First off let me apologize for this very belated recap!! Since the death of my computer earlier this year I still have yet to replace it and have to organize my time between work and the local library’s hours!
Please bear with me! This is a little scatter brained but I had such an incredible experience I’m not sure how to put it all in words..so here goes!
Day one: 1:05 am~woke up at and got showered and dressed, hit the road at 2:15 am! Crazy I know. I drug my sister, niece and son along for the eightish hour drive. Why I drove that far for my first marathon? I’m not sure. But I had my heart set on OBX and I tell ya, I do not regret it.
10:25amish~Arrived at the race expo; place was huge and full of people everywhere. There were so many awesome vendors I wanted to check out but the place was so packed and the kiddos were getting antsy so I just got my bib, shirt and goodies and made my way through. This was a first big event for me. I felt so small! Well I am only 5 foot… heehee
Then after that we let the kiddos play on the local playground to get some of that cooped up car energy out. Headed to the hotel a little early before check-in time so we decided to play on the beach and relax before we checked in.
Ate a good spaghetti dinner and drank and drank and drank.
Did some yoga. Yoga the night before has been a great pre-race ritual for me. Got my race gear ready to go. Went to bed super early like 7:30 pm early.
The night before race! Bib all fixed up!
Day 2: Marathon day!
4:45 am wake up, coffee, bagel and sipping Gatorade. Eating about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours before running seems to work best with my tummy. And it went well! NO GI issues! Yay!
Showered and got ready to go! Couldn’t find the car keys so didn’t get there early enough to utilize the pottys there before the race. The lines were ridiculous! Oh well. I went about five thousand times that morning anyway so I figured I would be alright and got in my corral B. They prayed before the start which I thought was awesome!!! They organizers of this event were just so grateful for everyone there racing and I found this to be refreshing. Then three minutes after corral A went we were off!
I don’t even know how to put this experience into the right words. This race was amazing! The locals were all super supportive and grateful we were running to help support their DARE foundation and families in need. This is what racing is about. Giving back to the community. Such a positive race! Little kids were cheering and high-fiving. There were entertainment and cheer crowds at all mile markers. The first three miles were flat and felt awesome. Had a small hill at mile three but it wasn’t anything compared to future hills I’d have to hit in the trail portion. Anyway, met a few runners along the way. All so friendly! You know I’ve never met a rude runner… Also was able to chat a bit. I didn’t get out of breath for most of the run with the exception of the trail portion because I pushed too hard…Think that’s where I may have lost some steam. I will know better for next year! (YES I loved OBX so much I’m seriously thinking of round two for next year! Register HERE!) I decided to go without music because I wanted to take it all in and I’m SO glad I did. There wasn’t a dull moment! Aside from the incredible scenery (the beach, woods, Wright’s memorial to name a few), there were a few groups of people that followed along and this one guy in particular was in a belly shirt with an afro wig knocking on a cow bell with music jamming in his car trunk. Best fan ever. To Afro man wherever you may be, thank you! He was hilarious and kept everyone pumped up! There was also a guy on a bike who kept hollering “running strong pink!” “There you are again pinky! Still looking strong!” along with cheers for others along the way. And my friend Cynthia was at mile 6 with a big, bright poster! Made me feel amazing! It’s magic what some cheering will do for you. I would not have made it through to the end without them all. Hearing little kids who didn’t even know me holler “Go Jessica!” made it all worth it. Next few miles were a breeze. But then came mile nine. The trail. Wowza! It was four miles of a challenge. It was at that point I decided to toss any time expectations and just finish! Made it through the ups and downs with walking a hill. Hit the road again at mile thirteen and felt a little wore out from the trail. I decided I’d take it slow until mile twenty at that point because I knew the bridge would be coming up at mile twenty-three… Met some more cool runners. Ran side by side with some guy for a few miles and he really helped push me through miles 18 but I could tell he was on target for a faster time so I held back and told him to run on (he waited to high five me at the end! So thanks runner guy wherever you are!). Then met another woman in pink and black and we ran and walked some together and swapped a few stories. I had to slow down and let her run on ahead. She was incredible and had it going on! Come mile 18-20 I could tell I should have taken more Gatorade at the water stations. Never hit the “wall” but definitely could tell I was needing more fluids at that point (me and my pathetic body that requires way too much fluid). I had a muscle in my inner thigh trying to cramp up. Like an idiot I ran through the first few water stations and tried to run and drink. That was stupid. I learned so much this marathon! Ha! After I wised up and walked through the water stops I felt stronger. The last few miles I gave it all I could. During the last home stretch my inner thigh muscles and right calve wanted to tighten up and I thought to myself not now you don’t! I sprinted as hard as I could to the finish. And it hurt. But I did it.
I crossed the finish line and became a marathoner.
First official marathon bling!
Our victory pose!
A bling and a banana…best banana ever. ha!
I wanted to cry but couldn’t tell if it was because I was in pain, or tears of joy or if it was disappointment from not finishing closer to a 4:00. My goal was 4:30 so I beat that but was kinda secretly hoping I could go faster. But when all is said and done, the goal was to finish with a smile and finish strong. And I did. Well some of the race pictures might tell a different story. I have some good happy pictures but there were a few that said “ouch!” Ha!
I truly enjoyed this race from beginning to end. All the sights and sounds. All the volunteers were tremendous. Their gratitude made this whole event meaningful.
So I learned:
Start out even slower. Save the gas for the second half.
Stay ahead of hydration!!! Do not rush through water stations!
Get there much earlier to have time to pee. (Yes, I tinkled a little during the race…haha but I saw men hoping behind bushes and everything so thank you Lord I didn’t have any GI issues!)
What I DID get right:
Ate the right foods at the right times=zero tummy troubles!
Relaxed and enjoyed the ride.
Brought my own gels that worked for my body. (I still stand by Clif Bar!)
Ran without music and truly soaked it all in.
As for the statistics:
I wasn’t super fast at all! But overall I’m pleased with the results. I’m just your average middle of the road runner. The beauty of it all is that I finished!
Official chip time: 4:24:47
Age Div (25-29F): 42nd
“Mommy, you did the impossible!”
And the greatest part of this entire trip? My son. After we met up after the race he says to me, “Mommy!!! You did the impossible and ran 26.2 miles!!! But you’re really sweaty…” Love that boy. I think he has learned as much as I have from this. Knowing that my son is proud of me means the world to me. Every run, every walk, every struggle, every tear, laugh, cry, every emotion that led up to this event has been more than worth it. God has blessed me with a body that can carry me farther than I ever would have thought possible. I hope to continue running strong and that somehow, somewhere I can be a blessing to someone through it all.
I feel like this blog post isn’t doing this whole event justice. I wish I could better recap this event into the perfect words! I strongly suggest running this event!
But next year… I’m not satisfied with just finishing! I hope to beat this time and bring it closer to a 4:00!