2014 Richmond Marathon

So with the no PR in Chicago I wanted to get back on the horse fast and quick and show that I was trained for a better time.  Sure enough, most of my training partners were running the closer to home Richmond Marathon. This is a medium sized race with a VERY big half that runs parallel for a few miles and then veers off.  I  think the most enjoyed part of the course for me was seeing the last half mile of the race was a steep downhill. As we all know.. I love those.

Anyways, signed up for the race and aimed for a moderate goal of a Sub 3:20, I was thinking I could go for a 3:18 and see how I felt. I rolled into the race with my fiance who was kind enough to take the weekend to go down for the race. She was a saint for the trip, putting up with my lack of sleep, taper madness, and driving around in traffic after the race. So thanks again for that babes. <3

Arrived to the expo on Friday night, and it was bitter cold… like 30 degrees with a strong wind. I didn’t read much into it as I LOVE running in colder weather, i tend not to overheat.. which is usually where I fail when running.

Smaller expo, comparing to Chicago and others I have been too, but overall they had everything a runner could need pre-race. Saucony was there along with other bigger sponsers.

Got my packet and left shortly after, didn’t make the mistake of staying too long. Also I took Wed, and Thursday completely off to give my body some much needed rest.

 

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The race was scheduled on a Saturday, which is actually quite awesome because this allows you to rest on Sunday, and not take an extra day off work. We do our usual pre-race dinner meal of Noodles and Co.  My fiance, wasn’t really thrilled with this choice since it’s what we “always” do. =)

Got back to the hotel and laid out the clothes for the morning. I knew it was going to be cold so I decided I would wear pretty much the exact thing I did for CIM last year. Biggest focus was on keeping my hands/fingers warm.

I got dropped off near the start line in the morning and waited around for about 40 minutes or so before I casually walked to the start line. I knew all the half-marathoners would have to go through first so I figured we had loads of time. Well they kept going and it was nearing the start time for our race, then I saw pace groups on the other side of the road and realized I was on the wrong side! I crossed through the hordes of half marathoners and quickly walked through the pace groups trying to find 3:30.  The race started and I hit my watch and took off. A horrible start… hopefully I can recover.

Mile 1- 8:04 : Having missed the official start, I am trying to stay relaxed, but also looking for a pace group to see where I am. My goal for this mile was to go out slow and I did just that.

Mile 2- 7:40 : Okay, first mile was good… let’s ease into the pace of things. Around here is where I find the 3:30 pace group and end up passing them mid way through.

Mile 3- 7:27 : I remember settling in here and finding a few people to talk to. Asked them what their finish time was and a lot were responding with around 3:30. I told them what I was shooting for and they said, good luck and that I was smart to be hanging with them in the early miles.

Mile 4- 7:36 : Okay, everything is feeling fine. OW my ankle starts to hurt. So much so that I have to STOP running and adjust my shoe/sock a little bit to hopefully ease the pain. Also take my first blok here.

Mile 5- 7:28 : The ankle starts to hurt again here, and I realize this is just going to be one of those races where I run with some pain.

Mile 6- 7:32: I start to prepare for the downhill mile coming up. And battle some slight uphill on this part. I tell myself to go fast on the downhill, but not too fast. I talk to another person and they are going for 3:25, they tell me good luck and to not let them pass me. =) (10k split: 47:39)

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Mile 7- 7:04: Woo hoo! Downhill is my favorite. I cruise in this mile and it’s fast. My fastest mile in fact.

Mile 8- 7:25: Using the momentum of the previous mile I feel confident going into mile 8. Take my 2nd blok here. And i think I turned on the music as well.

Mile 9- 7:28: I think this is about where I throw my water bottle into the crowds. I got through the early water stations and I was getting tired of carrying it. The weather is so cool that I don’t have a real need to grab tons of water.

Mile 10- 7:31: Pretty sure I took my Caffeine bean here. Just one to give me a little jolt. as I know we have some uphills coming up.

Mile 11- 7:46: Ya, uphills, not my favorite part of running, but i get through this section with not too much struggle.

Mile 12- 7:28: Almost to the halfway point and all systems are still a go. (3 blok here)

Mile 13- 7:37: Halfway point and my time is exactly what I wanted it to be.  (half split: 1:39:21)

Mile 14- 7:28: I tell myself I am just running another half marathon, no big deal and I try to push the pace a bit. I run into a girl wearing an Antarctica race shirt and ask if she ran a race there. She tells me she ran a marathon there, and it fills up every year and has a wait list. I guess they can only support 400 runners and the average temperature is about 25 degrees. Might be on my bucket list.

Mile 15- 7:25: Okay, cruising along, slight downhill on this mile.

Mile 16- 7:55:  The bridge… ugh what a nightmare this was. We  turn the corner and I see a sign that says “Make Lee Bridge your Bitch”. I laugh but then think.. crap I don’t remember hearing about this. Turn and see the bridge. About a mile long and WINDY as crap. Shit…. I decide to play it safe here and tuck in behind another runner who is going a little slower than I wanted, but still a decent pace. I let him do the work for the bridge and padded him on the shoulder when it was done… saying thank you for leading! Sure enough, there was about 2 runners drafting behind me too. (4th blok here)

Mile 17- 7:46: Still recovering from the bridge and I notice a familiar face. BART YASSO! What?! I turn around mid run wanting to go back and talk running with him but I realize I am in the middle of a marathon and continue on trucking down the road. He was cheering us on saying “work together guys, great job!”.

Mile 18- 7:46: Feeling a little tired here for some reason, also some uphill. Antarctica girl passes me here.

Mile 19- 7:40: Still not at a comfortable pace, I start to lose track of my goal.

Mile 20- 7:49: Fading, not feeling good… just feeling tired mentally. (5th blok)

Mile 21- 7:40: Okay, i tell myself I have 6 miles left, I can reach my goal but I will have to work for it, dig deep!

Mile 22- 7:40: I start to feel better here and I feel especially good when we pass by some locals handing out beer. I grab one, the first time I have ever grabbed a beer in a marathon (little shot glass) and chug it down. Everyone proceeds to go nuts.

Mile 23- 7:34: I think the beer charged me up, because I feel like superman. I am passing people, and I mean passing. Everyone is dying off, fading out and it feels like I am sprinting by them. I feel tired, but I keep working on it. I pass Antarctica girl and leave her in the dust.

Mile 24- 7:34: Feeling good, running strong, I do the math and tell myself to push harder!

Mile 25- 7:34: I still have energy left in my tank, I pass by a water station when everyone is walking through. Almost there!

Mile 26- 7:16: In the last 4 miles 1 person has passed me and I didn’t let them easily do it. I pass what seems to be 100+ people at this point. I know the last mile has some downhill so I start to put on the gas, Nothing left to save for.

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Last .32 (according to GPS) — 5:55 pace : Sharp downhill until the end so I let it all go. The last .2 are a blur of cheering and me passing by cautious runners trying to achieve my goal. I look up at the clock… BAM! I knew I could do better than Chicago… and I did.

 

Net Time: 3:19:28 a new PR and a good way to end the year.

319 CHRIS WRIGHTSON 29 M 47:39 1:39:21 2:32:44 3:20:06 3:19:28 WINSTON SALEM NC 273 54 MEN — 25 THROUGH 29 1103

 

 Patience is the lesson learned from this cycle. If I just keep going faster and chip off a few minutes here and there then I can achieve a lot better times. And again… I LOVE running in cold weather!   =)

 

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