Since I won’t be racing until October I thought I’d share some of my favorite races between now and then. I know that my favorite part of running blogs is the race recaps! What better race for my first official recap than my first marathon?

I chose the OBX Marathon for very sentimental reasons, I grew up going to the Outer Banks of North Carolina every summer with my family and my best friend (in the whole wide universe forever)’s family. It was always the vacation I looked forward to the most every year and the best week of the year! The husband and I decided to turn our trip to the OBX into a mini vacation and rented a condo right on the ocean.

The stunning view from our balcony

Our first full day there started at the famous Stack em High. The food did not disappoint and I felt sufficiently carb-loaded! Then we moved on to two other famous OBX landmarks. First was the Wright Brother’s Memorial!

We listened to the free historical presentation in the museum and then conquered the hill.

Then we moved on to the Brew Thru to pick up some shirts for us and for our good friends that took care of our cat and house while we were gone.

We of course visited the expo. There wasn’t anything too terribly exciting there but it’s a smaller race so I wasn’t expecting much. We finished off the carb-loading with spaghetti and red sauce at the condo to appease my sensitive tummy. I wasn’t taking any chances the night before a marathon! Like a good little runner I laid out everything I would be wearing to make the early morning preparations easy and ensure I didn’t forget anything:

We were in bed around 9am and I actually slept great! Our alarms (I set 3 hah!) went off at 4am for pre-race oatmeal with natural peanut butter and banana slices and coffee. The running gods smiled upon me and blessed me with a pre-race bathroom visit (you know what I’m talking about).  We drove to the finish parking area and parted ways to board shuttles to our respective starts. Husband ran the half, which started in a different spot than the full. I was on my own until I met up with a friend at the start line that I somehow convinced to train for and travel to North Carolina to run 26.2 miles with me.

The waves started at 7:20 and I started with the 10:30-11:00 min/mile pacers. My goals this race were- 1: finish alive 2: finish in under 5hrs 3: finish in under 430. I finished in 5:03:16. The splits:

Mile 1- 10:34

Mile 2- 10:31

Mile 3- 10:29

Mile 4- 10:26

Mile 5- 10:17

Mile 6- 10:35

Mile 7- 10:27

Mile 8- 10:45

Mile 9- 10:23

Mile 10- 10:28 Miles 1-10 were mostly uneventful, a few rolling hills in the neighborhoods and some gorgeous scenery. I felt great and was running strong.

Mile 11- 10:57

Mile 12- 10:25 Miles 11 & 12 were hard-packed dirt trail with some big rocks and very hilly.

Mile 13- 10:58 Mile 13 was mulch covered sand dune. My half split time was 2:18:39.

Mile 14- 11:39 I started walking through aid stations, rather than run, to take Gu, water and the (nasty) provided Lemon-Lime Gatorade.

Mile 15- 10:41

Mile 16- 12:52 I was really feeling that trail portion at this point. I didn’t train for that at.all. I stopped to stretch some and began walking through every aid station which was every 2 miles.

Mile 17- 10:59

Mile 18- 12:10

Mile 19- 11:02

Mile 20- 16:54 I stopped and rrreeaaalllllyyyy stretched. Muscles I had never felt before on training runs were on fire! I felt most of the soreness in my inner thighs and glutes.

Mile 21- 12:01

Mile 22- 13:25

Mile 23- 12:06 This is where the bridge started but I decided to push up it because I knew that walking up it would be worse.

Mile 24- 13:05 I hate you bridge.

Mile 25- 11:48

Mile 26- 12:24 This was the death march. So many people were telling me ‘just one mile left.’ All I wanted was to be done. I knew husband and my friend were at the finish line waiting for me. I remember thinking – if I could just get to my husband everything would be ok.

Mile 0.44- 4:36 (10:33 pace) Obviously I wasn’t worried about running the tangents on this race!

Other stats: Average HR- 174bpm, Max HR- 192bpm, Average pace- 11:29min/mile, Fastest pace- 6:35min/mile.

I actually busted it out and sprinted at the end when I saw husband and my friend. I have no idea where it came from but I pulled out a 6:35 pace at the end there. I saw husband and HAD to be where he was regardless of the pain I was in. I cried when I got to him and was so frustrated at the (necessary) barriers he was behind. I walked through the finisher’s shute and picked up some gatorade, water and a bagel with peanut butter.

We hung out at the after party for a little bit then parted ways with my friend to walk to our car. It was probably about a mile but it felt good to keep moving. We went back to the condo to shower, ice our knees and I pulled on my CEP compression socks to help aid the recovery. We of course enjoyed massive amounts of food and an early bedtime.

The next day we drove up to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse in Corolla and I somehow made it to the top and back down without shedding any tears. Coming back down was much harder though!

We of course took lots of pictures of the surrounding grounds, you know, the important stuff:

Inside of an outhouse- his and hers?

Next door was the Whalehead Club, built as a summer fowl hunting home in the 1920’s and was  leased by the U.S. to protect classified rocket fuel research during the Cold War.

After some lunch we wandered down to Jockey’s Ridge, the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States. Climb it? Sure!

We sadly left the next day and headed home after a quick one-night stop in Savannah, Georgia. I was ready to be home at this point since I was so sore I was walking around like I had a giant stick up my you-know-where!

Overall this Marathon has meant a lot to me. It was a huge challenge that I conquered and I’m a much stronger runner and person because of it. If you are on the fence about whether you want to run a Marathon, I strongly encourage you to go for it (with the proper running base mileage of course). Go big or go home!