Yuengling Shamrock Marathon Race Recap – The Run.

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I all began with an email back in late December.  Phoenix Marathon was coming up and I had several friends offer me a bib to run.  I had just had my final finger surgery and just getting back into training – I kept passing up the bibs.  In the meantime, my friend from high school had signed up for the Yuengling Shamrock marathon that was a month later.  I considered it and then dismissed it.  Then one day it all began. I had run two longer runs post surgery 

… and I felt really good.  My speed wasn’t a concern or my focus but the distance was coming easier for me.  I was still apprehensive to sign up for a full marathon again.  I had done one 5 years prior and had a been very ill.  I had surgery 5 weeks prior and it didn’t work.  I had to be medicated with about 7 hormones for the race and then had a hysterectomy the week afterwards.  I did get quite sick during the race as it was much warmer than what we had trained in. PA winters are about 20-30 degrees, race day in New Orleans was 65 degrees.  The race was good till mile 20 and it all broke down. I had major intestinal distress.  We finished in a 5:38.  Looking back on it – I have NO idea how I finished it. I had every reason to quit but I didn’t.  I refused to be a quitter.  My husband and I finished, hand-in-hand and a ton of tears running down my face.

Two years later we started training for our second marathon.  While out on a 15 mile training run I tore my medial quad on a hill.  That took me out of the race immediately.  I was in PT for about 6 weeks before running again.  Race day came and Washington had record temps – 85 on race day in March.  My husband and our friend opted to run the half instead.

The lingering desire to run again still haunted me.  My friend asked me to do this race in Virginia.  I sent a email to my friend Emily.  Title:  Fear.  Fear of my first horrible marathon reoccuring.  I had built up significant walls around me and doing that distance again. She started texting me and within the hour I was signed up for the marathon.  I promised her and myself that I wouldn’t have any negative chatter during the process.  I would do the training and be positive.  I would work harder and follow my program.  Emily was my constant support, cheerleader and resource.  I couldn’t have done this without her!

I did every training run.  Every long run was great.  My times were sub 9 and I felt strong.  My only really difficult run was when I had to do 22 on the treadmill.  It was hot because it was indoors and I hadn’t planned properly for the dehydration I would experience.  That was 9:13.

So fast forward… race weekend.  Healthy.  Happy.  Nervous.  Ready to go!

We headed down to Virginia on Saturday morning.  Bib in hand!

Thanks Albion Fit for the awesome jacket.

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Then we met up with our friends to hydrate and catch up.  It’s hard to believe that it’s been 25 years since I’ve seen my friend Katey and her husband.  It was so nice to catch up.  We hung out, talked about the race, basketball and then went back to our hotel.

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After grabbing dinner we were off to bed.  I woke up to this incredible sunrise.  I ate a slice of GF/vegan bread and some Justin’s along with a banana.  I also took 2 Imodium pills to ward off any unpleasantries.  My fuel was Vega One Energizer in my water bottle with electrolyte water.  I also used Vega One gels but sparingly as my stomach isn’t a big fan of eating while running. I was ready!

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Katey and I both wore our Shamrock Procompression socks.  Brought us both luck!  She got her BQ!  I got a PR!

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Steve, Katey and I were ready to go.  Katey was hunting down a BQ and I didn’t have a specific time goal other than finishing strong and beating my first marathon time.  I was thinking around 4 would be the target but as you know if you run… you get what you get on race day.  Regardless of training… that day can pretty much be phenomenal to horrible and you must just stay focused and run the course.

We got in our coral and our plan was to run together for as long as we could and then we would run our own races.  I had trained alone.  I had no BQ dreams.  I wasn’t sure if I would ever run another marathon after this any way.  So we stayed together maybe 2-3 miles.  I noticed my heart rate was at 222 and I said something to Katey.  She said maybe nerves.  I didn’t feel nervous.  We were running.  So I let them go and just ran my race.  My plan was to see my husband at miles 12/16 and 22 because of the course.  Here’s a map:

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When I saw Bill at 12 I told him my heart rate was too high and I couldn’t get it down.  I was slowing my pace down but still felt super dizzy and “off”.  He was worried as this happened to me at a race a year or two ago.  I had gotten really pale/grayish in color and weak.  He was worried.  I promised him that I would take it easy so I could finish and that I would see him at 16.

