Aside from the fact that life has been obscenely busy as of late, I really have no solid excuse for not writing my recap on the Richmond Marathon a few weeks ago. It took me days to figure out how I wanted to attack this as it didn’t feel right to throw down a lengthy play-by-play like previous recaps.
I did, however, want to make sure I highlighted the best and worst parts of the day (26 to be exact), so here we go!
The good, the bad and the just plain gross:
1. Because it has only NOT rained during 1 of my half or full marathons: The extended forecast for race day was fantastic. Light rain very early in the morning making way for a cool, cloudy day. This continued to improve until two days out from the race when things went to hell in a hand basket. No one really knew what to expect but what we had planned for wasn’t at all what occurred. Fast forward to my 5:00 AM wake-up on race day. I peered into the darkness and to no avail, the rain was beginning to fall. I had prepared for it to rain throughout the early morning hours, tapering off at 6:00 AM so this wasn’t a shock. What was a shock was the continuation of the rain and increase in its force through 7:00 AM. By the time I was able to find the friends I was running with, I was soaked through all of my layers, and had standing water in my shoes. Fan-freaking-tastic. The race started at 8:00 AM and fortunately the rain had tapered off by that point, or so we thought. Half a mile in, another downpour, a few miles after that, another. This played out over and over throughout the first 13.1 miles until the skies finally cleared. Miserable doesn’t adequately describe the way my feet and chilled body felt about the rain, more like pissed.
2. For a 2-day sickness: I somehow managed to get a stomach bug leading up to the race. This was not just any stomach bug, but the mother of all stuck-in-the-bathroom-for-a-half-hour stomach bugs. I was extremely dehydrated and had zero appetite. Needless to say, this did not bode well for my carb loading body on Thursday and Friday. The sickness continued on until around 8:30 p.m. on Friday night before it finally subsided. Gatorade, Ginger Ale and Pedialyte have never been such close personal friends as they were during those 48 hours.
3. For 3:1 Intervals: There were a lot of people running, which made intervals a bit difficult to do for the first few miles. Sondra and I would sprint on the runs and power walk through the breaks. It did, however, make for some fun conversations when people rammed into the back of us on various occasions, despite being on the very side of the road, calling and gesturing in the air that we were on our walk interval.
4. For taking the last 4 weeks of training easy: Even having taken off a couple of weeks from running, my legs felt FANTASTIC through the very last mile. Around mile 21-24 they started to feel much heavier, but knowing I only had and 10K left, allowed me to push through.
5. My 5th pair this year: So, I purchased a pair of my always dependable Asics a month before the race, with ample time to break them in on a few shorter runs. A couple of weeks went by and the shoes were feeling worse instead of better, I knew something was up. Took the shoes back the week of the race and traded in for the same GT 2000, version 2.0. Now, I would never recommend buying brand new shoes and wearing them out of the box for a marathon, but for me, it actually worked!
6. Along the marathon course were 3 or so party zones. Massive crowds of people cheered, called out your name (via the bib) and handed out food/hydration. The first two were okay, but by the end I desperately needed to hear those cheers. They absolutely helped!
7. For Kevin (shut up, it rhymes): The hubby completed his 3rd half marathon at Richmond and achieved another PR.
8. For drinking at 8:00 A.M.:Shout-out to the group who, sitting on the patio at a bar, cheered us on and thanked us ‘for a reason to drink so damn early.’ Next year, act on it and hand me a Mimosa.
9. The mile I parted ways with Sondra: Around Mile 9 my sweet friend Sondra and I parted ways. She is the ENTIRE reason I did so well during this race. Her fantastic conversation and solid, steady pace kept me in check those first 9 miles and allowed me to have energy at the end.
10. The approximate number of people I greeted or spoke to: I was pretty in the zone during this race. Usually I’ll speak to many people along a course, but on this particular day, I preferred to stay focused on the end goal.
11. The amount of miles my parents likely walked: After sending my Mom (who did the 8K), my husband (who ran the half) and myself off, my Dad met my Mom at her finish, Kevin at his and then attempted to meet me at mile 21. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as easy to find as the expected, so after a few miles they returned to the finish line to wait for me.
12. The amount of money I spent at the Expo for a hat: While leaving the house in a calm manner, I managed to forget a laundry list of items needed for race day, not the least of which was my lucky hat. The Richmond Marathon hats were super cool, but I couldn’t see paying $25 bucks for one. I ended up going with the cheapest plain black hat I could find.
13. The halfway point: A couple saved my life at the 13.1 mark with a large handful of pretzels. I.WAS.STARVING. And I’m not sure how much further I could have gone on Sport Beans, Gatorade and water alone.
13.1 On a related note, I now know to bring a bag of pretzels with me.
14. The number of snot rockets I think I blew during the race.
15 & 16. The Bridge: Miles 15-16 were across a massive concrete bridge. It was flat, it was boring and it lasted FOREVER. I distinctly remember saying out loud “this bridge sucks” with those around me nodding in agreement.
17. Okay, no number correlation, but I was shocked at how beautiful the course was. We ran along the river, across bridges, through fancy neighborhoods and into various parts of town I’ve never had a reason to venture into.
18. Doughnuts: At mile 18 or so, there was a group handing out donuts. I believe my exact words were “I’m going to regret this decision, but I really don’t care,” and down the doughnut went into my belly.
19. The number of hours I wanted to sleep after the race but wasn’t able to: Unfortunately, as we were visiting family in Richmond, the day had to progress on after lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and a quick power nap. Surprisingly, I saw 10 P.M. that night before crashing. Hard.
20. The dreaded wall: I seem to remember hitting my wall somewhere between 20 and 21. It wasn’t as violent as it had been the last marathon and there weren’t as many tears shed, but a couple found their way out of my eyes and I realized how close I was to the finish.
21. I don’t remember many of them, but some of my favorite signs included “Smile if you’re not wearing underwear,” “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon,” “You think you’re legs are tired, I’ve been holding this sign up for hours,” and finally “You’re running better than the government.”
22. The number of times I prayed for a beer during the race: Enough said.
23. Around mile 23 we were told the Virginia Union Drum Corps would be playing (as this portion was through their campus) unfortunately there was no Drum Corps to be found.
24. The final sprint: By the time I hit the last 5K, I was so bored and so ready to be finished, I sprinted in the last 3 miles. It took a few minutes for the legs to agree that going at that much faster of a pace was okay at that point in time, but as I flew down the final hills, I was in the midst of a full runners high and nothing could stop me.
25. The amount of Sport Beans I consumed along the course: I fuel every 4 miles, so 3 packs of sport beans does the trick to keep me moving.
26. The final mile: With a 49 minute PR and a finish time of 4:41 I was extremely happy with my second marathon. Needless to say, I can’t wait to run this again next year for Marathon number 3!
26.2. Seeing Hayley, Brennan and his Mom in the post-race party made the experience even better. Hayley really was my rock throughout training and kept me sane the last couple of weeks before the race. So, thank you for everything 🙂