There was so much more I wanted to say about my Anchorage Marathon experience that didn’t fit into this “short” race recap.
Here are some additional post-race thoughts and musings for your review on my 8th full marathon. Please excuse the jumbled-messiness of this post.
Even if my knee had been healthy, this would have been a darn-hard course to PR/sub-4 on. The first half there were several rolling hills on the gravel trail. These weren’t bad at all. There was one steep one and then one longer sort-of steep one around mile 13/14. On this longer hill that was along a dirt single-track path, I thought, “Did I accidentally sign up for a trail marathon??” I almost stopped to walk this one but the road runner in me told me not to, so I passed a few others at my jogging pace and up we went …
And, I knew the course was net downhill on the second half, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any hills! There are two small ones I recall now. (One was just a short trek up an over pass, but at mile 19 my knee and my soul weren’t happy).
I already complained about the three hills right before the end of the race. Bryce and I happened to be walking around near the finish in Anchorage three days later. I had to show him I wasn’t crazy for walking them. Here is evidence of the last hill literally like 50-100 meters before runners enter the finish chute:
Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful out there for 26.2 miles! And, those softball-sized rocks past participants complained about? I don’t know what they were talking about. The trail was normal gravel to me. I could see how perhaps road runners who have never done any type of trail race could have been surprised (if they hadn’t read the course description ahead of time). But, there were no surprises on the terrain for me.
I knew going into this race, that it would be a smaller one. I think about 1,000 people were slated to do the full.
I was worried I would get lost but there were always a few people in front of me or behind me.
But, the atmosphere?
I may have not come across any bears or moose on the course, but gees, there were crickets! There was very minimal cheering for runners, which was a huge disappointment (especially since I was doing this race with Team In Training and had my name written across my race tank!)
Whenever I came across a group of people who clearly were waiting for their friend or family member to come running by, they would just turn and look at me. When this happened during miles 18-24, I wanted to say something like, “What are are you staring at??”
I understand that it can get tiring to cheer for every single runner, but can’t you give a slow clap at least?
Of course, the very end was filled with lots of cheering and excitement. I even heard the announcer yell my name right before I crossed the finish line, which was pretty neat since that never happens in a big race.
Will I do this race again? Probably not.
But, maybe I’m just jaded because of my knee injury. I’ll just leave you with this photo of how I looked immediately after crossing the finish line: