Thunder Road Marathon 4.0

Hey Y’all! How was your weekend? Mine was well….exhausting! I completed my 5th marathon. It was my 4th time doing Thunder Road and to my surprise, the course had changed a good bit and in my opinion for the better (minus a couple little things). To recap the weekend:

Friday, after work, I headed to the race expo. I always love expo, it is exciting to see the other runners and the energy is always great. It is such a positive environment but you can also feel the nerves of all the other runners.Expo is when the race becomes real.

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After expo, I head home to go for my final run, 10minutes and some good stretching and foam rolling. Chase even helped me with the stretching portion. Then, pasta dinner and some family time before heading to bed early. IMG_8790
Saturday starts bright and early…

5:50AM — Wakey Wakey! English muffin and almond butter are a waitin’

6:15AM — Start layering up! It’s a cold one! SO MANY LAYERS!

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6:50AM — Leave for the race. I rode with my brother who felt like I wasn’t quite awake enough…he would put the window down every time I stopped dancing to which I’d start yelling “I’m supposed to be staying warm right now” …. it was 28degrees outside! Needless to say, I was bright eyed upon arrival at the race site.

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7:30AM — Line up in between the 3:40 and 4:00hr pace groups and let the shivering begin. Shivering is a good “warm-up” right?! I don’t think I have ever been this cold at a start line before.

7:45AM — The gun goes off and its like a wave of sweats and trash-bags that people were wearing go over the railings. It takes me about 30seconds to make it to the start line.

Mile 1 — Feeling a little nervous, all the thoughts of “did I train enough,” “can I really do this” hit me but I soon shake them off and just start to think about how lucky I am to be able to run this race in this beautiful city.

Mile 2 — The first place I see my cheering squad. And just in time, I am ready to shed a few layers.

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Mile 3 — The race thins out a bit, fighting for space is no longer a factor.

Mile 4 — I find my stride and am feeling really good.    IMG_8800  Mile 6 (ish) — My cheering squad is back…y’all they are great! IMG_8799

Mile 7 — First Gu of the day. Got to love those slimy packets.

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Mile 8-13 — It’s all a blur. I cannot tell you anything notable that happened in these miles, they all just kind of blend together.

Mile 13– Biggest temptation of all to call it quits. The split for the half and full happen here…in sight of the finish line!! Race directors, this is just rude!!

Mile 13.1-14 — I talk with a couple other runners who also laugh about the cruel joke of getting to see the finish line. One was from Atlanta and the other from the Queen City. They started talking about their goal time and I quickly realized I was running a bit too fast. I dropped off from them at the mile 14 aid station when I take my second Gu of the day.

Mile 15 and 16 —  Another blur. Sometimes when I am running these races I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just Keep Running, Just Keep Running…” No other brain activity.

Mile 17 (ish) — Sorry for the “ish,” like I said, minimal brain activity. I approach “the wall” and the Noda Party. And really, they are having a party in the street. It is so much fun and I bust right through the big wall. There are several of these street parties along the course and each one of them just makes you smile and forget about the pain of running for a minute.

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Mile 18-21 — Feeling good. My stride is still feeling strong. Another one of the street parties tries to get me to have a beer but I just couldn’t do it. Instead I opt for another Gu.

Mile 22 — Hello Hills! This is the first place I start to feel my “wall.” The lower part of my right quad starts cramping then when I stopped to stretch it out, my hamstring cramps. So I just had to walk this one out. I walked to the top of that hill before finding my stride again.

Mile 23 — I’m starting to feel better. I see my family which always gives me a little pep in my step. I also take my final Gu at about this point.

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Mile 24 — I have really hit my “wall.” I am hurting pretty bad at this point. My hips are so tight I feel like my stride has diminished to nothing.

Mile 25 — Holding on with all that I have left. All I can think of is one foot in front of the other. I am also talking to my legs, “please don’t cramp, please don’t cramp.” I cannot say they are listening at this point. Each step is a bit of a challenge. Also being on the greenway, my least favorite place ever to run, is not helping the cause at all either.

Mile 26 — Or as my watch says, mile 26.22. Super frustrating! I know I do a little weaving on the course but come on…I should be done by now and trust me, my legs are telling that as well.

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Mile 26.2 — Which reads 26.48miles on my watch, I’m done!! Thank goodness! Three hours, fifty-eight minutes, and one second.IMG_8813

Hugo, the Charlotte Hornet’s Mascot gives me a high five and some nice volunteer congratulates me and puts a big shiny medal around my neck and a space blanket around my shoulders. I’m then shuffled down the finishers chute where I am loaded up on water and gatorade and attempt to grab a couple things to eat but somehow that didn’t happen. Again, runners brain, I’m not thinking clearly at all. Just outside the chute my family greets me with open arms.

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After sitting for a couple minutes and accomplishing the daunting tasks of getting my shoes untied and a dry shirt on, pictures are taken and my dad buys me a super awesome shirt. It says “Don’t think of them as hills, think of them as mounds of opportunity. FLAT IS FOR SISSIES.” If you’ve ever run Charlotte you’d have a great appreciation for it. It is a deceivingly hilly city.

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Finally, it’s time to head home. I’m shivering pretty bad but my awesome papa bear keeps me warm all the way back to the car. Sticking with tradition, we stop by California Pizza Kitchen to pick up a couple of my favorites, BBQ Chopped Chicken Salad and BBQ Pizza on the way home. Yumm!

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After a beer and a belly full of food, an epsom salt bath and a hot shower, I collapse onto the couch for some college football and a nice long nap! BEST. FEELING. EVER!

Then, sticking with tradition again, mom and I head to the nail salon for a mani pedi and some girl time. I love our girl time but getting my feet rubbed after a long day of running may have topped our girl time today (sorry mom! love you!).

Finally, a good steak and shrimp dinner (and maybe a couple more beers…I deserved them right?!) then back to the couch I go where I fall asleep by 9:30! I’m such a party animal, can’t you tell?!

So now, the off season is here! I will take the next couple weeks pretty easy before hitting the gym for some off season training. I’m sure I’ll fill you in as I create that plan of attack. I do know I will be focusing on a bit more strength training this time around as I am feeling pretty weak at this point. But that talk is for another day.

So do any of y’all have any upcoming races? What about my couch to 5k-ers, how are y’all feeling going into week three of training? Have you picked your race yet?

I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend!

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4 thoughts on “Thunder Road Marathon 4.0

  1. hi! I came across your blog by searching Thunder Road Marathon on pinterst! I have marathon fever..BAD. Decided this year , it’s time to do one ( I’ve done a few halfs). Wondering what you think of this course, wanting to stay in NC so I can’t decide between this or Raleigh ( city of oaks ). Thanks so much for your help 🙂

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    1. Hi Hailey! Thanks so much for stopping by. I have done both the city of oaks half and full as well as thunder road. I personally like the thunder road course better. City of oaks has this long out and back greenway section that i find to be extremely brutal (read as boring) where as thunder road really takes you through all of charlotte and never has a dull moment with music and spectators on a large majority of the course. I did thunder road as my first maraton and would definitly recommend it. The course seems to change slightly every year but not significantly. I will say its only drawback is how hilly it is. But with a little emphasis on hills in your training, it shouldnt be too much of an issue. I hope this helps and good luck! Be sure to look through the rest of my blog, there are some marathon tips in several of the posts you may find helpful in your training 🙂

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