May 30, 2011

Night Before the Race: Vermont City Marathon

On Saturday, I got into Burlington what I thought was several hours before my scheduled talk at 1pm, but it was actually at 12pm! I had put it into my Google Calendar while I was in Dallas (and on Central Time), not realizing that Google would put it in under Central Time and not Eastern Time, since usually it doesn’t auto-adjust my calendar when I switch time zones. It wasn’t a problem as far as preparation went, because I always leave a big buffer for travel contingencies, but it meant that a few friends who had planned to come hear my talk weren’t able to get there. Apologies to Liz, Dave, and Amy for the confusion, but thank you for trying to support me.

As I waited for my own turn to speak, I heard the announcement for and saw people going in for Bart Yasso’s talk before me, and it made me incredibly nervous. All those people were going to hear Bart speak (and with good reason; he’s a wonderful motivator) – what if no one came to mine? I had visions of the room being empty except for my mom, and I started Tweeting out messages to people with the hashtag of #VCM, trying to drum up interest. Ironically enough, Bart wrote back to me and told me not to worry about it and that I was a superstar – what a great guy 🙂 I knew that he wouldn’t be able to attend my talk, since he had to staff his booth at the expo, but it was still great to hear from him.

Bart’s talk ran a little bit long, but as I waited outside the closed door for my own turn to speak, several people came to the door and opened it, apparently eager to go in for my speech. That made me feel so much better! And they weren’t even friends or seatfillers I hired on Craiglist 😉 The event coordinator also checked in with me and told me how excited the Run Vermont organization was for my talk, which gave me a lot of confidence.

Once I got into the room and started setting up my presentation, I ran into one small glitch – the slide show I had set up to play in the first 10 minute while people were coming in was not working; the autoplay feature wasn’t working. After a few minutes of messing around with it, I gave up, and just switched over to my main presentation deck. It was time to motivate some runners!

I had been so stressed about it in advance, but my talk actually went fairly well! It wasn’t quite as polished as I would have liked, but at the same time, that fit with the theme/approach I used of being down-to-earth and friendly instead of some kind of running prodigy. I wanted everyone to really understand that I was one of them – that Vermont had been my first marathon 3 years ago, and I had been just as scared and nervous as all first-timers are. While just three years later I have run 65 marathons, I truly believe that my feat is something that anyone can do if they are determined enough to make it happen. Some of my friends advised me not to take this approach, and that I should try to maintain some level of superiority/heroism, but that’s just not my style. I have never purported to be a superstar (okay, okay, so I wore a Superwoman costume at Marine Corps Marathon, but you know what I mean), and I didn’t want to start now.

At the end of my planned presentation, I opened it up for Q&A, and the questions surprised me just a little bit – they were mostly around practical advice for how to run in poor conditions, how to train, what kind of equipment to use, etc. I was totally comfortable answering those questions (and my mom said my ease in answering made me look like a pro), but given how light and non-technical I tried to make my talk, I was a little surprised that people wanted to hear my opinion on those things! I guess I am maybe more of an expert than I give myself credit for being… and perhaps should try to work those in for my next talk instead of focusing so much on the fun stuff.

After my talk, I headed out to the pace team booth for some more Q&A with people, both about my seminar and also about pacing in general. I got really excited about meeting Amy, who had been a victim of my mistake in the start time of my seminar – she had gotten there about 10 minutes before I was done. However, she told me that when people started coming out they were talking about how inspiring I was! I kind of don’t believe her, but it was still super nice of her to say 🙂 I also got to see quite a few marathon friends with whom I’ve run in the past.

At the pace booth, I was really excited to meet lots of people who planned to run with the 4:30 group! I love that 4:30 is usually a popular time for first-timers… it is just so magical to help someone finish a marathon for the very first time, and even more special for me to do it at Vermont, where I ran my first marathon.

Post-expo, my mom and I hit the hotel to drop off our bags, and I did my Insanity fit test. The schedule called for me to do it on Monday, along with my first day of month 2, but I had heard from a lot of people that it was difficult to do both of those on the same day. Plus, I didn’t want my fit test to be off due to the wear and tear on my muscles from having done the marathon the day before. My results weren’t quite as good as I wanted, but I chalked that up to having taken two weeks of rest instead of just one – and in most cases, I still made a little progress. I’m not going to stress about not making huge gains; in some cases, I still beat the models who were demonstrating (in fact, I believe the phrase “Suck it, Tanya!” may have come out of my mouth after one or two exercises). Also, while the “Fit Test” is really light and easy compared to the regular workouts, my mom watched me go through it (and was even nice enough to count reps for me – thanks, Mom!) and was floored by how intense she thought it was! Nice to get some admiration for the insanity that is Insanity 🙂

Post-workout, we headed to my fav restaurant in Burlington – American Flatbread, aka Burlington Hearth (I’m actually not sure which is the real name, as it appears differently on the menu vs on the door vs on Foursquare). For dinner, I carbed up with the most incredible pizza I had ever tasted: wheat crust topped with pureed ramps, veggies, and goat cheese. Phenomenal. I’m now a huge fan of ramps and can’t wait for them to come back in season next year.

Because we had done an early dinner, we were back at the hotel by 6:30pm, and I went to bed at 7pm. 11 hours of sleep? Yes, please! I was sure I’d wake up long before my morning alarm, unable to sleep that long, but except for a few quick wakeups to get more water and then go back to sleep, I slept the entire 11 hours. WOW. I couldn’t believe I had been that sleep deprived, but I woke up feeling well-rested and confident. It was now time to do what I do best – pace my group to another great Vermont finish!


9 thoughts on “Night Before the Race: Vermont City Marathon”

  1. so sad i missed you yet again! that ramp pizza was out of this world- next time we’re in the same city we ARE hanging out! hope you’re feeling 100 percent again!

  2. Cut. It. Out. Did you really DNF, too????? Holy crap! Whenever I say the ambulence pick someone up, I was so so SO happy to be on the quitter bus. Sorry about your race, Laura. Obviously it happens!!!

  3. I just started following your blog. I live in Vermont and ran the half on Sunday for the second time. I wish that I could have seen your talk!

  4. How awesome that you were a speaker! Sounds like it went really well! That’s great you ran Vermont again..I’ve always wanted to do that one.

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