Wow, I can’t believe I finished not one, but two marathons. A year ago, the first marathon was barely an idea in my head! Blows me away.
It’s definitely been a learning experience because these two races were worlds apart. The Spinx Run Fest Marathon was a small, local race with a few hundred finishers and the Country Music Marathon was a big ol’ thing. And it definitely made me think that I wouldn’t do Spinx again.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love doing local races! There are huge pros, and for shorter races, I would much prefer them. But having all the amenities for a big marathon was really awesome and the price difference was relatively small. I only paid $40 for Spinx, BUT that was only because I signed up way, way early and they were running a special. I checked the website and the regular cost for the Spinx Marathon was $75. I paid $85 for the Country Music Marathon. For $10? The on-course (and off-course) amenities were drastically different. So, pros and cons
- Convenient location – start line was 3 miles from my home
- Short drive meant getting to sleep in
- Familiar with the course, since I live here
- Real bathrooms!
- Post-race nap! In my own bed.
- Greenville is pretty awesome
- Oh, yea, it didn’t rain the whole time
- Very few spectators – there were a few at the start/finish and some on Fuman’s campus, but that was about it.
- There was a farmer’s market going on in TR…and random people wandering around on the course! I had to dodge little old ladies.
- Few water stations – I’m so glad I had my camelback on this race, but I hate carrying it for races
- The post race food was not great, and there was very little left by the time I finished.
- Gu was promised, but not delivered! Not that I could have it, but still.
- Great. Big. Hills. This is Greenville after all.
- According to Jen, on the half marathon course, some of the volunteers/course monitors packed up and left early. Not cool.
- Lots and lots of spectators. In the rain. Those are some dedicated folks. I didn’t realize how much of a difference this make until I experienced it!
- Plenty of water on the course. I don’t mean the rain (but there was plenty of that). The water stops were smooth since there were tables on both sides of the roads, and I didn’t have to dodge people to grab a cup.
- People handing out food on the course, outside of the official Gus! This was so nice. Plus, I was a little hungry, so a few orange slices went a long way
- Pre/Post race food was great. I think I ate 5 bananas on Saturday. No, I’m sure. 5.
- Wave start was really well organized
- Not as hilly as Greenville!
- Fun little vacation weekend
- We had to drive really far to get there. This definitely required more logistics with packing, driving, food, etc. There are not many “big” races nearby
- Total cost is higher since we had to pay for gas, hotel, parking, and food.
- Early, early wake up to get to the race on time.
- Port-a-potties. Yuck.
- There was too much water on the course. I mean this literally; some of the roads were flooded. That’s not really the race director’s fault, but I still didn’t like it!
- Doing touristy things post-marathon is painful!
- The post-race party had pretty much disappeared by the time I fininshed
So, those are my thoughts, race-wise. My next marathon is Kiawah, which is a smaller race, but not super small. I was generally happy with the half, so it seems promising for the full. I won’t be doing another one until then, since I really want to focus on it as an “A” race since it’s such a PR friendly course.
I definitely still have some things to learn about running marathons. Like how to not have to go to the bathroom mid-race. But I also need to figure out how to really race it. I really think I could do better, especially since I wasn’t sore much at all after this race. So learning how to suck it up and finish strong will definitely be a focus for my training this summer. Any other tips for my marathoning future?