Swan Lake Marathon Recap
Race Date: June 9, 2019
Marathon number: 95
As mentioned in the previous blog post Laura and I tied our family vacation out west to doing marathons in new states. This blog post will be about my race recap from Swan Lake Marathon in Viborg, SD.
When I registered for the marathon back in December I selected the pasta meal option. I also noticed that they had rooms at the campgrounds of Swan Lake Christian Camp to stay at. I called and reserved a room. Both were very smart decisions and I recommend that option if you ever do the race.
As we pull into Swan Lake Christian Camp they had signs that directed you to packet pickup. It is all gravel back there, but considering all the rain they had it was in decent shape. At packet pickup they went over the course and explained the portions of the course that were gravel, gave me my race items, our meal tickets, and room keys for the night. The marathon course had to be adjusted to their other alternative usatf certified course of a double loop with a little spur on the 2nd loop so it is exactly 26.2 miles. This was communicated even 10 days out. With all the rain, some roads were still flooded. We went over to the office to pay and was shown our room. A very nice set up. Kids had bunk beds, and we had a queen bed.
We went to the pasta meal around 5:30 pm in the cafeteria. It was directly downstairs of the rooms so it is very convenient. It was a nice spaghetti meal, with salad, bread, and dessert items. After we got done eating we waiting a little bit then went outside to dip in the lake for a bit. The flies were a little bad, but we had bug spray with us. The kids loved the lake. We then went back to our rooms got showered up and finished the night playing Dutch Blitz in our room.
My alarm went off at 4:15 am to get up and eat my normal pre-race bagel with peanut butter. I usually like to eat 1:30-2 hours before a marathon. With the 6 am start it was perfect timing. As I was eating my bagel downstairs I was looking at the weather. One thing I noticed right away was how windy it was. You could hear it hitting the building! It looked like certain we were going to get lots of rain too. It was going to be chilly 53-56 which was fine for a summer marathon. I went out at about 5:15 am for a little shakeout run and found out it was very windy. This was going to be a long day I thought in my head. I went to the bathroom inside one more time. Then stretched inside for a little bit until I made my final journey outside at around 5:45 am.
The race started exactly at 6:00 am. They started the half marathon, marathon and marathon relay all together. The first 4 miles or so were on gravel and we had some wind. One guy quickly got in the lead but he was doing the half marathon. I knew to stay focused on my goal of sub 3 hour marathon, and not to fight the wind too much on the first loop, since I would have to do the same loop again. Mile 1: 6:41, mile 2: 6:43, mile 3: 6:26, mile 4 6:31. It seemed like I was really working even running 6:40s in the wind. Fear in my mind got to me. Is a sub 3 possible in these conditions. I quickly put that aside. Besides I was leading the marathon. The only other person ahead of me was the half marathon guy.
We then got off the gravel roads and pavement. We also had the wind out of our face. It was side wind from miles 5-6, then 6-9 was back wind some, but I didn’t notice much help from it. Mile 5: 6:24, Mile 6: 6:30, Mile 7: 6:28, Mile 8: 6:22, Mile 9: 6:26. Then from mile 9 to the rest of loop we were back on gravel roads. Mile 9-10 we had some side wind. Then mile 10 was a wake up call. Huge windy section for 3 miles on the gravel road. It also had 3 little hills. I knew not to fight it too much since I would have that the last 3 miles of the marathon. I went from 6:26 at mile 9 to 6:54 at mile 10. Then mile 11 7:07, mile 12 7:08, mile 13 7:15. Hit the halfway point at 1:28. No time for any error. No time to slow down. Time to fight it I thought to myself. On to the 2nd loop.
Mile 14 I regained some of my pace but I knew I needed to push it more in the wind. I was 6:54 at mile 14 on a windy section. I knew in my head it was going to be close for a sub 3. I knew it there was no time for excuses. Mile 15 was 11 seconds faster 6:43. There we go I thought. Now lets take advantage of any spots we have of pavement and wind out of my face. Miles 16-22 was a very good stretch. Mile 16: 6:24, I saw another runner as I was coming down from the side spur, and he was doing the relay. I did not want him to pass me know. I stayed focused. Mile 17: 6:27, Mile 18: 6:32, Mile 19: 6:21. Mile 20: 6:17, Mile 21: 6:13, and Mile 22: 6:22. My watched read 2:25:19 at mile 22 with 4.2 to go. No time to slack on the wind. I needed to fight it.
Mile 23 was half side wind and head wind like it was early in the race on the same stretch. I clocked a 6:32. Good I thought. Now to fight the 3 mile stretch of wind. The wind was whipping me some even messing my stride up. I even had to watch the footing of the road since it was gravel and wet. Luckily the rain never came that I thought it would. Just a chilly, windy, cloudy day, Mile 24: 6:42. Keep fighting it. Mile 25: 6:42 again. I was leading still. 1.2 miles to go! Mile 26 we had a steep hill which I knew from previous loop and footing was soft. 7:05. As I crested the top of the hill my right hamstring was tightening up. Probably due to fighting the wind so hard. I wasn’t going to stop my speed now. I made the turn into the campgrounds and finished 1st place with a 2:55:36. I got the win and a sub 3 in a new state. States with sub 3 marathons: 22.