Sunday, April 15, 2018

2 Halves = 1 Whole Blog Post

Mr. Marathon here. But more recently, it's been Mr. HALF Marathon. I did 2 half marathons in the month of March. And they were 2 very different experiences, but eventful nonetheless.

THE SLEDGE Trail Half Marathon

On March 3  March 10, I ran The Sledge in Danville, VA. (It had to be rescheduled due to high winds and downed trees from the day before.) I had taken an off week from my marathon training to have a 1 week taper for March 3. However, since it was postponed, my training did not allow me to take another easy week. So I had to hit the week hard and just see what I could do on tired legs that next Saturday. Needless to say, about 1 mile into the race, after hitting the first small hill, I knew it was going to be a looooooooong 12.1 more miles. My legs were feeling very shaky, tired, heavy, and overall taxed. So regardless of my placing, this was truly a 100% training run for me. It still ended up being a fun race because I normally don't run trails and I really do like them!

The best part about this race is that I have created a lot of friendships within the Danville running community, and it was nice to see so many familiar faces out there running, volunteering, and spectating. I really do enjoy events where a whole community can come together like that. Anyway, back to the struggle. I managed to stay steady, even though the hills were extremely draining, and there were plenty of them. As in, the whole race was hills. Yes, with the uphills, you get downhills! I love downhills.... just not that particular weekend. Since my legs were completely drained from the uphills and all my training, I was unable to use the downhills to my advantage like I usually do. Throughout the whole race, I stayed in 2nd place, just waiting to get passed. But surprisingly, that never happened. I crossed the finish line still in 2nd place overall with a time of 1:37:48!

Martinsville Bulletin Half Marathon

A short 2 weeks later, I was ready to run one of my favorite races again. On March 24, I got to run the Martinsville Bulletin Half Marathon in my hometown. This race was the real test for me, since it's on a challenging hilly course, but I have run it plenty of times and I train on the course very frequently. I had trained up for this race to be a "check in" of sorts before I do the Blue Ridge Marathon on April 21. I was really hoping for a personal record, but I honestly did not know what to expect.

I took a pre-race GU....
Birthday cake flavor since my birthday was 2 days later!

Every single week, my training has been incorporating cross training, strength training, speed work, easy runs, and tempo runs. So I knew that I had a pretty solid base, but there's always that doubt in the back of your mind. I knew I was going to get to find out my true fitness level at this point. I did packet pick up the morning of the race. At the start, it was 30 degrees. It felt cold, but I still dressed in shorts and a tank because I figured (or hoped) that I would get warmed up pretty quick. As the gun went off, I had a goal to stay at about a 6:05 min/mile pace. However, I knew it would be difficult gauging this pace because of the uphills and downhills throughout the course. I knew I'd have to relax the pace going uphill and then kick it going down. I felt a lot better than I did 2 weeks ago at the Sledge. Over the years I have learned to run my own race, and that has helped me drastically. After half a mile, I settled into 2nd place. I knew that it was still early, so I just continued running my own race.

right at the beginning... like half a mile in

Someone caught me
struggling with my shorts!
I felt great and strong running up and down the hills except for having a small snag with my shorts pocket. Long story short, I fought with the zipper and the zipper ALMOST won. I had all my Honey Stinger gels in the back pocket and had to wrestle them out. At this point, the guy who was in 3rd place was right on my heels. But I didn't stress about it because we had a quarter mile until the next big downhill. With this downhill, I opened the gap again, which I was able to see because we passed the turnaround point at around mile 8.5. I was feeling good, and at this point, I still didn't know what my finish time would be. After passing the 10  mile marker, I looked down at my watch at noticed that my overall time was 1 hour 1 minute. All I had left was a 5K..... a very UPHILL 5K. But I was on target for a PR so I knew I couldn't let up now. I stayed focused all the way to the finish line. When I was finally able to see the clock, reading 1:20, I took off sprinting and gave it all I had left and I ended up finishing with a new PR of 1:21:07, beating my old PR by 2 minutes and 4 seconds! I cannot express how ecstatic I felt! I went into this race not knowing what I could do, and came out with a great confidence booster. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I didn't have too much time to celebrate though, because I had to go out and finish the remainder of my 22 mile long run for that day.

