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The Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon 2007 - Official Report:<br>
The Course:<br><br>
Some will say that it's very hilly and some will say that it's not all that bad...in any case I think that all would agree that this is not a course to intentionally attempt a BQ on.<br><br>
The Weather:<br>
Textbook perfect! Low 40's, no wind and Carolina blue skies!<br><br>
Fashion details:<br>
Nike Livestrong running shorts<br>
Target white/grey tech tee<br>
Power socks<br>
Blue & white Saucony Hurricane Grid 8's ( I love these shoes )<br>
Indu-Kiwi Buff<br>
Race belt stocked with GU, E caps & ibuprofen for the finish <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">.<br><br>
Pre-Race:<br>
I had a very busy work day on Friday and didn't eat any lunch that day, only breakfast. The pasta diner that night was my only nutrition for Friday.<br>
I usually weigh in around 152-155 but for race day I was down to 150. (post race when I got home 146. I lost four pounds!)<br>
I didn't actually get much sleep that night as I was anxious but prepared all my gear and clothes the night before after checking the hour-by-hour forecast at weather.com.<br>
I left the house around 7AM as it only takes 25 minutes to get to the free parking lot a few blocks away from the new Convention Center for the 8:00AM start. At the Convention center I met up with a few Maniacs that I had diner with the night before. David Y, a 37 YO maniac from Houston,TX would be running his 42nd marathon and there were a couple of other maniacs there...one who was running his 37th of the YEAR and would be running another marathon today after running Thunder Road yesterday...geez..., now I see why these people are called Maniacs. I wished then all well and left for the starting line.<br><br>
Thunder Road is a very nice, challenging course with great crowd support from the locals and a very well organized race albeit small in number. There were only 882 Marathoners and 1728 half marathoners registered this year but it was more than last year due to the great weather forecast. Water and porta-potty stops at every 2 miles and plenty of Gu towards the finish.<br>
I don't follow any marathon plan or really do any formal training, I simply just run hills everyday for fitness. I had a couple of setbacks in my training this year..a prostate operation in the early part of the year with a few months of recovery (no cancer) and what I thought was a possible stress fracture in Sept. that turned out to actually just be a bruised leg. I had only one long run of 20 miles three weeks prior to race day, so my training was lacking in long runs but I have a very good mileage base going into this race. My goal was to try & break 4 hours but I had no idea if this was a realistic goal as I had never run anything approaching this distance.<br><br>
The Race:<br>
I didn't hear any gun go off but all of a sudden the people in front started taking off...the race had started. As I stepped on the mat I started my Garmin and took off...albeit at a crawl as all I was doing was "walking" in a mass of people for the first quarter mile of so.<br>
I decided to run using the average pace field on my Garmin 305 as I had done in my previous half last year and maintain 9 minute pace which would bring me in under 4 hours.<br>
I looked down at some point after the start and saw that I was running at an 8:45 pace which I felt very comfortable with so I went with it.<br><br>
Miles 1-5 were unusually easy and I just eased into a nice comfortable running pace. Everything that was bothering me seemed to just disappear and I was just enjoying running alongside with this mass of people, a very enjoyable experience. As I looked down at my Garmin, my average pace was a comfortable 8:45...room to spare for a possible sub-4.<br><br>
Around mile 5 I struck up a conversation with a 37 YO guy named Chris who also happened to be running his first marathon and was looking at about the same goal as I was. We were generally cruising along up through mile 10 at about the same 8:45 pace average pace.<br><br>
Chris was a very engaging character who was very supportive of other runners along the way and was also very funny with the comments that he was making not only to the spectators along the course but to fellow running as we passed them. Around mile 10 he wanted to take a walk break & I decided that he was lots of fun to hang out with so I stopped and walked with him. Running with someone else makes everything a lot more pleasant and the miles just go by faster. At this point my goals for the race had changed a little, I really wanted to make this a fun experience for my first marathon and was not really concerned all that much about finishing a few minutes faster.<br><br>
We came up to the halfway point and I felt really good even though we had just finished a long uphill. Around mile 14 Chris took a pit stop so I waited up for him. The miles were just going by effortlessly with the conversation and with the fun we were having with the other runners. Due to all the stops and schenanigans along the way, our average pace had slowed to around a 9:10 by mile 18 where Chris needed to make a pit stop again but told me to go on without him. I thanked him for his company and took off up the hill.<br><br>
