Garden Spot Village Marathon


I ran the Garden Spot Village Marathon on April 10th, 2010. This was my first marathon, and I successfully finished the race.

The race took place in Lancaster County, PA, in and around the Garden Spot Village retirement community east of Lancaster. This is Amish country, and there was plenty of Amish character throughout the area. I took a series of photographs the day before the race during my route recon.

GSV Marathon Course

Around mile 2, an Amish horse drawn plow team works the field.

GSV Marathon Course

This hill was around mile 3-4. It wasn't too bad going up or coming down later.

GSV Marathon Course

The lush green countryside.

GSV Marathon Course

One of the aromatic farms looms ahead

GSV Marathon Course

An Amish buggy up ahead.

The marathon started a few minutes after 8 AM. It was pretty cold, with temperatures in the low 40s at the start with brisk winds. There were a total of 1000 people running the marathon, half marathon, and marathon relay. The small size (compared to larger marathons like New York or Chicago) meant that parking, packet pick-up, and getting around the start line area was pretty easy.

My goal for this race was to successfully finish, under my own power, in less than 5 hours. This averages out to 11:27 for each mile. I ran the first mile in exactly 11 minutes. I held the pace through the first 10 miles. I hit the 10 mile point at 1 hour 48 minutes and change, which means I was averaging about 10:48 per mile. I got to the halfway point (13.1 miles) in 2 hours 21 minutes and some seconds, which averages to a 10:51 pace. These times were better than my Baltimore Ten Miler time from last summer (1:54) but a little slower than my half marathon time for Baltimore last October (2:18:36). I was feeling pretty good at this point, with one exception.

Monroe running the marathon

I look pretty miserable here, around mile 6 or so. But I actually felt OK at this point. I am on the left.

My left knee started to hurt at about mile 5. I felt a few pops and then a sharp pain on the inside part under the kneecap. I sucked it up and shortened my stride a little. After a couple hundred yards the pain subsided. It came back even worse around mile 15. Again, it went away after a few hundred yards, but it slowed me down a little. I averaged between 11:30 and 12:00 for each mile in the second half of the race. My final time was 4 hours, 54 minutes, and 2 seconds. This averages to 11:13 per mile the entire way.

Monroe running the marathon

My finish line photo. I felt a lot worse than I look.

I ran the entire 26.2 miles except for short walks at the water stops because I am not good at drinking while running. I was able to eat some Nilla Wafers on the run, but I had to walk a few seconds to drink my water.

The race location added some local flavor to the run. The Amish farms were very aromatic, with cow barns and freshly fertilized fields creating a sometimes overpowering smell, especially around mile 11 and mile 17. There were lots of horses and buggies on the roads. These are not very maneuverable, so runners had to be aware that they cannot always steer around them. I got hit in the chest by a baton tossed backwards by a race volunteer at the mile 7 relay exchange point. I don't think she realized I was back there when she threw it.

Next up: The Maryland Half Marathon on May 23rd.