Post Race Report: Grandfather Mountain Marathon

Post Race Report:

Race Date: Saturday, July 8, 2017
Race Name: Grandfather Mountain Marathon
Race Distance: 26.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: Approx. 2,600 feet
Finishing Time: 4:18:31
Mile Split: 9:52/Mile

Place: 97/320 Overall, 12/27 Male 1-29

Race Recap:

It’s done.

There could not have been a more perfect day for the Grandfather Mountain Marathon. Mild weather in the 70s and a slight breeze for the early morning run made for perfect running weather.

It must have helped. Despite coming in slightly undertrained, I was able to hit my race goal with a finishing time of 4:18. You can see my Strava map and splits below. It doesn’t quite match up with the official race times (I think I’ll side with Strava since it shaves off a few minutes.)

The race began with two laps around Kidd-Brewer Stadium, the football stadium at Appalachian State University. Despite the less-than-thrilling 6:30 a.m. start time, the first 2.5 miles of downhill through Boone helped warm up the legs before getting into the mountains.

I was a little behind my target pace as we started up the first hill, but quickly made up that time through the first 15 miles of climbs and descents. Other than a two-minute break in mile 10 to take quite possibly the longest pee I’ve ever encountered, I was able to maintain a comfortable pace going both up and down with mile splits in the 8’s on the downhill sections and 9s (and one 10) on the uphill sections.

My plan was to hold back somewhat in the first half of the race to ensure my legs would last til the end…especially with a limited amount of long training runs.

It worked for a while.

A long climb in miles 16-18 did a number on my lower body and by mile 20 my legs began to ache. This fat guy’s body always seems to think 20 miles is the limit of its endurance…despite me continuing to prove it wrong. Maybe it’ll learn someday.

The final 6 miles were…let’s call them difficult.

I walked a handful of uphills (and a handful of flats as well), especially in the last three miles. Finally…I reached the Highland Games track and had some grit left to run a respectable final quarter mile around the track.

I’m sure all the people were saying “look at that fat guy running somewhat fast after 26 miles.” Luckily, they couldn’t see me walk up the hill right before I entered the stadium.

Based on my Strava timing, I ran a 2:02 first half marathon and a 2:14 (or 2:16) second half marathon…about a one minute per mile increase. The second half was certainly the most difficult section. Add that to the leg fatigue and I am firmly satisfied with the performance.

Here are a few photos from before and after the race. Thanks to my girlfriend Whitney for supporting me at the race and taking some photos/videos for the blog!

Before the Race:

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On the shuttle back from the finish:

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Post race beers at Appalachian Mountain Brewery in Boone.

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