In honor of today’s 36th running of the Richmond Marathon, I’m recapping my 2011 Richmond adventure; the good, the bad, and the ugly…

As soon as Bill and I registered for the race, I ordered these shirts for us just because I loved what it said on front!  It’s still one of my favorite race shirts!  Hmmm, can I really call it a race shirt since I paid extra for it?


Bill, Beth, and I left work early on Friday afternoon to drive to Richmond together for our Saturday morning race.  We got caught in the snarling mess of traffic better known as I-95, and took almost two hours longer than we expected to get there.  We cut it close, but we had time to hit the race expo, pick up our packets and shop around a little bit.  I liked the race shirt and since it’s a woman’s cut and made out of a technical fabric, I wear it often during the winter.  Something I can’t say about a lot of my race shirts over the years!


After the expo, we rushed over to The Tobacco Company in time for our dinner reservations.  Take a close look at the wine on the table.  It’s Apothic Red and was recommended by our waiter and cost something like $28 per bottle.  We really liked it, so we set out to find it, and lo-and-behold, Costco sells it for $7.69 a bottle.  We buy it by the case…


Bill and I got up bright and early on Saturday morning so we could see Beth start her half marathon.  Notice that she is rocking her garbage bag to stay warm.  Beth finished in 1:56, after running in the New York Marathon the previous Sunday. She’s amazing!


On that glorious day, Bill lined up with other excited runners to wait for the start of the race.  I towed the line next to him to start my 40th marathon, and little did I know that it would quite possibly be my last.


We decided to run together the whole race because neither of us had any particular goals for the race other than to have fun.  I carried my camera and held it out beside me and snapped pictures here and there.  One of the first photos I took was of this Navy guy carrying an American flag the whole way. Dude, you rock!


Between miles eight and ten, we ran  along the James River for about two miles just after we crossed it for the first of two different times.  This park was very beautiful, but there were fewer spectators along the course.


We crossed over a train, and I remember thinking that one car looked like it was filled with 45-pound weight plates.  I guess once a trainer, always a trainer!


I chuckled when I saw this sign and told my clients about it the next week.  I might have used this saying on them a time or two since!




We ran past this statue and it made me remember back to fourth grade when my teacher asked this question on a history test, “How did Stonewall Jackson get his name?” I answered, “Because his parents named him that.”  History was not my best subject…


As I mentioned earlier, we crossed the James River twice.  I honestly have no idea which location this was taken at, but I think it was 16.


Beth finished her half marathon and was waiting to cheer us on right after the bridge at mile 16.  She snapped this picture of me as I’m trudging up the hill with some other runners.  If you notice my form, I’m leaning forward too much, and I’m not engaging my core.  More on that in part two next week.


For whatever reason I stopped at the side of the road briefly, and it appears that I’m ready to start up again.  I wonder if that’s Bill’s foot at the left side of the photo.  Anyway, Beth caught all of this so there’s no denying that I was slacking on the side of the course!


Around mile 20 or 21, we ran through a beautiful neighborhood just after peak leaf season.  It was during this section that I started getting a pain in my leg.  My right hamstring (or so I thought) was starting to really bother me; to the point that I started crying (poor Bill).  It had bothered me in the past over the years whenever I ran over 16 miles, but usually only after I finished the run and only for an hour or two if I sat.  I’d forget all about it until the next longer run.  I started wearing a compression sleeve for my right hamstring on longer runs, but didn’t take a whole lot of time off from running, because it didn’t seem like a big deal since it always felt better by the next day.


By the time we saw this sign, more of my right leg (leading down toward my calf) was in pain, and I was NOT celebrating it!  But again, the pain was short lived.


Back to happier things…  The Richmond Marathon hands out wet towels.  Is that cool or what?   It’s a great idea unless you don’t want to wipe off your sun screen…


Somewhere around mile 24, we ran past this amazing gospel choir.  They lifted my spirits and got me through another half mile or so without any pain.  And then my right calf started hurting badly for a minute or two and I started crying again.  But as quickly as the pain started, it stopped.  The pain hit again just as we saw Beth with only a quarter mile or less to go and I burst into tears a third time.  By now, Bill was probably regretting staying with me.  Not once did I consider not finishing the race, mainly because the pain was so short lived when it occurred.  Bill and I plowed through and finished the race.


Bill’s and my finishing time was 4:41:37 (my third slowest marathon); and I’ve never been so happy to have a medal hung around my neck by a race volunteer.


By the time I got my medal, Mylar blanket, and a slice of pizza, Beth had moved down to the outside of the finishers chute and called us over to where she was standing.  As soon as I saw her, I burst into tears one last time.


Our walk to the car was slow and painful, but we got there eventually and headed home.  Next week I’ll write about the leg pain diagnosis that didn’t come until almost four months later.  It wasn’t at all what I expected, and quite frankly I’d almost completely forgotten about it until it reared its ugly head in late January, and this time in a way that demanded my undivided attention!


  • Questions:
  • What’s the funniest sign you’ve seen at a race? ~ My all time favorite sign was in Georgetown at the MCM.  It was bright orange said, “I hope you don’t poop your pants!”
  • What’s your worse race experience?
  • Ever DNF (did not finish)?