2nd place
Since these races, I have kept up my training and now I am ready to tackle the Blue Ridge Marathon on April 21... this Saturday! And my lovely bride is doing the half!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

"Slow and Steady"
Wrightsville Beach Marathon bonus post

Right now I am 4 days post-marathon. I went for an easy 3 on the treadmill last night, and I felt ok. I can now climb stairs without hobbling and go from sitting to standing/standing to sitting without my quads rebelling. But I have one thing still nagging me from race day this past Saturday.

As I was running along one of the straightaways through the town area with plenty of spectators, I heard a lady shout "THAT'S IT! GOOD JOB! SLOW AND STEADY!" and I was shocked. Appalled. Confused. Enraged.

Slow and steady? Who are you talking to, lady? I don't know if this lady was talking to one runner in particular, like someone she was there to watch, trying to give them a friendly reminder to go slow and steady, or if she just chose her words rather poorly, but I took it as a personal attack. Slow???? I am pacing perfectly. I was spot-on for my achieving a personal best and my dream-big goal for this race. Who was she to call that slow? I knew I needed to just calm down and let it settle.

Well, I have thought about it. And I'm still mad. Even if she was talking to one runner in particular, even if she herself is a runner and thought it was actually good advice, I was really just baffled that someone would say that. And I stewed about it for my remaining miles on race day, after my race, and I've thought about it every day since then.

I felt the need to correct her at the time, but I didn't as I was a little busy. I still feel the need to say something, but of course, I have no idea who she is and so I obviously will never be able to express these thoughts to her directly, so I'm laying this out here for anybody and everybody. Runners are a... ummm.... "different" breed of people. When we run races/events, we all train so hard, and we spend huge amounts of time and energy dedicated to our training. Sometimes we get so involved that we really do eat, sleep, and breathe running. Like, almost literally. And when we race, it is (hopefully more often than not) a life-changing experience. Especially with a dream-big goal race like mine was on Saturday. And to hear somebody belittle that, even if it was unintentional/accidental is enraging.

So whether you're a 2-hour marathoner or an 8-hour marathoner, an ultra-runner or a sprinter, an athlete or a spectator, or anybody in between: run your own race. And run it slow and steady at your own pace and strong AF.

(end rant) 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Madness 2018

 You've heard of March Madness right???? Well unfortunately I am not super into college basketball (Don't hate me! Stay with me!) so I found Marathon Madness instead. I have been training since the first week in December to get ready for the madness because I set out with some pretty exciting goals.

After the Outer Banks Marathon, and only cutting 2 minutes off my previous time at the Marshall University Marathon, I was ready for some big changes in my marathon time. I worked with my unofficially official running coach (aka my darling husband) on creating a 16-week plan to help me meet my new goals. Goal A was to finish, Goal B was to set a personal record (get it under 4:54), Goal C was to get my time in the 4 hour 40 minute range, and Goal D (for Dream BIG) was to get my time in the 4 hour 30 minute range. It was a pretty cool process to develop my own personalized training plan. The plan that I had for Outer Banks and the MUM had a great progression of long runs, so I kept the long runs pretty much the same, but per coach's orders, I had one 22 mile long run instead of only going up to 20 miles like in my previous plan. We also totally revamped my weekday workouts to include 1 goal HALF marathon paced run (~9:50 min/mile) ranging from 3-10 miles, 1 speedwork session (4-6 miles of 400 m all the way through mile repeats), 2 easy runs of 3-6 miles, and a strength session. And lemme tell you-- SPOILER ALERT-- IT WORKED.