Miles 17 to 19 were a lonely stretch of the course with no crowd support and runners very thinly spaced out. Along the way up I noticed a young guy who was having some trouble. I stopped to ask him what was wrong and he told me that he was having knee problems. I told him to take shorter strides up the hill and got him going and back into a running groove. He was grateful but I think that he just needed someone to talk to along this lonely stretch of the road that just happened to be at around the 19 mile mark. I was taking Gu and still felt relatively good at this point but my average pace had slowed to somewhere around 9:15-9.20 and I knew that a sub-4 hour marathon was going to be out of my reach at this point.<br><br>
Miles 20-24 were getting tougher but I knew that I was getting closer...Around mile 23 just before another uphill I noticed another runner who was having trouble and found out that he was cramping so fortunately I had some e caps in my pocket pouch and gave him some...hopefully it helped because I wished him well & took off again.<br><br>
At mile 23 this "marathon thing" was beginning to get old. I was just about ready for a "finish line" but I knew that I had to work to get there. Temps were in the 70's at this point and I had forgotten to take my GU for the final push home. From this point on it was pretty much much just grinding out the last couple of seemingly endless uphills to the finish line.<br><br>
I saved a "little" for a final "sprint" to the finish line...at least that's what it felt like to me at the time, but I had a GENUINE smile of elation as I crossed over the mat. I was met by a cute girl who hung a marathon medallion on my chest and another cute girl who took off my chip...hey where's the cute girl who gives me a finish kiss? I walked around for about 45 minutes to keep things moving a took some nutrition and fluids. I generally felt pretty good albeit sore which is normal after running 26.2 miles for the first time. Surprisingly to me, my usually problematic left AT felt fine and the knees felt great. Actually today my left AT feels better than it has felt inr a long time.<br><br>
I have to say that running 26.2 miles was easier than I thought that it was going to be. The unknown fear factor is what made it daunting for me. I really think that if your body is properly conditioned, finishing 26.2 miles is really a mental thing. Don't get me wrong, it's tough but it was not as hard as I had anticipated. This was a very memorable first marathon for me that's going to be very hard to top. My only regret is that I didn't have a camera to share some photos but this experience will be etched in my memory.<br><br>
Final Official Results:<br><br>
First place winning time: 2:39:56<br><br>
My Final chip time - 4:08:05<br>
My Ave. pace - 9:31<br>
My Age Group 55-60: 12/37<br><br>
Elevation:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c281/peterjcb/Running/ThunderRoad07Elevation.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br>
Finished and back home!<br><br><img alt="" src="http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c281/peterjcb/Running/marathon.jpg" style="border:0px solid;">
 

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This <i>has</i> to be one of the best RRs I have ever read (although for some reason I think it should have a <span style="color:#FF0000;">warning</span> attached for other first-timers. You make it sound sooo easy, Peter.)<br><br>
I'm glad that you ran it <i>your</i> way and took in the whole experience instead of fussing over time. Still, that time is terrific! What a wonderful way to top off a year that included some serious health concerns.<br><br>
I hope you're still on Cloud 9. Great pic. Take it easy for a while. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.kickrunners.com/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Smile">
 

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Truly an excellent performance and top notch report.<br>
If your goal is Boston, you made a BIG step this weekend.<br>
Bravo!<br>
jjj
 

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Great job on your 1st marathon! If I were in "trouble" I would hope there was someone like you around to help. Enjoy the aftermath!
 

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This is the kind of experience I hope I have for my first marathon in 2008! Sounds like you had a great "first" (of many more right??) - and ran it the way YOU wanted!<br>
Congratulations on such a stellar time, Peter!
 

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Awesome job! You had a great 1st marathon experience! Thanks for a wonderfully detailed RR. I was curious about this race because my bro lives near Charlotte, so I was thinking about doing it in 2008.
 
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