2014 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon Race Recap!

Who just ran Marathon Number SEVEN with a black eye and a big ass smile plastered across her face?

{Thumbs pointing at chest.}


Between training in a Polar Vortex and That Long Run Where I Wrecked My Face And Wound Up in the ER, I was ready to run the 2014 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. And by ready, I mean. Hurry up. Seriously. Let’s do this. NOW. Before something else horrible happens. Like my feet fall off. {Side note: My feet did not fall off. However, I am DANGEROUSLY close to losing two Pinky Baby Toes. I just lit a candle for them. And said a quiet prayer.} I was ready to wrap training and this race up WEEKS ago. That fall really took the wind out of my running sails. I know I mentioned it in gest here, but it did. More so than I actually let on. I came very, VERY close to bagging the whole damn thing. Then I remembered That Colby Doesn’t Quit. Ever. Not with a black eye. Not with a bruised spirit. Not even while listening to the world’s smallest violin playing Colby’s Pity Party Concerto. On repeat. Uh. No.


So off to Burlington we went!  We stayed at the Sheraton, the host hotel, which was just perfect. Packet Pick-Up was a zero stress breeze. Which is just how I like it. No fuss. No muss. Bib in hand, we made our way through the Expo (fun!), checked in, grabbed a water and headed off in search of a Heady Topper and a bite to eat.  Downtown Burlington is fantastic. It’s a funky, heavy on locally sourced, hippy, cool area. Lots of great restaurants, plenty of outdoor seating, and views of Lake Champlain. My Other Half and I milled around, checked out Battery Park which is where the race starts, and padded off in search of grub. Which we found o’ plenty.

Then I saw this banner against a nice blue sky.

The Lovely Downtown Burlington, Vermont.

The Lovely Downtown. Burlington, Vermont.

And got immediately excited.

The logistics of the race were an absolute BREEZE.  Because we stayed at the Host Hotel, everything was a piece of cake. (Colby Tip: If you can, and are a first timer, do so. Usually shuttles run from the Host Hotel to the start. The last thing you need is to be all frazzled race morning, screwing around with how to get to the start. There’s usually volunteers puttering around too, should you have any questions.) The Marathon also hosts a Relay which is a HUGE draw. Teams run together- from 2 people to 5- and complete the marathon as a group. In all, I believe there were roughly 3000 people running the full marathon and A Whole HELL of a LOT More Running the Relay. But don’t quote me on it. All I know is that at Mile 21 some fresh faced nymph dashed by me chit chatting along, swinging her ponytail side to side. After swearing under my hot, shallow breathe, I thought Bitch! Relay! {Ding, ding, ding!}

The Start was fantastic. I felt AMAZING!

running muppet

The Actual Starting Area was very user friendly. Secure bicycle parking. Plenty of volunteers. Bag check. Grub. Lots of Porta-Potties. Some of my dear old high school friends!  Easy access to the “corrals.”  Minimal confusion. Once we started, it thinned out nicely with little shuffling.  I started out strong! And was immediately lulled into a false sense of security because of several downhills in the beginning. {Colby Tip: Don’t start out strong. Regret is a terrible thing to run with.} The course itself was good. Not too flat, not too hilly. Just about right. There were quite a few turns which kept things spicy. There was also a long out-and-back stretch called the Beltway that was about 5 miles of hot, exposed, Not Much To See with a side of False Flat thrown in for good measure. Sneaky. That section was slightly boring, but I was hauling ass at this point. So who cared? I was Little Miss Top of the World! I felt good. Really good. It was at that point that I said: Screw it. I’m giving it all I’ve got. If I blow up, I blow up. But I haven’t felt this good running in a long goddamn time.

Then it got hotter.

And the warning went quickly from “Ideal” to “Moderate.” It may have ended worse than Moderate. What’s worse than Modeate? Hot as Balls? I have no clue. The hotter it got. The saltier I got. The harder I pushed.

Now I am sure there are many of you reading this that wouldn’t bat an eye at running in the heat. But I batted them. HARD. It was my first 70 plus degree marathon. Hell. It was my first hot run of 2014! Full sun. Full exposure, minus a short few sections. My best marathon EVER is a 3:54 {Fist Pump!} I ran at the Chicago Marathon. It started out at 32 degrees and ended around 50 degrees with clouds and a wind chill. I am not a Hot Weather Zippy Runner. We were already pushing 75, full sun and a touch of humidity at the half. I began to kiss a zippy race goodbye. But honestly. I didn’t care. I was there. Running with a black eye and slathered in SPF55, protecting the scars on my face. And I felt great.

