Sunday, May 25, 2014

Trout, Wine, and Roosters.... Oh My!

If the title of this post makes no sense, don't worry.  Keep reading and it will.  Promise!  We have neglected our blogging responsibilities as of lately, so we are here to catch up on everything.  Hopefully.  We have had three races in the past three weeks, so hold on and here we go!

Mrs. Marathon battling the raging river!
Trout-n-About is the first of these three races in the past three weeks.  This race was on May 10 at a local trail.  It was a fun run through trails and a river (yes, like a real river!) that benefited the Trout in the Classroom program in our local schools.  Tons of fun, good cause, and nice people.  Not to mention that Mr. Marathon placed 2nd overall.  Not too shabby, huh?!  Even after taking two weeks off, he's still got it.  But wait!  There's more!

Mr. Marathon showing off his fishy trophy
The second race in the past three weeks was the Shelton Vineyards Running the Vines 10K on May 17.  This is the third year I have done this 10K and the second year for Mr. Marathon.  It is a beautiful, scenic course that is not too challenging on the first half, but it'll give you a run for your money on the second half.  Despite its rural odor (ahem, cow poop) the rolling hills with vineyards give it a nice backdrop, regardless.  Oh, and Mr. Marathon placed 1st in his age group!  But wait!  THERE'S MORE!
The rural landscape... we'll spare you the cow poop smell though

Running through the finishing chute full of vines

1st place medal!

The third race in the past three weeks occurred today!  This was Mr. Marathon's time to shine, I decided, because I didn't want to run faster than him.... psych!  I was too "chicken" to run the Rooster Walk Tuff Strutter 5K this morning.

This race has a notorious reputation of being an extremely challenging trail race with lots of ups and downs, all equally difficult.  The uphills gave you a workout, while on the downhills you were on the lookout!  Loose rocks and other nature-y things were all over the place!  One of Mr. Marathon's friends decided the downhills looked so fun that he wanted to tumble down a hill!  But he said it was an accident... who woulda thunk that?  Regardless, it had plenty of rough terrain to maneuver.  Despite it being the toughest trail run on the east coast, the scenery was beautiful, but hard to focus on since you were mostly focused on your foot placement.  Mr. Marathon took off in the front of the pack and maintained his place throughout the course despite him thinking in the back of his head the entire time that someone was right behind him.  He came out on top in FIRST PLACE OVERALL because he was "burning up the course" figuratively, not literally.... we don't want any forest fires!  A few spectators were commenting on his exquisite performance and said that.  Which makes sense, considering the second and third place overall winners came in about three minutes later!  Apparently, no one was right behind him after all.  But he claims it sure did feel like it.  Whatever he thought, it worked!

catch-up... ketchup...
get it?

Whew, that was a lot of catch-up!  We have a few races coming up in June that we are looking forward to, so keep on the lookout!  Hopefully we won't be running too WILD.....

June 7!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

BRM 5x

Better late than never, so here goes:  On April 26, 2014, the fifth annual Blue Ridge Marathon was held.  And on that same day, April 26, 2014, I (Mr. Marathon) ran the Blue Ridge Marathon for the fifth time.  What a coincidence, right?!  Anyway, three weeks later I am finally getting to this.  This particular marathon is my favorite marathon to date.  Between the volunteers, the atmosphere, and cheerful spectators, this tough course has its soft spots.  Even though this race has won the title of "America's Toughest Road Marathon" with me, it has won the title of "America's Funnest AND Friendliest (sorry Richmond) Road Marathon".  Every year I meet new runners along the way and yet every year, they continue to motivate and inspire me to keep running this race.  Friends and family continue to tell me how crazy I am to continue running this race over and over again, which also inspires me to keep doing it.  But considering that America's Toughest Road Marathon was accidentally my first marathon, it's really hard for me to say that it's "hard."  It's all I knew for a while.  For a year, I believed that this is it.... this is my last marathon.  Marathon running felt way to hard, until word came out that indeed, it was AMERICA'S TOUGHEST.....and I was like "Oh, that's lovely!"  Yet I found it unbelievable that it was essentially in our backyard!  Ok, well 45 minutes north of our backyard, but still.  It's really close by!

5 pairs of shoes, 5 finisher medals, 5 times run, 1 marathon

Mr. Marathon and BRF starting the race
This year, as we left our house and arrived at the race site, my first race was to the port-a-potties, just like every year.  With plenty of time to spare, the full marathon, half marathon, and 10K runners all lined up to start together.  I started near the middle of the pack and walked all the way to the start line as people were flying by me (and I was laughing to myself.... they gon' learn today!).  As soon as I passed the start line, that's when my race truly started.  I couldn't believe it.... this was my 5th time running this.  I couldn't believe I had been running this long.  And to think, this started as a (not so) happy accident.  I ran at a steady pace, smiling, carrying on, and enjoying nature's beauty.  As I saw runners run past me or me running past them on turnarounds, I couldn't help but to give them a thumbs-up or a "Good job!" or a "Keep it up!".  And seeing them smile just kept me motivated to keep on trucking!  Staying motivated is the key for any marathon, but especially this one.  I really wanted to do better than I did last year, or at least around the same, and I was on track to doing right around the same as last year's PR, but there's always an excuse, it seems.  This year's excuse was a full marathon 2 weeks before.  It messed up my left knee and left it achy.  But anyway, I wasn't gonna let that stop me.  There was no way I was gonna start this race and not finish it.  I wouldn't care if I had to finish on crutches.  I would finish, because that just how determined I am, about this particular race, at least.  This determination came in place around mile 19.  My knee and my back started aching and I started slowing down and running out of energy.  It seemed like the next few following hills after that were just as bad as any mountain in the beginning.  But this did not deter me from enjoying the race.  This race is one that I can truly enjoy, no matter what the circumstances are throughout it.  It's truly the people around it and in it that make a race an incredible experience.  I walked on and off from mile 22-25, and after these two miles I was determined once I saw the mile marker for mile 25 to run the final mile and give it all I had!  I had an extra boost in motivation around the last 0.4 miles after seeing my friend's dad gaining on me.  I decided I had to step it up.  And I did, all the way across the finish line!
Coming down the finishing chute

Mr. Marathon, about to tackle the infamous Peakwood hill at mile 17
(aka "Pukewood")
Mr. Marathon's cool-down ritual....
dumping water on his head

It was Mr. Marathon's 5th time running this race!

As I got my finisher medal, reality came crashing down onto me, making that moment as real as it gets.  I may not run very fast, but I am completely determined to run faster.  Because thanks to the races I have run, the people that I have met, and the medals I have earned, I am a marathoner.  And I will continue to run marathons as long as my health allows me to do so.

Finish line

Yeah, we're cute!
Oh, and just to let you know... I'm already signed up for next year: 2015!  Crazy? Yeah.  Dumb?  Probably.  Awesome?  DEFINITELY!