Thunder Road Marathon Recap

Recaps are always long so bear with me, but yesterday was so fun with so many details to share so fasten your seat belts and here we go!

The night before, I always set everything out. I am a very forgetful person and so I knew that I needed to have it all ready to go. I wore DonaJo running pants, Walmart long sleeve shirt (no shame), old Asics shoes (because I love my ragged old ones), and Marc Jacob’s active vest (which we all know I got from Marshalls because let’s be real lol). I took 4 gus (Salted Caramel yummy yum until the 4th one and I was more like gaggy gag). I set out my Garmin 920XT, and Body glide…

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I forgot my Garmin on the kitchen counter. When we were in the car on the way, Tanner noticed my wrist and said “Do you have your watch?” and I panicked and started looking through all of my stuff to realize I had left it. I shouted profanities because I get so so mad at myself. I always feel awful after I do this though so I apologized to Tanner and he admitted that those words aren’t so pretty coming out of my mouth. It’s just that I work so hard, and I just get so upset at the silly details I miss! I had to come up with another option though, so I downloaded Mapmyrun on my phone. I didn’t have an arm band for my phone so I knew that I was going to be carrying it but I had to have something to pace me.

I met up with the girls from Shelby doing the full, and we chatted and stretched. It was getting close to time and they were waiting on 3 other girls, so I decided to go ahead to the start, and I got there right in time. I walked straight to the 3:20 pacing group, realized my vest was too much for the weather, took my bib off frantically switching it to my long sleeve shirt, called Tanner to come get the vest, took the picture above, uploaded it to facebook (ha), and the gun fired. I was OFF and no time for nerves. SWEET! 

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There’s so much to share so I’m going to go mile by mile in groups.

Mile 1-I came out of the gate flying. I knew this was stupid, but my body felt SO good. I caught up with the 3:10 pacing group. I knew that wouldn’t last.

Mile 2-I was STILL going way too fast, and I told myself I was an idiot if I didn’t slow down. Mapmyrun told me my average pace was 7:05 so I was like UM NO.

Mile 3-I slowed down to 7:28 and was like “this feels so slow. What is going on?”

Mile 4-A bike pulls up beside me and says “I was told to come find you.” And in my head, I thought that again I had done something silly and that I was going to be DQ’d for something. She says “I came to inform you that you are in third place overall for the females in the marathon right now.” I laughed so hard, and asked her if I could take a video of her saying it because I wanted to savor this moment that wouldn’t last long. I told her I was going way too fast for me, and that I’m sure I was going to have to back off soon.

Mile 5-9- We chatted the whole time. She was so nice (her name was Diana), and she has done some tris in Shelby. I took my first gu starting at mile 5 and slowly took it over those 4 miles. My hands were really cold, and she helped hold my other gus. I texted the video to Tanner and my mom because what else do you do during a marathon, right? I was holding steady at like 7:05-7:09 but progressively getting madder at myself. I slowed it down from 7-9 to 7:20 pace. 

Mile 10-I knew I was going to see Tanner in one mile so I just didn’t think and ran. I somehow managed to turn my sound off at this point to which I couldn’t figure out how to know my splits at this point so I told myself I was screwed and just to run what I could and enjoy the race.

Mile 11-I see Tanner (which is where this awesome picture came from), and my friend Justin was joining up to pace me, or rather to keep me company. I told him I was third overall women (which he didn’t believe at first LOL) and that I wanted to try to hold that if at all possible. We settled in at 7:15 with ease. My times from Mile 10-13 were on the dot! I took another gu at mile 12.

Mile 14-Another friend, George joins up with us! YAY! More friends! I was so happy to be running with them. George’s watch had stopped working that morning, my phone had stopped telling me pace, and Justin didn’t have anything. HAHAHA! We just ran but I could tell it was fast, and when I looked down once at my phone (it didn’t tell me mile splits but I could see pace in the present moment) and it said 6:56. I was like HOLD UP FELLAS! That mile was 7:03, but still felt great. 

Justin-selfie taker George-to the left clearly not interested in our selfie ;)

Justin-selfie taker George-to the left clearly not interested in our selfie ;)

Miles 15-18 were a blast! There were some other guys that asked to pace with us, and I was like on top of the world with running. I really did yell out “WHO LOVES RUNNING” and no one answered me so I said “I LOVE RUNNING!” hahaha!

The crowd…I just can’t even explain. I’ve never experienced being at the front of the race, and so everyone is very fresh to cheering. They scream like CRAZY for you. George and Justin kept having a ball with the crowds, and were like pointing at me and telling them I was in third. HAHA! I was still holding 7:10-7:20 pace with ease. I took another gu at mile 17. Gus were not tasting good at this point.

