|Sir Walter Raleigh got in the spirit!|
I signed up for the inaugural Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh as soon as they announced it. I was still in the first trimester of my pregnancy, but wanted a race on the horizon to motivate me after having the baby. Luckily, I was able to run comfortably during all 39 weeks of my pregnancy (more on that at a different time and place!) so it's accurate to say my training for this event began a long time ago. Like my first marathon, I didn't have a time goal- I simply wanted to cross the finish line.
|37 weeks pregnant|
I did 4 runs per week- 1. short interval session 2. long interval session 3. social run with Christian in the stroller and Fayetteville Running Club 4. alternated between either a time trial or long(ish) run. My longest single run was 16 miles (half of that was pushing a jogging stroller!) and I never exceeded 30 miles in weekly volume. I partnered this with 3 traditional WODs per week at CrossFit Ferus, where they offer smart programming and childcare.
|"Sorry Mom, you can't have me AND long runs!"|
Woke up at 3 am to drive up to Raleigh and get Christian situated in the hotel room with his babysitters for the day, Papa Tom and Grandpa Randy. The early alarm didn't phase me- having a 5 month old will do that for you! We even got situated in time to meet up with Fayetteville Running Club (FRC). I could write an entire blog about the support, motivation, and friendship this group has provided- instead, I'll just encourage you to get involved with your own local running club and experience it yourself. You can search for one here.
|We have runners of all shapes, sizes, ages, and experience levels in FRC|
My Mom was doing the half, so we got to walk to the start together- hands down, one of my favorite moments of the day. She has been there for most of my marathons in the last decade as a spectator so it's such a gift to share the race as participants. This was her second 13.1 and she got a PR- even more impressive when you consider the hills in Raleigh versus her first course in pancake flat Savannah. Way to go, Mom!
|13.1- check! 26.2- check!|
|Post-race treat food- peeps & cadbury eggs. Thanks, Kevin!|
|THIS is how you support a friend (& make strangers smile!)|
|Seen at mile 20- ain't that the truth?!|
This was not a flat course. I stayed in control with my pace and felt confident on the hills- they were where I passed other runners. Chalk it up to a combination of CrossFit and the joging stroller. It didn't matter what type of incline I was served- running without pushing 35 pounds of BOB, infant seat, and Christian in front of me or carrying a 1 pood kettlebell in each hand made it seem easy. Don't hate me, fellow RnR participants- I just never really felt broken. The heat got to me and robbed me of a negative split, but for a gal who thought the best case scenario would be just under 4 hours, I was thrilled with this:
|3:39:55 overall time, 104 OA, 29th female, 7 AG|
I enjoyed seeing fellow Marathon Maniacs out there- wearing my MM gear always makes me feel like part of a team and invites great conversation with amazing athletes. The course was gorgeous, beginning and ending downtown and taking us through neighborhoods with interesting, older architecture. Not a lot of shade in the second half of the race, which was a bummer as it started to get hot but mile 24 totally made up for it. The wonderful folks at Wear Blue: Run to Remember were out in full force with a memorial for fallen soldiers that was so significant, I think I'll remember every step through it more vividly than the finish line. You don't have to be a military wife to appreciate the beauty and sadness of this:
|Among these heroes: SSG Michael A Dickinson, KIA at 26 years old in Iraq.|
|His wife is a FRC member & dominated 26.2 to honor him!|
Overall, this was a great event. I'd recommend it to anyone who is looking for easy logistics, lots of crowd support, challenging hills (rumor has it the net gain was 4 digits), and doesn't mind big box races.
What's next for me? Reverse taper, then All American Marathon in 3 weeks. I'm thrilled to be racing again and so glad I'm finding a balance between being "Suzy the Mommy" and "Suzy the runner"!
|Family, friends, and food (chocolate milk & pizza!) at the finish|
|Best training partner ever!|
|Still the best "model" for my hardware|