Last week I ran the Tyler Rose Marathon and by far it was the toughest course I’d encountered since Cow Town in 2013. It was very hilly and although, I thought I was mentally prepared for how hilly it was going to be, it was tough.
The day before the race, Oct 10, 2015 we headed out to Tyler State Park. Erik’s car was in the shop and he had to take his truck. Because his truck is unreliable, I decided to take my own car, just in case. So I got to drive in the car by myself on the way to Tyler about 2 hours East of here. It was great drive, I cranked up my anger management music and along we went. The boys rode with Erik in the truck which made it there just fine.
We found our camp site and set up our tents. The boys each brought their own and Erik and I got the big one to ourselves. We slept in cots which was nice for me since I’d be racing the next morning. I figured it would be good training for the Ultracentric since I’ll have a tent and a cot to take breaks in during that event.
Once the camp site was set and we’d eaten lunch we headed over to packet pick-up at the Rose Garden Museum and toured the garden. It was very pretty and unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures. I asked Erik to drive the marathon course and we took a map with us and began the route. There were no mile markers set up yet, nor was there a start or finish marked. I was getting nervous that it wasn’t going to be a well marked course and I would get lost. I noticed all the hills and even the long hill from mile 25-26. EEK!!!
We headed back to our camp site and we made dinner, turkey burgers, salad, and baked potatoes. It was the perfect meal to get me marathon ready. I decided early on that it would be a nice easy marathon and my goal was to complete it. I had been very tired lately, had shin splints over the past week, and we were camping out. I noticed that the campers around us were really noisy too even after it got dark. Around 9ish or so they were still hootin’ and hollerin’ and it was irritating me. Didn’t they know I was getting up early to run 26.2 miles? I finally fell asleep and then the alarm went off.
It was 5am when I woke up and was regretting the marathon. We were planning on leaving at 6am to head over to the race. I ate my breakfast of oatmeal and banana, drank my coconut water, drank some black coffee, headed to the bathrooms, then out to the race. We got there and it was chilly so I had my Tyler Marathon sweat shirt on. I found the bathrooms again and when I walked outside I began to cry. I have never done that before. I was nervous, I didn’t want to get lost, I was anxious, and sleep deprived. There was a devotional right before the race so we went over to pray and it helped calm my nerves.
At the start of the race I lined up towards the back by the 4:40 pacer. She informed me that they run the entire time and walk all the water stations so about every 2 miles. She said they keep a 10:40 pace and even splits. I chose to start behind them and before I knew it I lost them. It’s ok, I just ran my own race and chose to take it easy. I walked up all the hills and ran a 2:1 Galloway with the occasional 4:1. I ran into a fellow runner who was also doing intervals but he was doing 3:1. His name is John and he lives in Denton. We were leap frogging off each other, he’d run I’d walk and he’d walk I’d run and eventually we stayed together. I had to use a portapotty so badly and I knew based on the course map that the next porta potty was at mile 8. Unfortunately a guy jumped in there before I did and I saw the porta potty rocking around while he was in there! I had to go bad and I knew there wouldn’t be another one close by so I waited. I jumped in there and OMG the porta potty was rocking around and I was losing my balance! I imagined myself falling around it so needless to say I carefully used it and had to take my time to keep it from moving!
Off I went to continue my run, feeling a little gross, but relieved. I caught up with John and he and I ran together until about mile 20. We have lots in common! He is a social worker for MHMR in Denton and we talked shop. Turns out John has run over 20 marathons and like 10 ultra marathons including the Ultracentric in Grapevine. We both ran the 12 hour race last year and this year I’m doing the 24 hour and he’s doing the 12 hour again. We verbally exchanged email addresses and eventually separated so from miles 20-26 I was running along side other runners. There were not alot of particpants and everyone was very friendly.
When I say there were alot of hills I was not kidding. It was a hilly race including a big hill at mile 25-26. I walked up that last hill and as soon as it got flat I started running (jogging haha). I finished the race and felt good. It was my slowest time but it was comfortable. I felt the soreness in my quads more than anything else. The fatigue was minimal because I fueled properly. I had learned the hard way that I wasn’t fueling enough and this go around I made sure to eat shot blocks and gels every 4-6 miles. All in all it was an enjoyable race and the scenery was lovely. I will do this one again. The plan for next year is to camp the whole weekend rather than one night.