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I’m finally ready to share my Wrightsville Beach Marathon race recap! This is taken me almost a month to get too – oops! After the race, I started focusing on wedding planning to pick a date and a venue and time has flown by. This post was getting super long (ahem, it is still long) so I’m sharing a race recap here and I’ll do a separate post on how I fueled leading up to, during and after the the race since many of you have asked about that. Sounds like a plan? Sweet.
Chip time: 3:28:50
Gun time: 3:29:36
Age group finish: 2nd
Female finish: 15th female
Overall finish: 82nd
Qualified for Boston! And yes, I am planning on running it next year! (Huge congrats to all those who ran it yesterday, including my bestie Anna!)
The day before the race was actually super stressful. I had taken the whole day off work so it wouldn’t be stressful but we still ended up feeling rushed and hectic. An outline of how the day went is below. I was nervous that I had spent too much time on my feet and was mentally drained, and ideally before a marathon, you should try to relax and stay off your feet. But I reminded myself that I couldn’t do anything about it and I got an extra 3 hours sitting in the car that I normally don’t get!
The Day Before Race Day
7:30 am – sleep in. Thankfully I slept SO well this night!
8 am – eat 1 piece toast + pb
8:30 – leave to take Maizey to the kennel (it’s a 30 minute drive from where I live)
9 am – Drop Maizey at the kennel
9:30 am – drive back to Winston for my shakeout run (2.7 miles, 8:30 pace)
10:15 am – get home, shower, pack, load the car. (It takes forever to load the car since I live on a high floor of an apartment building and the elevators are soooo slow.)
1 pm – Hit the road and leave Winston! This wasn’t super relaxing since Tommy had work calls almost the entire time we were driving, poor guy!
4 pm – arrive in Wilmington, unload the car
5 pm – drive to race expo for packet pickup (20 minutes from where we were staying)
5:45 pm – leave expo & drive to race start to know where we’d be headed in the morning
6:15 pm – drive back to our VRBO from race start and stop at grocery store #1
7 pm – Tommy drops me off at the VRBO to start dinner and heads to grocery #2 (the first one, a tiny market, didn’t have what we needed)
7:45 – Tommy gets back but can’t find parking. He had to drive around for 20 minutes to find a spot!
8:15 – eat dinner, clean up, get ready for bed!
10 pm – attempt to go to sleep. Listen to the bar next door play music until about 2 am. UGH.
4:55 – alarm goes off. Oof. I slept about 2 hours.
5 am – get up, drink a glass of water + make coffee, drink 1 cup coffee
5:10 – get in the shower (I always take a hot shower before races…it’s probably more mental than anything but I feel like it helps warm my muscles up! I usually stretch my calves and quads in the shower too.)
5:15 – get dressed!
5:30 – attempt to eat. I had no appetite since it was so early and I hadn’t slept. But, I choked down some toast, PB and a banana and drank another cup of coffee.
5:45 – leave for race, taking a bottle of Tailwind with me to drink in the car.
6:00 – hit a traffic back-up since a lane is closed (unrelated to the race that we didn’t know about)
6:15 – get to race start, start to freak out that we can’t find parking, finally find a spot, and hustle to porty potty line (at the other side of the park from where our car was)
6:28 – finally get into a porta potty
6:29 – Hand my hoodie to Tommy, give him a kiss, duck between the fence openings into the corral
6:40am – RACE STARTS! It was a little nuts how it all happened at the start line (hence no pictures before the race!) but hey, at least I didn’t have time to get too nervous!
During the Race
I started with the 3:35 finish pace group to help me rein in my pace and avoid going out too fast, but ended up leaving them around mile 4.
My pacing was pretty consistent throughout the race – every mile was between 7:45 – 8:05 until mile 25 and then OOF things got hard.
I got to see Tommy at mile 11, 14 and 15 and knowing that I would see him 3x was a HUGE help. I was teary the first time I saw him since the mile before I had been reflecting on how blessed I was to be running the race in good health, for beautiful weather and that we’d recently gotten engaged. Life just felt so good. He later told me he teared up when he saw me too. 🙂
Near mile 20 (I think?) the course starting winding through a neighborhood and then went into another neighborhood that was under construction — it was awful. Tons of winding and turns and no water. It was brutal. I hadn’t seen anyone walking in the race up until now and I started seeing LOTS of people walking.
I felt really really good the whole time – i.e. running a very comfortable pace — until about mile 23, and then I felt horrible pretty quickly. ha!
Mile 24 and mile 25 were 8:19 and 8:15 minute miles, and it took everything I had not to walk or slow even more.
As I turned onto the final stretch leading up to the finish (about a quarter mile stretch), I saw some people from our local Fleet Feet and they cheered me on, which helped a lot. And a little later, another woman whom I didn’t know started cheering for me and yelled, “Pink girl, you can break 3:30. GO!” I picked it up a little! (Or at least I tried!)
I saw Tommy about 20 feet before I approached the finish line and he was all I could see. It was like tunnel vision. I’m tearing up even thinking about it as I type this – I was so overwhelmed with gratitude to have him at the finish line and to have him in my life!
I purchased some of the professional race photos…and they really accurately sum up how I felt at the finish. I was so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude and SO glad to be done.
Tommy was SO excited when I finished since he knew I qualified for Boston. I told him that I needed to run 3:30 to qualify safely (3:35 is the technical qualifying time but having a buffer helps improve your chances that you’ll actually get in). It hadn’t even registered with me that I qualified until he said it – I was just so focused on wanting to break 3:30 that I’d totally forgotten about the Boston aspect!
Holy moly, at first I thought I would never be able to walk normally again. My legs were dead! We went into the finish area for some water and orange slices, and I ate an RX bar that Tommy had in my finish line bag I’d packed.
We found a quiet spot where I could call my mom and sat on the bench together for a bit, before heading back over to the finish line for awards. Tommy was pretty certain I had placed in the top 10 for females which meant I had a shot at an age-group award. I WAS SHOCKED that I placed in my age group and also so excited!
How I felt about the race
Overall, I was SO happy with how it went. The weather was perfect, I enjoyed the race, and I was really happy with my time. I feel like I have a faster marathon in me, but considering this was my first marathon in 7.5 years and I had a relatively short training period, I was thrilled with my results!
One thing that was interesting is that I never got sore from the race. I was tired for a couple days and had some hamstrings cramps that afternoon of the race, but other than that, I honestly felt fine. I felt like I could have fun the next day. And I did Crossfit a week after the race and was 10x more sore from that! We walked around Wilmington for a couple hours after the race and I fueled well leading up to, during and after the race and I think all that really helped with recovery.
Here are my splits, if you’re interested!
Oy, okay! That’s it for now. Thank you all so much for your support during my training and when I posted my results on Instagram on race day. It was so fun to read all your comments!! It truly meant a lot to me.