Vermont City Marathon Race Recap & Review

Disclaimer: I received an entry into the Vermont City Marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Pre-Race๏ปฟ

As you may know by this point, I am not a phenomenal planner, so of course I had family things to do marathon weekend that made it so I wasn’t able to be in Burlington nearly as much as I would have liked. Originally I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal, but after seeing how much the entire town gets into the race, I really would love to make an entire weekend of it next time! I haven’t run many large races to compare, but living so close to Boston I have spectated the Boston Marathon many years, and Vermont had the similar feel of the entire city being taken over by running. Needless to say, it was very cool!

My boyfriend and I arrived Saturday evening (after a few delays) right at the end of the expo so we didn’t get to really see all the awesomeness. Though the volunteers were INSANELY friendly and helpful in suggesting food stops, shops, race day spectating spots, or any other tips you needed about the area or race!

With all the friendliness plus the giant maple syrup bottle it was hard to remember we weren’t in Canada ๐Ÿ˜‚โค๏ธ

I love camping (and saving money isn’t terrible) so if I can I generally try and find a campsite rather than hotel for racecations. I found the North Beach Campground was not only right on the bike path that was part of the course, but it was only a little over a mile away from the start! I loved that in a worst case scenario of being unable to find parking (since the start was in downtown), Christian could just drop me off and walk back to the action. This also gave us the option of just walking to the start as a nice morning activity/warm up. In the end it was torrential raining all night making for a pretty cold next morning so we opted to drive.

The green area is the campground. Pretty much at the mile 25 mark!
๏ปฟRace Day

I generally am laid back about races and don’t need to be at the start much earlier than necessary so the 6 minute drive was perfect to let me sleep in as much as possible. Also contrary to my worries, we had no issue finding parking what so ever, even with it being the latest time they recommended parking due to road closures. AND we were only like a 5 minute walk away from the start.

The park that the start is held at was mildly chaotic, but again I’ve never had experience with such a large race before so it easily could have just been the sheer amount of runners. We were in line for the port-o-potties when they announced that we needed to evacuate the park because of a severe storm. I honestly thought it was a joke at first because the half of the sky I had been looking at looked like a beautiful day, but looking the opposite direction it looked SUPER ominous. We evacuated to the nearest building which, for Christian and I, ended up being an awesome little church. Since we were all just hanging out, the pastor decided to redo a portion of the morning’s service. It was all running/racing based and included a talk/prayer and a song! It was honestly really, really cool and I was really grateful for the storm in the end because as a non-religious person I would have never gotten to experience it had there been no evacuation. We also happened to take shelter with the local weatherman so we got a live weather forecast and update about the storm afterwards! It down poured and lightninged, but it passed pretty quickly and we were allowed back to the start.

The Race!!

The start was HUGE! It was kind of hard to squeeze into place, but once it actually started the pace picked up surprisingly quickly! There were a lot of people around you for awhile, but I didn’t feel like people were in the way or slowing/blocking me. After the storm passed it seemed like it was going to be a hot, sunny day so I tried to drink a little water at every station. Literally my only “complaint” about this race was that the water was in plastic cups instead of paper, making it so I couldn’t squeeze the top shut for a smaller hole to drink from. For me being able to use that technique is a big deal because otherwise I’m hopeless at drinking from a cup ๐Ÿ˜…

Two of my Ragnar teammates found me at the start!

The first segment flew by! (But it was only a 5k..) And we were back at the start area! I did REALLY like this course’s “clover” shape so you see your spectators 3 times not including the start and finish. That also means you have 3 mid-race segments that have end-of-race crowd density while you run through the center of downtown that’s been completely closed off by the race and spectators. Again, I felt that little Boston vibe.

The second segment is an out and back over a closed segment of highway (but scenic highway). I’m pretty sure it was gradually downhill out and gradually uphill back. I was a fan. It was also cool because we drove down it as we left and I was all, “This looks familiar.. wait we ran here!” and Christian wouldn’t believe they closed the whole highway down for us until I showed him it definitely was on the course map. I always think it’s neat when they shut down and let runners take over entire roads for races!

Once in downtown again I got a lay! It was crazy how many people there were with signs or handing out things to help runners (nutrition, hydration, and motivation-wise). I feel like the rest of the race, anytime we were running through neighborhoods, every local was outside cheering or offering you something. As for my race, I accidentally totally subconsciously sped up at mile 12 because half marathons.. oops. And kept it up through 15 because we were back in town and it was hard not to get overly hyped. There was also one big hill DURING the crowded section (YAAAAAS hills โค๏ธ)so you know I was going to try and sprint up that.

