Clarksburg Country Run Race Recap

Warning: Long Race Recap

This morning was a dry run for marathon day. The race is officially 3 weeks away and the benefit of living in the city you will race in is that throughout training there are several local races planned just for people training for the marathon.

The Clarksburg 20 miler is just one example. You don’t see many 20 mile races around, and the fact that this one falls 3 before CIM is not a coincidence. The race is set in a rural country town along the Sacramento River. Aaron and I have been to Clarksburg once before – and it wasn’t for exercise.

The race was great! It was small, not fancy, but that’s what I liked about it. Registration was only $45, which is a bargain now for a race of that distance. The swag bags were non-existent, but I got a nice tech tee, which always comes in handy!

I got to the race pretty early because I was nervous about traffic. The race was only 25 minutes from home, but there is only one way in and out of Clarksburg on one lane roads and I thought there might be lots of traffic close to the race site.

The great thing about getting to a small-ish race early is close parking. I was able to make repeat trip to the car which was a huge help. Since this race was 20 miles, and I had 22 on the calendar, I ran the extra 2 miles before the race started. In the past I have always thought it was weird when I see people running before a race, and now I am one of those people!

After my 2 miles, I was able to hang out by the start, stretch and make a last minute wardrobe change. The timing of the race was a little odd since it didn’t start until 9AM.  I decided 10 minutes before the start to ditch my long sleeve tech tee and just wear my tank (I wore pants too, don’t worry).

At 9AM on the dot, we were off. Hooray for races that start on time! I felt great as the race started. I was really feeding off the other participants. A little too much, in fact. I has a plan for the race. I was going to break it up in 5 mile chunks (which has worked in the past) and start out slower and build.  Well, I just couldn’t bring my pace down to where I wanted it those first 5 miles.

I went out too fast and I knew I was.  But part of me was hoping that maybe I could keep it up. If I held back too much then I would never know what might be possible on marathon day. Since this was a dress rehearsal, I decided to go for it and see what happened and learn from it.

What did I learn? That I cannot, in fact, hold that pace the entire time. And I paid for it the last 3 miles. I slowly started to see my pace drop and drop and drop. By mile 18 (which was really 20), I decided not to look at my pace on the Garmin and just focus on putting one foot in front of the other. Each step was one step closer to the finish.

Before I knew it, I was at the finish and got my 2nd (or 100th) wind and picked up the pace. As I was entering the shoot, I turned off my iPod to listen to the crowd and heard some people say, “Wow – awesome job, 20 miles!” And I almost cried when I heard the Emcee say, “Finishing her 20 miles, Amanda Whichard from Sacramento.” I didn’t even care that he pronounced my name wrong. I totally got the chills as I stomped on that timing pad. I didn’t cry which makes me think I will totally lose it at the marathon!

I was so excited it took me a few seconds to realize I needed to turn off my Garmin.  My Garmin time was 3:18:25. I will take it.  9:51/mile.

I snagged my medal and even got a mini massage. I really need to schedule a real one because it hurt so good when the therapist was working on my IT band.  Yowza! I went to the race solo, so I didn’t get my traditional post race photo-opp with my medal and a beer. I should have taken a self-timer shot, but by the time I realized it, I had already changed and was home. But here’s the goods!

There you have it – 22 miles. The farthest I have ever run and will run until December 5th. Taper time begins now and I couldn’t be happier.  Time to come up with my game plan for the weeks leading up to race day! I’m excited!


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