Victoria Marathon Recap and a Winner

This post is long, but hopefully worth it. 

Saturday morning we went to John's Place for a delicious brunch. Then we perused this fabulous gourmet tea shop (Davids Tea) where Lisa, Amber and I proceeded to buy lots of yummy tea to take home.

Finally, we made our way to the race expo to pick up our bibs. Pics of Saturday morn can be found on Monday's post)

I'm a big fan of decked out race expos and this one was pretty decent with several running companies, races and organizations staffing booths. And the race gear was a plenty as New Balance (the race shirt sponsor) had a large section of shirts, shoes, pants and accessories for sale.

I drooled over lots of cute items, but was glad I waited to make a purchase because we scored a few items at 50% off after the race!

After a little relaxing, we headed to Pagliacci's at 5pm to wait in line for our carb loading dinner. We knew this would be a bit of a wait with so many runners in town and so few Italian restaurants. 

We ended up waiting about 1.5 hrs, but the wait was totally worth it. Plus, we had good company, smartphones and free garlic bread to entertain us.

I ordered the Bicycle Thief, which had mushrooms, tomatoes, italian sausage, green peppers and fontina cheese over linguine noodles. So much delicious fontina cheese!

And now stirred in - mmm. Seriously, this was quite possibly the best Italian I've ever had.

We got back to our hotel around 8:30 pm with full bellies. I rolled out my legs with "The Stick" before tucking myself into bed by 9:30 pm.

This race was a little different than most I'm used to. The half marathon started at 7:30 am, while the full marathon started at 8:45 am. Luckily, our hotel was in the perfect location, just three blocks from the start and a block from the finish line!

With a 5:45 am wake up call, we all started getting ready, eating, etc. I walked down to the start with Amber, Leigh and Lisa to take a few pics and see them off before heading back to the hotel for a bit.

Even Bart Yasso was there to give some words of encouragement to racers.

Then it was back to the room to chill out, roll out the legs some more, pin on the number and head to the start!

I ran down to the start line 15 min 'til race start so I wouldn't have too much time to get nervous - the perks of a sweet hotel spot!

And now the race. The temps were in the low 50s so I wasn't really cold or warm. I planned on breaking the marathon into two 10 milers and a 10K at the end.

From the very start, my right hip was letting me know it wasn't 100%, but I knew it could function just fine. The first several miles ticked by with me just focusing on keeping a 8:35 ish pace. I wanted to make sure I didn't push it and run out of gas too early.

There weren't any pacers so it was up to me, my Garmin and my 3:45 pace bracelet to keep myself in check. Let me tell you, training based on miles and then racing based on kilometers was a bit confusing. Luckily, almost every 1K was marked and my pace bracelet told me my pace for ever odd 1K (1, 3, 5, etc).

Around mile 9, I recall thinking "Ugh, I still have a long ways to go and am not feeling so hot." It seemed like a struggle just to maintain an 8:30 pace when previously (before all that trail running), it wouldn't have seemed so hard. Alas, I knew I could keep on pushing so I did.

The course was beautiful weaving up and around Beacon Hill Park, allowing us to see some of the half marathoners as we looped back through and then headed out toward the water, through cute neighborhoods and several miles of rolling terrain.

Others had mentioned this course having some rollers, but actually running them was tougher than I imagined. Hitting the halfway point felt like forever, but it was nice to be on an out and back section where we could see other runners coming toward you.

Photo courtesy of Amber

Miles 1 - 9:
8:44, 8:27, 8:32, 8:36, 8:15, 8:26, 8:29, 8:36, 8:37

Fueling: I decided to fuel about every 4 miles. I took a Shot Blok at miles 4, 9, 13, 20, 22 and 24 and an Espresso Hammer Gel at mile 17. I also carried my Nathan handheld w/ grape Nuun water in it.

The entire race I just kept telling myself not to get wrapped up in other runners who were passing me or having a tough time. I just focused on MY race. Each time I checked my pace bracelet I was about a minute within my goal time so that was good.

