Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Race Recap: Rock N Roll Marathon Raleigh

The Rock n Roll race was an amazing experience. I am thankful for my health after completing this race. Sadly, two individuals lost their lives running the race this weekend. Not a lot of information has been released and my prayers are with the two men's families. 

Please hang with me as this recap will be a bit lengthy as I want to remember every detail  I can from this amazing weekend.

On Friday, I stopped by the Raleigh Convention center to pick up my race bib. Raleigh Rock n Roll was extremely organized with a lot of volunteers to help things go smoothly. I was able to get to the expo before most got off work so things were extremely quiet. They had lots of swag available with the Rock n Roll Raleigh logo. I picked up a cute tank with an acorn on the front that said run with the Rock n Roll logo on the back. I really wanted something that said marathon on it but found all the items had marathon and ½ marathon. The best part of the expo was the swag available to purchase and the Brooks Running booth. Brooks was a sponsor of the race as well as our marathon training group with Fleet Feet. They were giving out tons of free gifts for checking out their merchandise. They even had gait analysis treadmills. Besides that, the vendors were pretty sparse. The rest of Friday night was spent hanging at the house catching up on TV shows and carb loading with pasta with turkey meatballs.  

I headed to work early Saturday morning for make-up Saturday school. Thanks to the horrible winter we had this year, we will be making up days through June. After work, I headed to dinner with Joe, my parents and two of my good friends Kate and Christina. We ate at Relish in Raleigh which I had heard great things about. After looking over their menu I knew it would be a great place for a pre-race meal. I played it safe with a turkey cobb wrap with sweet potato wedges. Joe raved about their mac and cheese that was loaded with sausage and bacon.  After dinner, we headed back to the apartment where I made sure everything was ready for race day. Then it was an early bedtime for me where I barely slept.  

Sunday morning I woke up before my alarm thanks to nerves and got ready in record time. I chugged my glass of water, rubbed everywhere down with blister block and packed up my race fuel. We headed to downtown Raleigh which is typically a 30 minute drive but due to the thousands of race participants ended up taking closer to 50 minutes. We ended up getting stopped on the off ramp of the interstate due to traffic. So we abandoned the recommended directions and found a closer route that dropped me right by the start line. One major complaint I heard all day was traffic being poorly managed. The race ended up being delayed by 10 minutes due to participants being stuck in traffic.  Thankfully, I got to the start with plenty of time to spare. I enjoyed my peanut butter and banana while waiting for the start. 

They grouped participants in corrals based on estimated finish time. Each group was released in 3 minute intervals. This really helped with congestion. I did not notice any major crowding or shuffling of runners after we crossed the start line. 

Miles 1-3- My race nerves were just settling down. This part of the course was in downtown Raleigh and filled with turns and rolling hills. Lots of spectator support which made the miles go by quickly.

Miles 3-6-  My calves started to tense up while tackling the hills.  I was already feeling pretty warm which made me nervous for the higher miles when the temperature would really be rising. I started pouring water on my head at every water station to help keep me cool.

Miles 6-10- I ate my first gu around mile 6. Huge hills at miles 6 and 7. I stopped keeping count of the hills after these since I knew there were numerous more to come. These miles were shaded with tons of course support. I saw Joe, my parents, Kate and Christina at mile 8. Charlie even made an appearance! Mile 8 was when we split from the half runners and it really set in that I was running the full 26 miles. We made our way slowly out of town past Meredith College and part of NC State. I have run this stretch many times on our training run so it was nice to see familiar landmarks.

Miles 10-13- We made our way out to the state fair grounds and PNC arena. We did a loop around PNC  Arena and passed by NC State’s football stadium Carter- Finely. I ate another gu around mile 13. Feeling pretty great around these miles.

Miles 14- 16-  The course took us out of the city where there was very little shade. The race support was also pretty slim at the higher miles. There was a water station at mile 14 and 17 but that was about it. Mile 15 is where things got tough.  I started to feel the effects of the heat. I made a deal with myself to run until mile 16 then take a walking break up the next hill.

Miles 17-20- This is where I switched from running to interval runs. It helped cool me down a lot and stretch out my legs. After mile 16, they all started to blend together. I was hot and pretty miserable. The underpasses were the only shade and they were few and far between. Most of the runners around me were also walking which only made my motivation lower. My family let me know they were around mile 21 so I picked it up again right after 20 knowing I would pass them soon.  
Funny signs all on the course- notice all the walkers?

Mile 21- At this point my run is a fast jog so it felt like it took me forever to get to my family. I finally got to my parents and Joe, they said see you at the finish line! At that point, I knew I would make it to the finish it was just a matter of if I would be running or walking the rest of the way there. I was spent physically and emotionally. Right after leaving them, I saw Kate and Christina on Hillsboro Street. I have run Hillsboro countless times and never noticed the gradual climb. I ran to the bottom then walked up the top. My energy was shot and I could not stomach any more fuel.

Miles 22-25- Still running and walking intervals. I could feel the blisters forming on both my feet and they started to hurt with each step. Old injuries started to flare up and I could feel my IT band on my left leg start to ache. Mile 25 marked the last big hill. I knew I only had one more mile left but I was done.

Mile 26- Finally made it back to downtown. I stopped the intervals and picked up the pace as much as I could. I knew I was nowhere near my goal finish time but just thrilled to be crossing the finish line.

After crossing the finish line, I was greeted with copious amounts of food. None of which looked appetizing besides a cold bottle of water. I met up with everyone and we headed to brunch at Winston’s. After I cooled down, I was ready for lunch. I ate every last morsel of my crab cake salad and blueberry muffin along with few mimosas to celebrate. Dad and I split chocolate brownie with ice cream for dessert.

Looking back, I have mixed emotions regarding my marathon race experience. I am pleased that I accomplished the goal I set for running a marathon. Yet, I don’t think this is an accomplishment I am fully proud of. I think that a large part of it was my lack of confidence. I honestly doubted my ability to run 26.2 miles until race day. I’m not quite sure if it was because I was burnt out or the extreme heat but this race beat me up. Also, my time was not near what I set out to run. I probably could have pushed myself harder and not taken as many water breaks but my lack of confidence got in the way and I chose not to.  

I haven’t decided if I will run another marathon again. Honestly, I’m leaning toward no. I think half marathons are more my distance. Looking forward, I am going to focus on shorter and faster runs to build back my confidence and speed. 



  1. Congratulations on your marathon! I think you should absolutely be proud of running the marathon - 26.2 miles is still 26.2 miles no matter how you complete them. At least now you can say that you've done it :)

  2. I completely agree with Chesson! You did it! That is ALL that matters! You can forever say you ran a marathon!

  3. That heat looked brutal! Congrats on your accomplishment! 26.2 is way harder than two half marathons. I totally stand by the saying that you're only a "third" done at the half way point.

  4. Be proud of yourself girl! You finished 26.2 miles!! That's a HUGE accomplishment! Reading your post really motivated me to get out there and start training for the Rock and Roll half I am doing in just a month in Portland! Be proud of your accomplishment!! You're a rockstar!!

  5. CONGRATULATIONS!!!! 26.2 is an an incredible accomplishment. You set out and completed what so many others can not. The marathon is test of endurance, determination, and heart. You beat the heat and came out on top. Congrats to you on this phenomenal milestone in your run career!

  6. You did amazing! I was glad we were able to cheer you on! Love having you in Raleigh and so glad you are enjoying this awesome city :)

  7. Just now catching up, but congratulations!!!


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