Who knew the KBVCM had it’s very own Heartbreak Hill?  I didn’t. But they sure do. It’s at Mile 15. And it’s kind of long. And a little nasty. The good thing? TONS OF SPECTATORS! And Taiko Drummers!  Such fun!

Photo Credit: Glenn Russell/Free Press

Photo Credit: Glenn Russell/Free Press

Once you crest The Hill and after your legs regain their composure, you wind through all of these random cute neighborhoods. Runners are coming and going. In and out. Lots of turns. The people lining the streets couldn’t be nicer. BEER! JELLO SHOTS! MARDI GRAS BEADS! They had it all. They all made you feel at home. And not like A Tired Marathoner on the Verge of Heat Stroke. After Pleasantville, you run a ways along a nice, flat, bike path that snakes along Lake Champlain. It was really nice. There was some shade at this point, but the temps were crawling up. Much to my dismay.
Somewhere along Mile 23 I felt what I thought was hot oil being poured all over my foot. For a split second I thought I had broken a bone? Did I just get shot? An arrow through my foot? Katniss?!?! What the hell? Screw it. I’m not stopping. Ever. I may slow. But I won’t stop. I forget about the searing pain temporarily and trudge on through the last 5K. {Spoiler Alert: A blister the size of an apricot BURST on my baby toe. It wasn’t lava. It was primordial ooze. OUCH. Grody.}  I realize I am almost there. I get all sorts of choked up. Ok. I’m crying. As always I think about the journey.  Which this time was more like a Gyspy Caravan in a Stolen Rickshaw rather than a Smooth Trip. I can see the lake. I take my earbuds out just like I told my friend, Marathoner Salt to do. And I take it all in. I hear the announcers at The Finish! I summon my last hot kick.

And cross that finish line. BOOYAH!.


For Lucky Number Seven.

It might not be my 3:54, but I couldn’t be more proud of this race. Thanks KeyBank Vermont City Marathon. You’ve gone and made me proud.

Lucky Seven!

Lucky Seven!


73 thoughts on “2014 KeyBank Vermont City Marathon Race Recap!

    • Non-Hot Weather Runners of the World UNITE!!!!! 🙂 And thank you for the kind words. A late May marathon is a stinking crap shoot in the weather department. But at least it wasn’t raining!

  1. You kicked ASS!!!!!!!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!! ROCK STAR!!! Congrats!!! 2 factoids for you:

    1. I am so very grateful I did not run the LA Marathon in March–temps by the time the 430-530 crowd crossed the finish line were in the 90s. I tracked friends that day and watched projected 4:45, 5:00, 5:15 times go to 6 hours plus. BRUTAL.

    2. I worked on Pleasantivlle. 🙂 My name is in the credits, have an IMDB page, all of that. 😉

    • Thanks Amy!!!! Your recap is a mere few months away! Can’t wait for it!

      1. BULLSHIT on that. 90s. I would have melted. Seriously. Melted and simmered. That shit is dangerous. Tina and I ran The a Dreaded Fairfield Half Marathon and it was like running on the surface of the sun. We knew it was bad when there was a Kenyan down. (No joke.)

      2. YOU JUST TOTALLY SHOT UP MY COOLEST BLOGGER LIST!!!! For writing?!?! That is so stinking cool!!! Sadly. I don’t have an IMDB page. But I am published in a bunch of scientific journals. (Dork. 🙂 )

      • HA! I worked on a few movies as a Production Assistant and was a personal assistant to a big name actress before launching my writing career. 🙂

        Oh and last year when I ran the Disneyland 1/2 on 9/1/13– it was 83 degrees at 3am when I got up. (Disney races start at 5am). And it just got worse. By mile 8 between the SUN and HEAT and the black black asphalt I just gave up and walked. It was the worst.

        OC 1/2 a few weeks ago it was 75 and sunny and people were passing out left and right. To be fair, it felt like 80+. This is why my lone summer runs are in Oregon and SF. 🙂

  2. Wow, you did so good!!! Good job!!! I have to say, the start picture with the little dude running is soooooo funny!!! I think I laughed harder than I have all week long!!! I even showed my husband and he laughed, too!!! Great recap!!! You rock!!! Way to go!!!

    • Thank you Kristin!!! That little muppet cracked me up. I’ve been giggling all day just thinking about him!! I hope you’re enjoying your Birthday Week…and your kick ass PR! 🙂

      • Hehe, THANK YOU SO MUCH and the muppet is so awesome!!! I’m still laughing!!!
        Thanks, too- I’m really enjoying my birthday week and awwww, I’m still feeling great about my 10k!!! XOXO!!!

