March 19, 2014

Quintiles Marathon and a BQ!

Sunday morning, I woke up early and that was no surprise.....however, I did not jump out of bed and exclaim "It's race day", like I have done on other race mornings.  This was a serious morning for me with a big goal at stake. I was nervous and needed to get into race day mode. With some extra time to spare, I checked my twitter feed, looked at Facebook and then got a banana and some water.  By now it was close to 5:00am and we had planned to leave the house by 5:15 for the short drive to the race shuttles. I quickly got on my race outfit, ate my English muffin with peanut butter and we headed out the door.

Soon I was on the shuttle to the beach, riding with a college student who was running her first half.  We made small chit chat until it was time to depart the bus and we wished each other a good race.  Luckily, I immediately found some people from my running group Without Limits who kept me company during the nearly hour long wait until the race would start.

Anthony (2nd from right) shared this photo with me.
Around 6:15 I met up with Meghan and we finalized our race plans.  I ditched my throwaway clothes and then it was time for the national anthem. And we were off....time to get serious and get those miles in, one at a time.

The fun part
The first few miles at the beach were fabulous. While there was a bit of a crowd, we managed to run our pace with no problem and completed those miles very comfortably.  Soon, we were crossing the bridge to head to the Mayfaire section of the course and the long run through the Landfall subdivision, a beautiful gated community.  We saw Tom just as we crossed the bridge and he offered bananas which we did not need....yet! We were keeping a very consistent pace and after the mile four marker on Military Cutoff, I turned to Meghan and said I was having alot of fun. Her response was something like, "you need to say that on our last pass through this section of the course at mile 25!"  Clearly that was a comment for me to keep my emotions in check and to keep on running. After completing miles 5-10, we were headed back to the beach for loop 2 of the course.  After crossing the bridge, we continued along the way and Meghan seemed to know every volunteer along the route. Our pace stayed consistent, yet there were times when I glanced at my watch and saw 9:09 pace or even 8:45 pace, clearly too fast for the run portion of our marathon.  Did I mention that we were following Jeff Galloway's run walk method doing 4 minutes of running and 1 minute of walking?  Meghan bought a Gymboss timer so she was in charge of our intervals.  This was strange for me, being a control freak and all! After our second loop of the beach we approached and crossed the bridge again at mile 15.5  It was here that Tom stood in the road, with a banana in each hand for Meghan and me to grab as we passed. He also reported that Christine had completed her half with an amazing PR....and so I took off! Meghan calmed me down on our next walk break since our pace got ridiculously fast after I heard the PR news! I was one proud mama!

The Grind  
Rounding the bend onto Military Cutoff, we knew that the hard part of the race was coming.  We entered Landfall again at mile 18.5 and now we had to finish out those last miles.  Meghan was so cheerful, and chatting with any other runners that we came across.  Several joined our little group for a short period of time and that was fun for her since there was little talking going on from me.  Prior to the race, we had agreed that I was to conserve all my energy for running.  As we worked our way through Landfall yet again, we had to do a little loop to obtain a wrist band to prove that you had run through twice.  The miles were ticking by a bit more slowly for me, yet I was still comfortable.  While I wore a Garmin, Meghan was in charge of our race and I just kept running and really did not know what our time would be at the finish.  My head was too mushy to work out the math.  The only moment I paid any attention to our time was at the 13.1 mile marker and we ran 2:10 for the first half.....definitely quick! Most of this race went without a hitch until mile 22.5.
I have read about the wall.  I have had nightmares about the wall and was convinced the wall would never get me. Sometime between mile 22 and 23, I had a really strange sensation come over my entire body.  I felt a little sick, clammy and very uncomfortable.  At the time, Meghan was slightly ahead of me and had no idea that I had a slight (or possibly large) issue going on.  My head starting spinning as to what could be going on and then I got pi**ed off.  I told myself, "you did not work your butt off for a bad finish, now put on your big girl pants and get it together. Oh, and get running better too." As quickly as this came, it left me, but I know how easily a marathon can get derailed after that brief period.  This was scary of course, but thankfully I was able to work through it. Miles 23-24 went reasonably well. Oh and I also started singing....it was Katy Perry "Roar" time and this champion was singing very badly to get to the finish line!  Meghan had been forewarned and this will give her a funny story to share with her friends about that crazy old lady that she paced for a marathon!

