Good day everyone! I hope everyone is well. Today I (Travis, of course) am excited to bring to you, finally, my Lake Placid Marathon race recap.
The race was held on Sunday, June 8th. Packet pickup was Saturday afternoon at the Lake Placid Convention Center. I didn’t really enjoy driving two hours each way the day before the race but some good came out of it. I found the approved parking areas the day of the race, got a look at the start, finish, and spectator areas and lastly drove the entire course to know what I was facing.
There was no expo and hardly any type of merchandise available so packet pickup was quick and simple.
I was gone most of the day Saturday and when I got home it was time to do my shakeout run, pack my gym bag, and prepare my race day attire.
Race morning came early and I can tell you I saw 1, 2 and 3 a.m. all tick off on the bedroom clock. I got up at four to shower (pointless, but woke me up), eat a normal breakfast and load the car. I got my wife up who in turn got our son ready and we were off at 5 a.m.
We arrived early but parking was limited so it was okay. We managed a great spot only a 100 yard walk to the start area. I won’t bore you with my preparation details but the next hour flew by! And before I knew it I was standing on the starting line.
The race had no corrals so I was worried the start would be a free for all. I was pleasantly surprised to see that everyone was really easygoing and actually did a great job organizing themselves appropriately. Race officials were right on the money and we were off at 8:00 a.m.
What transpired is as blur. I remember a good portion of the race but I honestly kinda zoned out and just ran. I know anyone reading this probably wants details – so I will do my best.
I ran – fast! (Fast of course is relative to a subjective view – not objectively) I tried so hard to not get caught up in the excitement of the start and I actually felt I did a good job, but I was still running faster than I planned or trained. For perspective I was training for a sub-3:45 race. However, I didn’t think I would break 4:00 hours after recovering from the hernia injury and losing 7 weeks of training.
I ran the first 10 miles under a 7:30 pace. Miles 11-15 were all under 8:00 minutes/mile. I passed my wife and son right at mile 11 and was feeling awesome. When I hit the turn at mile 12.5, I began to count runners on their way back and saw that I had run the first half of this marathon in the top 20!
I did not train for a negative split the second half so my times slowed. Miles 16-19 were still below my expected pace of 8:45 and I was feeling good still. Mile 20 was rough!!! I added one minute to my pace. This is the point in the race where the temperature rose above 80 and I started lagging. I planned for a warm race and hydrated well – I thought. But the next few miles were only ok, substantially slower than I wanted at 9:29 & 9:19 respectively.
Then came my worst nightmare at the end of mile 23. I suffered a massive hamstring cramp that literally put me on the ground. Luckily I was only 10-15 yards from an aid station and after getting help off the asphalt I managed to get to the aid station. Volunteers were wonderful bringing me water, Gatorade, bananas and more. I worked on my cramp and slowly began to be able to move. Unfortunately, I was sidelined for around 8 minutes and watched as people began passing my location.
I began to walk, finishing mile 23 and beginning the next before I could start running again. I began a slow job testing my leg and once I felt confident began a normal run. Mile 23 & 24 took me a total of 22:49 to complete – which looking at my average means I lost one mile of time! Following the cramp I finished strong dropping to 9:44 for mile 25 and an 8:47 for mile 26.
The final distance was up a big, big hill until you reached the Olympic Speedskating Oval and had about 300 yards to the finish. When I hit the oval I kinda got choked up and emotional realizing that I had accomplished one of my personal goals. The best part of the race, that’s easy – getting to run the last 100 yards with my son and crossing the finish line together – in 3:35.52!
I only wish I had a photo capturing that moment, finishing with him. But then I thought back to something the late Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 men’s Olympic Hockey team said when he was asked if he ever watched a replay of the “Miracle on Ice” which occurred about 300 yards from my finish line.
Coach Brooks replied, “No, I never needed to. I lived it.” And the same is true for me as I have a memory with my son that is priceless.
I ended up finishing in 47th place overall, 10th in my division. After having a week to reflect and look back at my first marathon I have no regrets. I did everything I could to prepare, sometimes things happen. I learned many valuable race lessons that I hope to use during the Empire State Marathon this October when I look forward to breaking the 3:30.00 mark!
I would like to say thank you to my family and friends who were so supportive and understanding during this experience. Training for a marathon is a full time lifestyle and everyone helped me accomplish my goal.