  3. You are an inspiration! Many congratulations on running your race after all those hard knocks. Literal hard knocks.

    I have to confess that I freaked out on Saturday because I went to the results and entered “Colby,” figuring there wouldn’t be many so I could find you even without a last name, but only found a male Colby, aged 24. I thought maybe that fall did you in and that you were unable to finish. But I couldn’t believe that because you are the epitome of TOUGH. So then I dug a little deeper and found your Facebook page with your pic and bib number. Hooray!!! I was SO happy for you. Plus, I feel I’ve cracked the Colby Code and understand where your nickname comes from. 🙂

    CONGRATULATIONS on beating all that crap plus the heat!

    • Thank you THANK YOU Tracy!!! Aha! It was a matter of time before someone cracked the Colby Code. Clever right? 🙂 I’ve always been Colby. Or Cole. Whichev. I wish I was 24! That godamn fall mentally was almost the death of me. And lemme tell you, there were speed humps during the marathon. Which FREAKED ME OUT. I literally picked my feet up so high, and so cautiously ran over them. It was ridiculous. So this race? This I am most proud of. And thanks again Tracy for the very kind words. You’ve made me smile widely. 🙂

      • It makes total sense you’d pick up your feet like that. You suffered a MAJOR trauma and that stays with you. And it makes even more sense you’re most proud of this race. Bask in that glow and wear your victory like the badge of honor it is!

  4. I m so freaking proud of you. And I’m sweating just thinking about the heat. I have no idea how the hell you did it. That is about 30-40 degrees above my preferred distance running weather. You’re a champ. Now heal those blisters before we do the firewalk also known as the Fairfield Half.

    • I am seriously contemplating going into the lab tomorrow in my Ugg slippers. This Little Piggie is about to fall the hell off. And thank you T-Bone, my biggest Athletic Supporter. I can’t wait for Fairfield. And our Fire Run!! 🙂 xoxo

  5. Woohoo for marathon number 7!
    The thought of running a marathon in 70 degrees makes me shudder. Esp in the sun. You are amazing for toughing it out- and having the guts to give it your all from the beginning.
    Enjoy some post race relaxation, you earned it 🙂 I hope you’re recovering well!

    • I sure am. {She says after her second Dark and Stormy}
      Due to circumstances beyond my control, my rotten baby toe is currently preventing me from wearing sneaks. Which is fine. For today. Tomorrow is another story.

      Thanks for the kind words Amber!!! I’m happy as a clam!!!

  6. Seven marathons!!! You are impressive!! Congratulations!!
    Heat makes SUCH A difference! Mine only reached high 60’s, but I was already dangerously dehydrated..major props for pushing through! Enjoy the post marathon bliss! (Not the blister..)

  7. Way to Hunger Games that beatch! I gotta say that I do not like the looks of that course – you pass by the finish line 3-4 times before actually finishing! Cruel intentions! Again though, way to crush it! Even though your toe zit popped right before the prom. Congrats on the not so deadly seventh!

    • Laughing! Thank you!! And YES. You do. But. You don’t SEE it. I would have just laid down like Rue and covered myself in flowers and called it a run. I didn’t LOVE the amount of out-n-backs but it was a nice, well run, gig. Oh my poor little Piggy. That bitch cried ALL THE WAY HOME. 🙂

  8. My god you paid for this race in so many ways! Glad you are happy with your race even though it wasn’t a PR. I had a similar experience, sans pain, with my half this weekend.
    Burlington is a great town, I’ve only been twice, part of me wishes I could have lived there. It has a great vibe, but it’s F’ing cold in the winter. There’s none of that heat shit up there in February!
    Congrats, great recap.

    • Isn’t it? We loved it. Great restaurants. Great beer. And that cool, hippy vibe. The after race party was fantastic, once I performed minor surgery on my baby toe with a dirty race safety pin and could actually enjoy it. 🙂 Winter must be a BEAST.

