Friday, November 11, 2016

Marshall University Marathon

We are so excited to share this recap with you! We traveled to Huntington, West Virginia this past Saturday for the Marshall University Marathon (MUM). On Saturday, we left our house late morning and took the beautiful 4 and a half hour drive through southwestern VA and all the way through to WV. Mister and I both really enjoyed the fall foliage on the drive and saw beautiful scenery in the mountains. We also loved going through tunnels that went THROUGH MOUNTAINS!! Um, cool!

Going through a mountain tunnel!

Inside the mountain tunnel

There were lots of cool bridges in WV
Anyway, we arrived at the expo that afternoon and picked up our packets and all of our SwAg! This was one of the deciding factors in choosing this race, y'all. As full marathoners who signed up before September 1, we got an awesome jacket and a duffel bag! We also paid a little extra to get the tech shirt as well (and I got a women's fit! Yes!). The shirts are adorable. The jackets are SO FLY. And the duffel bags are so neat and a great extra touch! Also at the expo, there was a pasta dinner for runners, and that was so awesome! After we picked up everything and ate pasta, we checked into our hotel and took a surprise nap (my favorite kind!) until it was time to eat some more. We picked up an order of spaghetti from the local Olive Garden and ate it, prepared our stuff for Sunday morning, and went back to sleep for the night.

Humongous salad trough at the pasta dinner!
On Sunday morning, we woke up very confused since the time changed overnight. But we got ourselves in order, got ready and headed to the Marshall University Stadium for the race start! We got parked and lined up pretty quick for a 7:00 AM start. The cannon went off very suddenly and away we went!

It's amazing how all the runners in a particular event can have such different experiences. For example, hubbs and I ran the exact same course, but we had totally different races. Stay with me, k?

This run was a little tough for Mr. Marathon. He felt ok at the start but quickly started cramping at mile 3. He had a huge mental struggle at this point. Should he stop and walk? Should he wait on his beautiful yet slower than him wife? Should he just give up and DNF? After walking for a brief little bit and refueling, he decided that he was going to finish. So that left him with two options- run with me or run it out on his own. There was one key word in both of these options: RUN. He knew he was going to have to run the rest of this race that was still ahead of him. So he decided that he was going to pull himself together and try to take control of the race and keep on keeping on! And that he did. Despite this early setback, he managed to turn out 7ish minute miles for the remainder of the race even though he couldn't get rid of the cramps officially until mile 18! He was so glad that he didn't just give up. He managed to get himself back on track for a 3:04:09 finish! This is still a Boston Qualifier and still an amazing finish time!

I started out feeling ok, but also completely and utterly terrified. I had been training for 20 weeks officially, but since last November with my 100+ miles a month. I had built a really great base for myself. Since running Charleston in January of this year, I knew that I wanted a personal record really badly, but I also wanted to get my time under 5 hours. Um, that's ridiculous though right? Cutting off over half an hour is crazy far-fetched. Right? I was going to go for it, though. So I knew my paces and I had the confidence of my training with me. I managed to start on pace, and continue on pace all the way through the end of the first loop (this race was a half- 1 loop and full- 2 loops of the course) and I was still on pace and feeling awesome. I managed to keep up with my pace, and I was starting to get confused by miles 18-20. Um, am I doing this right now? Is this for real? Is my Garmin working? Or is it broken? Am I really STILL on pace to meet my crazy far-fetched dream-big goal? So I just kept going. At mile 20, I had the realization. If I could keep this up for just 10K more, I would get my marathon under 5 hours. I looked at the volunteers guiding us to the next water stop and I said "Hey guess what?? I'm going to get my first sub 5 marathon today!" and they clapped and cheered for me and I rode that high all the way to the finish line. In under 5 hours. In 4:56:51 to be exact! It definitely helped that my loving amazing supportive husband came back for me despite the fact that he was tired from running this course and giving it all that he had. He came back for me and met me at mile 24 to help me run it in. And I did it. I met my goal of breaking 5 hours in the marathon.

I have talked about this before as well. So many runners and even non-runners may think this is "slow". But I'm not about to compare myself to others in this regard. If you look at the fact that I have come from a 6:19 marathon all the way down to a 4:56 marathon with some intense training and commitment, I hope you can celebrate the accomplishment in that with me. I also hope you can be happy for me that I cut off 37 minutes and 10 seconds from my marathon time in January. I have not stopped training since Charleston, and I am so happy to say that it paid off. I cried crossing the finish line at the MUM, not because I was in pain or sad that it was over (lol), but because I accomplished something so huge for me. I thought this goal of mine was far-fetched, crazy, and impossible. And it was.... until it wasn't. As I said recently on a post on Instagram channeling my good friend Walt Disney-- "Do the impossible. It's fun."

Ok so this is what the internet says Walt said

And of course, more photos from marathon weekend!

Hittin up the EXPO

Running through the park along the Ohio River

I don't know about you! But I'm feelin (mile) 22!
Channeling T-SWIFT
Finishing in Marshall Stadium!

He came back for me!

The majestic buffalo statue

My finish line photo! I'm holding the football like an idiot

We finished!!!!!!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

USA South Cross Country Conference Meet & Carolina Spartan Beast

As I typed this, we were en route to Huntington, WV for the MARSHALL UNIVERSITY MARATHON (MUM)! I just didn't get a chance to post it because we didn't have internet on the road and my computer was dying in the car.... so now we're home and it's finally getting posted before we post about the MUM!

Now, last weekend was quite exciting for Mr. Marathon. I thought he was crazy to do all of what he did the weekend before a full marathon, but whatever, he did awesome.

 On Friday, we both traveled separately to Georgia for the USA South Conference meet for cross country on Saturday. He had a good run on a challenging course and managed to finish at 30:57 in 17th place overall. His team finished 5th out of 8 teams. Then after the conference meet, we headed just a little further into Georgia to visit with my family before making our way back to South Carolina for the Carolina Spartan Beast race. He was in the competitive heat on Sunday, and he took off at 7:45 AM. The course was 14.2 miles with about 35 obstacles. This was a race he had done last year, but it was 2 miles longer this year. And he managed to finish 2 minutes faster than he did last year with a time of 2:24:30, putting him in first place overall for Sunday’s competitive heat. He was interested in comparing his time with the Elites that competed Saturday morning, and his time would have put him in 4th place out of the Elites!!! Um WHAT!

Then we traveled back from the weekend shenanigans and I still had to do my last “long” run before the MUM: 8 miles. He was so sweet because he offered to run my 8 with me when we got back home. So this put him at a weekend total of 32 miles. Crazy guy.

So he took all this past week to recover (don’t blame him!) and I have been tapering and cutting back on my miles. Stay tuned for our next post about our awesome run at the MUM this morning!!

Cross Country meet

Pre-Spartan (note that they are all still clean!)
with Mr. Marathon's brother, friend, and him 
The only picture I got of him on the course
(I may or may not have fallen asleep on the job...)

Brotherly love!!!

Finish time/place- 2:24:30, 1st place overall!