The Glorious Finish
As we exited the subdivision onto Military cutoff for the final time, the excitement from both Meghan and me was palpable.  The crowds were doing an amazing job of cheering for us, and running along that stretch was just plain fun! I even heard someone yell, "go We Run Disney,"....how cool was that?  Soon we were passing the mile 25 marker and heading into the Mayfaire area for the finish line.  We talked about running straight through but I still needed walk breaks.  Several Without Limits team members were at the final aide station at mile 25.5 and were so encouraging....thanks Paige and others! Now, I could barely contain myself....this was the race of my life and I knew that the BQ was there for the taking.  We rounded the bend after weaving behind the shopping center and headed to that beautiful finish line.  As soon as I saw it, I lost total control of my emotions and started to cry.  Tom managed to get a photo of us as we were approaching the line.

It's blurry, but it captures the moment perfectly!

This photo may be blurry, but it is one of my most favorite race photos. The culmination of alot of hard work is captured in my face, and the joy on Meghan's face is gorgeous!


Finish line photo courtesy of Meghan!


I received a growler for my first place AG prize!
It is always fun winning an AG prize, but not only was I first place, I also took last place in the age category.....no matter, the biggest prize was my BQ!

This won't be the last post on the race, since there are so many other thoughts running through my head. But I will spare you any more for today!
(Pam)


FEMALE AGE GROUP: 60 - 64 (300)
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PlaceBibNameageCITY/STATEMILE 3_5PaceMile 11_3PaceMile 16PaceMile 24_1PaceTagTimeTagPaceGunTime

1.420PAMELA KEENAN60WILMINGTON NC35:2610:081:52:059:562:39:189:583:57:289:524:18:289:524:19:46

65 comments:

  1. Congratulations!!! I met Christine this weekend at Shamrock and she told me you were going for a BQ!! AWESOME JOB!!!

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    1. Thanks Sue. Christine had so much fun meeting so many wonderful runners/bloggers at the Shamrock race weekend. I'd be tempted to go there next year, but I love running at home!

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  2. Pam, I am so proud of you! Way to work through the wall that hit you - you are so determined and that showed!! Love the picture of you at the end, it's priceless! Congrats again, you're a rock star!

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    1. Thanks Karen, I met my goal and now I will be able to relax and cheer for all my running pals as they realize their 2014 goals!

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  3. What an amazing recap! That photo of you captures the emotion so perfectly. A perfect picture! Congrats Pam - Boston or Bust!!

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    1. Thanks Lauren....I love the Boston or bust comment!

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  4. Ahhh Pam! A HUGE congrats! What an amazing race and look at that smile on your face! LOVE it.

    I can only imagine what the moment of crossing a finish line knowing you BQ'd is like -- in my head it's like the sheer joy and shock after childbirth haha. I really hope I can experience it for my own one day.

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    1. Jen, I know you will get there, but in the meantime, you need to have fun with Wyatt and your soon to be baby girl. So excited for you...it is a very special time when you bring a new baby home.

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  5. So happy for you both !!!! ----- Denise

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    1. Thanks Denise, we had a fantastic weekend!

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  6. This is so amazing! A big congrats to you Pam! What a huge accomplishment for you!

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    1. Thank you Bonnie....it was fun, and the sacrifices made were definitely worth the end result!

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  7. AWESOME JOB PAM!!! I have known you could do this - I'm so glad YOU believed as well! I think I'm going to have to print off both yours and Christine's recaps to read before I run in April :) You both help motivate me SO much!

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    1. You are one of my biggest supporters Megan and you don't know how much I appreciate your comments, and texts. I can't wait for your big race....you are going to kill your goal and make that race course yours!

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  8. OMG, I totally just teared up reading this. What an amazing day for both of you guys! Great recap! I can't wait to hear about Boston training!

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    1. Yea, about that training Jamie......my coach told me that once you reach the goal of qualifying, you can just enjoy the race and not worry about time....I plan to do that, despite my type double A personality!

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  9. Woohoo Pam! What an awesome race! And congratulations on that BQ!!! So amazing! I just LOVE that picture of you running and the emotion on your face! Made me tear up! So proud of you!!!

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    1. You are always so supportive Mindy and Christine and I both appreciate that so much. Can't wait to hear about your half in a few weeks!

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  10. Hooray! Time to "roar" at Boston :)

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    1. Lesley, I am not sure I am allowed to sing at Boston....my voice really is about the worst in the world!

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  11. Incredible! You are an inspiration to work harder and push through! Congrats!!

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    1. Thanks, there was alot of blood, sweat and tears that went into the race.

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  12. love that picture!! Congrats...you are an inspiration!

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    1. Thanks Kelly, I really had fun, at least for most of the race!

