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.
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 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.
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.
All pics courtesy of Katherine.
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.
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