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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Plourd

Yuma Territorial Marathon Recap

Updated: Feb 4

I completed my second marathon! I had three goals and I met one. The first half of the race was completely uneventful. Absolutely boring. But the second half was a battlefield. And everyone in our crew made it out alive! Read the nitty gritty deets below.


1: break 4 hours (PR)

2: don’t walk

3: average between an 8:30 and 8:40 pace

The night before the race, I sat in an uncomfortably lukewarm bathtub and ran numbers. The science behind running might be my favorite part about this sport. So using online race-predicting calculators, I input the speeds I held during tempo training days, my turkey trot 5k, and a recent fast mile I ran. Everything pointed to an 8:30-8:40 marathon pace. So in the eleventh hour, that’s what I decided I’d do.

The race began. Christian and I started the run feeling energized and confident. And when I looked down, my watch said we were running in the 7:50 min/mi range. In my mind I pictured a meter of my glycogen stores decreasing quickly. I slowed down to an 8:30 and told Christian he could go ahead. There was absolutely no way I could hold that speed for 26 miles. Math doesn’t lie. Christian chose to stay with me.

With 6 Honey Stinger gels in my left hand (two more in my pocket), and a phone in my right, I pondered how to get my gloves off. I saw Lauren Hutchinson snapping pictures at mile 5, so I squeezed everything in one hand and tore them off with my teeth. It was a beautiful throw, and an even more beautiful catch. We make a good team Lauren.

We settled into a pace behind a nun wearing a shirt that said “keep the faith” on the back. I consciously wanted to stay close to her because I figured I’d need to keep reading that message. We held onto her until the halfway point. (Spoiler Alert: she got 2nd place female!)

Around mile 15, the “low fuel” light came on. The muscles in my quads were near depletion. Around this time, I see an older man with blood dripping off his chin and his nose has clearly skidded along pavement. It was pretty nasty.

At mile 15.5 Christian pulls away. But by mile 17 I catch back up to him, despite going the same consistent speed. I then tell him what might happen if he hits the wall. I had a strong feeling he would. Also warned that if he cramps, he’ll need sodium, hydration, and electrolytes.

Mile 19: Christian’s left quad decides it doesn’t want to be a part of his body anymore and tries to jump ship. I stopped and held his arm, afraid he was going to fall (like I did at my last half marathon). I forced him to eat my honey stinger (only 50mg of sodium, but it was the best we had on us).

Note: I’ve downplayed this moment…it was an intense, scary time, and I’d love to hear it from his perspective.

After a couple minutes completely stopped on the side of the road, my own muscles start stiffening. I take off to get nutrition for him.

Once at the next aid station (0.75 miles later!), my Vastus Medialis muscle in both inner legs starts to cramp. I massage them out while telling the volunteers about Christian. One says she’ll drive salt to him. Another says he’ll send the ambulance to deliver electrolytes. A third says "did you see that old man with blood all over his face?

Guilt consumes me, but with the state of my legs, I realized it was pointless for me to run back to Christian. I needed to keep moving forward.

I take off toward home. And my legs aren’t what they were before. If I push, they threaten to lock on me. If I slow down, then I sit in the pain longer.

Around mile 22 I’m in desperate need of electrolytes myself. I get to an aid station, drink the Gatorade, and settle on a handful of M&Ms. Terrible idea. The chocolate is thick, and I have no water to wash it down for miles.

There was a woman running just behind me, and she was 100% of my motivation to not walk. I was pretty sure I was maintaining 3rd female, and I couldn’t give that up this late in the race.

I held her off for two miles, and I just couldn’t anymore. I was having to stop every 0.5-1.0 mile to massage my legs. She passed me, and her form was nothing like my survival mode gait. I told her she made it look easy. And she smiled and said she’s on mile 4… of a relay.

I’m almost at mile 24!

I instantly feel better about myself.

At mile 24 the wind picks up, so my runny nose picks up too. I wipe my nose on my shirt and see blood on it. I wipe my face again. More blood. Then realize it’s actually chocolate from 2 miles ago, and that gives me a good laugh thinking of all the people I saw.

But the laughing stops at mile 25 as I approached the one hill this course offered. I muster all my leg’s energy to push without walking. I survive. One mile to go, and the legs just can’t. I count to 100 steps because that’s all I can mentally handle at a time. I stop twice that last mile to massage the legs. I was so worried I’d fall flat on my face from muscle spasms just before the finish line.

I entered the Cocopah Casino parking lot, and Bobby Maestre greets me with a big smile and big energy. He tried to get me to pick up my pace, and even though I’m smiling…my legs just won’t do it. I pushed them as hard as they’d go, a whopping 9:37 pace.

I crossed the finish line. And it was over. No emotions, just an odd sense of confusion. Like, what just happened?

I’ve never had a race experience like that, where I didn’t finish with an all-out effort of speed and a flat-lining heart. And days later, I’m still not sure what to feel about it.

I find I made third place female, yay! And then see I’ll need to walk up stairs to accept my $50 check. Boo!

While waiting I see the old man, still bleeding from his chin and nose. My curiosity got the best of me, so I walked over to say hello. I asked him how his race went. He’s a strange smiley, melancholy old man and he says flippantly that he made it to the halfway mark of the full, but didn't meet the course cut off time, so they drove him back. He makes no mention of his injuries as, hours later, I watch a drop of blood collect at the tip of his chin then fall to his stained shirt.

So naturally I ask. “Did you fall?” And with a creepy smile (or was it a concussed smile?), he said “oh yes, my shoes came untied.” I said he was a fighter for continuing…then walked away, because honestly, he gave off serial killer vibes…

In the end, I met one goal. I PR’d with a time of 3:55:36. I certainly stopped a few times, and I was no where near holding the 8:30 pace (I averaged 8:58).

But I’m not disappointed. I got to train with my SUNDAY RUNDAY crew, and we all learned a lot about ourselves out there. We sure gave it all we had.

Unfortunately, the circumstances of the race had me feeling like it wasn’t that bad, and that I still have a lot of time to shave off. It made me want to do one again…

But for now…

I’ll get to that running break I’ve so badly been waiting for!

PS: Annette got her PR and second for her age group! Go Annette! And Christian finished about 35 minutes behind me. His pain looked agonizing, but his grit pushed him through to the end. Regardless of the details, we finished. And no one can take that away from us!

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