Post Marathon Celebrations

The post marathon high is still going strong over here! I’m feeling a little bit sad that it’s over–and I’m looking for my next big goal! But right now, lets discuss the post-marathon celebrations that happened back in Richmond.

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The three of us hung out at the finish line for about an hour or two, stretching, etc. We decided it was time to venture over to the bag check area, which we had heard had long lines located up a hill around the corner from the finish. Honestly, walking up the hill wasn’t horrible. I thought my legs were going to feel worse than they did. The line had shortened by then so it took maybe 5 minutes to get our bags. Then the walk to the hotel began. It was less than a mile away, and it was good for our legs to be walking a little bit! We saw the last finishers of the marathon go by and cheered them on. I couldn’t believe it was over already.

I drank my tasty Cheribundi that was in my bag and put on my marathon shirt. It felt good to be lumped into the marathon crowd this time. 🙂

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When we got to the hotel we each showered and collapsed into bed for a little bit until we couldn’t take the hunger pains anymore…we needed food!!!

The hotel shuttle (For those wondering we stayed at the Doubletree Downtown in Richmond–I would highly recommend it!) to the Capital Ale House downtown.

Capital Ale House has a gigantic beer selection! I ordered the Farmhouse Pumpkin but they were sold out…our server said the place was a packed madhouse after the race–thankfully we went home and showered first. I ended up getting the Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin–very tasty indeed.

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Chris, Melissa and I each split two appetizers, the pirogies and cheese curds!

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The cheese curds were so light and fluffy—so good!

Celebrating!

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(yes, we wore our medals to the restaurant! We ended up chatting to other marathoners next to us, which was so cool.)

For my meal I got the vegetable bruchetta. The fries were delicious but the bruchetta was hard to eat–I had to take most of the veggies off–but the bread part was tasty because it had goat cheese on it. I kind of wish I had gotten something a little different because it wasn’t too satisfying. Oh well!

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Capital Ale House (Downtown) on Urbanspoon
After dinner the shuttle took us back to the hotel where we pretty much passed out by 7pm. It was hard to get comfortable–the legs still felt like they were on fire–but this feeling didn’t last long, by the next morning they just felt all round sore. I’d say the soreness only last two days. Saturday and Monday were the worst…but they were pretty much back to normal yesterday! I think I’m ready to run again tomorrow. 🙂
Overall I had such a great experience in Richmond…the trip was too short if I do say so myself! The marathon was excellent and I would highly recommend this as a first marathon for anyone. I would definitely run this race again!!

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Richmond Marathon

Well, where do I even begin? After four months of training it all boiled down to one day. It could go great or go wrong. You never know until race day! {I want to thank Healthy Living Blogs for sponsoring a portion of my race expense and Cheribundi to help me recover during training! You guys are great.}

I tried my best to relax on Friday night. We went to bed early and I got a decent amount of sleep. Our alarms were set for 6AM, which was perfect since I was used to getting up at 6 for all of my long runs. I woke up at 5:30AM anyway and just laid in bed for a while until 6:00 rolled around. I ate my usual pre-run breakfast of Barbara’s cereal with granola and almond milk. We wanted to leave the hotel by 7AM so we could walk the few blocks to the starting line.

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Race outfit: running tank under my Ragnar Relay tshirt, Lululemon running crops, and Injinji toe socks and Brooks Adrenalines.

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After applying copious amounts of body glide, making sure I had my pockets and belts filled with Gu, Stinger Waffles, Tylenol and Tums (the basics), we were ready to head out.
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As we were walking to the start, the 8K had already begun, so seeing the runners was pumping me up!
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We headed to use the port-a-johns one before the race began and then found our Corral (3) and just waited. Thankfully I had a throw-away fleece to toss once the race started. It was a bit chilly but not too bad.

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At 8AM were were off…time to run 26.2 miles!

Chris and I decided to stick together since we didn’t really have a time goal. We just wanted to finish! (In my head though I wanted to finish in under 5 hours.) Melissa wanted to run a 4:30 so she went on her way! Go Melissa!

