Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Bloggers #RunOaks

I've been looking forward to this past weekend ever since Alyssa told me she was thinking about signing up for City of Oaks.  The fact that it's over already and I'm writing a recap doesn't feel real.  I hope that you've already been over to Alyssa's page and check out Tracy's as well.

I was excited to run my first 10K (how was that a distance I hadn't run yet ?!) but I was super pumped to go pick up Alyssa on Saturday morning.  We'd talked earlier about the pre-race game plan and after getting caffeinated and an unsuccessful popcorn hunt, we were headed to Fleet Feet to stock up on gels and such.  First, I took her on a quick tour of the part of the greenway we could walk to. 

It was gorgeous out.  We were able to walk down and see the mile 12 mark and she started to formulate her post mile 20 plan.  Of course we had to take some fun friend pictures because "I've been here for like 4 hours already and we have no pictures"

After stocking up on dessert gels, we grabbed Brian to head to the Expo and a pre-race driving tour of the course.

I'm pretty sure every person we encountered knew that Alyssa was running her first marathon.  If she didn't tell them, I did.  I'm pretty sure we couldn't go more than a sentence without talking about the marathon.  I'm not even sorry.  

Thankfully Brian was an excellent tour guide and gave her (and me) some great insight into the course.  Afterwards, we attempted to chill at home while I took care of the monsters before heading to dinner.  We met Tracy there, who had just gotten into town after running her own 10K that morning (and did pretty well I might add !)  We carb loaded with pasta at Noodles & Co and had some serious strategizing for Sunday.  It sounds super cheesy, but it was one of my favorite parts of the weekend.  

Since it was Halloween (which we kinda forgot about because MARATHON) we headed over to my favorite Halloween house downtown.  

Finally it was back to the apartment for last minute prep.  Um, I was slightly more concerned about making sure that Alyssa was good and ended up doing a lot of pacing while I tried to find all my stuff for my 10K race.  She had to tell me to make a cup of tea and thankfully we got everything situated and eventually settled in for sleep !  Since it was DST, we got an extra hour, which I didn't realize how much I would need.  Shoutout to the stupid drunk people who decided to be super loud from 3-4AM.  I hate you.

SUNDAY !! Up early, accidentally set off the smoke alarm (way to NOT fix my stove right maintenance people), and in the car on our way to the coffee shop because parking is not something I wanted to think about.  Since Brian had some training group members running at City of Oaks, we headed to the bell tower to meet up with Tracy and hear his pep talk. 

More pictures !

My first 10K: 

We lined up at the starting line, trying to bury ourselves in the crowd as to not go out too fast or too hard when we started.  The plan was that Tracy would run with Alyssa until the 10K group split off from the half and full and I would stay with them for the first 5 minutes (I was planning on running the 10K in 5:2 splits).  Once we were off though, I ended up staying with them for the first 2 miles !!  I was honestly shocked because after the first 5 minute interval, I thought, "my lungs feel okay, I don't feel like I'm going to hurt if I go a little longer, I'll go back to my normal intervals after this one."  And then it would come time for the next interval and I realized I was still feeling better than I had during a race, so I continued to another one.  Before I knew it, we had passed the 1 mile and I didn't feel like I was hurting at all.  Alyssa kept making sure I didn't push too much but I figured, why not go as long as I can ? I knew there were a few hills coming up and I wanted to make sure I had enough left to finish all 6 miles, so I called it after mile 2 and went back to my run/walk plan.  Part of me wishes that I would have held out a little longer, but I finished sub 11:00/mi pace overall so I think I made the right move.

I made a point this race to look around A LOT.  I live here but I wanted to really soak it all in.  And then the hills.  I refused to let myself get intimidated by the hills.  Unfortunately, I powered through them and then thought about the last little push.  I passed the mile 6 marker and I could see the finish line, but still I couldn't catch my breath and had to go off to the side and take a minute; breathing wasn't really happening the way I wanted.  I decided that I was so close that I would just push as hard as I could and try and breathe when I was done.  According to bystanders (aka the person I'm dating) I looked like a badass - I was pretty sure I was dying.  Thank you Ministry's "N.W.O" for getting me through the last mile.

