Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thunder Road 2007

First off, let me say a few good things about the overall marathon experience. I feel like it was a well run race. A great race to see and experience Charlotte. The volunteers and officers were wonderful! Wendy IS by far the best scream teamer in the world. Jeff and Colleen were sent from Heaven to get me through this race.

My plan was to run this race in sub 4 hours. I trained on the streets of Charlotte, and on the race course itself, so all the hills were not a surprise to me. But, Ron says, "Some days are Diamonds" was not one of them. Here is an elevation chart for the course....but I do not remember any down hills really. Ha Ha!
Background - I knew signing up for this race, I was going to have a busy weekend. My church, Hickory Grove Baptist Church, had a huge Christmas Festival planned for this weekend and I was performing in 6 shows. 2 Friday night, 2 Saturday, and 2 Sunday. All the week before, I had rehearsed and helped to get ready for the shows. So going into the race, I was tired. I hate to always discuss my tummy issues, but they are never I had not been feeling well up to the race. I guess too much planned.

Pre race routine - I got up and tried to eat my normal pnut butter sandwich. It was not happening for me. I was tired and even thought about going back to my warm bed. I drank some coffee, packed up and met Bree. We rode to the race together and had no problem finding a parking place.

The Start - We walked down to the start line, and found Ross, Colleen, Ron, Wendy, Chuck, and around 1000 other close friends who were running the race. I was showing off my VERY COOL Charlotte Hornets sweats....that I would toss at the start of the race.

Then, I lined up by myself and tried to reflect on the race ahead. Everything was very surreal for me. Like I was in a dream. The "starting gun" went off and 30 seconds later I was over the starting line.
First 5 miles - I ran the 1st mile in 8:40 min clock time. I thought, I feel good but I am going to slow my pace a bit. I did not want to run out of steam too early. Well I did slow down and passed the 2 mile mark at 18:30 clock time. This does include getting bunched up at the drink station. I was fine with that but knew I did not need to slow any more. However, by mile 5 I was slowing. I was pushing to do 9 MPM. This isn't like me, so I took a Gu and it was all down hill from there...not the course, my race.

Mile 6 to 13.1 - After I took the Gu, my acid reflux kicked in. I had some Tums with me so I took those, but it did not help much. By mile 7 I was running with the 4 hour pace team and thought I would throw up. At that point, I thought I would just run to the half and be finished with this race. I have never wanted to drop out of a race, but I really did not know if I could even make it to the 1/2. I got to the half around 1:58 and saw Jeff, Wendy, and Colleen. They asked how I was doing and I told them not good. Wendy snapped this picture and Jeff started running with me. (He is in the red) He made me take another Gu and drink some more. Notice it is uphill! This is Charlotte!
Next 7 miles - The next 7 miles were a blur of me stopping so I would not throw up on the side of the road, then starting to run again. Poor Jeff! He really is a great person to run with. Very encouraging and he kept me going. I would have quit without him at this point. He carried my pack from here on out. I think we passed mile 20 at 3:09.

The last 6.1 miles - Around mile 21, we saw Colleen. She started running with me. Let me say that Jeff and Colleen really got me through! I remember saying to her that I don't know if I ever want to run another marathon. She laughed. She really encouraged me and said I was doing great...I knew she was just being nice, because at this point, I was walking more and more...but I chose to believe her. When we got to the last mile, I really tried to kick it up a notch. I knew that I would not even PR today, but I was ready to get this over with. We turned to the last hill...yes the finish was uphill...and Wendy took a picture.

At mile 26, Colleen turned off and I was on my own for the last .2....
I went past the finish at 4:22 something. I was glad to be done! I got a drink and an apple....I felt awful but I tried to eat and drink them. That was not going to happen though. So I just threw them away. Wendy got 1 last shot of me and Colleen. Notice I am really trying to smile.

Sweet Colleen drove me as close to my car as she could. I got into my car and drove home. I forced myself to eat, took a shower, took some Advil and went to do 2 shows.

Thoughts - I am disappointed that the race did not go as I had planned. But as I sit here and write this report, I think, I may do another marathon. Even though this was my 7th marathon, I have learned a very valuable lesson. RESPECT THE DISTANCE! 26.2 mile is a LONG way and you never know what race day holds. You can get up that morning feeling great, and everything falls apart. You can be well trained, know the course, and have the race planned out in your mind....then you have to readjust your plan mid race. Serendipity!

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