Category Archives: Marathons

2012 Philly Marathon – Inspiration Through Spectating

First of all, I was supposed to run this marathon with Melissa. I made a promise.  I figured I could run two marathons two weeks apart. I had a bib. Same story: Sandy happened, NYC cancelation happened, Richmond Marathon happened. I decided last minute to sit out of Philly. I was relatively sore after the Richmond and to be honest I’m not talented enough to run two marathons in one week yet and I am definitely to injury prone. I felt like a dick and apologized for 24 hours straight but I had to look out for myself. I did not want to get hurt. Best Solution: Spectate the shit out of the race with Erica and Beth.

I had already made plans to stay at Shannon’s house (roomie from HLS) with Kara and Ritsa, who were running the half. Shannon was an amazing hostess. She welcomed us into her home and cooked us an amazing pasta dinner (that she did not even eat because she is on the Paleo diet)! Philly was her first marathon. She did all of this for us instead of panicking in the corner like I did before my first marathon. Kudos Shannon!

We got there early and met up with Melissa. I hugged her about 14 times and wished her a billion good lucks!

Me, Shannon & Melissa

I went to find my cheering crew and found Ashley & Kristin. More good lucks and more hugs. I also handed out an elephant sticker to everyone, extra good luck to stay with them during the race!

After I said my good lucks to everyone, I went off to cheer for the marathon!

My serious photog face

Photo Credit: Erica

I saw so much and experienced so many emotions from 7:00 am-4:00 pm. I saw the marathon winners, elites throwing up and still maintaining a sub-5 minute pace, leg cramps that stopped runners of all speeds in their tracks, families running to the finish with their marathon participants, tears, laughter, disappointment, ear-to-ear smiles, triumph and most of all COURAGE.

I cried way more times than I can remember. I was proud of every single marathoner. Kara and I stayed out and cheered on the course for a very long time. It was the best thing we could have done. We cheered, yelled, high-fived, low-fived, jumped, chanted, and danced for the runners. I have respect for every single person that crossed that finish line. I am SO happy that the race organizers put everyone’s name on their bibs! Cheering for the runners was made even easier 🙂

Below is a slide show (that of course uploaded backwards) of my pictures from the race! If you see a picture of yourself, feel free to take it as a memento. There are a few that I love that i want to seek out the runners myself!

Thank you Philly for putting on an amazing event, and for welcoming all of the NYC Marathoners with open arms! Congratulations to all of the finishers and to the NYC Marathoners who changed their plans and completed the race successfully, especially to Abby, Jocelyn, Shannon, MelissaAshley & Kristin. PRs all around! It was a pleasure to cheer for all of you and I am SO proud of all of you.

Richmond Marathon

Cliff Notes: I did 9+1 in 2011 to have guaranteed entry into the 2012 NYC Marathon. I started training in the summer. I became much faster than I used to be. I fractured my foot. I was angry at everyone. I got better. I told everyone I would be take it easy during the NYCM. I starting training again (18 miles, Ragnar Relay Ultra, 20 miles, Half Marathon PR). I tapered. Hurricane Sandy ruined lives. NYC Marathon was canceled. I didn’t care. I ran the Richmond Marathon.

Ashley version: I found out the NYC Marathon was canceled while I was at the expo (after volunteering all day). I left with Beth, drank about 10 margaritas and signed up for the Richmond Marathon.

This marathon involved a road trip, with an unreal amount of traffic. Note: if you are running a marathon, do not drive 8+ hours the day before. When we finally got to Richmond (Laura, Jess, Christy, Fiona and I) we went to the expo to grab our packets.

Next up, Katherine’s house. She went out of her way to make us all feel welcome and host a pre-race dinner! We talked about the course and laughed a lot! It was amazing and I am very appreciative. After dinner, we drove to Katie’s parents house in Richmond and bombarded the basement when Leticia, Christine and Katie were already sleeping. It was getting late and I figured a great way to get to know Katie’s mom was to clog the toilet (just pee, I swear). Next was plunging, cursing, temporary tattoo application, shirt decoration, pass out, wake up, eat peanut butter, drink coffee, forget things I need for the race, get puffy paint all over everyone’s race outfit because it didn’t dry, take pictures, dance to Gangnam Style, start race.

I think I need a bigger pair of shorts, or a smaller ass.

I ran the first 17 miles with Katie and Christy (Fiona took off around Mile 3). It was a comfortable pace. We chatted, we met other NYCM runners and Richmond runners, we laughed, we passed the 4 hour pace group and swore they wouldn’t pass us for the rest of the race, we cursed at the unexpected nowhere near flat course, we saw Bart Yasso cheering on the sidelines. I thought about all of the destruction near my hometown. I dedicated each mile to a town on the Jersey Shore. I wanted to be strong for my hometown. Those miles went by so fast I am pretty sure I blacked out.

I picked up the pace a bit around 17.5 (I think). I waved a quick goodbye to the ladies, turned my music up and continued at a pace that felt comfortable.

