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City of Oaks Marathon: Race Report

Well it’s over. The City of Oaks Marathon is finally over. For having spent so much time worrying about missing over a month of training, the hills on the course, and being sick with a fever this past week, I’d say I’m pretty happy with my results. According to my Garmin, I crossed the finish line in 3:28:52. The official results still aren’t up yet, but that’s close enough. The things that worked in my favor today were all the supporters, including my husband who ran around town just to be at certain mile markers, the nice weather, Eminem, having trained on the course, and visualization. The death of me was the greenway which was hilly, and narrow with lots of sharp turns.

Before the race with Mario

The first 13 miles of the race were amazing. I was going at a pace that felt comfortable for 26 miles and that pace was right around 7:40. I kept imagining a finishing time of 3:20ish and felt pretty confident I could achieve it. As far as the hills prior to the halfway mark, I dominated them. They felt easy and I always passed runners on the uphill. (I guess you are right Mark – I do have an advantage on the hills.) Mentally, those first 13 miles were also super easy. I think because I had visualized the course SO MUCH as well as trained on the course, my expectations kept me sane. It was all happy runner’s feet for a while…

One of the easy hills

The next 13.1 miles are a different story, physically speaking. I had planned to take my 2nd Surge right around mile 15. As I noticed my legs starting to feel heavier, I went ahead and took part of it at mile 14. (I didn’t want to take the entire thing because it’s 100mg of caffeine and that would not be good for the stomach.) Right after mile 15, I started to feel like my right ribs were breaking. My right side hurt soooo much and it wasn’t a side stich. Well maybe it was, but no side stich like I had ever experienced. As soon as it started, I told myself Well, this is where you start calling on your positive images and recalling your motivational videos. I tried to focus on breathing, my posture, my arm swing, counting to 10 – nothing seemed to help. Finally around mile 18 it eased up, just in time to U-turn and head back the same way I just came. Fun.

Miles 18-22 I think were mostly downhill with brief uphill climbs. The entire way back, I was trying to prep myself for that big ass hill (forgive my language, I just don’t know how else to describe it) at mile 23. I saw it coming and I tried not to look up at it. My two mental chants up that hill were “Strength is the power of struggle” and a line from one of my favorite motivational videos – “Pain, you’re already in pain. Get a reward from it.” Ok my reward – a BQ time or a walk break. I took the walk break. BUT I think that helped me through those last hills on the greenway.

Mile 24 was great because Mario was there to cheer me on. Mile 25  was also my worst mile ever. My side starting hurting again and with each step of my right food, I thought another rib was breaking. There was one more U-turn (I really do not like those by the way), and then I was on the home stretch. I want to give a huge THANK YOU to the 3:30 pace group leaders and to Mario. They all helped me through that last mile. The 3:30 pacer was saying “Just breathe, lean into it, you’re almost there.” He also told me to imagine he had a bungee cord pulling me along. I really do love runners! Once I knew the finish line wasn’t that much farther, I summoned up my strength, passed the 3:30 pacers and a few other runners around me. I probably could have found that speed a little earlier, but  I’m happy with my finishing time.

Hurting to the finish

Overall, I am very happy with how everything turned out. What I was lacking in physical training, I made up for in mental training. And mentally, those were the easiest 26.2 miles I have ever run. Physically – the hardest. But I’m pretty sure I’ll sign up for it again. Tough courses make tough people.

A huge CONGRATULATIONS to Jenny, Jenny, Anna, Emily, Courtney, Maria, Jessica, and Alysha on their awesome races. Way to go ladies! And a huge THANK YOU to my dad, my sister Toni and her husband Brandon who drove over an hour just to cheer us on from start to finish. And thanks mom for cheering us on from Roxboro! Finally, THANK YOU Mario for running through Raleigh to see me along the course, helping me through that last mile, and helping me walk back to the car. You are fabulous! 🙂

Well it’s been a pretty productive day and now I’m off to get ready for my post race dinner at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. Yum! Other than sore legs, I feel pretty good. I didn’t even really take a nap after the race. That’s a first.

Happy Trails and Happy Running,


With my fabulous sister, Toni

With Maria before the race

Early in the race

Thanking the pacer who helped cheer me to the finish, along with Mario

29 Comments Post a comment
  1. CONGRATS! What an awesome accomplishment! I can only hope to be as fast as you someday!

    November 4, 2012
    • Thank you Katie! I remembered your comment about “great attitude” while I was out there. It helped me from getting discouraged 🙂

      And now good luck to you and your training for Myrtle Beach. I think we are doing the half so I hope to see you in February!

      November 4, 2012
  2. uberbeastmode #

    Congrats, that has to be an awesome feeling! Great time too!

    November 4, 2012
    • Thanks! It definitely was a great feeling and even though it wasn’t my fastest marathon, I was pretty proud for that course 🙂

      November 5, 2012
  3. CONGRATULATIONS, TRACIE!!! Love the recap! Sounds like it was a fantastic and challenging day that you totally knocked out! Way to go! PS- Have you heard the new collaboration with Pink and Eminem? Might be a good one to add to a future playlist. (: In the meantime…RACE WELL RUN!

