My running club sponsors a Metric Marathon every fall — 26.2K (16.3 miles) through scenic rural roads. I’ve run this race four times, and I really enjoy it. Though everyone I’ve spoken to that has run it always wonders why.
It’s very small (usually around 150 people, but there was a big jump this year, nearly 240!), and very low-key. No chip timing, no T-shirts, no medals. And because of the distance, you only get the hardcore runners. Usually, that also means fast. Most folks that usually keep me company in the middle of the pack don’t show up for this one. Last year, I feared I would be last as I surveyed the crowd at the start line. I ended up beating only 10 people.
Oh, and it’s not just long. It’s challenging. Most runners are quite familiar with the term “gentle rolling hills.” That usually means “really hilly!” Well, let’s step that up. Paraphrased from this year’s description:
The Metric Marathon is a 26K (16.3 mile) loop course on paved roads through gently rolling hills. There are significant hills at miles 12 and 14.
Now that’s just evil! (Actually, now that it’s fresh in my mind, mile 12 isn’t so bad. But 14 just keeps going. You think you’re at the top, and then you go up again.)
But I still love it!
Since it’s over 16 miles, it really spreads out and can get lonely. But even alone, it’s just such a beautiful course. We run by farms with horses and cows. We pass cornfields cut down for the season. And for as many wide-open spaces, there are shady tree-lined streets. At one point, I noticed a small creek running along the side of the road.
We had perfect weather — cool and crisp, not a cloud in the sky. But you’ll have to use your imagination, because I didn’t bring a camera. I guess it would have slowed me down, anyway. Let’s just say I did better than I expected!
I haven’t run 16 miles since this race last year.With Goofy training, my long runs have been 10-12 miles every weekend for the last month, and I ran a half marathon Labor Day weekend. I wasn’t really worried about the mileage jump. But I’ve been run/walking most of those long runs, and was planning on running the 16 miles straight. I didn’t know what to expect. I was just hoping to beat three hours — something I hadn’t done since my first time on this course in 2005, 2:57:08.
I accidentally hit the lap button on my watch while trying to take off my jacket so my times are a little off … (I knew I’d warm up fast. It was just so chilly at the start!)
- 10:11 (Mile 1)
- 10:20 pace for the next .38
- 10:06 for the next mile
- 10:17 pace for the next .62 (manually reset to fix the auto-lap)
- 10:09 (Mile 4)
- 10:11 (Mile 5)
- 10:01 (Mile 6)
- 10:19 (Mile 7)
- 9:53 (Mile 8)
- 10:19 (Mile 9)
- 9:59 (Mile 10)
- 10:08 (Mile 11)
- 10:11 (Mile 12)
- 11:18 (Mile 13 – walked through the water stop!)
- 10:39 (Mile 14)
- 11:25 (Mile 15 — had to loosen my shoelace; my foot was getting numb!)
- 10:15 (Mile 16 — much better)
- 8:52 pace for the last .21
Finish time: 2:47:15. That’s nearly a 10-minute PR!
(And actually, 16 minutes better than I did last year. Woo-hoo!)
I felt great the whole time, and was only a little sore after the race. It was mostly in my calves/ankles, probably because of the hills and the slope of the road. (We had to run in the shoulder; the roads weren’t closed).
But I wasn’t sore at all yesterday. I recently bought some OxySox and wore them all day after the race. I’m sold!