I finished in 1:07:54 !  I had decided around mile 4/5 that I wanted to finish under 1:15:00 (I only looked at my watch to see that I had ran about 23 minutes without stopping) and was so happy when I saw the clock was only around 1:11:00 as I crossed (We had a 4 minute lag getting to the start since we were so far in the crowd and there were so many people).  Tracy had the best look on her face when she saw how fast I finished considering I had thought I was going to finish somewhere between 1:15:00-1:20:00.  I was so happy that she was there.

We met up with Brian and Brooke (who got 3rd overall female !!) and waited for Alyssa to run by (our mile 6 was her mile 7-ish).  I was so focused on trying to find her that I actually missed her and she had to loop back and smack me ! She was looking strong ! Brian ran her up the rest of the hill and we all planned to meet up in a little bit to get ready for Alyssa's big finish !

I had intended to run 6-7 more miles because I really wanted to get one last long run in before Richmond.  However, I decided to run the race in shoes that didn't have the right inserts and gave myself a quarter sized blister on my arch.  But I'm stubborn and was determined.  I got exactly 6 more miles in...slowly.  I was hurting and tired and emotional but still managed to get 12.22 miles in averaging an 11:46/mi pace that morning.  Not too bad.

As soon as I was done, I changed and grabbed Alyssa's bag from the car and headed toward the finish line.  At this point, I knew she was starting to come through Meredith which meant that she was now pacing with Brian, who had run out to meet her as per her race plan.  [Side note: he's seriously the best and I'm very lucky to have someone who helps look out for my friends the way he does.]

It had started to rain, but not excessively so I camped out at a prime spot near the bell tower where I knew I could see her and take some great finish photos for her.  Tracy and her SIL met up with me and we waited anxiously for Alyssa's finish.  We both talked about how emotional today was and how we'd both gotten teary-eyed when leaving her during the race.  Before we knew it, Brian was flying by to take some finish line video and there she was flying down the hill towards her first marathon finish !!

Here's Team Alyssa, supporting our girl after she ran 26.2 miles.  

I seriously had the BEST weekend running around Raleigh (I HAD to - that pun was begging to be used) with these girls this weekend.  I can only hope to run more races and have more adventures with them in the future.

Since the rain made hanging around after the race not such a fun time, Alyssa and I went back the next day to take a picture in our finisher's shirts at the bell tower. 

So thank you, Alyssa, for including me in your epic accomplishment.  Because I could not be more proud of this girl if I tried.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to be part of her first marathon experience.  I hope she wears her medal constantly.


  1. Woo!! Congrats to you for such a great 10k race! I've only run one 10k and it was hard! Brian really was the greatest to support Alyssa like that! Also major props to you for running 6 more miles after your 10k race. It sounds like you are ready for Richmond in a few weeks!

  2. Haha I seriously was so shocked to see you finish that soon (in a good way)! I just wasn't expecting you that early and I felt like I finished and turned around and all of a sudden, there you were!
    Yay I'm so glad you guys went back out to the bell tower for finisher photos! I really had the best time being on Team Alyssa (and Team Lisa, for that matter!). You both were amazing! Congratulations on rocking your first official 10k! Now go get ready for Richmond...I'll see you at mile 8 ;)

  3. yayyyyy i love this post so much! next time, i want to be a part of this amazing running weekend, okay? seriously though, congrats on your race and running an extra 6 miles, you go on with your badass self! seriously though, you're fabulous!

  4. I'm so proud of you for doing such a great job in your 10k (side note, I've never ran one either. Just 5ks, half and full marathons!). Thank you again for all the support this weekend! And thanks to Brian again as well. You've got yourself a good one there :)


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