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Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon 2015

During the two years that I’ve been living in Savannah a couple of marathons have gotten my attention, specifically the Charleston Marathon and Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon.

At the beginning of October I thought that maybe I could tackle the Marine Corps Marathon and another big race within three weeks. First I thought about doing a marathon in California since I was there with Bobby but then I realized that Charlotte was exactly 3 weeks later, which will give me an extra week to recover.

I figured I’d just wait until my “A” race was over to see how was I feeling because I definitely didn’t want to get injured like I did last winter. As you may know by now, I finished the MCM strong so I took it easy for two weeks and decided to run a 15k race (9.3 miles) while in SoCal. I finished 3rd overall and was the 1st overall women, motivation enough to sign up for my next big adventure!

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Aqua Bonita Run

At this point I knew Bobby was going to be working in California the following weekend and that I was going to be free so I signed up for Charlotte’s big race. I called my friend Sarah and she agreed to come with me so at this point there was no turning back.

My 3 weeks between both races looked like this:

Week 1: went to SoulCycle 3 times and ran 6 miles once

Week 2: went to the gym once, did a spinning class, ran the Aqua Bonita 15K race

Week 3: ran 3-4 miles three times

I felt this was pretty reasonable because all my training was already done. My biggest fear was to get injured because honestly I didn’t care about my finishing time. This year I had two main races and I completed them successfully so this was just an extra challenge I decided to take last minute to finish the year strong.

(Let’s talk about Sarah for a second. She’s one of the best people that have come into my life since I married Bobby. She’s become a very close friend and this was our first time traveling together. We have very different personalities and I believe that’s what complements us so well)

I picked up Sarah Friday morning and drove straight to NC. We checked in at the hotel and walked to the expo, which was conveniently located a couple of blocks away.

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Me and my lucky number

It was very cold and windy but we were very well located so we walked to Vapiano for my pasta dinner! I used to live very close to one of these restaurants in Chicago and loved it so it was kind of going back in time. I totally overate (not very smart on my part) but nothing bad came from that.

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Carbs, carbs and more carbs

We went to bed early even though I didn’t have to wake up until 6:15 am… First time waking up this late for a marathon but, again, we were in such a great location that the walk to the start/finish line was less than 10 min.

Besides getting injured, another thing I was kind of nervous about was the fact that I’ve never done a marathon that involved less than 5,000 participants and this one didn’t even have 1,000! I’m into big races and the thought of running alone from mile 13 to mile 26 really scared me… This was one of the two reasons to start with a pacer; the other one? To not start too fast and to make sure that I could finish the whole thing.

I woke up, had my traditional slice of bread with almond butter and a banana, kissed Sarah good-bye and walked to the starting line. It was a beautiful sunny day in the low 30’s with no wind… Perfect conditions to run a marathon! I didn’t know with which pacer I should line up so it was time for me to do some math. I finished the MCM (Marine Corps Marathon) in 3:39:03 and that route was not as hilly as this one plus my legs were technically tired. I thought I’d love to finish in less than 4 hours so I lined up with the 3:50 pacer.

The race had 5k, Half and Full Marathon options so the starting line was pretty crowded. I started with the group and felt good from the get go. The whole route from beginning to end was filled with rolling hills, something that can be very intimidating coming from FLATvannah.

Surprisingly I felt AMAZING the whole time. The first half of the route was gorgeous… It was mostly through residential areas full of beautiful houses. When it was time to split I started getting a bit nervous but my group stayed pretty solid… It ended up being like ten of us. The guy who paced us was a British ultra runner to whom I enjoyed talking for a big part of the race.

The second half of the route was still pretty… To be honest it wasn’t as pretty as the first half but the crowd support was more fun, especially around mile 18 where there was a street party! At mile 23 I felt pretty good so I thank the pacer and picked up my pace.

Some wind started kicking in and the hills seemed to get longer and steeper but I remembered that somebody told me that whenever I was able to see the tall buildings I was very close to the finish line so that kept me motivated. I started hearing the crowd, looked for Sarah but couldn’t find her and got to the final stretch where I sprinted with everything I had left. My time? 3:47:13

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I was so proud that as usual I wanted to cry. I conquered a difficult route in a great time only three weeks after running the MCM! The closest I’ve ever run two marathons before has been seven months apart so go figure + this is definitely the best I’ve ever felt while running a full marathon.

After the race Sarah found me and we walked back to the hotel! She was the sweetest and extremely supportive… It feels so good to have people like her in my life!

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I took an ice bath and then we headed to Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar where we drank beer and shared one of the best burgers I’ve ever had.

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The rest of the weekend was filled with more food, laughter and some shopping, of course!

Now is time to rest and start thinking about races for next year… The only one I have scheduled as of now is the Publix Savannah Women’s Half Marathon & 5k (if you are planning on doing it use the code DEEN10 to get $10 off your registration)

Do you have any races planned for 2016??? Suggestions are welcome!

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