Saturday, April 20, 2013

Blue Ridge Marathon: America's Toughest Road Marathon!

Today marks the fourth annual running of the Blue Ridge Marathon in Roanoke, VA!  Today was also the fourth time I, Mr. Marathon, have run the Blue Ridge Marathon.  What a coincidence!  Well not really, because I've run it every year.  But anyway!  I would like to tell you why this is the most awesome marathon ever.

First of all, this year's race was dedicated to Boston.  Runners were running in honor of those affected by the tragedy that occurred earlier this week.  It was very touching that the community came together even stronger in the midst of such a sad event.  This shows
you that runners are just one big family, coming together from all the nations of the world.

The, there's the most obvious reason:  this is officially AMERICA'S TOUGHEST ROAD MARATHON, and this year's course was EVEN TOUGHER than years past, thanks to Mother Nature.  Flooding earlier this week caused parts of the course to be inaccessible so they had to add extra elevation to make the runners happier.  Or more miserable.  Whichever you prefer.  But speaking of Mother Nature:  she couldn't have been nicer to us this morning!  Considering that yesterday there were tornado watches and severe thunderstorm warnings all over the place, we got pretty lucky this morning.  It was all cleared up.  It started off a little chilly and really breezy at about 48 degrees and ended up warming up to about 55 degrees (but still really windy!) by the time that I finished.  So it was awesome in my opinion!  I LOVED the weather.  In addition to perfect weather, they had awesome volunteers as well as residents from the Roanoke area setting out tables full of yummies for the runners (which was totally awesome!) all along the course.  Sorry for sounding prissy.  Not really.  Anyway, police were also patrolling the whole city and all along the course throughout the whole race.  This made me feel safe, which was nice.

The Blue Ridge Mountains, morning of the race

The scenery of the race was so beautiful!  The scenery, along with the beautiful weather, was a nice distraction from the challenging course.  The whole course was in full bloom thanks to the great spring weather.  Finally.  'Bout time, spring!

Mr. Marathon being awesome after the race!

Also, there was one part of the course that I liked the most:  MILE 17.  Mrs. Marathon was waiting there for me with a smile on her face and a camera in her hand.  It was a nice, pleasant surprise.  I was doing so well that she wasn't expecting me just yet, but I was ROLLIN'.  Which I could not believe!  But that just goes to show you that when you take your own advice (for once!) and put it into play, it can do a lotta good.  I did not want to take off this year like previous years, when I took off from the starting line quicker than a bunny rabbit on crack (if you can imagine what that would be like...??).  This year I took it slow, even though it was tough.  Although I was feeling tired from going slower, I knew that I wasn't wearing myself out in the beginning and throughout the hills.  Well, mountains.  No biggie.  I also carried my water bottle that has a compartment big enough for storing my snacks smorgasbord (two different types and flavors of energy chews, GU, energy jelly beans, and salt pills to prevent cramping).

All of these factors, in addition to my positive attitude going in (and coming out!), I managed to accomplish two of my goals that I set specifically for this race: 1) I ran the WHOOOOOOOOLE THING (whoop whoop!) and 2) I finished in under 4 hours, which would mean beating last year's PR of 4:03:45 (and my time today was 3:31:14, to be exact!).  Not to toot my own horn but...........
All in all, today was a great day, and I even got to meet a record-setting running legend and got interviewed by a Runner's World reporter while running uphill (so it was a nice distraction).  And of course it was nice to see a bunch of friends and familiar faces from our running community and previous races.  I know I already said it once, but I'll say it again:  this was the best race I have ever run!  I couldn't have asked for a better day!  Thank you, Blue Ridge Marathon staff, volunteers, and spectators, for an amazing day!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bridge to Bridge 10K

This past Saturday, Mr. Marathon and I traveled to Danville, VA, for the Bridge to Bridge 10K.  This run took place through Downtown Danville and along the Dan River.  It was a beautiful course and a beautiful day.  Prior to starting the race, Mr. Marathon and I set goal times:  he wanted to beat his pre-standing 10K personal record of 43 minutes, and I wanted to beat my PR of 1:07.  (I'm really working toward my ultimate 10K goal of under an hour, but I'm still not quite there.)

Anyway, we both did very well.  I finished with a time of 1:04, and he finished in 39:46 (according to his watch, since the timing was somewhat unreliable)!  We both enjoyed the run, but the awards were kind of disappointing.  He placed third overall, and they were giving out these really nice trophies to everyone who placed.  They somehow didn't have the male overall trophies for the 10K.  Those were the only trophies missing too.  So we both left empty handed (because I didn't place at all... so sad!), but we left feeling mostly accomplished.  I am still not quite to my 10K goal, but I am 3 minutes closer!

Also, in light of the tragedy that occurred yesterday, April 15, a.k.a "Marathon Monday" Mr. Marathon would like to make a little side note:

About a year ago, I decided to pursue the ultimate marathoner goal:  to qualify for BOSTON.  I was really trying to make it to run in the 2013 Boston Marathon.  It was what I really wanted.  But due to a lack of training, I was unable to make the 3:05 qualifying time.  Although I was not there running and competing, I was definitely there in spirit upon hearing about the incident.  It really makes me think that I can no longer feel safe doing what I love.  But that's not going to stop me.  I may not have qualified for Boston, but this makes me want to qualify even more.  Maybe in 2014, or maybe some time in the future.  We'll just have to wait and see!  As for now, I will keep on running whatever I can, whenever I can.  And I will dedicate each mile of my training to those who ran and to those spectated the 2013 Boston Marathon.