Only having a little fun ๐Ÿ˜‰

The last section was definitely not my best. I started having some stomach problems at mile 17ish, I think. I wasn’t thinking I could eat my fuel anymore and plain water sounded awful. Luckily there were an INSANE amount of locals handing out ice pops and watermelon which did sound ok so I lived off crowd support the rest of the race. I think part of my problem was I don’t plan ahead so I hadn’t really looked at the course in detail and though the segments were more even. The last one being extra long when I didn’t expect it was definitely disheartening. Mile 21 I slowly started my pity party and now I wish I had thought to bring my Aftershokz for when I did actually need something to take my mind off the race. At mile 23 my hip (sleeping on the ground definitely left me sore) started to hurt so badly I came stupidly close to stopping. Honestly I think I might have if I hadn’t had to quit Providence at mile 23. For some reason that was the last straw, and there was absolutely no way I was stopping at the exact same mile again. I think I had even talked myself into being able to stop at 24, just not 23 lol. But then soon as I got to 24 I started feeling better and kind of figured I should just finish it at this point ๐Ÿ˜‚ It was definitely hard running directly by my campsite. I think 25 is when the 4 hour pacers caught me so I cranked out mile 26 way faster than I thought I could in order to pass them back. The last like 100-200 meters was on grass which was a really cool throwback to highschool XC for me! I made my goal of under 4 hours with 3:57:51, but by gun time I missed it by 5 seconds (which doesn’t actually matter, just makes my finish photo looks SUPER disappointing ๐Ÿ˜‚).

Pretending I’m not dying on the bike path lol
SUCH an awesome finish pic!!
Post Race๏ปฟ

Like I said, I had to scoot after the race, even more so with the late start since we were now late to checkout of our campsite. But again the whole city was in on the race so the campground already knew and weren’t upset. We did run by the Ben & Jerry’s factory on our way out, but the tours aren’t self-guided and everyone seemed to have the same idea so we didn’t have time. We did take a look at the ice cream flavor graveyard though which I didn’t know was a thing, but was funny!

Rhode Races Providence “Marathon”

So I only made it 23 miles.. but also I MADE IT 23 MILES!!

I had signed up for this race awhile back at the same time as Newport as part of my get-well-soon present. While Newport just wasn’t my day, I tried to get a little training in this time in hopes it would help and picked up a “How to Train for a Marathon in a Month” training schedule I found online. It definitely struck me as kind of an odd schedule (with a lot of 2 milers), but what do I know about actual training plans, so I went with it as much as my life allowed (my Master’s project needed work again so that’s where the 26, 27, 30, and 1st went).

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I switched most of the two’s to three’s

I felt a bit better after managing 11 miles at 8:27 pace in crazy wind and rain. And then I felt a bit worse after being able to complete 16 miles at 8:35 but feeling pretty darn crappy towards the end. I tried to focus on the fact I made it 16 miles on the first hot day (REALLY HOT, I got burnt pretty bad) of the year when I prefer running in the cold.

The morning of the marathon I woke up with my stomach feeling awful, but I recognized it as nerves and my boyfriend reminded me I had already completed a marathon through the freaking desert. Also while stretching before the race Marathon Panda Maurice found me! It was awesome to actually meet him in person and his super positive vibes definitely helped to calm my nerves further. By the time I was lining up I was back to feeling pretty good.

The gun went off and I started trying to keep with the 4 hour pacer, but they seemed to be going significantly slower than pace. Looking at Garmin connect now though I was faster even in the first mile so I’m not sure if something was up with my Garmin at the time or I was just completely impatient and ditched way too early ๐Ÿ˜… Also looking back the start of the course was far more hilly than later so they may have been going for even effort. I probably should have known the pacers knew what they were doing and just stayed with them, but I was also feeling really good so I went with it. Miles 1-20 FLEW by. I found a few new and old friends to talk to at different points, zoomed (or felt like I was ๐Ÿ˜‚) up hills, and cruised along the long, flat wooded back roads and bike path.

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I was trying to make sure I at least took a few sips of water at every water stop and after the half started eating a Honey Stinger chew every 2ish miles. Even so started feeling kind of off during mile 21. I slowed down in hopes that slower might ease my nausea, but it was only getting worse. By mile 22 I felt like I was dying of thirst (on top of the nausea) even though I had been drinking a decent amount and it seemed like the next water stop would never come. My mantra became, “Just get to the next water stop”. I thought maybe I could manage that, until I hit a short but rather steep hill. As soon as I started up the incline, the slightly hunched position it put me in pushed my stomach over the edge. I had to stop and step off the side in an attempt to be sick but I had nothing in me to get out. After battling back the nausea the last few miles, coming to a complete stop seemed to open the flood gates and I was hit with all the awful feeling at once. Every time I took a step I had to dry heave. I don’t remember actually moving but I definitely managed to make it a bit further in this state because the hill wasn’t where I ultimately stopped, but it was awful and I knew there was no way I was making it 3 more miles like this. Tons of runners saw me and offered me things to help. The cop stationed at the turn I stopped at was amazed at how many people stopped mid marathon to try and help me. (Love my running community!!) I ended up accepting some of a kind strangers water, with I think Nuun, but it seemed to be too late for anything to help. After 20 minutes of being unable to move without being sick I took the cop up on his offer to have someone come get me. Little did I know he meant an ambulance.. (In my out-of-it state I totally had thought he meant another cop to just bring me back to the finish.) so I accidentally got carted off the course in an ambulance ๐Ÿ˜‚

Overall it was a really fun day and I’m really happy my legs (and everything else besides my stomach) felt great and definitely could have made it the full marathon! After talking to some friends, I think it may have been a salt issue and I’m mildly kicking myself for not taking a salt tablet someone offered to me. Now just to get in more long training runs to test some more hydration and nutrition before my next attempt!

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Cheesin it hardcore because I LOVE RUNNING!!!