Thursday, April 21, 2016

From Bassett to Blue Ridge:
Marathon Weekend Part 1

We had a very exciting weekend this past weekend. As many of you know, we had a marathon-filled weekend. On Saturday, April 16, mister and I traveled to Roanoke, VA for the Blue Ridge Marathon and Star 10K! It was a gorgeous day for a run, and on our hour drive north that morning, we got to see the sun rise over the mountains that we were about to DOMINATE!

The sun rising over Mill Mountain
As we arrived, we hit the potty and headed to the starting line. One of the best things about BRM being a relatively small race (this year there were approximately 2,200 runners in the full, half, and 10K combined), is that participants can park very close to the starting line (like across the street) and they don't have to wait ridiculously long for the porta-potties! Both are very important factors for runners. Anyway, everything went smoothly race morning and I was lined up near the back of the middle of the pack while mister was up front chomping at the bit (no, he was not biting anybody... just excited to go).

The start line

Blue Ridge Marathon: 
America's Toughest Road Marathon
Mr. Marathon knew that he had a challenge ahead of him on race day, as he would be running the 26.2 and 3 mountains today, which is always a challenge, but he also had to remember to keep some gas in the tank for Monday, when he would be taking his 26.2 on the road (erm, in the sky?) to Boston, MA! Just a mere 48 hours later! He decided to still push himself throughout the course, but to a certain extent so as to not overdo it. He chugged up the hills, and pushed (flew? pranced? levitated?) down the hills. His pace was everywhere from 5 minute miles through 9 minute miles. Whatever he did worked for him, though. He ended up crossing the finish line with a time of 3:07:47!! This landed him 1st place in his age group and 5th place overall! You guys, that's a 7:09 min/mile pace. On mountains. 3 mountains. With 7,430 feet of elevation change. Let that sink in... Pretty impressive right? He was very proud of his performance and felt like he did try to reserve some energy for his upcoming marathon on Monday, but he did push during every mile.

Star 10K
I decided this year was finally the year that I would participate in the BRM shenanigans. However, I knew I was not ready for the full right off the bat. I briefly considered the half, but then realized I would probably finish the half after SOMEBODY I know who runs the full (cough cough, ALFREDO GARCIA). And that would not be ideal. So I decided to start with the Anthem Star 10K, which is essentially half of the distance up Mill Mountain to the Roanoke Star, turn around, and run the other half back down. It was very challenging going uphill. I was determined to try to run as much as I could. That did not last long as I made it 2.49 miles up the mountain, then I began taking intermittent walking breaks. I got up to the top of Mill Mountain and was averaging 13:51 min/mile (ew), but then back down, I was rolling and keeping my pace under 10 min/mile (!!!!!!) and so I ended up with an average of 11:54 min/mile and a total time of 1:13:54! My pace was all over the place. I do attribute my downhill pace to the extra power boost I got from the mid-race mimosa I drank at mile 4!

And now, enjoy pictures from our Blue Ridge adventure!

Starting up Mill Mountain,
leaving downtown Roanoke

The Adam and Alison Ascent :
Maroon and turquoise balloons
 lined the section near the
very top of Mill Mountain
in memory of Alison Parker and Adam Ward...
loved this so much ! < 3

Uphill was torture!
And the ladies with orange shirts had a quote on the back:
"I eat hills for breakfast"
Apparently that's where I went wrong. I had eaten oatmeal.

At the top of Mill Mountain!
The Roanoke Star!

View at the overlook at the top of Mill Mountain

Drink Mor Moo-Mosas!
Don't have to tell me twice!


This was the lovely lady making the mimosas!

Mid-race mimosa for the win!
My awkward, blinded-by-the-sun finish line photo
My parents missed my finish
and arrived right after I crossed the finish line!
Oops! I finished too fast! 

Chugging along

I don't look like I'm going very fast,
but at this point I promise I felt like Speed Racer!

Striding downhill

This totally looks like a promotional image for BRM!
So presh!

Is he levitating? Is he a magical reindeer?
Posing with the real celebrity here:

Um hello, I am a running goat
running this marathon

Our only complaint of the race:
ALL of the finish line volunteers were standing against the barricades on the side that the spectators had to be on!
Spectators were not allowed to stand on the other side, so the race officials SHOULD HAVE stood over there. So watching for finishers proved to be very challenging.

Our best attempt at the finish line photo...
We appreciate the volunteers, but they had access to the whole other side!
We finished! Hooray!
Our makeshift sign:
Go Alfredo! Boston Bound!

He got a massage after finishing to help his recovery for Monday!
His watch showing his finish time!

1st place age group award!
This race was a great experience, and we settled down Saturday night to prepare for the next leg in our adventure: flying out to Boston for the one and only Boston Marathon!!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned and there will be a Part 2 to recap the Boston Marathon experience! Coming soon!


  1. Thanks for the great recap and also thank you for pointing out the fact that race officials were blocking your view and should stand on the opposite side - makes perfect sense and we'll make a note for next year. FYI, the reason spectators can't be on the other side is because that building is a social security federal building and Homeland Security won't play nice.

    1. Thanks, Pete! I absolutely understand the need for security around that building. And thankfully, there were great photographers at the finish line, anyway!! :)