|Photo bombing Lincoln.....funny or terrible????|
As many of you know, this past January, I was truly blessed with the opportunity to take a job that I love working from home - but technically for a company in Richmond, VA. I have traveled there a few times for work. I tend to either go there or Washington, DC. So, when I heard about how awesome the Anthem Richmond Marathon was supposed to be, I thought it would fun to do a race/work trip and Jim could check off another State from his 50 States Marathon quest. Win-Win.-Win.
|Me & Jim along the James River - Virginia is for Lovers|
So Jim and I headed to Richmond last Thursday to spend a few days exploring the City before race day. Richmond is beautiful City full of rich history. Honestly, if you want to read all about the City and some of the things we did.....go read Jim's Post here. I know many of you read both of our blogs, so I won't bore you with the details again if you've already read them...and if you haven't, well really why "reinvent the wheel" as they say, when he's already done a fine job. I will say it was nice to explore the city as usually the only thing I see is the hotel or the building I work in.
So ...fast forward to race details. We headed to the expo on Thursday when we arrived. It was a pretty standard expo, however, I have to say for the size of the race, they had a lot of race specific apparel available which was a really nice touch. There is a lot of civic pride in Richmond and there were tons of Richmond Running and VA specific running apparel. Stay Classy Richmond. The expo was very well organized and made it easy to get your bib & race swag. We wandered around the expo and I left empty handed...which almost never happens, but Jim managed to score a few finds. We ended up going to the expo again on Friday to meet up with "The" Miss Zippy.....she was really awesome! It was great to meet her. Her race didn't end up going as planned for her, but as always she had a great attitude about the whole thing. I wouldn't have expected anything different.
|Amanda "Miss Zippy", Me, and Jim|
The next morning was race day. We woke up to mild temps in the mid 50s and RAIN. I soooo hate rain. I know a lot of people don't mind it or even like it, but after having my worst ever running experience during a driving rain in Oklahoma City, well it's just stuck with me and now I panic every time it rains. The rain was supposed to clear out around 5 am...but it was coming down pretty hard at 7am as the 8K kicked off. We were fortunate that our hotel was literally a block away from the start line, so I waited it out as long as possible.
In the end it was only light rain, but it was on and off throughout the day. With the mild temperatures it actually helped keep you cool and really wasn't a factor in the race other than just being wet most of the race and having to dodge puddles throughout. The main thing was post race. I had to wait about an hour for Jim to finish and I was petty cold. Luckily I had packed a dry shirt, jacket and pants. I was just really wishing for some dry shoes and socks....oh well.
The Anthem Richmond Marathon consists of a marathon, half marathon (the American Family Half Marathon) and 8K. Each race starts 30 minutes apart with the 8K starting first, then the half, then the marathon. I thought this was kind of weird at first, but each race kind of stays on its own course, so you never run in to the other racers...which was kind of different, but if you started in the right pace group kept you from dodging and weaving in and out of other racers which was nice. Overall there were almost 20,000 racers in all 3 events, so it's pretty large.
|Wet & rainy start|
I literally walked down from my hotel about 7:05 for the 7:30 start. There was light rain, but it wasn't bad. I found my corral and waited for the start. I did notice a few people who had obliviously gotten down there who were soaked from head to toe and shivering violently. I felt really bad for them and was so thankful to have had a hotel so close.
I was not in any way planning to try to PR this race. I knew I didn't have that kind of speed in me But I did want to try to run well and my goal was to try to finish around 2:30. The race started and it was a nice flat stretch. My first mile was a little too fast, as usual at a 10:30 pace. I knew if I wanted to run strong throughout I'd need to slow it down - which I did and ran an 11:10 pace the 2nd mile. Throughout the race I was pretty much between 11:00 and 11:15....very consistent, with the exception of mile 8 where I had an 11:57 mile. I honestly can't figure out what happened there and don't remember having a particularly slow mile, but this was toward the end of a stretch of about 3 or 4 miles that had some pretty good rolling hills. After mile 8 though, it was back to a pace around 11 - 11:10.
The half marathon course is fairly flat overall, but definitely has some rolling hills, which is actually kind of nice. The course isn't as pretty as the marathon course, but still took you through some pretty parts of town, and a really beautiful park. The spectators were really awesome! They weren't all along the route, but when there were spectators they were awesome. They have "party zones" where groups of spectators gather and they really make it a lot of fun. I thought it was great that they were all out there despite the rain. The volunteers were awesome too! They had plenty of aid stations and some "junk food" stations as well with gummy bears and other assorted things. This was a fun touch, though I didn't take much other than a couple of gummy bears.
|Michael-Zan Queen of the Jungle|
During that last about half mile, you pretty much go straight down hill. I can't decide whether this is good or bad. By this point you are pretty tired, and it's nice to go downhill, but it was extremely steep and with the rain I definitely found myself using my legs to slow things down a bit.
|Me & Jim recreating some great graffiti|
I crossed the finish and got my medal and finishers fleece blanket and then picked up my gear bag. I headed to the finisher area where they had PowerAde, Power Bars and Pizza! Yes, pizza. I wasn't feeling pizza at this point, but it was a nice touch. I then made my way back to the finish line to wait for Jim.
|Jim trying to replace some bricks at historic Tredegar Ironworks|
It wasn't long before I saw him coming through and looked at the time and realized he was having an AMAZING day!! He was going to set a huge new marathon PR! I was so thrilled for him. He crossed and I rushed to try to find him. When I finally did, it was probably kind of like a movie moment. Our eyes met from across the way and when I saw him, my face lit up in a huge smile and I literally ran to him and wrapped my arms around him and said you "FREAKING KILLED IT", but I don't think I said freaking....and it was at this point that a girl beside us said "Are you guys bloggers. I read your blogs". LOL, that was funny and I had to apologize for the cursing. I always find it so crazy when we run into people we don't know who read our blogs. She was super nice and had just ran what I would consider to be a AMAZING race time, but she hadn't met her goal, so no matter what your time is we all know how that feels. But she still seemed to be happy and have a great attitude and it is always fun to meet someone who reads our blogs.
We grabbed Jim some food and then headed back up the UPHILL to our hotel. But we were both happy. We had both had great races, and once again we had a wonderful time to share together. Virginia is for Lovers....and for Runners!!!!