Fast forward 16 weeks and over 450 miles of training. The time has come for me to travel to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington to pick up my packet for the day I've been working so hard for. I had no idea what I'd truly be capable of on race day, so I tried my hardest to not get too much in my head. Alfredo and I made our way the expo and I picked up my bib and my PAJAMA PANTS (!!!!!!!) and we looked at all the vendor booths, then we finished up and headed to the hotel to check in. We called in dinner from Olive Garden (can't mess with pre-race spaghetti ritual) and we ate and turned in at a decent time for my 4:45 wake-up.

have to get my Flat Lizzy in order
the night before!
I woke up the next morning with plenty of time to get ready and make my way to the start. We were only about 10 minutes away from the starting line in Wrightsville Beach, but we left at 6:00 AM to be sure we made it in time for the 6:40 AM start. Since Alfredo was letting me run this race, he was able to chauffeur me to the start line and drop me off. He was going to ride his bike along the course to meet me at the different mile markers! I made my way to the starting area after I was dropped off and of course had to wait in line for porta-potties (AS ALWAYS......). They were delayed by about 10 minutes starting, but that's ok since it allowed more time for using the porta-potties. I ended up making my way to my place in the corral right as they were giving final pre-race instructions! And before I knew it, we were off!!!!

My first 3-4 miles were kind of forced. I never understood why people say it takes them a few miles to warm up. Usually my first miles are the fastest and then I slow down. But on race day, I definitely got that feeling. I finally got my groove after a few miles and managed to keep my pace right on target from then on (around 10:30 min/mile). It definitely helped seeing Alfredo every few miles along the way!
Around the half mark
Crossing the bridge at mile 15ish?

I was feeling footloose and fancy-free for most of the race honestly. I was surprised at how well I was feeling, and how well I was pacing still. I passed the half marathon mark feeling great, passed some more mile markers, and before I knew it I was at mile 20! And still on pace?!?!? Around this time, we entered a little park that was surprisingly hilly for being so close to the coast. And then I saw the mile marker for 23 soon after I saw 20, and I realized that this was one of those places that the course does another loop on. I was starting to slow down, and I was getting pretty anxious about how my body would feel on the second loop. By this point, my Humas and my Gu were not doing me any favors. I didn't feel like I could physically eat or drink anything else besides regular water, but I knew I had several miles left to go. As I made my way around the park, I was sipping on my handheld water bottle and trying to fight down a Huma. I grabbed some Gatorade at the water station at around mile 22 before starting my second loop in the park. I was having a major issue trying to run through the water stops (I was desperately trying to run the whole thing) and I kept getting Gatorade up my nose but that's neither here nor there.

Entering the park at mile 20
Fast forward to mile 24. I had run the WHOLE DAGGONE THING at this point. And as I saw Alfredo, my scrunchy crying face starting to form. "I gotta walk. I can't keep running. But I'm afraid if I walk, I won't be able to start running again," I said to him, fighting back my tears. He told me, "Don't you start walking. You can keep going! You're almost done!" and I was honestly pretty disappointed because I was fully expecting him to tell me to take a quick break. So I took a gulp of my water and kept on trucking.

Actual footage of me crossing the finish line
jk of course this is Full House
Then reality hit me as I was approaching the UNCW campus where the finish line was. I passed mile 25, crunching numbers in my head. I knew I would make my A, B, and C goal at that point based on my time. I kept going, even though I felt like my legs were dragging through molasses at this point (BUT I WAS STILL RUNNING.... NO WALKING!). I rounded the corner (and realized that I missed the 26th mile marker? or it didn't exist????) and there was the finish line. My time was still in the 4:30s range. SO I KICKED IT. I told my legs, "GO, LITTLE LEGS, GO GO GO!" and I knew I was going to make it. My scrunchy crying face was trying to form again (but out of joy this time, don't worry) but I told it NO GO AWAY I NEED TO SMILE RIGHT NOW and I channeled my inner Shalane Flanagan and let a F*** YES fly and crossed the finish line (STILL RUNNING) with a time of 4:38:34!

Shalane is my HERO!

Goal A: check.
Goal B: PR'd by 16 minutes. So needless to say, check.
Goal C: blown outta the water.

After I crossed the finish line, I rang (and broke) the PR bell, got my snacks and water, and shuffled back to the car. Unfortunately there were no finisher medals due to a shipping situation, so that was a bummer, but the race director said they will be mailing them out when they get in. So there should be an exciting mail day in the near future at least.

