I finally ran in a BORING Marathon, but this race was anything but dull. I think I've run somewhere between 30 and 35 marathons so far (I need to go do an accurate count), and this race definitely ranks at the very top! I've thought all week about why I enjoyed this race so much, and here is what I came up with. The Boring Marathon has the . . .
Best Race Directors
Mike and Carissa Strobel truly care about making this race a wonderful experience for the runners. They spend countless hours working on details to make sure the race runs smoothly. They are amazing!
Packet pickup was super smooth, runners were well informed with race details, the race started at 6:30 am on the dot, all the aid stations were well stocked, there were no issues knowing which direction to run even though there were right and left turns and out and backs in the race, and there were plenty of porta potties! I had zero complaints about this race!
Rad Course with a Rad Name
There is something for everyone: downhill, uphill, out and backs, and neighborhoods. The course was challenging but also offered relief at just the right moments! And . . . who wouldn't want to run a race with such a BORING name?!
The registration fees, sponsorship, or donations first cover the costs for the race, but the rest of the money goes straight to the Sam Barlow High School Track and Cross Country Teams and the West Orient Middle School Track team. The race directors' goal is to help build "the next generation of runners." I love that running in this race helps young runners learn a lifelong skill.
Nicest Volunteers and Cheering Sections I've Ever Witnessed During a Marathon
The number of people that volunteer their time to support the runners for this race is huge: Eastwind Running Endurance members, other runners from nearby cities, the Boring community, cross country runners from junior high and high schools, and family members and friends of runners. I was taken care of from the moment I arrived at the race: bag check by Joy and Janet, pictures by Millie, a welcome from Mike, one of the race directors, and awesome volunteers who helped direct me to parking. The support at the aid stations was TOP NOTCH. Volunteers and bystanders cheered on each and every runner and directed us along the entire course. It felt like each aid station was filled with friends and family that wanted each runner to do their best. AMAZING!
Great Swag Bag
Loved the Boring shirt, Boring glass, Boring soap, free GU . . . Seriously, the coolest bag!
More BORING thoughts from Vanessa Heber . . .
If I haven't convinced you to run this race yet, let me give you some more details of my personal experience in this BORING race. I woke up at 3 am to prepare. I actually have a pretty long "to do" list on race mornings: take thyroid meds, get dressed, put on race bib, go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, go to the bathroom, count GUs, make sure music and race drinks are packed and ready to go, go to the bathroom again . . . and finally, I left the house at 4:30 am and headed to the starting line.
When I arrived at 5:00 am wearing my purple bathrobe, there were volunteers that quickly directed me to my parking spot and then to the fresh, clean porta potties. Somehow my purple robe has survived multiple races (I think it is too ugly for anyone to want to steal). I'm pretty sure a few of the runners thought I was homeless as I headed towards the porta potties in the pitch black morning in my bathrobe.
I was thrilled to find a bag check where Joy and Janet promised they'd store my purple robe until after the marathon. What great friends!
Teresa and I found Mike, one of the AMAZING race directors, and took a picture with him. I can't reiterate enough how much work he and his awesome wife put into directing this race.
Mike started the race at 6:30 on the dot with a "toot" from an Oscar Mayer Wiener Whistle. And . . . we were off!
I knew the first half of the race would be faster than the second for me because of how the course is set up. I decided to try to hold somewhere between a 7:00-7:15 min/mile pace for the first half. I didn't really have a plan after that. Here's the breakdown of my pace and fuel for the first 13 miles:
Mile 1 - 7:16 Mile 8 - 7:04
Mile 2 - 7:00 Mile 9 - 7:09 (2nd GU)
Mile 3 - 7:03 Mile 10 - 7:19
Mile 4 - 7:23 Mile 11 - 7:12
Mile 5 - 7:03 (1st GU) Mile 12 - 7:25
Mile 6 - 7:01 Mile 13 - 7:19 (3rd GU)
Mile 7 - 7:01
The first 8 miles were amazing. The volunteers on the course were awesome. Each and every one cheered me on when I passed. So motivating! I got to see Millie on the course taking pictures too! There were lots of twists and turns through some neighborhoods, but there were volunteers at every turn directing me where to go. Amazing volunteers! In fact, I felt really good until about Mile 9 when my stomach didn't handle the 2nd GU. Enough said. Use your imagination.
Then around Mile 10, 11 or 12 a girl came FLYING past me. She turned her head as she ran past and said, "Don't worry, I'm not really running in the race. I'm just out for a training run!" She was wearing a race bib, so I thought maybe she was telling me a fib just to make me feel better about being passed. I tried to keep her in my sights.
At about Mile 13ish, there was a turn around point with a green pole in the middle of the path. I grabbed the pole for luck as I went around it, and it fell over with a clunk onto the path. The security guards standing nearby got a good chuckle out of that one. My body was feeling like the pole. I could tell I was out of energy, and that I might start falling apart. I slowed down and smiling got more difficult.
Suddenly, an angel named Steven Woodley, showed up just when I needed motivation to finish. I had run with Steven once before and had also seen him before the start of the race. He is an amazing runner who was just out doing a training run on the race course and cheering on friends that were racing. He said, "Vanessa, you've got this! I'm going to run with you for awhile." Steven literally talked me through the next 5 or 6 miles. I kept complaining about how much I was hurting, and he just kept telling me I could do it! He ran right in front of me, and I just tried to keep up.
I ran back through the neighborhood section on my own, talking myself through the miles. When I ran out of the neighborhoods, down the hill, and back to the trail, I almost started crying when I saw Steven waiting to run the last 3-4 miles with me. Such a blessing. I kept saying, "Is there anyone behind me?" and Steven would reply, "No, Vanessa. Just keep running. You are doing great!" I think I asked him the same question 25 times. On the way towards the finish line, I saw Chris, Teresa, and Rachel. They were just the boost I needed to finish strong.
Here's the breakdown of my pace and fuel for the last 13 miles:
Mile 14 - 7:34 Mile 21 - 8:11 (5th GU)
Mile 15 - 7:36 Mile 22 - 7:48
Mile 16 - 7:37 Mile 23 - 8:03
Mile 17 - 7:47 (4th GU) Mile 24 - 8:21
Mile 18 - 7:42 Mile 25 - 8:27
Mile 19 - 7:46 Mile 26 - 8:07
Mile 20 - 8:02 last .2 - delirious
Finish time on my watch: 3:17:28 Average pace: 7:34
When I looked towards the finish line and saw the pink tape stretched across, my first thought was, "That girl that sprinted past me was telling the truth! She wasn't in the race!" What?! I couldn't believe I was going to be the first woman to cross the finish line of the 2017 BORING Marathon! It was a truly incredible feeling running through that piece of pink plastic. It was exhilarating. It was gratifying. It was truly a team effort to get across that line. The people that directed the marathon, the people that volunteered, the people that cheered, and the people that ran, all felt like a giant supportive family. Thanks to everyone who made this race so awesomely BORING!
Some more BORING moments I don't want to forget!
I got to train in the mornings with Claudia and Matt who completely rocked their first marathons! So proud of them!
Teresa FLEW through the 1/2 Marathon course! She is a rockstar!
So lucky to have running friends that stick by me, no matter what I smell like! Life is never BORING!