Disclosure: I received a complimentary race entry for the BCS 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!
So if you have been following along on the blog/social media/real life you probably know that I was terribly under-trained for this marathon. I had been under the weather for a few weeks leading up to the race and almost backed out on race morning because I was still feeling pretty rough. (Side note: really glad I didn’t!) I think I ran about 10 miles total in the two weeks leading up to race day. I do not recommend this approach at all, but I was pretty reasonable with my expectations and I know my limitations so my goal was simply to get through the race under the time limit and without injuring myself!
BCS Marathon Recap
To kick off race weekend, there was a packet pick-up at College Station High School. Race day packet pick-up was not available so the only option for getting your number was to go to the expo on Saturday. The high school was easy to find, there was plenty of parking and pick-up was super efficient. I walked right up to the people handing out the numbers then right up to the shirts with no wait at all which was awesome. The shirts were a nice tech material and a great design, but the womens cut didn’t work for me at all. I am a little taller than average so it looks like a crop top on me and is a little boxier than I would expect for a womens shirt. That said, the shirt is never a make or break for me so I wasn’t too concerned.
The expo was on the smaller side but did have all the essentials as well as the hand painted mile markers on display! They actually sell the mile markers which is a cool touch.
I liked that the expo was easy to navigate so I was able to get home early to get my gear together and get some rest.
The BCS Marthon start line was conveniently located near the mall so parking was plentiful. It was a short walk to get to the start and there were plenty of porta-lets and there did not seem to be a line for the bag drop. I had my husband with me so I got to skip the bag drop. The announcer was doing a great job keeping everyone on schedule and amped up. Before the race started there was a pep talk by the race director and the National Anthem was sung. Corrals were easy to line up in and we were off and running right on time!
I was very happy that I got to run the first 5 miles with Sarah of Free To Run.
It made the first bit of the race go so much faster. All the professional marathon advice says to not bank time…but I knew I was not in shape to run this race well so I took the banking time approach. After a great 5 miles Sarah went on her way and I started taking a few walk breaks here and there (and yes the length of those walk breaks definitely increased as the miles went by!). The biggest challenge for me was actually the road camber. I am not used to running on roads anymore so my legs were struggling pretty badly with the constant slope. I actually never felt unfit for the race, my legs just did not like the road. This is why I usually stick to trails!
The other big difference between road and trail races, and the thing I was most concerned about, is food. I love the trail running approach to nutrition. Give me all the snacks and candy! I was so very happy to find that the BCS Marathon aid stations had oranges, gummy bears and Skittles in addition to GU! It’s probably weird but I think it was as good for my mental state as it was for my tummy. Knowing that the next aid station would have some of my favorite snacks was a big mental boost. Now if I can petition for potato chips next year life will be great 😉
About the aid stations: can I just say how amazing volunteers are? I love them. And the BCS Marathon had so many amazing volunteers to be thankful for. In addition to the very very well manned aid stations, there were a bunch of cheer stations throughout the Texas A&M campus. This was also the part of the course where you were getting close to hitting that dreaded wall so the extra encouragement was very welcome.
About 3 miles out I was pretty ready to be done. Mentally I was in really good shape but my legs were starting to demand that we stop running on such a tilt. My husband was also texting me talking about how awesome the finish line announcer was. It gave me something to look forward to and I was ready to hear the hype for myself! When it was finally time to run across the finish line I was, of course, flooded with the usual rush of emotion. I was also excited to see the race medal because they kept it a secret until race day! And it was massive! There was also a PR gong to ring…I didn’t do it because I wasn’t sure if I had PRed or not. I found out later that I had!
I finished towards the end of the allotted time so there wasn’t a huge group of runners left, but there were still plenty of goodies. The first table you went past was for your finisher jacket. AKA the coolest race swag ever! I didn’t want to ever take it off. There were also margaritas, breakfast burritos, pizza rolls(!!!) and beer. Not just any beer though. It was from Karbach Brewing out of Houston and their lager might be the best thing I’ve ever tasted. Of course I might need to go find a few more now to make sure I still like it as much haha.
The finish line was in a park so the other nice thing was that I was able to flop down in the grass to enjoy my goodies before walking to the car.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this race. I will probably never be a road runner full time, but this is a race I absolutely plan to run again and again. It was so well organized, the course was beautiful and the volunteers were amazing. If you are considering running the BCS Marathon, stop considering and just go sign up. You won’t regret it!
Besides…you know you want a medal this big!!!
Have questions about the BCS Marathon? Let me know!