Richmond Marathon

Well, where do I even begin? After four months of training it all boiled down to one day. It could go great or go wrong. You never know until race day! {I want to thank Healthy Living Blogs for sponsoring a portion of my race expense and Cheribundi to help me recover during training! You guys are great.}

I tried my best to relax on Friday night. We went to bed early and I got a decent amount of sleep. Our alarms were set for 6AM, which was perfect since I was used to getting up at 6 for all of my long runs. I woke up at 5:30AM anyway and just laid in bed for a while until 6:00 rolled around. I ate my usual pre-run breakfast of Barbara’s cereal with granola and almond milk. We wanted to leave the hotel by 7AM so we could walk the few blocks to the starting line.

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Race outfit: running tank under my Ragnar Relay tshirt, Lululemon running crops, and Injinji toe socks and Brooks Adrenalines.

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After applying copious amounts of body glide, making sure I had my pockets and belts filled with Gu, Stinger Waffles, Tylenol and Tums (the basics), we were ready to head out.
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As we were walking to the start, the 8K had already begun, so seeing the runners was pumping me up!
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We headed to use the port-a-johns one before the race began and then found our Corral (3) and just waited. Thankfully I had a throw-away fleece to toss once the race started. It was a bit chilly but not too bad.

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At 8AM were were off…time to run 26.2 miles!

Chris and I decided to stick together since we didn’t really have a time goal. We just wanted to finish! (In my head though I wanted to finish in under 5 hours.) Melissa wanted to run a 4:30 so she went on her way! Go Melissa!

Miles 1-8

The first few miles were awesome. We ran through downtown Richmond and down some beautiful streets. Monument Avenue was one of my favorite parts of the race. With the leaves still on the trees down here, it was a pretty sight. I made sure to keep my pace around 10:30-10:45 in the beginning because I didn’t want to start out too fast. We hit the 10K mark at around 1:07 and started to feel hunger pains so I ate my first Stinger Waffle (while running). I did a pretty good job by not running too fast and felt really good! I didn’t have my music on either since I wanted to take in the scenery. I loved hearing the crowds shout out to the runners. It was an awesome feeling.

Miles 8-11

At around mile 8 we headed over the first bridge. I noticed how hard the concrete felt when I ran over it, it seemed to last forever! I wanted to be off the bridge and down by the river to see some pretty scenery. We ran by the river for a few miles and finally hit the first really big hill around mile 11. The elevation chart made it look worse than it was. It was no worse than the hills I’ve been running during training so I felt very prepared. I powered up the hill! I think I ate another half of a stinger at mile 11 because I started feeling hungry.

Miles 11-17.

Chris and I hit the halfway mark at 2:23:49. I felt pretty good at the half. This is where I took two Tylenol tablets since my feet were starting to hurt. From this point on we stopped to walk through every water station. I started getting REALLY thirsty between water stops. I believe I ate a Gu at mile 15. Coming up on mile 17 was the Lee Bridge. We had heard bad things about this bridge, how the wind was usually horrible. Thankfully, there was zero wind on Saturday, so we powered up the bridge without any real problem. I managed to grab my phone out of my belt to snap a few pictures while we were up there.

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I noticed a pain under my knee while running on the bridge, but it went away. At the end of the bridge there was a water stop, which also included junk food like gummy bears, pretzels and cookies. I didn’t have any but I took a few cup of ice water. By this point it was getting HOT out. I was just looking forward to hitting mile 20 in a few miles.

Miles 17-20.

These miles were a blur to me. I’m pretty sure they were by the VCU Campus and there were lots of people out and about cheering…but then again, I’m not really sure. I just remember stopping at mile 20 to stretch my hamstrings and my tight calves. From this point on we stopped to stretch at every station. I’m pretty sure I ate another Gu.

Mile 20-25.

Only 6.2 miles left of the race. At this point I was thinking about how FAST the race had gone by. I was waiting to hit “the wall”–and I was waiting for my legs to cramp up or my stomach to start acting up. Thankfully my stomach behaved and I never once felt a stomach pain! My legs didn’t cramp and I never hit the wall. It couldn’t have been more perfect. The only thing really hurting was my feet. Chris and I were taking things mile by mile at this point. Chris had only ever ran 16 miles so this was unknown territory for him and he was hurting. These last miles seemed to go on FOREVER. I put my music back on for a few miles to pump me up some more.

Mile 25-26.

Longest mile ever. I remember looking down at my Garmin and seeing at 12 minute average mile. I didn’t really care at this point but I knew it was because were were stopping to stretch. Chris didn’t want to talk. I took my music back off around mile 25 so I could enjoy the last few miles of the marathon. We were close to being done. My legs were still feeling okay, by this point my feet were killing me. I felt like my toes were on fire–the bottoms of my feet ached. The few miles of the race were flat and then then it dropped off for a steep downhill finish (think Freihofer’s Run finish!) I saw the 26 mile marker and I started to choke up a little bit because I couldn’t believe I made it through a marathon.

26.2 miles DONE! Chris and I crossed the finish line together which was great. I was practically sprinting down the hill to keep up with him and I felt like I was going to fall on my face. I wish I could replay this finish over again because it was AWESOME!

We walked a few feet and didn’t see the medals right away–I was worried we wouldn’t get one! Thankfully someone pointed us in the right direction and they gave us our beautiful medals!

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Chris and I must have chose the right shirts because we got PITTSBURGH and RAGNAR shout outs all throughout the course! It was awesome.

Melissa finished right behind us! We ended up catching up with each other around mile 17 of the race, but didn’t stay together long.

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Chris and my official time was 5:01:36. Only a minute off or so from my goal, but I’m 100% okay with that. It felt so GOOD to be done. Chris and I grabbed some post-race food (PIZZA!) which I ate right away.. I needed food in my system!

Then we made our way over to the #RunChat meet up which was happening post-race and I got to hang out with fellow blogger David who also ran the marathon and did awesome!

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I’m so proud of all of us for doing this. Months and months of training have finally paid off. I’m proud of Chris for running our first marathon with me even if he wasn’t 100% prepared. I’m proud of Melissa for running her second marathon and running my first with me. We were marathoners.

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I had such a great experience during this race. I wish every race could be as awesome.

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15 comments

  1. This recap reminds me so much of my first marathon – there’s no other experience like it and one you’ll never forget. Congratulations on getting through all the training and your first marathon. It’s been great to follow your journey and to get to meet you at the end!
    David H. recently posted..Plan Z

  2. I enjoyed the stage by stage story of what it was like to run 26+ miles. You were really prepared all round and sounds like that helped it to be a great experience. Congratulations!!

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