Race Recap. Coach Jon Mott
I decided I would write a race recap so everyone knows what things were like for me at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Marathon. It was an awesome weekend in Biloxi! And it was great watching all my runners chase after PR’s! Here’s how things went on my end:
So, I’ve been asked many times why I picked this race to be my next marathon. Usually I’m all about racing big city races. Well, in the world of Covid this was my only option. However, the course is pretty much pancake flat and the weather conditions tend to be favorable. It was my best option so I pulled the trigger.
I went into this race with one of the best marathon cycles of my life. After my sub par performance in Indianapolis last year I decided I would make some changes to my training. Some examples: Increased mileage, longer long runs, faster paces on easy days, adding hills, incorporating strength work, shortened taper, and not relying on carbs as much I have been in the past. These changes allowed me to feel my strongest heading into a marathon.
As race day was approaching I was obsessing over the weather like I always do. Another reason I was wanting to do this race was because it has a history of producing a tailwind. It’s a point to point course so the wind plays a huge role. Well guess what I ended up having to deal with on race day? A headwind! Lol. I’m not going to say the wind was blowing me backwards as I was standing on that starting line but it was a good breeze, 10mph according to the forecast, and it quickly put me in a negative mindset. So bad, that I was ready to throw my race goals out the window.
The race started and I was quickly by myself. This was something I was prepared for. Just me and Buddy (lead biker). Mississippi isn’t a big race so there was no crowd support. My original goal pace was 5:13-5:14. Because of the wind I started the race conservatively. 5:25 first mile I believe it was. I actually stayed above 5:20 pace for the first few miles. I was nervous to go any faster to be honest. I don’t think I split a sub 5:20 mile until the 5th mile. From miles 6 to halfway I hovered around 5:15-5:19 pace. That put me at the halfway point in 1:09:36. In my mind I was ready to settle for 2:19, and that’s if things went well the last half.
At this point I was finally starting to feel pretty good. The wind hadn’t let up at all but my confidence was increasing. I just started clicking off 5:10-5:15 miles and it was feeling effortless. All that hard work in training felt like it was paying off. At mile 24 I hit the only incline and I could barely feel it. I was confused. Lol. I really didn’t even know what I would finish at this point in the race. I was just cruising. I past the 26 mile marker and saw 2:17:XX. I just took off as hard as I could. According to my GPS I was running low 4:40 pace. When I crossed that finish line I didn’t even know my time until the announcer congratulated me and said 2:18:03. This was a 9 second PR. Of course I was super happy but in the back of my mind I wish I could’ve found the few extra seconds to get under 2:18. Either way it was a great effort on a less than ideal day. I got the Overall Win and it was a course record by 9 minutes. I should also mention that my fueling was better than it’s ever been. 8 gels and a cup of fluids every other mile.
In the end, it was a great race. I had set 3 goals and I was able to hit one of them and that’s setting a PR, even if it was only by 9 seconds. My next marathon I won’t be as effected by uncontrollable factors. I’ll be ready to chase after my “A” goal!