Miles 1-8

The first few miles were awesome. We ran through downtown Richmond and down some beautiful streets. Monument Avenue was one of my favorite parts of the race. With the leaves still on the trees down here, it was a pretty sight. I made sure to keep my pace around 10:30-10:45 in the beginning because I didn’t want to start out too fast. We hit the 10K mark at around 1:07 and started to feel hunger pains so I ate my first Stinger Waffle (while running). I did a pretty good job by not running too fast and felt really good! I didn’t have my music on either since I wanted to take in the scenery. I loved hearing the crowds shout out to the runners. It was an awesome feeling.

Miles 8-11

At around mile 8 we headed over the first bridge. I noticed how hard the concrete felt when I ran over it, it seemed to last forever! I wanted to be off the bridge and down by the river to see some pretty scenery. We ran by the river for a few miles and finally hit the first really big hill around mile 11. The elevation chart made it look worse than it was. It was no worse than the hills I’ve been running during training so I felt very prepared. I powered up the hill! I think I ate another half of a stinger at mile 11 because I started feeling hungry.

Miles 11-17.

Chris and I hit the halfway mark at 2:23:49. I felt pretty good at the half. This is where I took two Tylenol tablets since my feet were starting to hurt. From this point on we stopped to walk through every water station. I started getting REALLY thirsty between water stops. I believe I ate a Gu at mile 15. Coming up on mile 17 was the Lee Bridge. We had heard bad things about this bridge, how the wind was usually horrible. Thankfully, there was zero wind on Saturday, so we powered up the bridge without any real problem. I managed to grab my phone out of my belt to snap a few pictures while we were up there.

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I noticed a pain under my knee while running on the bridge, but it went away. At the end of the bridge there was a water stop, which also included junk food like gummy bears, pretzels and cookies. I didn’t have any but I took a few cup of ice water. By this point it was getting HOT out. I was just looking forward to hitting mile 20 in a few miles.

Miles 17-20.

These miles were a blur to me. I’m pretty sure they were by the VCU Campus and there were lots of people out and about cheering…but then again, I’m not really sure. I just remember stopping at mile 20 to stretch my hamstrings and my tight calves. From this point on we stopped to stretch at every station. I’m pretty sure I ate another Gu.

Mile 20-25.

Only 6.2 miles left of the race. At this point I was thinking about how FAST the race had gone by. I was waiting to hit “the wall”–and I was waiting for my legs to cramp up or my stomach to start acting up. Thankfully my stomach behaved and I never once felt a stomach pain! My legs didn’t cramp and I never hit the wall. It couldn’t have been more perfect. The only thing really hurting was my feet. Chris and I were taking things mile by mile at this point. Chris had only ever ran 16 miles so this was unknown territory for him and he was hurting. These last miles seemed to go on FOREVER. I put my music back on for a few miles to pump me up some more.

Mile 25-26.

Longest mile ever. I remember looking down at my Garmin and seeing at 12 minute average mile. I didn’t really care at this point but I knew it was because were were stopping to stretch. Chris didn’t want to talk. I took my music back off around mile 25 so I could enjoy the last few miles of the marathon. We were close to being done. My legs were still feeling okay, by this point my feet were killing me. I felt like my toes were on fire–the bottoms of my feet ached. The few miles of the race were flat and then then it dropped off for a steep downhill finish (think Freihofer’s Run finish!) I saw the 26 mile marker and I started to choke up a little bit because I couldn’t believe I made it through a marathon.

26.2 miles DONE! Chris and I crossed the finish line together which was great. I was practically sprinting down the hill to keep up with him and I felt like I was going to fall on my face. I wish I could replay this finish over again because it was AWESOME!

We walked a few feet and didn’t see the medals right away–I was worried we wouldn’t get one! Thankfully someone pointed us in the right direction and they gave us our beautiful medals!

