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A Bear of a Race: Getting Ready for My First Marathon


Even though I have now qualified for the marathon of my dreams (the NYC Marathon,) I wasn’t entirely sure that it should actually be my first. I didn’t want to find myself standing on Staten Island freaking out about all of the unknowns that come with 26.2 miles; I want to be like “I got this lil’ thing” and enjoy every second of the race as relaxed as is possible when one finds themselves trying to go fast enough to hit their pace goals and slow enough not to burn out over the course of said distance.

So last December I signed up for The North Face Bear Mountain Endurance Challenge.

2014 North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain Marathon
2014 North Face Endurance Challenge Bear Mountain Marathon

Last year, I ran a 10K while my Runner-Brother ran the (insane) 50 miler. The whole weekend was a.) located in the beautiful Bear Mountain State Park and was b.) awesome, in general. It doesn’t get much more inspiring than watching 200 people volunteer subject themselves to 50 miles on an extremely technical trail course.

The 50 Miler racers waiting at the Start approaching 5:00am (May 2013)

I am incredibly excited to be running my first marathon in less than 3 weeks. I have been training as steadily as possible through the winter (a challenge in itself,) dealt with the unpredictable, sorted myself through some could-be injuries, and now I’m just about to finish up with my “new territory” training. In other words, my last long run will be tomorrow and I’m very excited.

Of course, I got a jump start freaking out about the taper about three weeks ago. On one hand I am stoked because I know I will finish this race and when I do I will have finished my first marathon. On the other hand, this course is extremely technical and I worry the combination of hills and distance is going to annihilate me, despite my training.

Like running to the top of Mount Washington during a marathon.
Running up 4,222 feet is almost equivalent to running to the top of Mount Washington.

For example, assume a typical fast male marathoner will run between 2:30:00 and 3:00:00. On Bear Mountain the first 2013 male runner comes in at 3:58:01. Followed by 4:10 and 4:20. So that is an extra hour and a half of quad crushing hills.

So with an estimated 4:10- 4:30 current projected marathon pace, I think I’m looking at around 7 hours. Which is good, because we only have 8 to run our race.

And Runner-Brother? He’s running the 50 Miler. Again.



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