NCR Marathon and Relay Recap.

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Happy Marathon Monday!  Coincidentally, I ran a marathon, my final one for 2015, this past Saturday.  I found this awesome little trail marathon/relay right after I completed my 50k and thought it sounded fun.  I was right.  It totally was fun!

As soon as I found this race I contacted Pete – aka my running angel who you can read about here.  He and his wife agreed to do the marathon each.  Then I contacted my best friend’s daughter, Alex and her husband, because they were looking to do a half.  They both could sign up for the marathon relay and we would be set.  I was sad because my husband had vacillated between doing it and not but we didn’t have a 4th… or did we?

We celebrated Thanksgiving.  Our in-laws left on Thursday after dinner.  Friday we headed out to the tree farm on a lovely 60 degree day to cut down our tree.  Came home and decorated it and then got a phone call.  It was Alex asking if Bill was interested in running because her sister-in-law wanted to run it.  The joy of being so young that you don’t need to train to run a half.  Bill was trained as he had run the past two Sundays with me, doing at least 10 each run.  He was happy yet mentally not ready all at the same time but agreed.

Saturday we headed out bright and early to Maryland.  Our plan was only to have fun.  Trail running is much different than road racing.  Times are slower naturally and 4 of our 7 person group had never done a trail race.  Plus Pete and I were doing heart rate training so pace means nothing – we run by heart rate.

This was the view on our way to MD.
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I felt good.  I had run a 26.2 mile training run in 4h 17 m just three weeks ago. I hadn’t really tapered that much.  I didn’t overeat at Thanksgiving but I was on my feet a lot all week prepping food.  So I felt pretty good going into it and had no nerves.  My goal the first half was to get Alex to the exchange to meet her husband happy and in one piece.

The weather was crazy perfect and cloudy.  It was warm enough to wear a tank and shorts in November in Maryland!  We got to the school and picked up our bibs and grabbed a table.
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My husband and Maddie registered their relay that morning.

The 2nd relay runners took a bus early to the exchange then the rest of us started uneventfully.  The beginning had some steep roads that took us to the trails.  I noted these thinking I had to hit them up on the way back at mile 24 or so.

I snapped a few pics along the trail. My husband, Pete and the runner who was with us most of the race.
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My husband and Pete instantly connected (they had met at our ultra last month) and then had a friend join in several times throughout our marathon (the little guy to the right).  He was a doc from CA.  Alex and I settled in and just kept an easy pace talking and catching up.  The men would wait for us at each water station and then we would take off again.  Alex was having some stomach issues around mile 8 from some sports drink at the race so we walked and ran when she was ready.

Once at the connection, I hugged her and we were off.  Pete and I had run 32 miles together just last month and instantly connected.  I don’t normally run with anyone except for Bill but Pete and I both just work well together.  We stop when we need to lower our heart rates, for potty breaks, to eat or to laugh uncontrollably when your water bottle ejects pretty much everywhere (insert laughter and long story here).  I did stop to take this pic as well.
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This trail race was just gorgeous.  Trail runners are so kind.  Everyone is encouraging one another.  We even met a woman who was giving herself a treatment for cancer through a portable pump.  Hello inspiring awesome lady!

Finally off the trail we knew we had a few big hills ahead of us on the road.  Luckily for Pete, who has ruined gummy bears for me forever – (they always have them at the hydration/food tables during trail races and is pretty much all I can eat for a little sugar boost), a lovely family nearby the road was giving out beer to the runners. Now I don’t drink beer but Pete opted to grab a small cup.  Then we headed back out… laughing and questioning our sanity for signing up for a 50 miler next spring.  That’s the PG version of how the conversation went.

Then we saw the finish line and took off into a full-on sprint.  Ha!  We finished our first trail marathon distance at 5:15 I think.  It didn’t matter.  We had the best time.

Pete’s wife got a PR and took 3rd in her age group.  She’s an insanely awesome IronMan who was running on a broken foot.  Yes, she made the rest of us look lame.

And the happy group all together.  Everyone happy and proud.
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Pete and Heather are my absolute favorite EVER!
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And this girl!!! So proud of her!  She rocked her first trail half in 2h 30m and did an awesome job!
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Pete I know you may kill me but this is too funny.  This pretty much captures your hysterically funny disposition that makes running crazy distances tolerable.  
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We all plan on doing this race again next year for sure.  It was beautifully run, awesome trails and just a blast.  Some final pics.  They gave out a finisher’s medal, tee and this most awesome marathon blanket ever!
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And this pic totally makes me laugh. 
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So Sunday I woke up bright and early at 3a.  I normally don’t sleep for days after a marathon or really long run.  So we got up and ran a shakeout.
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And today again, up at 3a – I headed to the gym to finish out November.  I did 8 on the treadmill to finish me out here:
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This may have been my highest mileage month ever – I need to check.  I was quite pleased.

That’s it from here.  Back to Cyber Monday shopping.

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— Knead to Cook

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2 Comments

  1. I’ve run one trail race – it was just 6K – but since then I’ve tried to get out on trails at least once a week as a break from the road. I love it. I’ve been thinking about doing a trail half, and this definitely post definitely pushes me toward that decision. Looks like you all had a great time!

  2. OMG- that photo!!! No worries, there are far worse shots of me out there- I’m blessed with an extremely bad sense of timing for doing something goofy when the shutter fires 🙂
    When I first heard the bottle hissing, I thought there was a rattlesnake at our feet. Good thing it ejected when it did, as it would have been quite awkward had I thrown you over my shoulder and started running. Never occurred to me that it was late November…
    Turns out that Heather’s chip time is a true BQ, so that seed has been planted- her new goal is Boston 2017. My new goal- find a race which serves wine instead of beer (I’m not a beer drinker either).
    Once again- thank you! We love running with you and Bill. Another beautiful day in the woods, and this is what it’s all about- miles of smiles and laughter. I can’t wait until our next adventure! Guess we should start training for it… but no matter what, we’ll rock that one too!

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