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Chris and I must have chose the right shirts because we got PITTSBURGH and RAGNAR shout outs all throughout the course! It was awesome.

Melissa finished right behind us! We ended up catching up with each other around mile 17 of the race, but didn’t stay together long.

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Chris and my official time was 5:01:36. Only a minute off or so from my goal, but I’m 100% okay with that. It felt so GOOD to be done. Chris and I grabbed some post-race food (PIZZA!) which I ate right away.. I needed food in my system!

Then we made our way over to the #RunChat meet up which was happening post-race and I got to hang out with fellow blogger David who also ran the marathon and did awesome!

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I’m so proud of all of us for doing this. Months and months of training have finally paid off. I’m proud of Chris for running our first marathon with me even if he wasn’t 100% prepared. I’m proud of Melissa for running her second marathon and running my first with me. We were marathoners.

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I had such a great experience during this race. I wish every race could be as awesome.

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Exploring Richmond and the Race Expo

WOW. I have so much to say about the race. But I’m going to wait and tell you about Friday before I get into any marathon details. How mean is that? 😉 Anyway, Friday morning Melissa and I got up pretty early. We don’t have a car here so we were limited in what we could do. We ate breakfast at the hotel and then decided to walk down to capital square to sight see and take pictures.

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We walked around to where the start was supposed to be and found signs for the course.

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It was starting to feel VERY real.

We got to the race expo at around 11 when it started. Thankfully our hotel has a complimentary shuttle service to places within three miles of the hotel. It was pretty sweet. It was just like any other race expo but it was one of the nicer ones with lots of vendors. They had a lot of race merchandise to choose from too. Thankfully we got there early–I was afraid they would sell out of sizes.

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I ended up splurging on a sweet jacket. Hey, it was my first marathon! 🙂

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I got a 26.2 magnet for my car and a Richmond Marathon pint glass, too. Now it was feeling even more real.

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Melissa and I signed up for a bus tour of the course, which was the best idea ever. It let us know what we were in store for–we got to see the course ahead of time…so we knew what hills to expect. Now I remember the course better after the fact, which is good too.

That took 2 hours–so by the time we finally left (had to wait for our shuttle for a while…) and got back to the hotel, we were STARVING. We needed food, fast!

After searching the internet for some decent eats within walking distance, I found a vegetarian place called iPanema cafe. They had a small lunch menu but everything looked amazing. I ordered the tempeh ruben and melissa ordered the brie sandwich, which we each split so we could share. They both came with sweet potato fries and a side salad.

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They were both delicious. Of course, I had to carb up with a slice of vegan pumpkin cake.

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The frosting was a vegan cream cheese, and inside was like a pumpkin pie filling…the cake was moist too–I couldn’t have asked for a better lunch in Richmond!

Ipanema Cafe on Urbanspoon

After we were both happily fed but not too full, we went back to the hotel to relax and wait for Chris to come in. His train was due in at around 5:30. The shuttle picked him up he came and unpacked and we chilled out until it was time to get something for dinner.

On another note: Chris signed up for the marathon a while ago, but decided against running it. He came to Richmond with no plan to run the race (his max training run was about 16 miles a month ago) but after talking to guys on the train about running and marathons, he decided to run the race!!! Thankfully, he was wearing his running shoes on the train and brought shorts and a running shirt so he was set to go. Thankfully, I also picked up his bib and tshirt at the expo!

We walked to The Village Cafe for dinner around 7pm–we didn’t get our food til about 7:30. I was worried that it would be too late of a dinner before the race, but played it safe by ordering banana pancakes! I didn’t want to eat too much so I saved one pancake and only ate two. They were really tasty.

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They gave us HUGE pitchers of water to drink, which was perfect actually–must stay hydrated!

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We had a lot of fun at this place-it seemed very laid back and our server was awesome. He automatically split our checks up too, something I noticed they do a lot at the restaurants here.

We all had our chance to order our “safe foods” for pre-race. Melissa got a pizza.