Finish line!
As for what's next, I would really like to try to continue chipping away at my marathon time, and now that I know what works (and what doesn't) in training, I can hopefully keep improving. I'd love to get a sub 4:30 marathon next. So... instead of calling this "The End", we're going to say "To Be Continued..."!!!!!
PJ pants!
You can't go to the beach and NOT go to the beach right?

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 Year in Review / 2018 Preview

It's that time of year again. Time for us to recap last year, and to make plans and goals for the upcoming year. 2017 saw lots of ups and downs, and highs and lows for our running.

In the beginning of last year, I was rebuilding my mileage after recovering from pneumonia. Alfredo was just beginning his Boston Marathon/Blue Ridge Marathon training. We didn't have a whole lot going on the first few months of the year, but Alfredo did the first race of the year (the Martinsville Bulletin Half Marathon) in March.

April was a big month! We did the Rock n Roll Raleigh Half and Full Marathon in April after I was fully recovered and he was in full-swing training. Later in the month, we traveled north for him to run the Boston Marathon, then 5 days later we did the Blue Ridge Half and Full Marathon.

In May, I hit a PR for the 8K distance in the Super Run and placed 2nd overall female! Then at the end of the month, we ran the Run for Kids 5K during Memorial Day weekend. I hit a PR and we both placed in our age groups. We also kicked off the Runner's World Run Streak for summer 2017.

The summer was more eventful running-wise than we predicted. We ran every single day from Memorial Day to the 4th of July and beyond for a 70 day run streak, and during the streak we did some races. We did our first 10 Miler in Baltimore, and he won the Danville Braves 5K and made his baseball pitching debut (lol).

Fall came round and we had plenty of goals for our running. He began his final season of cross country at Averett University, and I had begun training for the Outer Banks Marathon. We took our training very seriously and hit the ground running (hah). We also lucked into doing the Hokie Half Marathon in September, and Alfredo had completed 2 meets for cross country, which we never even did a blog post for! YIKES. During his second meet, he even set an 8K PR of 28:50, beating his previous PR by one minute and seven seconds!

Cross Country highlights

In October, he had another meet, and I did the Danville Half Marathon as part of a 20 mile training run, and I ended up hitting a PR of 2:12:33. I never ended up doing a post for this event either, because it was such a traumatic run. Ok so I'm being a little dramatic, but it was a terrible run. Then later in the month, I sprained my foot then made an awesome comeback just in time to finish marathon training strong. He finished his cross country season at the end of October at the USA South Conference meet. To top off a great month, he also found out that he was accepted as an Elite Honey Stinger Sponsored Athlete! Wowie!

Danville Half Marathon

November was tons of fun! Earlier in the month we traveled to the Outer Banks for our marathon weekend in November. It was great, we both set PRs, and he came in 3rd in his age group. Later in the month, we ran 2 Thanksgiving runs and had tons of fun.

My collage of monthly mileage totals
Then December. I had my highest mileage month of 124.11 miles, a result of kicking off my marathon training. I jumped right back into marathon training after just a couple of short weeks off. I decided to do this because as happy as I was with my marathon time from the Outer Banks, I just know I can do better. Throughout my Outer Banks training, I kept on thinking to myself, Dang, I should have done this, or I should do this differently next time. So, here I am. Doing the things I should have done, doing them the way I think I should have done them. I know I can do better, and I hope that I can meet my new dream-big goal for the marathon. I think I have decided on the Wrightsville Beach Marathon on March 17.

As for Alfredo, he's got some dream-big goals for himself this upcoming year. First on the agenda is the Martinsville Half Marathon. At this race, he wants to set a half marathon PR, which will keep him on target for the next goal of running a sub-3:05 marathon at Blue Ridge on April 21. Just in case you didn't know, this is America's Toughest Road Marathon! So this will prove to be quite the challenge. And finally, drum roll please.....

