The Big 3-0
This was it the moment that came 7 years in the making. I ran my first marathon in 2012. Not knowing a thing about marathoning. Vowed at the finish line of my first marathon to run 30. Here’s the story of how my 30th marathon went and my mom 1st marathon went. Wisconsin winter started out very pleasant we ran all our long runs outside until the middle of January then things took a turn for the worst. I was really hoping to do something longer than a 14 outside with my mom, but Mother Nature was just uncooperative. We went indoors to the Pettit center. Doing long runs inside seemed to bother my mother mentally and physically. We ended up having to walk run some 16 milers which lead to some pretty long afternoons in the winter. Knowing that this was my mother’s first marathon and that our training wasn’t the greatest. I feel much more confident when I get in the 22 miler before a marathon but that’s just me. I knew either way that I was determined to see this goal through and get us across the finish line.
The days leading up to the trip I realized I should have opted us flying to Virginia vs driving in a car down there. I didn’t quite realize how sore and stiff we would get from driving and how much longer it would make the trip. Either way we got down to Virginia the most necessary piece in finishing my 30th marathon. My first impression of this marathon was really fantastic we went to the running expo and they had all the bells and whistles. It was awesome sadly I didn’t make there on enough time to meet any of my rundols ( running idols). I was shocked to see that my marathon bib was wishing me a Happy Birthday after all I was finishing up my 30th marathon on my 30th birthday!
Saturday morning I woke up early to get to the start line of the 8k. I was in shock of how large this race was. I was feeling so thankful to be there. I was really excited it was hard to keep down my energy and just give myself an easy 8k before the marathon. I managed to not go out like a speed demon and just tried to soak of the vibes of the day. Overall I was really impressed with this 8k. I finished my 8k with a time of 47:30. My niece participated in the kids run and I was also impressed with that race. If you happen to be in Virginia I would define think I would check out these races.
Now onto the marathon I felt kinda like a diva the night before. My aunt has offered to make a meal for us however I could not eat her meal. I have sensitive stomach issues with the race, so I chose to go with my good old standby- Japanese pan noodles from noodles and company. I felt torn between trying to get myself ready for tomorrow morning and visiting with my aunt. Eventually I put my energy on focusing for tomorrow and went to get my outfit ready for the next morning.
I woke up at about 2:30 am knowing I actually did pretty good for sleeping before a race. 4 and 1/2 hours had to be some kind of record for me. My next big step was getting on my aquaphor and outfit. I’m the chafing quee, so I put on a lot of aquaphor to try to prevent chafing in my normal spots. Next to eat my regular prerace breakfast which is Cream of wheat. We left for the start line around 6 am, we had a 7 am start time. We sat in the portopotty line, stripped down and dropped our bags, and to the start line we went. It was pretty cold at the start line, the wind definitely had a chilling aspect to it. We took about 30 minutes to start because the half marathon and marathon are ran together. There was about 25,000 runners- 4000 for the marathon and 21,000 for the half marathon.
Mom and I started off and she was in pretty high spirts laughing and making a lot of jokes. I was just trying to have her stick to a great nutrition and hydration plan.I was happy to see her doing so well. We went through the leprechaun mile. Mom was doing way better than I was expecting it seems getting out of Wisconsin was the cure to her running funk. I was enjoying every moment of this course taking 1000 photos, replying to all the text messages. Trying to keep the energy high.
We took a turn into Fort Story. I could feel moms energy shift. There wasn’t any spectators in the military base or an aid station. I think those two things combined shifted the energy plus the wind picked up. Mom started to cramp but I still felt fine. We worked through the next couple of miles hydrating and eating well. We came off base made a quick bathroom break and mom’s energy lifted right back. We made it through the first half the race without any more hiccups.I would say we were racing very strongly and I had high hopes for a 6 hour finish time.
On the second half of the course the half marathoners left us. We felt kinda of isolated we could no longer see any runner around us. Mom held in it though she remainder strong. She was started to get tired and I reminded her we had less than 10 miles to go. I tried to cheer her up letting her know we were down to single digit miles. We crossed the Rudee Inlet Bridge but mom ran strong taking minimal walking breaks . We were on the last out and back. I tried to keep mom's energy level up. We passed our family at Mile 16. We could see other runners running out we thought the turn around was soon. I warned mom I didn’t think it was quite yet. She started to struggle she said her fatigue was high and mine was starting to get in. I tried to keep both our spirits up by stating “Congrats Mom,every step you make is the furthest you’ve ran!”. It didn’t help as we passed the Virginia Aquarium. Mom settles us in to a walk, my legs were starting to feel heavy. This is the part I start to struggle with on a marathon.
Mile 18.5 came finally we made it the turnaround. My heart felt lifted! Until it sank at Mile 19, I could see the last runner followed by the SAG vehicle, followed by a van picking up equipment, and followed by a literal street sweeper. This is the closest I’ve ever come to the sweeper in a race. Could I possibly not finish my 30th marathon?
I started to panic I tried to encourage mom without being forceful, but was going through every emotion in my head. After all this was her first marathon and she was doing fantastic. I started to panic text my family what were the cutoff time again. We made our way back through Camp Pendleton. I could still see the sweeper. As we were crossing the Rudee Inlet Bridge the SAG vehicle passed us and parked. In my head I was like “Oh crap” they are going to pull us. I tired to remind myself if it wasn’t meant to be it wasn’t meant to be. We passed the vehicle without being pulled andout on the boardwalk we went. I started to feel overcome with joy as they were not allowed to pull us anymore. We could see the last few runners coming in and we were coming with them. I tried to rally mom to run across the finishing line but she couldn’t she gave it her all. I couldn’t be more proud of my mom at the age of 53 running her first marathon!!!
Would I be back again, maybe. Virginia is pretty far away from Wisconsin and I don’t have any goals that would bring me back. Some of the things I liked about this race was expo. I also like the elevation of this course there was virtually no hills. they had amazing volunteers and racer support while on the course. The finish line party was also pretty fantastic so much energy in the tent. Lots of beer and they had some pretty fantastic finisher swag including a blanket and a hat. Some of the things I didn’t like on the course was going through the two military bases they seemed boring and unpleasant. Also for the first time in over 200 races my bag drop got lost which I’m not blaming the race for at all but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth. Overall this was one of the most memorable marathon I’ve done. Who knows maybe I’ll retire from marathoning now? Thank you for reading the adventure of my 30th and for supporting my running fetish so far! ❤️