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At the Races

Steamtown Marathon recap by Tracy Keller

It’s now been months since the Steamtown Marathon and I haven’t been able to get motivated to write this recap. Is that because I’m sad that the months of training and the race are really over? Or, is it because I’m trying to block the entire thing out? I’m still trying to work through that!

All kidding aside, on Sunday, October 7, I set off with Elsa Slater and John Harvey to conquer the (down)hills of Scranton, PA. With only 2,000 runners lining up at the start, the hometown feel of the event was just what I like. The logistics—45 minute bus ride to the start, nice warm school gym to hang out in before lining up—truly made the day seem more like a training run with some new friends than THE BIG EVENT. Many folks who live along the route sat on porches, in driveways, in yards on the cool, overcast morning, under blankets with warm beverages cheering us on—very welcoming.

Touted as a fast marathon, with an overall elevation drop of 955′, the course presented more challenges than I expected. My advice to others is to really heed the warnings about the significant downhills in the first eight miles and seek out looonnngggg downhills to train on. It’s a tricky balance between working to hold back in order to maintain a sustainable pace—and not absolutely shredding your quad muscles by holding back. By the time I reached mile 10 my legs were tired in a way I’d never felt before—not (yet) totally shot, but they were definitely protesting my lack of specific downhill training. While I had been mindful of switching up a few training routes to hit the downhills, serious commitment to that training would make this race a breeze. –Until you get to the uphills between my 23 and 26, but that’s another story altogether.

At the end of the day I was 10 minutes off my PR, so I consider that nothing to complain about—and it only took me four days to be able to walk up or down stairs without wanting to cry. What more can you ask for from a marathon?
I couldn’t have done it without my trusty training partners Elsa and John. Thanks for keeping me motivated, guys!

Elsa Slater 4:25:47
John Harvey 4:26:59
Tracy Keller 4:32:39

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