This year, the year 2018, will be the year that Alfredo Garcia Huerta will (hopefully) conquer the IRONMAN distance at Ironman Maryland in September! And to add some more pressure on himself, he has another goal that would require full attention and training. He not only wants to complete this Ironman, but he also is going to try to qualify for Kona, the Ironman World Championship. This is a crazy goal, but he is willing to put the in the work that is necessary to attempt this goal. Yes, people may think this is crazy. Yes, it may not happen on the first try. But he is willing to do what it takes to get there. In order to qualify for Kona, a triathlete must place top 3 overall (or top 3 in age group) in an Ironman-sanctioned event.

So here we go..... we're taking on 2018 head on! Wish us luck!

Alfredo's best nine posts from Instagram in 2017

My best nine posts

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Thanksgiving Runs 2017

Well I had the goal of getting this post out before the end of November. Clearly seeing as the date is December 3, I have failed. Regardless, here is our recap of our Thanksgiving runS (yes we did 2!) for this year.

One Tough Turkey 5K (Danville, VA)

First on November 18, we did the One Tough Turkey 5K in Danville, VA. This small, low-key run was held at Angler's Park, which is a place that both Alfredo and I run fairly regularly, but the route for the race is all of the hills in that one little area all at once. Hence, the TOUGH turkey. The concept of the race is interesting, too. It had no shirts, finisher awards, or entry fee. All that was required is that you donate a can of food to participate! I didn't feel ready for this just a few short days after the Outer Banks Marathon, but hey, a free 5K? Gotta do it! And to make it even better, the running store where Alfredo works was hosting the race. So of course, I ended up doing it. Even though I knew those hills would get me.

Showing off
1st place trophy!
The run started at 8:00 am, then after just a short distance, the course began up a hill. A huge hill. One that I feel like even my car struggles up. (Ok so possibly some over-dramatization. Maybe.) But regardless, the whole first half was straight up it seemed. The second half was rolling hills (rolling mountains?), which was kind of confusing. I was wondering how we went straight up hill the first half, and in the second half we had some downhill, but there was also some uphill left? Even though it was run on a loop and we were ending up exactly where we started? Whatever, it will never make sense to me, even though I have examined the elevation map. WHATEVER. Moving on, Alfredo ended up winning with a time of 18:46, and I met my goal of running the whole thing, which may seem like I set the bar kind of low, but I knew those hills would make me really want to walk. I ended up doing that and exceeding my expected finish time of 33 minutes, and I managed to surprise myself and break 30 minutes with a time of 29:56 (unofficial). And it was all for a good cause-- feeding those who need it during the holiday season!

This is what he did when he came back for me
and the photographer said "Act like it doesn't hurt!"

He's such a ham....

Gobble Wobble 5K (Auburn, GA)

The event shirt was super cute!
The second Thanksgiving run we did was in Georgia while visiting my family. We found the Gobble Wobble 5K in Auburn, GA. This one was on Thanksgiving Day, November 23. This run was only 20 minutes or so from where we were staying with family, so we didn't even have to get up super early for the 8:00 start time! We got up, ate breakfast, and were on our way. First of all, I checked the weather forecast while we were still home in Virginia, and it was saying high 40s/low 50s that morning so I packed a couple different options in case the weather changed. I packed short sleeves, long sleeves, shorts, and capris. I felt like between these articles of clothing I would be able to dress myself for a Southern, late-fall morning. I WAS WRONG. It was only 43 degrees, which doesn't sound like that much of a drastic difference, but it was very cloudy. I opted for the long sleeves and capris, and I bout near froze! Usually my fingers regain feeling after a mile or so, but fingers stayed frozen until I went to go get my big fuzzy jacket from the car!!!

Anyway, Alfredo ran this one too. He started at the front of the pack to take off on this unknown course ahead of us. The race was held in Little Mulberry Park, which was a cute little park with a paved walking trail that went up through the woods and around a pond and a lake. It was surprisingly hilly, but nothing we couldn't handle. We went up, we came down, we went up, we came down, etc etc, and we went around the various loops of the park. Alfredo came in a solid 3rd place overall with a time of 18:32. Unfortunately, this race only recognized 1st place overall, then 3 deep in age groups, so he ended up placing 1st in the 25-29 age group, which is almost better??? Great time regardless!

