A Great Day at the Races: Vermont City Marathon 2014

5-25-14 marathon pearl street

The Vermont City Marathon is a great marathon for so many reasons. It is a super, well organized race and the starting line is only about 30 minutes from our home out in the “sticks” Smile. While it is a smaller sized marathon with a hometown feel, the quality is top-notch, thanks to RunVermont. They do a fantastic job putting on one of the best events in Burlington, VT! On the Friday before the marathon, I had the privilege of volunteering in the RunVermont office.  I was so impressed with all the hard work they do to make race day a magical experience in so many regards. Thanks to everyone at RunVermont and all the volunteers that made the day possible!

5-25-14 me and scott running

Church Street (mile 10)

The Vermont City Marathon (VCM) was my first marathon in 2011 and Scott’s second last weekend! The course is mostly flat and fast with only a couple short “hills”. I really like how the course has five different sections to make it interesting. With several miles along Lake Champlain, it makes for a beautiful run! And the crowd support in downtown Burlington is really heart warming. The VCM is an ideal Boston Qualifier and a good race for a personal best when the weather cooperates. Taking place on Memorial Day weekend, we never really know what mother nature will have in store for us here in Vermont. When I ran it 3 years ago it was in the mid to high 80s F and super humid. Last year it was cold and raining sideways. This year it was a bit too warm but nothing crazy. It was a beautiful day to be a spectator, but difficult to run during the last 6 or so miles.

5-25-14 course map

Originally I had planned to run the VCM with Scott as his pacer and moral support throughout the 26.2 miles. Racing wasn’t in the cards as I had just done the Boston Marathon back in April. But I felt that running at Scott’s marathon pace would be fun and not overly taxing. However, my running coach gave me the the red light for running the whole 26.2 miles with Scott. Coming off the Boston Marathon and winter training cycle I was tired…very tired. Boston took a lot out of me and I did not argue with my coach when she made the decision. However a week before the marathon, I ran 12 miles with Scott on the last portion of the VCM race course and felt decent. I felt confident that I could at least run the first half with him during the marathon. His planned pace of 7:45 minutes per mile would be very feasible and comfortable for me. I was feeling a lot better compared to four weeks ago.

I was fortunate enough to have found a 2 person relay team in need of someone last minute. Food 4 Farmers which is local non-profit organization had several relay teams and I got to run on one of their teams. Sadly the young man I replaced had mono and couldn’t run that day. He was supposed to run with his mom as a team. Luckily he recovered and is doing fine. I’m happy I got the chance to run and gave his mom the opportunity to run the second leg. All parties were very happy! She thanked me many times, but it was me who felt so grateful to be given the chance to run the first 13.1 miles with my husband!

5-25-14 scott and I pre race

Hanging out at Ontrack with the gang before the marathon

The morning was cool, sunny and crisp. It was one of those perfect bluebird spring mornings. However we knew it would heat up later in the day so I carried a fuel belt with two water bottles filled with sports drink and one hand-held water bottle. I gladly took on the task as “water girl” for the first 13.1 miles and that worked quite well. The first 3 miles were fun and fast but I made sure we were not running too fast in the beginning. Scott’s Suunto was saying we were running around an 8:10 pace which was way off, but my Garmin was reporting a faster pace of 7:30s. So our first 3 miles were a bit faster than our planned 7:45 pace. This was OK as it did feel very comfortable even to Scott. I was completely enjoying the experience and the magic of the first few miles.

5-25-14 scott vcm by lake

The bike path after Oakledge Park (miles 14-15)

We then headed down on the beltline for miles 4-9. The sun was beaming and there was a bit of fog and mist. The morning was still feeling cool with a nice breeze. I was keeping a close eye on our pace and making sure we were on target. Scott was looking good and running strong. I felt so elated to be running out there with Scott and sharing this special day. I was impressed with how well Scott did up the beltline “hill” which is the first of two notable climbs in this marathon. He kept his pace right on target! He was running very well. We then ran back through downtown Burlington and the famous Church Street. This was a total joy! I kept smiling and saw several familiar faces cheering for us including Eric.

The next section took us running out on Pine Street toward the Cove neighborhood. This was also going well and Scott was still doing great. The Cove section which is a fun loop through a residential section near the lake was also going smoothly. There were a few times it got congested with relay runners, but we were able to keep up our pace and stick together. Before I knew it we turned onto the bike path and headed into Oakledge Park where I would hand off my wrist band to my teammate Penny. My 13.1 miles were done. I said my goodbyes to Scott has he headed off onto the second half. I was happy to see Penny and wished her a great run. But I was also sad to have finished my run with Scott. It was the first time I was actually feeling strong and able to run a longer distance since Boston. And I enjoyed so much running with my best friend and husband! I received my finisher’s medal for doing the half marathon relay and thanked the volunteers.

5-25-14 scott almost at the finish

Almost at the finish!

The morning was still beautiful but slowly warming up. I ran back to Ontrack where we were based. It was a little over 2 miles running back on Pine Street. I was very happy to have logged almost 16 miles for the day. It was the longest I had run since Boston and I felt pretty darn good! I showered at Ontrack and then made my way to the VIP area thanks to Jess giving us some special wrist bands. I wanted to be able to get a good photo of Scott finishing. I have to admit I was very nervous waiting to see him finish.

Scott’s goal was to run just under a 3:25 and qualify for Boston. But with the warmer temps, it was going to be close. My heart sank as the clock ticked past 3:25. I was so proud of him for whatever time he achieved, but knew he had his heart set on a Boston 5-25-14 scott puking qualifying time. At around 3:28 I saw him running down the finishing chute but he stopped and bent over for almost a minute. I didn’t know he got nauseous and was throwing up at that time. He was too far away for me to see. I was worried it might be worse! But to my great relief, he started running and finished with a net time of 3:29:59 which is still a great result. Two years ago this would have qualified him for Boston but they raised the standards by 5 minutes for all age groups. The good news is that he chipped off almost 15 minutes from his first marathon back in October and was thrilled with that! Overall Scott was happy with his run even if the warm temps took their toll on the last 6 miles. He is so close to that 3:25 and I bet it would have happened if the weather was cooler. I learned later that Scott’s puking event was quite the crowd pleaser! And everyone applauded and cheered as he stood up and ran to the finish line! It’s a great story! Smile

5-25-14 scott finished vcm with medal

 

5-25-14 medals

Thanks a million to everyone who made this most epic marathon day possible! We are so proud of our Vermont City Marathon. I feel that I will always have to be a part of this special event whether I’m volunteering, pacing my husband, or racing my heart out! And congratulations to my amazing husband who ran so well even when the temps heated up later on in the marathon! You rocked it Scott!

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