Oh hi! I’m here because I promised all 3 of my readers that I would write a race recap from the Richmond Marathon. Oh yes, I ran a marathon this weekend. I am a marathoner. I am in the exclusive club. You know what? I haven’t stopped smiling since I crossed the finish line! This weekend was perfect. Every detail that went into this weekend could not have made for a more enjoyable experience for my first marathon. I am elated….. yes still.
I traveled down to Richmond on Thursday night with Gia, Meggie, and Katie. It was nice to get to travel with a group of women who have all had some great marathon experiences and we chatted away on our epic 6 hour road trip to Virginia. On Friday morning Katie and I headed to the airport to pick up Christine and then we made our way to the expo! I was kind of tired of the concept of an expo after spending a lot of time at the NYC one and I just wanted to get my bib and go! :) The rest of Friday was spent relaxing and waiting for the rest of #TeamRichmond to make their way down to Katie’s parents house. They arrived late and we were in bed with lights out by about 10:30. Honestly, I slept pretty well until about 5:00 am. I just sat in bed and thought about the past 16 weeks of my life: all my hard work, all the early mornings, all the good runs, all the bad runs… I thought about how today was going to make all of those things worth it because by early afternoon I would be a marathoner. I vowed to sit and think and pray and not look at my phone until someone’s alarm went off. I needed that time of reflection. I loved having that time to recall and remember all the hard work I had done. I was so ready for this day! A little after 6am everyone was awake and it was time to get ready! We got changed and started our pre-run rituals. Some girls had coffee, some had bagels, some had spoonfuls of peanut butter, some oatmeal, whatever it was we shared some nervous laughs and finally made our way out the door a little after 7am to drive over to the start. We arrived with time to check bags, and snap a couple of pictures before the 8am start time.
NYC TAKES ON RICHMOND!
It’s hilarious to me that this marathon was literally the ‘smallest’ race I have ever done with just over 6000 runners. The race promptly started at 8am and about 3 minutes later I was crossing the start line. I hit start on my Garmin and off I went. I couldn’t believe that I was really doing this. I was really going to run 26.2 miles. I kept a comfortable pace between 10:15-10:20 and listened to music. I had made a really great running mix and hearing different songs that reminded me of different friends/events made me smile. I replayed in my head some of the pointers my coach and other friends had given me. One that stood out often was to SMILE. I smiled so much. I was so happy. Miles 1-13.1 were incredibly enjoyable. There were lots of signs specifically for NYC marathon runners and it was so nice! I had several people talk with me since I had my NYC bib on and tell me how happy they were that I was there or that I even got to run a marathon after the cancellation of NY. During those miles there were some rolling hills that I was semi surprised by, but nothing too terrible. Overall I really loved the scenery of the course. (Sidenote: Richmond is not flat and this course was not ‘easy’ by any means.) When I crossed the halfway point I remember thinking to myself that I had less than 3 miles to go before hitting 16 when I could officially think of this race as being ‘less than 10’ miles to go. Ha! My coach told me NOT to countdown the miles until they were single digits in fear that the double digit would be too mental. I got to mile 16 and then it became about getting to mile 20 which I knew I could do because I had run 20 miles twice in training. I knew that this race would become harder after mile 20 no matter because of the nature of the sport. I just tried to remain focused and put one foot out in front of another. I was maintaining the same pace I did from the beginning and that was exciting! I continued to smile even though I was beginning to feel the pain. (No pain no gain, right?) Right before Mile 21 the unthinkable happened to me….. my hamstring cramped. My right hamstring cramped. Remember when my right leg is my good leg? My left knee, shin, and foot have all had some sort of injury this year and today of ALL days my right leg decided to cramp. I was NOT a happy camper. I had no idea what to do. “Do I push through this? What if something is wrong with my hamstring? Am I going to make it worse by finishing this marathon? I can’t quit. I have to finish. OMG it hurts. OW OW OW. Every step hurts. Ok, Leticia.. get it together you are going to finish no matter what! BELIEVE!” So after mile 21 I did what I like to say is a walk/run combo at times. I’d run for five minutes, walk for 30 seconds. I did that until mile 25 when I knew that I could do anything for 1.2 miles. I powered through those last miles in the worst pain I've ever felt while running. The 4:30 pace group passed me right at mile 22 and I knew that catching up to them was going to be hard, especially since now I was having to walk some because of the pain. At mile 25 I knew that I could break 4:40 so I pushed it as hard as I could. Right past mile 26, I started going downhill for the finish and I looked to the right side and I saw Katie! It was such a crucial moment for me to see someone I knew! I pointed at her and waved and she started jumping up and down. She joined me on the course for about a hundred yards and was yelling, “OMG, I’M SO PROUD OF YOU! LOOK AT YOUR TIME! YOU ARE ABOUT TO BE A MARATHONER!” I responded how everything hurt and that my leg was cramped and she was like ‘finish strong go get it’! I honestly don’t really remember passing the finish line. It was all a bit of blur. Katie came quickly to my rescue and got me water and led me to where the medals, blanket, and food were. I was so happy. I could not believe I had finished it despite all the pain I was in. My official time was 4:39:15. I am proud of my finish and could not be more thankful for all 26.2 miles and all that I learned about myself on that course. I am tougher than I thought and stronger than I imagined. I dug deep, finished strong and have zero regrets.
I was so happy to be done!
This marathon was the hardest physical thing I have ever done in my life. Looking back on the past 16 weeks, I pushed myself to limits I never thought I could. Everything about this weekend was perfect. Getting to be surrounded before and after the race with friends who are a part of the NYC running community made this first marathon the best thing ever. If you know me, you know how incredibly excited I was to run the NYC Marathon, but I can say today that I am confident that Richmond was always supposed to by my first marathon. All things always work out in the end, and this was no exception.
I EARNED THIS.
I am blessed beyond belief by the amount of text/calls/emails/tweets, etc. I cannot thank you enough for all the support and encouragement I received after this accomplishment. I would not be the runner I am today with the community that surrounds me and pushes me to excel at something that I truly love. Thank you all and special thanks to two women who inspire me in more ways than they will ever know: Katie- my best runner pal in NY, and my coach, Michele. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!
My mantra has always been BELIEVE, and on Saturday that's just what I did.
NYC Marathon…. I still want you…. Someday.
Front door. Best.Roommates.EVER!