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Chris got spaghetti and meatballs! I have no pic of that but here’s one of me and Chris. 😉

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It was a great choice for dinner since we all could order what we wanted.

The Village Cafe on Urbanspoon

We went back to the hotel and got our race gear ready and pinned our bibs on our shirts.

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It was early to bed for us–we were running a marathon in the AM!!!

Stay tuned. 😉

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Welcome to Richmond

Well, after a LONG train ride, Melissa and I finally made it to Richmond!

Our train was supposed to head out of Albany at 7:00am yesterday, but that train got cancelled because of the snow storm in NYC, so we were moved to the 6:10AM am train to Penn Station.

Always pick the quiet car! Train rides are so relaxing when you’re not worried about whether or not yours will get cancelled.

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After a 2 hour wait at Penn, we boarded the train to Richmond, which was a long one. About 30 minutes outside of Richmond, our train got stuck behind a freight train moving super slow–which put us an hour behind schedule. I just wanted to get off! That was a 8 hour train ride.

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Melissa and I were SO glad to be off. We took a cab to our hotel downtown and unpacked. Look what we got when we checked in!

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Awesome door tags for the marathoners! This is seeming more real. Holy crap. I’m running a marathon tomorrow!

We decided to eat in our hotel restaurant because we wanted quick food–I got a much needed beer, a local Legend Brewing Brown Ale. (I’m now on untappd–anyone else on there?!) And the beer was delicious!

Today we’re going to hit up the expo and then Chris is coming in to town tonight–find somewhere for dinner and then spend the evening relaxing in our room.

I haven’t seen much yet, but I like Richmond so far!

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Why I Chose the Richmond Marathon

I put a lot of thought into which marathon I wanted to be my first.

I didn’t choose a local race because I wanted a new adventure in a new place. The Mohawk Hudson River Marathon is Albany’s fall marathon-a fast and flat course on extremely familiar trails down the Hudson and Mohawk River. For some people this would be a no-brainer. I could sleep in my own bed the night before the race and it would be less stressful and I could run 26.2 miles on the trails I know. But, I wanted a change. The marathon runs on the same bike path I  train on. Sure, its beautiful course, but by then I’m sure I’d be so sick of the Mohawk Hudson Bike path it would probably make me puke. There is also not much crowd support during the race, if any at all. There were a few people scattered here and there at the end (when I did the half marathon), but I don’t think that it would be enough to push me through the last 6.2 miles of a marathon. I  need a cheering crowd and ENERGY! But I’m definitely not ruling it out for a future marathon if all goes well the first time around!

I didn’t choose the huge race that {mostly} everyone wants to run.  I used to think this was the only marathon I ever wanted to do–the biggest marathon in the country in one of the biggest cities in the world. This year, I didn’t enter the lottery for the New York City Marathon. I probably wouldn’t have gotten in if I did. {A big congrats to those who did, though!} Sure, maybe SOMEDAY I’ll run this race if I’m lucky–but after really thinking about it, I didn’t want to pay $255 to run 26.2 miles when there are cheaper races that could be just as exciting.

 

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Why DID I choose the Richmond Marathon?

{image source: Richmond Marathon’s Facebook Profile}

It was honestly a toss up between the Philadelphia Marathon and the Richmond Marathon. But, I’ve been to Philly a few times already and I’ve never been to Virginia other than driving through it on the way to Florida a few times when I was growing up. The new place won out. I had read a few blogger reviews about this marathon and how awesome it is. It also got rave reviews on marathon guide. The race takes place in November, which means training in late summer/early fall, which is exactly what I wanted. It was cheap {$70 for a full marathon!} and bit but not HUGE, with 3,779 finishers in 2010 . There were also options of a half marathon & 8K race if {God forbid} anything happen and I need to drop down to the shorter distance. There’s a new city to explore and it takes place during a Holiday weekend, so I automatically get the following Monday off from work. SCORE! So, that, my friends, is my reason why I picked Richmond!

 

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