    November 4, 2012
    • Thanks Mary Marcia! You are right – it was definitely a challenging day but I’m happy with how it turned out. And yes I have heard the Pink and Eminem song. I bought it a while back and it’s been on my playlist for a few weeks. You know me, I love anything Eminem 🙂 Are you planning any more races for Roxboro?

      November 5, 2012
      • Great, I’m glad you have that tune on one of your playlists! We certainly intend on growing the “5 Mile the Yellow Brick Road” into an annual attraction. No firm date to speak of, but I hope to have more information to share after the holidays. PS-How many gals typically meet with you for your mid-week run and training? Let me know, and send me your address and I’d love to put some Bib Stickers in the mail for you all to try at one of your upcoming meetings. (:

        November 10, 2012
  4. Great race! Congratulations!

    November 4, 2012
  5. Great job Tracie, you really gutted it out, had to be mentally and physically challenging given the setbacks you had and the issues on the course, but you showed your toughness. Looking forward to what you can do with a training period that involves less hurdles and setbacks.

    November 4, 2012
    • Thank you Greg! This entire training and racing process taught me three very important things. First, it is essential to have control over your thoughts. It’s the difference between giving in and pushing through. Second, I have to be kind to my body and listen to it. If it says rest, by all means, rest! And lastly, I have it in me to be faster. If I can do that time on that course with missing so much training, I know I can do better. I just need to avoid the hurdles and setbacks 😉 Here’s to a spring marathon!

      November 5, 2012
  6. MikeW #

    On Thanksgiving Day, you have the City of Oaks Marathon finish for your list. For me, you’ve put the name of your blog into action. Bravo!

    November 4, 2012
    • Thank you Mike! I am beyond thankful for how the race went yesterday. 😉

      November 5, 2012
  7. Martha Merrill Wills #

    Congratulations! You were FAST! I had a bunch of friends running the half this year (I had to bow out because of injury). Thought about all of you wonderful runners all day yesterday! Terrific job…. well done!

    November 5, 2012
    • Thank you! I hope you are recovering from your injury – they are never any fun. It was definitely a beautiful day for the race and the crowd support was awesome. It is a really well run race and hopefully you can do it next year!

      November 5, 2012
  8. Nirmal Shah #

    Congratulations!!! I have been following your blog lately and read how you had been preparing for the big day and it has been a very motivating read.
    Some day, I hope to run a full marathon, hoping to do a half in Jan 13.

    November 5, 2012
    • Thank you for the kind words! Which half are you doing in January? Once you do the half, you’ll be signing up for a full in no time. Races are so much and are so motivating 🙂

      November 5, 2012
  9. Great race Tracie. Congratulations on all of your hard work and mental toughness. Nice write-up as well. Great job of taking us through the highs and lows.

    November 5, 2012
    • Thank you thank you! It’s crazy all the things that you can go through over 26 miles – lots of highs and quite a few lows. But in the end, you always finish on a high note 🙂 And that’s what I always try and remember.

      November 5, 2012
  10. Amy #

    Hooray! You were able to run strong through some tough situations! Congratulations!

    November 5, 2012
    • Thanks chica! Definitely some tough spots but it’s always worth it. And now today, I’m just having a little trouble walking 🙂

      November 5, 2012
  11. Great race report and congratulations on a great race. Way to channel your inner Kenyan!!

    November 5, 2012
  12. Congrats Tracie! I swear I saw you at the McDonald’s on Blue Ridge (relay exchange 3 and 4). Also, totally random…Do you train at the Alexander Y? I swear I used to avoid the treadmills closest to you because you intimidated the hell out of me!

    November 6, 2012
    • Thanks Regan! If you saw someone in a lot of green, that’d be me. Probably with a look of pain on my face too.

      Your comment made me laugh – no I do not train at the Y so there must be some other crazy blond girl out there. Haha! 🙂 I actually go to the O2 fitness at Seaboard Station in downtown Raleigh. It’s super close to where we live. Where do you typically go running? And if you’re ever looking for a group of fun people to run with, you should come to our run club! In addition to running, we eat, drink, and go out 🙂

      November 6, 2012
      • Yep, I am certain it was you! I no longer train at the Y either, but you must have a twin….Because there is someone that trained at the Y several years ago (like 2009-2011) that looks very much like you.
        I typically CrossFit 3-5 times per week at Raleigh CrossFit. Then, I run 1-3 times a week on the greenway with some friends I met through the NCRC Women’s Beginner Running Program. Appreciate the invitation to run with your group – let me get a little more speedy 🙂

        November 8, 2012
      • Yes, I would love if you came to our group! And bring any other of your runner friends (as long as they are ladies) 🙂 . Send me an email, and we can chat more about.
        Happy almost Friday!

        November 8, 2012

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