Then Mile 22 happened. I was alone. I hate running alone because I am my own worst enemy. I did a full body check. How was my breathing? Good. How did my legs feel? Relatively ok, good enough to keep running for sure. Then I hit a water stop, and STOPPED. I walked (even though I told myself that I didn’t need to). I knew it would be hard to keep going afterwards but I couldn’t stop myself. For the next 3 miles, it was the same story. Run, curse, talk down to myself, tell myself I should stop, tell myself I will never be able to finish. I even drank beer some college kids were offering. That is a first. I figured anything would make me feel better than I had at that moment.

Once I passed the mile marker for Mile 25, I told myself to suck it up. I am going to finish and finish strong. I ran the last 1.2 miles for Point Pleasant. I thought about my childhood memories and about how grateful I am. I pushed forward. The last half mile or so was a very welcomed downhill. The last hundred feet or so was a serious freaking decline and I was LUCKY that I did not faceplant or somersault down it and over the finish line.

Thank you Dori for capturing me on my feet!

I finished.

Garmin stats: 

Official Stats: 3:57:40. PR by 1 minute and 1 second.

I hung out at finish line and got yelled at for not moving but stayed and waited for Christy, who dominated the race and PR’d by over 2 minutes! We walked through the finisher’s chute to get our medals.

5 seconds later, the medal man took away our medals because our bibs had a blue X and our medals we be mailed to us. I threatened to run away with it but he said he could catch me since I just ran a marathon and all. He was right, I gave it back.

The finish area was great. Bagels, massages, smoothies and beer. I got my first post-race massage from a wonderful woman who kneaded out the legitimate knots in my thighs. I’m sure by the way I was talking to her she thought I was trying to pick her up. We got together with all of #TeamRichmond for a serious photoshoot.

Seeing this flag throughout the course was so wonderful.

Jess in front, Laura, Christy, Meggie, Gia and I

PR City

Meggie and I tatted up

All pics courtesy of Katherine.

Crossed the half at the same time 🙂

Photo courtesy of Dori

After we gathered our crew (hours later) we met the #runchat men and laughed (and cried a little, I think) over the whole NYCM to Richmond experience.

Then I ate and drank (until…still doing it).

Exciting things: there were a lot of PRs, there was a first marathon, there was a BQ. Most importantly, there was friendship. We went through the last few weeks together and I appreciate these ladies more than I could say. I also appreciate Richmond. They accepted us and welcomed us and the course was beautiful and challenging. It was an amazing experience.

Shitty things: I can’t help but think I could have done better. I walked when I did not have to and did not put the effort into the race (at the end) that I know I could have.

A PR is a PR and I am happy. In line with most marathoners, I am craving more. Will I do another race sooner rather than later? I am still unsure. We shall see.

Want some more #TeamRichmond race recaps?

JessMeggie, Leticia, Christy, Fiona

NJ Marathon, Sub-4!

This is my first race report on a SERIOUS race that I’ve been training for since I bonked last year, at the same race, at mile 21.

I’m always late to races. I am always sprinting to the start line. NOT THIS RACE! (Only because I drove four of my friends who were running the half marathon, which started over an hour before the full). For months I was distressed about the change of starting times for the half and full. When I got to the race (late), I understood it all. I was able to drop off all bags for my sister and friends who were running the half. Once the half started I took pictures of them on their journey.

Lyndsey, Shelley & Lauren about to DW

SPOILER – Ritsa PR’ed

After the half started around 7 am, I was able to go to the bathroom (no lines) and sit around with Melissa (who was also running the marathon) and RELAX until it was time to get started. The only problem I experienced before the race was the bag check. We had to put the tag from our bib on the bag (as usual) but they also gave an extra sticker with a number which identified the bag. I always understand double security, but this made it difficult for the friends/family we checked bags for when it came time to pick them up.

Melissa and I sat around (literally, on the ground, RELAXING, it won’t get old for me), for about 30 minutes before I met up with Sky (my running partner for the day) and Marcy. Unfortunately, they had the same issues with the bag check as we did, but after we figured it out we decided to use the bathroom (or, salsa our way to the bathroom) one more time before we started. During the bathroom waiting I asked Marcy her time goal (I thought she was going to say 3:40 or something crazy) but she said 4:30. At that point I knew my running partner would stick with her and I might have to embark on this journey alone. I didn’t let it get me down. I had a goal in mind and I was going to stick with it (whether I told anyone what the goal was or not).

We started the race PUMPED UP. The three of us (Me, Sky and Marcy ran together for the first mile. Marcy said she wanted to back off the pace as she did not train for this pace. I decided to maintain the pace and go off on my own, I had a goal in mind and I did not want anything to stop me. I understood when Sky stayed with her (as they are good friends as well).

9:15, 8:56, 8:55, 8:55

JUST as I settled into a pace (and met Thy, the guy who said he didn’t train for the race but wanted to run anyway, hmf), I hear ASHLEYYY, and it is Sky, saving my life as usual. She caught up and my anxiety suppressed.

