Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Thunder Road Marathon: A Race Report from Someone that Didn't Race

Last Saturday was Terry's first marathon. The training leading up to the big day was interrupted with a knee injury that took forever to heal up, but come race day he felt strong and confident at the starting line.

We started the day off with a 4AM wake-up call to make our 4:45AM meeting time with Brian from our BRR team, who did the marathon as well. I was just coming along as driver, cheerleader and photographer of this event. We got to Charlotte right when the package pick up opened up and went over to the convention center to get the race stuff for the boys. Until the 7:50AM start we hung out at the expo where we also met Todd, another BRR team mate. They made their final clothing decisions (it was 28F at the start line - BRRRRRRRR), checked the bags and we started walking to the start line. I wanted to take pictures of them right after the start, but that never happened, because I never saw them run past me. Oh well... I made my way back to the race expo and got me four more pairs of my favourite running socks as well as a couple of bars of the orange flavored shots bloks that I never see in the stores. From there I went to the parking garage and changed into my running gear.

The plan was, that I combine my scheduled training run with cheerleading for the boys. So I told them, that they can expect to see me a little after the half marathon marker. I knew I had around 1:40h from the start to get there so that I won't have to wait too long, but also won't miss them. I ran around Charlotte downtown a little bit in order to get my mileage in and was at the corner of Euclid and Morehead 1 hour and 30 minutes after the gun went off. Terry turned the corner at 1:40h, I ran a couple of yards with him and he said he felt good, just had a little cramping going on in one of his knees. Four minutes later, Todd passed me and once again I ran a little bit with him and he said he was feeling good. A little after that I saw Brian and he said he was doing good as well. I kind of expected for Brian to give me his rain jacket because he has gotten warm, but it seemed like he made the perfect clothing choice for him and didn't need to get rid of extra layers.

After Brian passed me, I got my stuff together and ran to the next point that I wanted to see them. It was a little after the mile 16 marker, close to an aid station and right after the course led under a bridge. There was portions of a marching band playing under this bridge the whole time... It was LOUD, but they did a GREAT job! As I waited around, I started wondering where Terry is. This was just 3 miles and change after the last spot I saw him and time was ticking away. Then I saw Todd and he told me that "Terry is having problems". A little dumbfounded, I stood there and a couple of minutes later Brian past me and told me that Terry was standing on the sidewalk a mile back. So I ran against the constant stream of marathoners to find him. It was pitiful. He's knees locked up and he wasn't able to walk when I got to him. He was cramping from top to bottom. After a while, he was able to make a couple of steps and slowly and painfully he started walking again.

We passed the mile 16 marker and with that, we started a 10.2 mile hike to the finish line. The first couple of miles I was with him, we attempted to fall back into a jog, but that didn't last more than a minute or two at the time before the cramps got worse again. So eventually, we just decided to stick to walking. Around mile 21, Terry asked for some food, so I stopped at a convenience store and got him some Fritos and then ran to catch up with him. While he was munching on the Fritos a by-stander said the she never knew that Fritos was runner's food, but if it works for him. At mile 25 we got offered beer and if I wasn't the designated driver, I think I would have taken it. Seriously, I was ready to be done with this and I can only imagine, how Terry must have felt.

He passed the finish line in 5h23mins. He was disappointed and mad and ready to get back to this course next year to show what he is capable of. Due to his very strong first half of the race, we were able to finish before the 6 hour course cut-off. I am so proud of him that he crossed the finish line... I admire his ability to put mind over matters at times.

While Terry did 26.2 miles on Saturday, I logged around 14 miles of running and walking myself. My feet were killing me at the end and my legs were sore. That was after 14 miles of mostly walking... As I said before, I can only imagine, how Terry must have felt. He sure looked like in a lot of pain, wobbling around the rest of the day and most of Sunday.

Now our sights are set on Myrtle Beach. He is going to do the marathon and I will attempt my first half marathon. Hopefully, the preparations are going to go smoother than Terry experienced with his training for Thunder Road. Wish us luck!


9 weeks until Myrtle Beach
3 nights until departure for Germany

1 comment:

  1. Always nice to see from a different perspective! Myrtle Beach will be great for all of us!