Richmond Marathon - Aubrey Eicher - Richmond Wellness - Finish

Wait, didn’t I JUST do this? My recovery from the NYC Marathon was phenomenal. I went out for a nice ride on my road bike the next day and then a shakeout run the day after and felt fantastic. So …. I batted around the idea of running the Richmond Marathon in my brain for the next week.

NYC was 11/02/2014. Richmond was to be 11/15/2014. This would now be my 5th marathon. Now, mind you, I have not

Prepping for Richmond 26.2 .. Homemade spaghetti sauce with ground chicken and Joseph Prince
Prepping for Richmond 26.2 .. Homemade spaghetti sauce with ground chicken and Joseph Prince

been athletic all of my life. Maybe some of you don’t know that. I did not play a SINGLE sport outside of gym class in school. I think I would have kicked some tail in basketball, which I almost picked up in 8th grade, but that’s another story. I only began my fitness journey in 2007 after high school and then tripped over a passion for running in 2010 when I did my first 5k and had to stop to walk 3x (I was AMAZED at this, as I built myself up to 10 mi on the treadmill).

My first marathon was my hometown race, the Richmond Marathon in 2012. I’ve been hooked ever since. Something about running just .. grabs me. I enjoy all working out, don’t get me wrong. I like to throw weights around, bike, swim, walk, etc. But something about the endurance required to run the marathon just resonates within me. And thus, I run. I am so thankful for the desire and the ability, AND the gift to do so without any pain or injury!

So anyhow, by Tuesday (the Tuesday before Richmond, now), I found myself telling the few people who were asking me if I was going to run it, that I was thinking about doing it. In my mind, I was pretty set upon racing it and trying to get my Boston Qualifying time again. Interesting tidbit, though – each time I himhawed to my friends, not telling them if I would run it or not, I found myself questioning it in my mind and making half-hearted decisions regarding it, as in nutrition or rest/sleep.

So, I signed up.

The calm before the storm!
The calm before the storm!

I enjoyed not telling many people that I was going to do it – I chose not to tell it to the world because I knew that I would receive mixed reviews, and negative reviews, forecasting a bad race, or worse, a possible injury. I am an adult. I knew the risks. Risks can be good. I like to push the envelope, intelligently .. 😉

The blessing of NYC was the late start and the early rising. I learned that the time to relax and prepare on race day really worked well for me, and for my GI tract (sorry for the info, y’all .. just being real). I got to the start SUPER early, camped out at a cafe, and talked to a man from Raleigh who told me his story.

At the age of 38, he decided that he would get in shape and run, not one, but ten marathons by the time he would turn 40. He did it. Richmond was going to be #15 for him. (He has since slowed that aggressive pace due to having children with his wifey). Richmond was just a training run, he is in the midst of training for his first 100-mile run coming up next year.

My wonderful client made her goal - successfully completing her first 26.2, AND she qualified for the Boston Marathon! SO happy for her!
My wonderful client made her goal – successfully completing her first 26.2, AND she qualified for the Boston Marathon! SO happy for her!

Runners are so cool. I love it. 😀

I messaged friends, encouraging them on their race (still not mentioning to many that I was running). Watched the 8k start. The half. Now, time to go!

This friend completed her first half marathon! I LOVE seeing people try longer distances for the first time! So cool!
This friend completed her first half marathon! I LOVE seeing people try longer distances for the first time! So cool!

It was a cold start – 27 degrees, but rising. I finally was diligent enough the night before to break down why I had not gotten my target time on any of my 4 previous marathons. I learned that I, as most people encounter, generally start out too fast. We get caught up in the adrenaline rush and the movement and the emotion and GO! And then, because we are rested, we get a little overconfident, or I was, at least, thinking that I could keep a sub-race-pace up from mile 4 to 26.2.

EVERY marathon I wished would end before it did. My finishes ALWAYS felt

terrible. Sometimes, I am humbled to admit this, I walked, with false hope to alleviate the pain in my legs. (This only ever makes it worse, BTW! Don’t do it.) I even walked in NYC. I spent way too much energy in the first part of the race going too fast and also battling the 40 mph winds.

I found a particularly wonderful time calculator online to divvy out each mile and what my slower warm up would cost me. A total of 54 seconds. That is all.

So, I made my plan and wrote it out to carry with me and keep me on track.

The master plan.
The master plan.

Long story short, because the details within the race are not as important .. I followed my warm up times but fell behind in the middle miles .. my left hip flexor told me at mile 12 that I had ran a marathon 13 days prior, and then my calves were joining in complaining about it, too, starting at mile 17.

HOWEVER! I had THE BEST finish I have EVER had. I felt the best I ever have from mile 24-26. I did NOT stop to walk once. I danced at mile 23 – Lulu Lemon had a great song, “Shake it Off” on .. I encouraged another runner who wanted a 03:45 and was starting to walk to continue running, because she truly had it (and she did, this I know) and she thanked me (surprisingly. We can get quite cranky when having a bad run!) for helping get in her head and finish strong.

Get ready for this – I MATCHED my PR time. I ran the Columbus Marathon last October, #3:

Richmond Marathon - Aubrey Eicher - Richmond Wellness - 26.2 PR

Haha! God is so good. Still not a BQ, but I finished stronger than ever, I felt great, I feel great, and at the end of it all, I realized (these were my journal thoughts that morning) that I would still have a fantastic lunch after the race, that I still had a super awesome roommate and great friends that support me and always have my back, and family that cares and was following me .. and God that made me and gave me the joy of running and my life that I have. I am thankful to enjoy it!

Richmond Marathon - Aubrey Eicher - Finisher Medal

PS – the coolest thing about the race was celebrating friends’ victories and experiences. WAY more fulfilling than obtaining my own BQ time. Oh yeah, and also high-fiving Bart Yasso at mile .. (I don’t remember which mile that was!)

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