9:09, 9:10, 8:52, 8:57

Sky and  I both ran the marathon last year (I was trying to catch up with her the entire time, making mine a complete failure). This time around, we were both in better shape, from running and weight lifting and cross training. We chatted thoughtlessly and the miles ticked away. It was nice to have a slight different course (it basically took the opposite route into Long Branch as it did out of Long Branch last year).

8:53, 8:47, 8:43, 8:50, 8:52, 8:40, 8:41

At this point last year, I had already taken off my shirt (underarm chaffing issues) and had burned through all a majority of my energy. This year was different and I knew it. Sky and I were relaxed and calm and settled into a natural pace. However, we decided the best idea was to back off the pace a little (in order to survive the rest of the race). We both tried to slow down, but we knew my family (and ALL OF MY FRIENDS who ran the half) were going to be at mile 16 to cheer us on!

***IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: I cannot express the importance of having people come to support me during the run. It helps me get through my negative thoughts that I cannot cross the finish line alive. SO if you ever have the opportunity to support a runner friend, please do.***

Twin running style at Mile 16, saying hi, with a serious heel strike.

When I saw them all I was worried about was how my sister and friends ran the half marathon. Once I found out (by way of forcing the times out of them), I was overwhelmed with PRIDE for their PR’s. Knowing that my sister and friends had pushed themselves also helped me continue on.

8:56, 8:59, 9:00, 9:01, 9:08, 9:21

The course from miles 13-end is an out and back from Long Branch to Asbury. Because of this, my family was able to just cross the street and I saw them again at mile 22. HUGE HELP.

Mile 22, still smiling. Still in sync.

Generally, this type of course normally does not bother me, except when there are 2 people per mile on the course cheering the runners on. In case you didn’t notice, our time/mile decreased as we moved on. It was hard to motivate ourselves with lackluster crowd and the legs that just realized they were running a marathon. At this point last year, I was crying and contemplating jumping in the ocean to end the misery. Being able to put one foot in front of the other at a great pace (for me, at mile 22) helped me realize how far I’ve come in one year. At mile 22, I will take any form of inspiration I can.

9:16, 9:23, 9:30

At this point, I was checking my Garmin every .1 seconds. I wanted Sub-4 more than anything. I did so many intervals below 7 min/mile to get there, I just had to. I couldn’t let my alarm down, especially because I took a screenshot of it.

Get up and sprint?

Sky told me to dedicate the last few miles each to one person. I kept forgetting. I’m pretty sure Jessica, Lauren, Ritsa, Alisha, Brittany, Matt, Shelley and my parents each got a quarter-mile? Maybe? Sorry to my friends/family that I forgot. Anything to help the time pass and to help me ignore my throbbing quads.

9:19

We got off the road and went onto the Long Branch boardwalk area (aka the worst paved running area in history). During the last miles, I’m pretty sure the only words Sky and I spoke were, WE CAN DO THIS and HOLY SHIT, WE’RE GOING TO DO THIS. I saw a marathon photographer during mile 24 or 25 (who knows at that point) and I pulled Sky over to take a picture. I cannot wait to see how it comes out! (UPDATE: here it is)

NEVER GIVE UP

9:15

The end of the race was a blur, we ran and we finally saw the finish line. I was overcome with emotions and I knew I only had about a minute until the clock hit 4 hours. I started sprinting, then stopped and ran back to Sky saying, lets finish together. She said go, and I did. I sprinted to the finish. I saw my family and friends along the side and I put out my four fingers and said SUB FUCKING FOUR!!! (with the biggest smile ever). I crossed the finish line with so much happiness. My arms were up and I pointed to the photographer like I had just took his family captive. (UPDATE: he must have not like the pointing, the picture was MIA. I got this one instead).

Hellooo finish line.

8:32 for last .2

SUCCESS

FINAL CHIP TIME: 3:58:41 (almost a 26 minute PR and SUB 4!!!!)

Those are “We just ran this thing UNDER four hours, holy shit” faces

I cannot express how happy I am after this race. I have come such a long way since my first marathon just one year ago. During this marathon I kept a general consistent pace, I fueled appropriately (considering I forgot my handheld water bottle and drank Gatorade instead of Nuun), I did not walk once and I did not cry. HUGE STEP UP. I was able to run with a friend who is motivational 100% of the time. Together, we accomplished something amazing.

Things I will try for during next marathon: consistent but faster miles, negative splits and I also want to try fueling with actual food. After this race I am confident in my current abilities but I know I can accomplish new goals I set for myself. It sounds cliché but its true. This race has given me the confidence I needed as a runner. As of now, I do not know what my goal will be for the next marathon, but I do know I will train HARD for it.

I also know that I will not be running the NJ Marathon next year. I am happy I was able to run it twice. The first time, the race won, the second time, I won 🙂 But in general, I need liveliness and crowds and cheering. This race did not provide that. SO – please feel free to join me (and my wonderful friend Erin) for some serious NJ Marathon/Half Marathon spectating in 2013. The more the merrier, obviously.

In case you wanted them, Garmin Splits below!

26.44, I take wide turns I guess.

Did anyone else run the NJ Marathon? How did your race go? What did you like about the race/course? What would you change?