November 12, 2012

Race Recap: Richmond Marathon

Q:You know what I love about the marathon?
A: That you learn something new in ever race.

Q: You know what else I love about the marathon?
A: That after 5 marathons, I can actually, finally say that I love the marathon distance.

If you had asked me how I felt about the marathon distance between miles 17-19 and during mile 21 of the Richmond Marathon on Saturday, however, I would have given you a very different answer that would have involved a highly offensive amount of profanity.

I'm so freaking happy that I caved into Twitter and joined #teamrichmond and sat in a car for 8 1/2 hours with a bunch of girls I had never met to run a marathon this weekend because seriously? This weekend was absolutely amazing.

#teamrichmond at the start with both our Richmond and NYC race bibs

We all stayed at Katie's parents' house which was about a 20 minute ride from the Start and got there with ample time to check bags, stretch and line up before the gun went off. I was way more nervous than usual but I set off at a comfortable pace with Ashley and Katie and just like that, I was running Marathon #5.

We kept a steady pace and the miles were just flying by. The course was very far from being "flat" which we had all thought, but the hills were manageable and Katie's strategy of racing up the hill and recovering on the downhill really worked for me.

People loved that we had our NY bibs on our backs! So many runners chatted with us, asked us about the race, welcomed us and shared their own stories of NY being cancelled and it was so great just casually talking to strangers the whole time. There were signs all over the course that said "Welcome to Richmond, NYC Marathon Runners!" and a guy who was carrying a sign around that said "Route of NYC Marathon." It was great to feel so supported along the course by so many strangers, especially after the mess of last week.

When we hit Mile 11, I started getting nervous again and we were tackling an up hill and I started falling way behind Katie and Ashley and getting really out of breath and started to panic a little bit. Somehow, I managed to catch up with them and Katie totally calmed me down and we made it to the Half and had a spectacular moment of hitting the Half marker at the exact same time.

Since I was running with friends, I didn't spend a heck of a lot of time looking at my watch and when we hit Mile 15, I swore that the sign we were at was wrong because I thought we were at 14 until I looked at my watch. That is an amazing feeling to have during a marathon.

Mile 16 was the Lee Bridge which I was deathly afraid of after my experience with the 14th Street Bridge at Marine Corps but I took it like a champ and actually gained some speed. Ashley started to pick up the pace and around 17.5, she turned and mouthed something and took off. When I got to where she was standing, I saw Bart Yasso! I ran over to him and he high fived me and said "Lookin good girl!"

Holy shit. Bart Yasso just told me I was looking good. Run faster! Run faster! 

See! See! Bart Yasso told me I looked good! *TWICE*
And I wanted to, except that I was going up hill, and my nose started bleeding and I didn't know why so I didn't. At this point, I was running by myself. Katie had dropped back and Ashley had picked up the pace so I put on my music and just focused on getting to the 20 mile mark in 3 hours so that I could focus on going sub-4.

I hit Mile 20 right at the 3 hour mark and just started to focus. The last 10k of Richmond are a total blur. I have never been so focused during a race in my life.

Mile 21 was the worst mile of the race. It was awful. I don't even know what was so bad about it. All sorts of negativity snuck in. I started crying when I realized that I still had 5 miles to go. Then I started thinking...Marathons are so stupid. This is stupid. Everything hurts. Why do I do this shit? I hate this. I just want to be done. What's the point? I should just stop and wait for my friends. Why is this mile so freaking endless. I'm never going to finish. I still have to run for almost an hour. Ahhhhhh.

At Mile 22, I picked my head up and I picked the pace up and I shut out every single one of those thoughts. When Mile 23 hit, a thought popped into my head - You are about to finish your 5th marathon and you are DAMN close to hitting your goal. So I started working. Hard. I picked up the pace a little bit and I focused more than I have ever focused. I didn't pay attention to signs, spectators, or runners. I put one foot in front of the other and I just ran.

Mile 24 was up hill and it was hard. I had refilled my water bottle at Mile 20 and had run out again but I didn't want to stop for more and lose time. Towards the end of the mile, I started getting dizzy. Really dizzy. Mile 25.5 to the Finish were straight down hill. When I hit 25, everything started to blur and I started getting nauseous. I hit Mile 26 in 4:00:32 and my first thought was, I'm going to PR the shit out of this marathon.

And then everything faded. I know I crossed the Finish Line because I felt the timing mat under my foot. I couldn't see anything and I couldn't walk in a straight line. I felt like absolute death. I saw Ashley up ahead and felt like she was 26 miles away. I vaguely remember taking some pictures before I found myself lying on the ground with Gia standing over me asking how I felt.

<3 this girl
I gave the Richmond Marathon everything I had and then some. I finished in 4:01:04...a 2 minute, 6 second PR and I was ecstatic! I did everything right in this marathon. There isn't a single thing I could have done differently to have gotten a better time. This was the first time I ran a marathon without stopping. In hindsight, some Gatorade or other form of electrolytes probably would have prevented me from getting so dizzy and might have helped me pick up the pace a little bit towards the end but I don't care. I ran the best race I could run and I put everything on the line and I'm so unbelievably happy to have worked so hard and to have walked away with a new marathon PR. Oh and it wouldn't be right if I didn't say that I couldn't have done it without Ashley and Katie. Thanks for the miles ladies. It was a blast.

Happy NYC Runners in Richmond! Every one of us PRd on Sunday!
I had thought I would be disappointed if I didn't go sub-4 but I'm not at all. How could I be? I ran a great race and you know what? I'm 2 minutes and 4 seconds closer to that goal and I know that I'll get it next time!

Stay tuned: Marathon #6 Training will becoming to you in January 2013!

Congratulations to all of #teamrichmond: To the first time marathoners, the marathon returners, the BQs, the PRs, and to those who proved that finishing is the biggest accomplishment of all. I'm so proud of each of you and so proud to have been able to run with you.


  1. YOU ARE AMAZING!! Seriously, I am SO glad that you went to Richmond and ran this are my true inspiration, Christy!! Congrats :-D

  2. Congratulations on your newest 26.2 finish!!! I am running the Dallas Marathon on December 9th as my NYC "make up" race, and will be pinning my number to my back as well!!

    1. Thanks Ali! I thought about running Dallas since my family lives in Fort Worth but I didn't want to extend my training that long and having it cut into training for my next marathon! Good luck at White Rock!

  3. Congrats! It was great to meet you afterward. Hope you'll consider coming back to Richmond sometime.

  4. This made me smile. Glad to see NYC folks having a positive race experience! :)

  5. I love that you ladies wore your NYC bibs on the back! SO AMAZING!

    Congrats on the PR, girl! You rocked Richmond and I knew you would!

  6. Congrats on the PR and doing the Richmond marathon!! I'm always nervous when you say you feel dizzy bc I get afraid it's going to end with you getting trampled by a stampede of runners!!

  7. Congratulations!!!You ran a great race...and can you teach me how to push myself like that at the end of a race?!

  8. I'm so happy for you! Congrats on such an awesome race. Which marathon is in January 2013??

    Also, nosebleed, yikes! I used to get them all the time, but thankfully never while running.

  9. Congrats!!! I'm glad at the end it all worked out, maybe it was meant to be to run Richmond instead!


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