex Mix later, I was pooped– although I hadn’t since Friday afternoon– and ready for bed. I laid out my clothes, finalized my playlist, and then– of course– laid in bed while playing with Instagram. Eventually, though, I fell asleep with dreams of a sub-3:30 finish.
- “A” Goal: Finish sub-3:30 (sub-8:00 minute/miles)
- “B” Goal: Finish with a PR, sub-3:31 (sub-8:04)
- “C” Goal: Finish the race, preferably smiling.