1st place age group medal
I ended up finishing (frozen solid) with a time of 28:04. I was pretty surprised by that time, as I was expecting closer to 29 minutes since I was still recovering from the marathon and I was recovering from a particularly hard few days at work. Would it have been nice to finish in under 28 minutes? Yeah, but I was still happy with what I was able to do! Also, I came in 5th place in my age group out of 29 people, so I was near the top! So even though I didn't place, I am still happy with that.

Me crossing the finish line (blue shirt)

Then we got to go to see my family and eat tons of delicious food at our Thanksgiving lunch! So what a great day it was, indeed!

Look we made a new friend!

Our new kitty, Norbert, didn't run any 5Ks
but he did participate in Thanksgiving
by having his own feast--
apparently he likes pumpkin??

Monday, November 20, 2017

Outer Banks Marathon 2017

As you may recall from previous posts, I was torn between the Richmond Marathon and the Outer Banks Marathon as my fall race. Ultimately, I decided on Outer Banks due to a few different factors, like the date and the course (specifically elevation!). The moment we'd all been waiting for (ok... I had been waiting for) was finally here! November 12: RACE DAY!!!!!

But let's back up a couple days. Let’s do a RUN through of the weekend of events, shall we?

On Friday, November 10, we hit the road after work to make it to the OBX that night. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay with a friend at his family’s beach house down there! We got in kind of late, but we were rested and ready for the expo and other preparations on Saturday.

On Saturday, we got to sleep in and relax a bit, then we hit up the expo and got our swag. After the expo, we went to check out a couple of spots on the course. We wanted to see the trail section of the course that we were warned about, which was at the Nags Head Nature Preserve. We checked it out, and were only mildly intimidated. But it allowed us to make a plan of attack for race day. After we checked out the area, we went to a local park to do a shakeout run. We only did about 2 miles, plus the distance to and from the park. When we finished our shakeout, we took some downtime. We rested/napped for a little while before it was time for dinner. Fortunately for me, I had won a gift card to a local restaurant at the expo, so we got to hit up the Tomato Patch in Corrolla Beach for a cheaper dinner!!! So that was nice. We loaded up with spaghetti (me) and a calzone (him). After dinner we went back to the house, got ready for the morning, and hit the hay.

Post-shakeout run

Shirt + bibs

Sunday morning! Race day! I woke up (too) early and started my pre-race rituals to be ready for the 7:20 AM start. We were fairly close to the start line (like 10 mins!) so we had plenty of time to get ready. We ate our oatmeal and bagels and bananas and headed over to Kitty Hawk for the start. He got in a 1.5 mile warm up, and I got only enough warmup to get me from the car to the porta-potty.... anyway.... then we made our way to the actual start and got in our corrals, ready to start!

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for race day! Or something!

Alfredo was very unsure of how he would perform at this race. He has been working very hard for his college cross country season in training for the 8K (spoiler alert: he did very well, post to come!). But he hasn’t been training distance as much as he would have liked. He got in two 20 milers with me at my pace, one 20 miler by himself at his own pace mostly, and a few 15 milers. These runs were all for the sole purpose of building endurance to hold a fast pace for shorter distance, which really affects the way he was running them. So with this, he didn’t know what to expect. He was telling people he felt like he could do sub-3 all the way 3:15, or anything in between. So stepping up to the start was a crapshoot. His goal was to stay at a comfortable pace of 6:40-6:50, and if the pace felt too hard to maintain he would slow up. The mindset was to go in, have fun, enjoy the race, and do his best.

