I realized while running the Leesburg 20K that I really enjoy running a majority of this race. If you are in the DC area and have never been out to Leesburg, it’s beautiful – rolling hills, farms, a beautiful little downtown area (with plenty of great places to eat).
The course is mostly an out and back on the W&OD. As you can see, it’s a gradual uphill on the way out, and downhill on the way back. There is one section (near the middle) with a moderately intense uphill (one way you’re going up a trail corkscrew, the other you’re going over a humpback overpass). Other than that, it’s definitely not the hilliest course I’ve run. But the race is in August – so by the time you finish, it’s getting hot.
Did I do better than last year? Yes. I ran this course in 1:52:13. That’s about 9:03 per mile. To compare, last year I was running about the same mileage (high 30s, low 40s) and I ran this race in 1:56:17 (9:21 per mile).
I felt a little more prepared for the race. I knew the course, I knew what to expect,
The first half, I paced myself really well.
I finished faster than I did last year, and this year I’ve run a bit more mileage wise at this point.
It was hot, but a good part of the race was run in the shade.
The scenery was beautiful.
They had the most delicious chocolate chip cookies at the end of the race. Also the gatorade I drank at the finish line tasted better than any gatorade I’ve ever had.
THE NOT SO POSITIVES:
My stomach felt really unhappy around mile 9
I felt incredibly thirsty at the end.
This was not the pace I had wanted to keep, in fact, it’s a good :30 slower than my half marathon pace.
I also have had a sneaking suspicion that eating gus is becoming harder on my stomach, especially if they contain caffeine. So I might need to do a little more experimenting there.
So the journey to the Chicago Marathon continues. I’ve got a half marathon coming up on September 13th. I’m hoping that will give me another good idea, perhaps with even cooler weather, of what I am capable of for this marathon. That’s another one that has some hills, but I am hoping that all of these hills (aka “speedwork in disguise”) pay off for Chicago!