Whenever I noticed my pace a little fast I would ease back and if it were a bit slow, I tried to pick it up. I really wanted a steady race, not much surging. At mile 17 as we were going through the water station, a girl came up beside me and said "If I don't see you at the end, great job. You've been keeping me on pace the entire time."  It was nice to get that reassurance that I was staying steady. I love when other racers compliment each other.

Miles 10-20:
8:25, 8:44, 8:35, 8:34, 8:35, 8:43, 8:44, 8:30, 8:49, 8:34, 8:34

At mile 20 I was pretty ready to be done. My knees were starting to ache and the balls of my feet were getting sore. But I still had work to do!

The last 10K felt like it took forever and yet went fast at the same time. I knew I was going to have to pick it up a bit to reach my goal so I started laying down the hammer. However, there were still a few more rolling hills to survive.

That last 10K was all about mantras. When things get tough, I start saying cheesey stuff to myself to stay positive. My mind and vision was getting a little fuzzy so I needed it.

A few of the dorky things I said (in my head of course) were: "I can PR. I will PR," "Surviving and Thriving," and "A marathon is no longer the furthest you've run. If you can do 31 miles on trail, a marathon is nothin'!"

Miles 21-26.2:
8:28, 8:36, 8:12, 8:40, 8:06, 7:56, 7:20 (.41 mi)

When I came to the last 1K, I was really excited. Everything was aching, but I knew I was going to reach my goal unless I walked or jogged to the finish. A big rush of emotion came across me as I saw the finish line and knew I was PRing big time.

It was one of those moments where I truly felt like all that hard work paid off. My former PR was made at the Portland Marathon (my first) in 2006 and now five years later, I PRed at my sixth marathon by five minutes!

Final time: 3:44:27
Place out of all females: 121/683
Age group place: 27/113
Average pace: 8:30 min/mi
Distance: 26.41 mi

GOALS achieved: PR, faster second half, strong mental attitude and enjoyed the entire race!

Check out race recaps from Amber, Lisa and Leigh! They all PR'd and finished the half in under 2 hours!

And now the winner (thanks to of the Odwalla Bar giveaway is... J (of Morning Runner)! Email me at laurenjpeters at to claim your goodies.

J said...Exactly - be confident in your training and just go for it. The last few races I have just trusted my training - I know what my tempo runs have been and I know what I am able to do. Running is all about building up, its a gradual improvement, not a huge jump all at once. If you keep setting goals at each race and keep improving then you will get faster and faster!


abbi said…
Congratulations on a great marathon and PR!
You looked so awesome at the finish! I am so glad we were able to get down there and watch you finish. It was actually kind of emotional for me to be at the finish. I think after running a marathon, watching the end of a marathon will forever be an emotional experience. I fought back tears because I did not want to be the dork crying at the finish line. ;)

I am really proud of you and in awe of what you accomplished. That is a HUGE PR! Way to go!!
GREAT photos of you crossing the finish! That's a strong looking stride, after 26 miles :)

Congrats, again, Sass!! You've worked really hard for that PR, it was fun to "run" with you all the way through it.
Ahhh I got goosebumps reading this! You worked soo soo hard and I'm so proud of you for blowing your race out of the water. A 5-minute PR is HUGE!

We were so lucky to have perfect running conditions that day!!
J said…
Congrats! You did so well and all your hard work paid off! Congrats on the PR! Keep training hard!
Lindsey said…
Congrats Lauren! I enjoyed reading your recap. It's great the second half of your race was faster than the first, and your last few miles were really fast!

Your hard work and dedication to your training for your fall races has been so inspiring! Enjoy some rest. You deserve it!
Leigh said…
Awesome race recap Lauren! You seriously killed that marathon getting yourself an awesome PR! I still can't believe how strong you looked coming into the finish :)
Anonymous said…
Congrats on a great race!
Anonymous said…
Congrats on a great race!

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