  9. I saw you were eyeing a fall marathon. Let me tell you about Big Cottonwood in Utah. September. Gorgeous. ALL DOWNHILL. I’m actually going to join a running group that is specifically training for that and taking field trips to locations with 5-10% downhill grades to run. Tho I am planning the half as my new speed coach would have my ass if I did another full so soon after sf haha. He doesn’t know I have 3 back to back to back halves and that isn’t unusual

  10. I am from Atlanta and I would have cried foul on those temps. Way to kick a$$ and take names! See all of that face planting was just to prep for the epicness of the conditions

    • Oh Honey. You have HEAT IN YOUR VEINS!!! No wonder you’re so fierce! I’m usually “comfortable” (and I use that term loosely) with running and cycling in the heat by August. Considering yesterday was 85 and this morning it was 39 when I opened my eyes? I’m not ready for high 70s at mile 20. Come on Mother Nature! How’s about a little consistency?!?! Sweet Jesus. 🙂

  11. Great Job! I ran that in 2008… and I will NEVER forget that hill! I did know about it ahead of time but it did not prepare me for what was before me…lol…. and the weather here in the great northeast is never predictable…. I remember when I ran it, it was like 70 and the day of it was 90… I literally wanted to die…lol…

    Congrats on a great race….

    • Thank you!!! It was funny because as My Other Half and I were tooling around Burlington, we were standing at the top of that hill looking down. And I quote: Shit. You think THIS is the hill? That looks like a bitch. At Mile 15. He GIGGLED. And the rest is history. Between yesterday and today in good old CT: a 45 degree temperature swing. Seriously. Direct sun kills more dreams than failure ever will. #truth

  12. woohoo! You did it! Nice work! I, too, am not a hot weather runner at all. My pasty Dutch self just can’t deal. So kudos to you for pushing through and finishing strong. I hope you dove in that lake afterward….

    • I dove into a big ass cold pint of Harpoon IPA instead! Much better if I do say so myself. 🙂

      Thank you! My tolerance for the heat usually peaks in August up in these parts. I’m a Super Salt Caked Hot Mess until I get used to it. Gah.

  13. CONGRATS GIRRRL! You rocked it! BTW we are marathon PR twinkies. 3:54 at Marine Corps! I hope to break it soon. Running 26.2 number 11 in October!! Woot woot!! Headed back to D.C. for MCM one more time! Not sure if it will be a PR….but after a while it’s more about the fun because I’m one of those crazies that actually enjoys running them!

    • And this is why we are blog buddies! 3:54 BABY!!! I’m one of those crazies too! I absolutely loved MCM. I would love to head back at some point for sure. Number 11! Lookit you! You are FIERCE! 🙂

      Can’t wait to read your about your journey to number 11!

  14. I just could not love this recap any more if I tried. I think it might be my most favorite one EVER (and I’m sorry for laughing at your giant blister, but “did I just get shot?” made me LOL at my desk). I cannot believe that you have run 7 MARATHONS. 7. That’s like some serious superhuman stuff right there. You are amazing and an inspiration to me every day and I’m so proud of you. LOVE this and LOVE you and YOU ROCK!!!

    • Thank you MARATHONER SALT! Oh just you wait Sister. You’ll be there too. And I am CHOMPING AT THE BIT to hear your Dopey Recap which thanks to you, is now on my list. And honest to god. It was such a freak burning pain I thought I had either:

      1. Gotten Shot by a hollow point bullet or an arrow
      2. Had hot canola oil poured over me
      3. Been stung by one of those Tracker Jackers from the Hunger Games.

      Either way I figured my time on earth was limited. So therefore I needed to HAUL ASS AND WRAP THAT BITCH UP! I can not even DISCUSS what is going on with my feet at the moment but needless to say I am “resting” and am rocking flip flops. And a limp.

      Love, love you too Salt! CONGRATULATIONS ON KICKING YOUR MARATHON’S ASS!!! xoxoxoxo

  15. BOO! You had me thinking two things were coming in this post. First, I expected you to pass out from dehydration/heat exhaustion…nope. Second, I expected to see a mangled, scabbed and unhappy face…nope. Thanks for nothing. Since you did neither of the aforementioned, I will just say, awesome job, congrats on yet another marathon, and awesome recap.

    • OH COME ON. You mean the baby toe implosion didn’t thrill you? The scabs have fallen off, yet the scar face remains red, raised and mangled.

      You just got my good side, Poodle. With a decent filter.

      Thank you. 🙂

  16. I knew that you would not be denied. Congratulations. While you were in Vermont did you happen to see Larry, Darryl and his other brother Darryl?

  17. Great recap! And congrats on your 7th (!) marathon. Seriously impressive – especially in those conditions. I’m with you – if only the weather could be overcast and 50F for every race!

  18. Awesome job, congrats!! Your recaps are soooooo much fun to read. As a matter of fact, I think I will have to stop reading your posts at work… I get weird looks because you just make me laugh out loud ;oD. Hope your eye is better!

  19. Pingback: Vermont City Marathon 2016: Feelin’ the Burn. – It's A Marathon AND A Sprint

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