Another marathon in the books and oh man, it hurt. I know they never say to underestimate the marathon but I was given a new dose of respect for the training that really needs to go into preparing for this race distance.
The cliff notes: I ran a 3:50:52 which is totally respectable and met my sub-4 hour goal. Because the field was small I was the 5th female (woots!) and got a cool picture frame. The course took us ALL over Cheyenne which was awesome but meant a lot of weaving around which got a bit frustrating at times. Overall, a fairly well run race for an inaugural year, it was run by the city government which I also thought was and interesting.
So let’s dive in a bit deeper.
Prerace prep was pretty straight forward. I had a 2ish week taper and was feeling pretty good. Since I opted to pick up my packet the morning of the race which meant it was going to be an early morning drive to Cheyenne.
We ended up getting in the car around 3:30 am (felt very runDisney-esque) and got to the race start area around 5:30. We made one bathroom stop on the way there and I’m really glad we did because there seemed to be only one port-o-potty at the start area and even though they mentioned there was a building where bathrooms were available that was not the building at the start parking area.
So I got there and it was chilly in Cheyenne, no we’ll say cold. It was about 45/50ish with a steady breeze. Luckily I felt okay in my running outfit and had packed some Buff arm sleeves which helped. I also knew that once the sun came up it would get pretty hot since we were up at 6,000 ft.
So I then made my way to the start area (a short walk) with my fiancé, grabbed my bib and was able to hand off the rest of the bag and my sweatshirt to him, and then it was basically time to go. The national anthem was sung and the ~200 runners started out on the inaugural Cheyenne Marathon at 6:20am.
We started on some paved roads but it quickly turned to gravel which was pretty well maintained so it was okay. I also got a surprise herd of antelope cross in front of me around mile 1.5 which was pretty cool. They were cute little things!
The start was cold though and I had forgotten my gloves so I knew I was just going to have to suck it up. It ended up being fine but if I planned to run this again I will bring gloves. There was a constant breeze (it’s really windy in the prairie, guys) which was nice when it wasn’t a head wind. Luckily it wasn’t gusty. I set out at a good pace, took a bathroom stop at mile 5ish, and just kept plugging away. I caught up to the 3:40 pacer and chatted with him for a bit but was actually running a bit faster at that point so I said good bye and set out on my way.
He ended up passing me when I stopped at the next water stop and that was the last time I was in front of him. :P
After that water stop I started slowing down. The lack of consistent marathon level training volume was definitely taking it’s toll and the cold weather was also not great for my hips and hamstrings. I just kept plugging away and again just tried to enjoy the run in whatever form it was given to me.
I felt pretty good at the half way point, running it in around 1:50 and just wanted to remain consistent but I was having trouble channeling my inner fighter. I was more feeling a “supported training run” vibe so I made sure to say good morning and thank you to all the volunteers and just tried to keep smiling. I was hurting though. Just that dull pain from running for a long time but I was not in smile city.
We then mazed our way through the neighborhoods and I felt like runners were just everywhere criss-crossing every which way. This just added to my frustration since I couldn’t figure out who was running what race (all 4 races were wearing the same bib) and if they were on the same course I was or not. I just kept recalibrating through. I set a new goal of 3:45 but was having trouble with my pace so then it moved to 3:50/just anything sub-4.
I just wanted to be done running.
So after exiting the never ending neighborhood portion and the double parking lot+Frontier town run through the Laramie Fairgrounds I was back on the roads and heading to the finish. I got to see my people (fiance and puppy were their cheering me) with a mile to go and it gave me a bit of a boost to power to the finish line.
I crossed, grabbed my medal and some snacks and then grabbed my beer. My body was hurting though, more than most marathons, which was frustrating. The free post race Coors Light definitely helped me relax a bit and revived me which was a godsend!
So that was my race, a bit of a struggle but I knew I wasn’t really trained for this. I’m now more focused than ever to do what I need to do to have a successful Dopey Challenge in January and again it instilled how truly humbling and inspiring the marathon really is. It should not be underestimated.
Volunteers were numerous and awesome - there were lots of street closures and a lot of coordination needed and they were awesome!
The medal is really beautiful - I have a thing for bison due to past encounters and I just love these prairie grazing nomads.
The first part of the race was gorgeous as we traversed the open space and some farms. The sun was rising perfectly and it was just a beautiful moment
Running around the county fairgrounds was kind of cool and now I really want to check out a Laramie County Fair.
Finish area was super festive and well managed. The awards ceremony was prompt and the general organization of it was well done even if snacks were limited (bananas, granola bars, gogurt, and water was all that was available).
Areas to Improve/Note:
Miles 15-23 were weird. We turned so many times, we crossed other runner, we did a figure eight and I just felt like I never knew where I should be going and with the small field I didn’t always have a visible runner ahead of me.
It was pretty cold at the start. It was about 48 with a steady breeze/wind but got up to 74 by the end, got to love those high plains temp swings
There were so many races going on at the same time and we all were wearing the same bib. It was really weird that I couldn’t tell if the people passing me or I was passing were running the same distance I was or not.
The start had 1 port-a-potty - in the race instructions it said a building was suppose to be open for runners but the closest parking lot apparently was not that building.