Mile 19-20-I just kept running. Justin decided to split off because he didn’t have the endurance built up to finish the rest, and so that left me and George. Those two miles we did at 7:08 and 7:00. How in the world was I still going so fast? I was anticipating the abrupt wall.

Instead of slowing down, I decided to hold what I could. Only 6 miles left right? I can do anything!!! I was on top of the world. I was smiling from ear to ear. I told all the guys, I was in awe I was able to do this.

Mile 21-22- 7:02 and 7:07! My plan was to back off miles 23, 24 then turn the power on the final two miles and do like a 6 min/mile. Haha that didn’t happen!

Mile 23-24, my “backing off” was 7:16 both miles which was not enough.

I decided “what the heck? I’ll turn on the gas anyway! I feel kinda awful but George was encouraging me…I could do this. We were passing so many men! Haha!

Mile 24 was 6:51. DUN DUN DUN….

Coming into mile 25, I hit a wall….hard. George kept saying “This is the times that you’ll never forget. These are the moments that make you a marathoner. See that guy in front of you. You’re going to pass him.” I kept saying “George, you don’t understand. I can’t do this anymore. Something is wrong. I can’t breathe.” But of course gasping in between all of this.

I’ve never felt this before but my chest legit started tightening up. I knew I only had 1 mile left which I had run 25 before, but I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was crying and running, which meant even less breathing. George wouldn’t stop, and for some reason that propelled my legs forward…inch by inch. I was almost getting mad at George in my delirium. STOP PLEASE. I CANT.

George: DO YOU KNOW HOW SMALL THE 4TH PLACE TROPHY IS? (haha) IT DOESN’T EXIST. YOU ARE THIRD. YOU ARE GOING TO BE THIRD. PUMP YOUR ARMS TO GAIN MOMENTUM. You’re not stopping!

Diana: In all the times that I’ve escorted someone, I’ve never seen someone so positive and love running so much! This is your time. You’re so close!

That was the longest 1.2 miles of my entire life. I’ve never felt such delirium and pain and inability to breathe. It sounds dramatic, but I’m so serious. HAHA! That mile was 8:34. I have no pictures at this point because I was NOT Smiling! HAHA!

I saw the clock say 3:14. I was crying but smiling. I was like THIS IS IT. MAKE IT IN 3:15 and I started sprinting. Diana (who was still with me on the bike) yells out “YES I KNEW YOU WOULDN’T GIVE UP! YOU GO GIRL! RUN YOUR HEART OUT!”

So I did. I hit the finish at 3:15:20 and started sobbing. I wasn’t even like happy sobbing. I wasn’t hurt sobbing. They asked if I needed the med tent, and I said no. I didn’t understand why I was crying so much but I couldn’t stop. Tanner was on the side, and he hugged me and I just cried into his chest. HAHAHA!

I swear I’m not a drama queen, but these marathons will do you in when racing them for time. 

Of course at that point, the pain in my legs set in. I always get that. They start aching so bad that it makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I elevated my legs to let the blood flow back in and Tanner gently massaged them so that helped a lot. I laid there feeling really nauseous and pale for about 30 minutes until I started feeling normal again. 

Real cute I know ... look at that salty face?! YUM!

Real cute I know ... look at that salty face?! YUM!

It was then time to wait on the other girls to cross that finish line. My mom was tracking them, and so we knew they would be coming in around 4:30! It was so so fun to watch all of them cross that finish line…some with smiles…some completely exhausted…even more with smiles! I just love marathons. I love how they change people’s lives…always. 

The thunder road course is very challenging. It's full of rolling hills. I'm very used to that with living in Shelby, but the final two steep climbs of miles 21 and especially 25 were really really tough.  I don't mind hills and a good challenge, but this definitely was just that. It's known to be a tough course, so I'm glad to have conquered it.

Then, it was time for the award’s ceremony. The top 3 placings in men and women got a REALLY nice frame that says our place with a coffee mug! YAY!

I tried to keep this short, but of course that didn’t happen. I just have one thing to say …

You will never run a marathon that doesn’t absolutely change you from the inside out. You will never look back on finishing a marathon and think it wasn’t worth it. You will probably not see someone who loves marathons more than me. I’m in this for life, and I’m officially on a road to chase sub 3! Up next: Charleston Marathon Jan 16! 9 weeks until go time! :) But for now, I'm gonna go lay on my couch and watch season 2 of Scandal on Netflix! K BYEEEE! <3

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