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  13. Congrats!!! This recap is great, and I LOVE the photo of you right before the finish line. It makes me tear up just looking at it because I can really see and feel the emotion that you are experiencing in that perfect moment.

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    1. Thanks Kira, I remember the finish so clearly....I hope it always stays in my mind!

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  14. Love, love, love your expression in that pic. Yes, captures it Beautifully. Congrats again Pam :)

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    1. Thanks Nicole, as you know, there is nothing like crossing the finish line of a marathon. The feeling of pride is huge!

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  15. SO STINKIN PROUD OF YOU PAM!! I'm in tears here so excited you hit this goal because if your hard work and HEART!!

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    1. Thanks Kat...you are one of the people who inspire me to get in my workouts. You always stay positive and encourage people at all levels of fitness. It is always fun reading and hearing about your latest escapades!

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  16. CONGRATULATIONS PAM! The picture of you heading towards the finish line is amazing, you look so happy!

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    1. Thanks Danielle, There are so many finish lines we cross as runners, but this definitely hits one of my top spots!

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  17. This is so amazing! I was just tearing up ( with tears of joy of course) as I read this and saw that most glorious photo of you as you realized you were about to BQ! Tell Tom we wins for Best photo of the year ( I don't even care that we aren't half way through the year yet). He couldn't have captured a better moment! SO SO proud of you Pam! ~M

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    1. Meranda, I may need to give Tom something extra special for dinner tonight (or an extra beer at cocktail hour) with that lovely comment. I was happy he was able to get a photo because I do not have any from the race photographer. :(

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  18. Congratulations! You are truly an inspiraton!

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    1. Thanks Tania....I really worked hard this past year and joining a running/coached group made all the difference.

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  19. That picture of you at the finish is fabulous! It captures the emotion perfectly! I only did the half and could not imagine doing that whole loop again, I don't know how you did it! Congratulations again Pam you are so strong!

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    1. Thanks so much Courtney and congratulations on running the half. It is different doing a loop marathon but I never minded that since the first half the lighting is so much different. Going back to the beach in daylight was fun!

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  21. Congratulations on your BQ. That is just HUGE and overly exciting!!

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    1. Thanks so much Jess. So happy you got to meet Christine at Shamrock. I hope you enjoyed the race as much as she did!

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  22. This is incredible Pam - big congrats to you!!! You are such an inspiration to all of us!

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    1. Thanks Kristen, the people who inspire me are Kimberley Torres and others who have fought far greater battles than just a race course. Christine met a lady over the weekend who is a survivor AND qualified for Boston at the Shamrock Marathon....now that is just amazing!

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  23. Most amazing picture ever!!! You rock Pam- #SparkleOn at Boston!

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    1. Thanks Patty.....I am ordering "Dress Me Up" blue for the occasion!

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  24. So very happy for you Pam!! I'm tearing up over here in Japan reading about it!! What an amazing accomplishment!!! You and Christene really rocked it last weekend!! Now go Celebrate!! :)

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    1. Aww..thanks so much Allie. I have been enjoying all your posts from Japan. You are certainly taking advantage of all the opportunities available.

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  25. Such a great recap and such an awesome accomplishment! It made me tear up just reading! Congratulations on such a well run race! You did it! Boston or bust!

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    1. Thank Maggie. I am visiting my mom in the Boston area at the moment and it is fun to think that next year I will be running on some of the streets we pass doing errands etc.

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  26. The picture of your happiness at the end of the race is amazing, it almost brings tears to my eyes for you. I am so happy for you!

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    1. Thanks Abby....alot went into the race and I am so glad I got the perfect ending!

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  27. Way to go, Pam! I absolutely love the picture that Tom took of you at the end. It definitely captures the thrill of your fast finish time and you qualifying for Boston.

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    1. Thanks Kathryn. I was so happy that Tom managed to cature that moment. Next year will be special when I toe the line for the Boston Marathon!

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  28. SO awesome -- congrats -- what a great race!

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    1. Thanks Courtney....I feel very lucky that the day turned out perfectly!

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  29. Pam, that is absolutely amazing! I teared up at your finish picture! Congrats on an amazing run and I can't wait to congratulate you again when you get into Boston!

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    1. Thanks Amy....I did not realize you lived in the Boston area. I'm actually visiting my Mom now (she lives in Needham!).

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  30. SO, SO, SO happy for you! Congratulations on a BQ -- amazing! You are incredibly inspiring! I absolutely LOVE that picture! :-D

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    1. Aww thanks Jennifer. The rest of this year will be fun and next month I get to pace one of my teammates for her first half marathon! I can't wait!

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