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-Raceο»Ώ

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 πŸ˜‚β€οΈ

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!
ο»ΏRace 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 πŸ˜…

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 ❀️)so you know I was going to try and sprint up that.

Only having a little fun πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ˜‚ 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 πŸ˜‚).

Pretending I’m not dying on the bike path lol
SUCH an awesome finish pic!!
Post Raceο»Ώ

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!

2019 Race Schedule

Since I think I have most of my races selected for most of the year at this point, I figured I should go over my master racing plan!

Hyannis HalfFebruary 24
Antelope Canyon Ultras Trail HalfMarch 9
New Bedford HalfMarch 7
Rugged Maniac PhoenixApril 6
Rhode Races Newport HalfApril 13
Illinois MarathonApril 27
Spartan Sprint BostonMay 11
Horseneck HalfMay 19
Vermont City MarathonMay 26
North Face MA 50kJune 8
Bubble RunJune 15
Tough MudderJune 29
Blue Hills 12kJuly 7
Savage RaceJuly 13
Anchor Down UltraAugust 16 & 17
Rhode Races Jamestown HalfSeptember 21
Rhode Races Narragansett MarathonOctober 27

That may seem like a lot of races, but that’s how I like my schedule. Plus most of them are just going to be for fun anyway. One of my 2019 goals I forgot to mention on my goals post was to run a race every month, so some are also to help accomplish that as well as be fun!

Most of the Vacation Races series is on my bucketlist so when the Rhode Runners crew said they were doing Antelope Canyon this year I wasn’t going to pass that up! I also have two other racecations, Rugged Maniac Phoenix and the Illinois Marathon this year!

The New Bedford Half, Horseneck Half, and Blue Hills are all local races I’ve been meaning to do for awhile now and decided to finally get around to running! As of right now the plan is to run them for fun. The Rhode Races Newport Half is also local, but I have run that one multiple times before and just can’t get enough.

Next up are my marathons: Illinois, Vermont City, and Narragansett!! I am EXTREMELY excited for them! I have now tried to run a few marathons while being completely under prepared and hadn’t had them turn out well. I’m partially SUPER nervous (what if the marathon distance is my kryptonite?!) but also realistically know I can totally do this! I’m really happy having two planned earlier and then a third way later in the year. Right now I plan to run Illinois really conservatively, just to boost my confidence and prove to myself I can do it. Also my current PR is “dying in the desert” slow so even a very conservative marathon should give me a nice PR! With the newfound confidence I will hopefully have gained, I would then like to see how I am feeling for Vermont City. My current training plan is set for Vermont, but I would like to PR (again a slow PR that shouldn’t be hard to beat) and hopefully slightly crush (that’s the hard part) the North Face 50k, which isn’t all that long after Vermont. I’m good with going by feel as the races get closer and I have Narragansett (a nice familiar course for at least the first half) as a backup if I feel like I could have given more in Vermont.

I REALLY liked having some fitness other than just running ability last year so I signed up for three ORC races this year: the Spartan Sprint Boston, the Tough Mudder, and the Savage Race. I LOVED the Sprint course last year so I definitely wanted to run that one again! Also last year when I did the Tough Mudder with my college roomies we only did the half (5 mile) and we wanted to/are going to do the full (10 mile) this year so that’s cool! For the Savage Race my friend and I are actually signed up for a competitive wave so I’m pumped to hopefully be able to run the runnable sections!

Now for the REALLY juicy stuff! I signed up for the 24 hour section of the Anchor Down Ultra. Yes, I have only run one ultra so far (Silver Falls 50k) and yes it didn’t go so well.. BUT I don’t care! Not to make excuses, but my knee was bad at the time and I had barely any training and I KNOW that with some solid training I can at least push myself to accomplish something! Will I make it 24 whole hours? Not sure. Will I make it 100 miles in that time and get a SWEET ass belt buckle? Who knows! BUT I’m sure as hell not going to sign up for a lesser section (12 or 6 hr) that would limit what might be possible! It is a nice flat, easy, million loop course though a local park so it’s also not like failure leaves me dying out in the desert somewhere (yea I learned my lesson about desert running!) either. So the current plan is to dream big and train like it’s going to happen!

My final current race plan for 2019 is the Rhode Races Jamestown Half. I ran this race originally as part of the Rhode Master’s Series. It is a pretty small race on what I felt was a really fast course to me. I think as long as I have all my planned miles logged from all my earlier races (and add in some speed work) I will have a really good base to possibly run a PR here. Also with a small field it would be really cool to place well! (For reference, I placed 14th overall that year without a great time or really training much for it.)

How many races do you plan a year?
What are your big race goals this year?
Have you ever just gone for it? How’d it turn out?!

Vermont City Marathon 2019

Disclaimer: I received free entry to the Vermont City Marathon 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!

I’m very excited to say I am going to be running the Vermont City Marathon May 26, 2019!! After running the Covered Bridges Half I fell in love with Vermont and was lucky enough to get to run two more races on Mount Killington in Vermont more recently this year. The Vermont City Marathon is much more North West than the other races I’ve done there though so I’m excited to see what this new region holds! From photos it looks like a diverse course of wooded roads, bridges (love me some bridges!), water front, and city/town with pretty brick architecture.

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These photos were found online with the results, so really nice, free race photos seem to be part of the swag!! (My favorite!)

The course overview even boasts its starting view overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains!

Not only does the scenery looks amazing, but the course itself looks pretty optimal too. It goes by the start at multiple points for easy support without just being the same small loop repeated. Three of the four segments are even loops (not out and backs)! I’ve never seen a course quite like it, but I feel like I’m really going to enjoy it!

VCM18_Map_Course_final-01

One last fun fact is a friend of mine BQ’ed at this race, so clearly it has to be lucky! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, I’m super pumped for this race and if it sounds fun to you too you should use the code BibRave10 for $10 off registration and let me know that I’ll see you there!! πŸƒβ€β™€οΈπŸ’¨