November 12, 2011 7:45 AM
Written by Owen
Wow, what a great weekend! I've never planned, prepared, (or trained) for a single event more in my entire life. Ever since I decided to run a marathon back in May, my mind has been on this race more than anything else.
The weekend finally arrived. I decided to go to the expo on Thursday night, even though I'd be staying at a hotel across the street on Friday night. I figured that was one less thing I'd have to be on my feet for on Friday. Michael and I drove to uptown and enjoyed the expo together. It was pretty small and hardly anyone was there, but fun to feel the excitement start to build.
|Michael took this picture of me at the expo|
|Michael was excited to pose by the Thunder Road Racecar|
I worked until 3pm on Friday, then had Malissa take me down to the bus stop and I boarded a bus for uptown Charlotte. I got to my hotel room by 4:30 PM, got checked in and unpacked. I can't explain how I was feeling, not nervous at all, just pure joy and excitement that the moment was here.
|The view from my hotel room|
|Dick Beardsley speaking at the pasta dinner on Friday night.|
|Race morning, from my hotel room.|
|The kids had a blast with "Lug Nut", the mascot for Charlotte Motor Speedway|
|My cheering squad, they were such a boost every time I saw them.|
I made my way to the starting line at 7:40 AM.
The race started and I couldn't believe it was happening. Other than my wedding and the birth of my three kids, I don't know that I've experienced that much joy before. I know that sounds weird, but I trained so hard for this, and now I got to enjoy it.
I told myself, no matter what, I would not run faster than an 8:20 pace the first 20 miles. My goal was to finish happy, with a time of 3:40. If I felt great after 20 miles I would try to push it then. That was the plan, anyway. I could not get my body to slow down. Every time I looked at my watch I was at a 7:50 something pace.
Miles 1 thru 10 were all through beautiful Charlotte neighborhoods, and I felt great the whole way, no issues at all, with the exception of one quick port-a-potty stop at mile 8 that probably only burned 15 seconds.
I knew my family would be waiting for me at mile 14, so that was what I was looking forward to first. Well, that and mile 13, when all the half-marathoners split off and we got more room. Mile 14 came, and I can't explain the joy I felt when I heard my family cheering for me.
After seeing my family at mile 14, I knew the next time I'd see them was mile 18. So that's what I was looking forward to next. I still felt great until about mile 17 or so. Then it got slightly harder, and as you can see by my split times I got slower at that point also. Not horrible, just didn't feel as good as I had before that. I saw my family cheering for me at the bottom of a hill on mile 18, gave them each a high-five, then knew I had 8 tough miles left.
|Mile 18, the support was AWESOME|
Turning on to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and seeing the finish line was the most amazing feeling. I was overwhelmed. I crossed the line at almost exactly my goal time, just a few seconds slower. My time for the first 13.1 miles was 1:45, and slowed to 1:55 for the second 13.1 for an overall time of 3:40:24. I enjoyed every minute of it and wouldn't change a thing. The weather was perfect, family support was fantastic, just an amazing weekend.
|Michael ran with me to the finish line|
|In the elevator on the way to the shower.|
|"I'm running in memory of Dad": Several runners during the race shouted out: "You're dad would be proud". That was great.|