|Awesome belt buckle medal! This is the first year there was a special medal for the Double Marathoners|
It's taken me a bit longer to write up this race report than usual for me. I've been finding it a bit hard to put into words my experience, it's literally indescribable to those who have not done something like it. I also was waiting for the race photos to come out since they are free to everyone (special thanks to Gameface Media!) How awesome is that?! I'm telling you that is just one of the many, many things that make Blue Ridge Marathon the best.
|A few of my favorite solo shots|
I know many of my friends have been waiting to read my recap so I will do my best to do it justice.
Our adventure started Thursday, which happened to be Emir and I's 10th wedding anniversary. We had a wonderful day off together. Went to our favorite coffee shop, had a delicious lunch and I surprised Emir with couples facials and massages. It was so relaxing I just wanted to go home and go to bed! But my mom and my Uncle Bob were waiting for us at our house when we got home from the spa.
|At the spa!|
|having fun with the go pro during the shakeout|
The rest of the day was spent eating (my cousin Partty cooked us amazing meals all weekend!), exploring their land, resting, picking up our packets and just all catching up since we haven't seen my cousins since last year's Blue Ridge Marathon.
|My cousin Patty's backyard, so beautiful!|
|alot of gear is required for a double marathon that starts at 2:30am in the dark|
|ready to go!|
Even with the small group the energy was high. Race director Ronny Angell was there and he was so pumped up. We all cheered along as he gave us a pep talk and then he gave us our official start and off into the night we went.
|Race Director Ronny Angell|
|The start of our crazy 52.4 journey|
|View from the star atop Mill Mountain. This picture does not even begin to do it justice!|
|Finishing our first marathon (special thanks to Chris Cummings from Foot Levelers for these!)|
Eventually we made our way to the finish which for our first go around they let us cross through the startline into the crowds of runners waiting to begin their Blue Ridge adventures whether it be the 10K, half or full. The announcer told everyone how we had just run the course once and would be going with them to do it a second time and everyone was cheering so loud. It was a great pick me up to keep us going as we only had about 10-11 minutes before round 2 would begin.
We quickly changed shirts, drank water, ate something (I think), dropped our bag off at the bag drop and before we even made it back up to the startline the race had begun. Emir and I were literally the last two people to start! To my surprise I really wasn't feeling too bad. I thought for sure I would have a hard time making myself get going again. Emir on the other hand was not so good. I'll let him tell his story but let's say there was a lot of negativity and doubt coming from him which eventually led to a significant breakdown at about mile 15 of our second marathon.
The few times that I panicked were really only because I didn't know what to do for him and a couple times I was afraid of something worse like what if he collapses? I did what I could. I would try to reassure him and I walked with him whenever he needed to. I actually felt better when I just kept running but we were in this thing together and I was not about to ditch him. This was not about time. This was a joint goal and we were going to achieve it together.
|The actual top of Roanoke Mountain|
|Bagpiper on top of Roanoke Mountain|
Eventually we made it to the bottom of Peakwood where my cousins and Uncle Bob were waiting for us. We all hugged and they gave us major encouragement. It was just what I needed with about 6-6.5 miles left, I felt so uplifted and was ready to bring this thing home!
At this point we were thinking "oh we are done the mountains, it shouldn't be too bad to the finish." Either we didn't notice on the first loop or had decided to forget but their were some tough hills those last miles! We didn't remember having these hills last year and as it turns out we were right. After the race while talking with other runners including Jeff Powers who won the marathon this year and last year(also a Philadelphian), it was confirmed that yes the course WAS harder this year due changes they made to the end. Even he ended up running about 6 minutes slower than last year which he definitely attributed to a harder course. These Blue Ridge people mean business when they say "America's Toughest Road Marathon!"
Emir and I did our best to run as much as we could and had to walk a few more times. Finally, we saw the finish line up ahead! We held hands as we approached and I could feel myself getting choked up.
It was the most amazing feeling as we crossed that finishline. Inside my head I was screaming "we just ran almost twice as far as we have ever run before!!! 52.4 miles!!!"
Ronny was there, still as energetic as ever and instructed the volunteers to give us the special Double Marathon medals they had made this year, what a nice touch! Kevin was there with some of the other double marathoners who had finished not long before us. We all congratulated each other and it was clear on our faces that we all knew how each other felt. I was on top of the world! The pizza and beer for all finishers helped a lot too ;-)
|I will never forget these people and what we accomplished together! Kevin, Sherman, Sarah and Pam.|
|So happy and pumped up that now we literally can't wait to run our first 100K in two weeks!!!!|
|recovery wouldn't be complete without Cocogo!|