The race took times at 10k, half and 19.2 or so and the finish.  Sadly it missed my half time somehow – despite me hearing it beep when I went over the pad with the other runners but Bill, who was tracking me, never got my notification.  He met up with me at 16 and I was taking it easy and felt slightly better.  I did ask that he would meet me at 22 to run with me a bit.

We met up just past 22 and he ran with me to 25 and then we separated.  I needed that time with him to push me through.  I turned onto the boardwalk, again with the headwinds from the ocean – was a windy race, and saw the finish line.  As promised, I told Emily I would push and push hard at the end.  I did just that finishing at 4:33 and despite not being closer to my training times, I finished.  Upright.  Sore.  Endorphins flowing and so proud that I didn’t quit or give up.  Marathon 2 in the books.

Fuel:  VegaOne Energizer every mile I took a sip
VegaOne gels:  I use sparingly.  I took some at 7, 13, 18 and 21.
I did take water at 22 and 24.

As I finished, I proceeded through the chute.  I got my medal, a hat, beach towel and some food.  Then we took some pics on the beach before we headed to the party tent where we hung out for a few hours listening to some music.  They were serving beef stew (okay I stuck with my bananas) and Yuengling beers. Katey, Steve and Bill enjoyed those while I sucked down my VegaOne Recovery Accelerator and water happily.  Afterwards, we parted and headed back to our respective rooms to shower.  We had plans to meet for dinner in a few hours.
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One hour and five minute PR!!!  Happily rang that bell.

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Some of the awesome race swag.  I love the beach towel and the hat – things I’ll actually use.

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My awesome medal and my new Momentum sneaker tags that kept me going and focused! I’m so proud to be an ambassador for them.
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Emily made me this towel.  I love it and her so much for the insane support she gave me!

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My Up band steps were insane for the day!

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I did stop to look at my watch and evaluate this heart thing post race.  I noticed that my heart rate had exceeded the 222.  And my average was a bit high.  Will be heading to the doc to have this checked out…

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All cleaned up and ready for dinner.

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We headed home on Monday.  Detour to DC to grab some vegan nachos at a cool restaurant then home to unpack and decompress.  I’ve had trouble sleeping post marathon as every muscle is so sore and was happy to sleep in my own bed.
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My sweet Bella was enjoying having us home and biting my extra VegaOne packets.11081528_10205381295924874_1558373548_n

Thanks for letting me share my journey with you all.  As for now, I hobble along trying to rest and rebuild before my next two races.
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I wanted to take a moment to thank Emily again for the tireless texts, supportive messages and love you shared!  I will eternally be grateful for your love!  Her along with Christina, Shannon, Sara, Kelly and Meghan who believed in me and never faltered in showing me that.  To VegaOne and Trevor for the endless nutritional support, products and cheerleading!  You all made my vegan marathon a total success providing me with bionic fuel to help me soar to a an awesome PR!  And to my husband – I don’t even know where to begin.  You are my life.  I love you all!

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— Knead to Cook

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10 Comments

  1. You seriously inspire me, woman! You’ve come so far in the short time that I’ve known you. You blasted that injury and did this!!! So much success, and I love you for making me feel so motivated to be better. Let’s just make sure that heart of yours doesn’t beat right out of your chest anymore 🙂

    1. Thanks Trevor! You and Vega were such an integral part of my marathon training!! Two more races to go fueled by Vega for the season and I can’t wait! Yes, will get my ticker checked out asap:) You’re the BEST! oxo

  2. AWE YAY ROBIN!!! Love this post! love your determination and positive energy!! LOVE ALL OF IT!! Congrats on a great run and kick ass PR!

  3. Congratulations! This is no small accomplishment. I have been running half marathons consistently for 4 years now, but I am thinking about a full marathon…reading through your journey has tipped the scales in its favor.

    1. Oh Laura, I’m so glad to hear that I didn’t scare you away. Training and running for a marathon is a wildly hard commitment both mentally and physically but so worth it! Only 1% of the population will ever run and finish a marathon. My tips: find a flat marathon with similar temperatures to where you will train as your nutrition will be easier to manage. Test any and all fuel types on every long run! I did this and still had trouble nailing down the exact right formula. Imodium was huge if you have a sensitive runners stomach. I hope you keep in touch with me and let me know when you decide! So excited for you 🙂 oxo

      1. Thank you so much for the advice & encouragement. I love reading your blog and can’t wait to see what’s in store for you next.

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