All American Marathon 2016- Race Recap

4/3-  The All American Marathon was my 25th Full.  I’m going to take a departure from my normal race review due to time restrictions, and the realization that lately I just don’t have the time or energy to sit down and focus on a full account.  I haven’t had the desire to blog as much lately, leaving me sort of at odds with how best to review my races, and share information that may be helpful to others in choosing events.  I’ll just let my fingers do the typing and see where it leads……

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I’ve raced the All Amercican Full all three years of its existence.  It’s such a fun and inspirational event, growing in numbers every year.  I’ve had a close affiliation with the race, this year taking the lead in the final month for the pace team.

I worked the pacer table at the expo the day before the race, meeting tons of enthusiastic runners.  It was a chance to meet folks on the pacer team, and talk all things running related including the course, best spectator viewing spots, course elevation, etc…  It was a lot of fun to be involved in this way.

Race morning came, my son and I took off early from the house for the 45 minute drive to Fayetteville.  He was pacing the 2:00 Half, me the 4:00 Full.  The best part about this?  Since we were pacing the same time, we could run side by side for nearly 10 miles until the courses split!  Race day weather would introduce a new challenge for me, and others.  Temperatures were great, but it was very, very windy.  I’ve run in the absolute bitterness of 8 degrees at the Asheville Marathon, near 80 degree temps at Rock n Roll Raleigh, rain in Hilton Head and Asheville Fulls, some wind in Charleston, but this wind was different.  Headwinds of 20mph, mostly sustained, with gusts up to 30 mph.  It wasn’t until we were about 6-7 miles into the race that I really understood how difficult this day would be.

Dylan and I enjoyed our time together, perfectly pacing 10 miles through Fayettevile, onto the All American Freeway and on into Ft. Bragg.  Here are some awesome photos from someone overhead on one of the overpasses.

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We are in green!

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I realized as the courses split, that this day was going to test everything I had.  It would take every ounce of energy I could muster just to cross the finish line.  Turning onto Ft. Bragg, the winds got even worse.  Knowing the course, I was yearning to hit Pope Airfield, where I knew we would turn, and hopefully (finally) get to take advantage of tailwinds.  Just as he turn came, the winds died down, and with it my spirit.  I had never worked this hard to maintain pace.  I knew in my heart without a bit of help in my favor from the wind, the extra effort already expended would kill my race.  So, let’s add mega wind to my list of hates for race day weather.  The wind killed the races of about 300 runners that day in the marathon, as the list of runners that started the race but didn’t finish it, was immense.  More than I had ever seen.

By mile 20 I wanted to walk off the course.  I’ve never done this, but I wanted to.  I had absolutely nothing left in the tank.  All of my energy was drained from fighting the wind, and then it picked back up.  More headwinds….  Really?  Unbelievable.  How can I pace this, when it was really just a death march to the finish?  I was going to finish, but didn’t want to throw any runners off as far as pace, so although disappointed, took off my pacing shirt and ditched my pacing sign.  I was in the race still, but only for me.  Only to finish.

I have never felt so drained in my entire life, but I did eventually finish.  My marathon #25 now barely completed, and now my personal worst marathon finish.  BUT….I finished.  I was embarrassed, and disheartened by my performance.  I could barely stand, and felt like I could pass out of pure exhaustion any moment.  Luckily my son was there to lend assistance if needed.  It took me about 20 minutes to feel recovered enough to take the slow walk to the shuttle, and back to the car.  The weather defeated my pace goal that day, but didn’t defeat my finish.  I finished my quarter century marathon that day in a dismal 4:17:34.  My worst by 4 minutes over the Outer Banks Marathon a few years ago.

Over a week has passed since this event, and my time to reflect has left me with this thought.  I pushed through the conditions, and finished a marathon.  A friggin marathon.  Sometimes I take for granted just how difficult running a marathon is even in perfect conditions.  On that day, the weather was not perfect, my performance was not perfect.  Who cares!  I FINISHED!

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#RunAllAmerican Marathon Discount

The time is now!  You’ve got about a week to score the biggest discount of the season on the All American Marathon 4/3/16.

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I will be returning to run this race for the third straight time in 2016, and you can get in right now on the lowest pricing plus a $20 discount until 10/15/15.

Use code “RUNALLAMERICAN20” at checkout for the discount.

Hope to see you there!

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All American Pasta Party

What do you think of most when it comes to pre-race fueling?  I think of pasta.  Loaded with carbohydrates, just what an endurance athlete needs leading up to a big event.  Do you think pasta first?  I know based on what I have seen, most folks either prepare a pasta meal at home the night before a race, or head to the nearest Italian restaurant.

Many big races offer a pasta meal the night before.  It’s typically advertised on the race website, and is usually something you can pay for during registration, sometimes at the door.  Most pre-race pasta dinners are fairly cheap, too.  I’ve seen them ranging anywhere from $15 to $30.  Most include several choices of pasta, and/or sauce, salad, bread and a variety of desserts.  It’s a really great way to get in the spirit of the particular race you are running, and offers the opportunity to meet other runners.

Pasta dinners will many times also include a guest speaker, telling some kind of inspirational tale of our sport.  While at the pre-race pasta meal at the Blue Ridge Marathon last year, I was lucky enough to hear the inspiring stories of Bart Yasso, Bill Rodgers, and Frank Shorter.  It truly is a great way to get into the race mood and elevate your already heightened race spirit.

The full details for the pre-race pasta dinner for next years All American Marathon and Mike to Mike Half Marathon have not yet been released, but they are offering a chance to win 2 free tickets.  If you follow them on Facebook, all of the details will be there.  Here is a copy of the post from this morning.

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If you are a Twitter fan, be sure to follow them there, as well.  They can be found at @AAMarathon.

If you are a member of the military, a veteran or everyday supporter of our military like me, this is a can’t miss race.  It is truly inspirational to run.  You can score a 10% discount on race registration if you enter code “13AMB2015” in the discount code box at checkout.  Current pricing for the three events are as follows:  Full Marathon $90, Half Marathon $75, 5k $20.  If you are military (Reserve, National Guard, Active Duty or Retired) each event is $5 cheaper.  I hope to see you there, and good luck to those participating in the Facebook contest for 2 free pasta party tickets.  I’ll see you there!