Monday, March 27, 2017

Wrightsville Beach Marathon Race Recap

This past weekend, my parents joined Kenny and me in Wilmington, NC as she attempted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Mind you, Kenny has only really been running for a couple years now and yet has come surprisingly close to qualification. The Wrightsville Beach Marathon was going to be the one. The one she finally qualified at.  This race had three advantages: 1)she had put in probably her best training to date, 2)it was very flat course, and 3) she got older. Haha. What I mean by that is that she now needs a 3:40:00 instead of a 3:35:00. That would still be a few minute PR for her but advantages #1 and 2 made it seem achievable.

We arrived after I got out of work on Friday evening, and after a short detour to the tourist trap that is South of the Border, we met my parents for a nice dinner right on the Cape Fear River and then got an early bed time for the race the next morning. My dad was kind enough to drive us to the start as this is a point to point race and that allowed us not to have to worry too much about race day logistics.
View of Cape Fear River
As it was, we ended up still in line for the porta-potties when the gun went off. But no worries, it was a chip-timed race so when we started didn't really affect her ability to qualify for Boston. But it did mean that we had to spend a little more energy weaving through runners. Probably only affected us 10-15 seconds.

After that first slower mile, Kenny and I proceeded to click off consistent 8:04-8:06 minute miles. Our goal was to run fairly consistent splits with just enough of a buffer for a few slower second half marathons. We went through the half marathon right on track. At mile sixteen, Kenny told me she was getting tired and we spent half that mile at a slower pace just to get her head back in it. Which did the trick as her next several miles were all still within our goal pace.

We saw my parents at mile nineteen, and before I could yell at her not to, Kenny swerved out of her line to give my mom a high-five. Only about 3-5 seconds delay.

We continued to run steady low to mid 8 minute miles, well within our allotted pace to get her in with a qualifying time, until mile 22 where the wheels fell off. She actually stopped and walked and I thought for sure that the race was done. But within probably 20-25 seconds, she got herself motivated and started running. Those last few miles were all mid 8's and I was eyeing the clock and saw how close she was going to come if she wanted to qualify.

We hit the 26th mile just under 3:39 and I knew we were going to miss it, but I didn't let her know that. She sprinted it in and finished with an awesome 3:40:31. A lousy 31 seconds away from qualifying!!!

Despite her near miss, she still PR'd and ran an amazingly steady marathon, by far the best one I've seen her do. The marathon was great with good support and an easy but diverse course. I'd definitely recommend it as a BQ race.

My parents were of course at the finish line awaiting us. We quickly headed out as we still had the day ahead of us. We went to Moores Creek National Battlefield where the Separatists won their first battle against the Loyalists in the Revolutionary War. It was actually a very one-sided skirmish as the Loyalists were comprised of Scottish Highlanders baring only swords against armed men with a cannon as well as the element of surprise. But what I liked was that they presented it fairly unbiased and even had a monument to the fallen Scots. Well worth a half hour detour.

We then went to Wrightsville Beach and walked around for a bit before going back to downtown Wilmington which is a surprisingly nice little town where we had dinner but soon thereafter our fatigue caught up with us and we headed back to the hotel for a good night's sleep.

The next morning we awoke and parted ways, quite sadly, with my parents, who we have had the pleasure of having as guests for the last few weeks. Not even before we were home, Kenny had already pulled up potential fall marathons to try to qualify again. It's sure to happen any time now.

Until next time,


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