When the gun went off, he immediately settled into his pace, and as runners, we know how hard it is to maintain pace and hold back when people are passing you with the adrenaline of race day pulsing through your veins. But, he was able to restrain himself and let people go do their thang. He kept telling himself, Run your own race. Despite him feeling like he could have gone faster in the beginning, he stuck to his plan. Mile by mile, his body was still feeling great. It also helped that he made a running friend who was pacing with him until mile 9, so it made those first miles feel effortless. After that, his new running friend convinced him to stay on pace and go on ahead. And so he did. This was the section through the Nags Head Nature Preserve with the trails. After getting out of the woods and getting to the half marathon checkpoint, he noticed that the clock said 1:29 and some change. So this was the part that got to him the most because he knew that in order to beat his first goal, he needed to run that again, and that was very stressful. His body was still feeling good, so he still continued persevering. At this point he began passing other people who had begun slowing down, because he was sticking to his target pace, just like he had been throughout the whole race.

Fast forward to mile 19. He started feeling like he had to actually push to maintain target pace, which was ok still. Around this time he was able to see the first place woman, which made him realize he was maintaining a very good pace, and his plan was actually working. Then, mile 22 came along and the bridge came into view: the bridge that everybody was talking about. This was going to be the hardest point on the whole course. He knew that he needed to slow down going up the bridge, but not too much, since he knew he could pick the pace up going back down. After that, it was only 2.2 miles left. And he found out that these miles were the hardest. Mile 24 seemed to be pretty hard on him, but he got through it. Mile 25 was a challenge since he was so close to finishing, and he was having a hard time holding the pace. Even after seeing mile 26 and being able to hear the announcer at the finish line, it was still difficult to pick the pace up, until he saw the finishing chute, that is. When he saw the clock in the finishing chute, it read 2:58:20, and the first thing that came to his mind was, I have to make it under 2:59! His body was able to give him an extra kick to run as fast as he could at this point. He was very surprised that he was able to dig a little deep and pull a little extra energy out of nowhere and cross the finish line with a time of 2:58:50, which gave him a PR of less than 30 seconds but he was super excited because he was not expecting that.

I started out feeling fine, and I had a goal pace set for me to stick to. I wanted to hit 10:45 min/mile average for the first part before going into the trail section between miles 10-13. I totally did this (no thanks to the fact that I dropped one of my Humas and almost had an anxiety attack because of it) but when I hit the trail I kind of forgot everything I had set out to do. I tried too hard to keep my pace through the trails and so that definitely wore me out. I also had irritated my foot sprain from last month, probably from running on different terrain than I’m used to. Anyway I popped out of the woods and hit the half checkpoint, right on target! I slowed a bit, but I managed to keep my overall goal pace until about mile 18 or 19. When I hit the 19.3 checkpoint I was already slower than my goal pace, but I kept on trucking. I knew I just had to keep on running, tackle the bridge and I would be at the home stretch. So I did. I kept going with any other goals in mind besides my ultimate goal of 4:45. I wanted to finish the darn thing first of all, and I wanted to go under 5 hours again like I did at the Marshall University Marathon, and I wanted to PR (under 4:56). I was still on pace for all of those things, so that kept me motivated. After going over the bridge, I found my hubby waiting for me, ready to help me run in the last 2 ish miles. And I managed to keep on going to cross the finish line in 4:54:53 which met all my other goals! I PR’d by 2 minutes!

All in all, we really enjoyed this race. The fact it was point to point was nice because we didn't have to repeat any portion of the course. There were plenty of water stops, and tons of "party stops" along the way (official and unofficial stops) that had sugary options and other race staples. We really liked it, and it still had that small town race feel even though it was a decent size. It was well organized and well sponsored too. We highly recommend it for any future marathoners that want a warmer fall race late in the season. As for what's next, we're not sure. We are already scouring the race calendars to figure out where to go from here. But don't worry, we'll keep ya posted!

Now for the miscellaneous pictures!

Driving around on Saturday-
we got a sneak peak of the Wright Brothers Memorial

After CRUSHING the bridge! (approx mile 24)

My boo came back for me! Like always!

Alfredo and Joel-
11th and 10th place marathon finishers!


He loves his Honey Stingers!
Especially now that he is an Elite Sponsored Athlete for them!

We had a photo shoot on the beach on the way back from the finish line!

Joel had to get in the ridiculously cold water
because he bet that Alfredo couldn't PR! YIKES!

Alfredo's medal with his 3rd place age group pin!