Richmond marathon recap + new pr!!

As I’m sure you already saw on Instagram or Facebook, I hit my goal to break 3:20!!

Richmond is a great course!


Let’s back up… we got to my sister’s house Friday morning and the cousins played for the afternoon. My sister made an awesome lasagna for dinner + bread and I added half a pumpkin muffin.  Afterwards, I went to the expo and got to meet an Instagram friend, Becca (who, spoiler alert, also nailed her pr!)

I was asleep early and actually slept okay.  By 5:15am, I was up eating my bagel with pb and banana.  I wasn’t all that hungry but ate the whole thing, as that is the breakfast that has never failed me!

I had all.the.layers.  The forecast said mid- 20s at the start, warming up into the 30s about an hour into our run.  I wore capris and a tank with a thin long sleeved top, and then added a throwaway vest for the first few miles, plus throwaway pants and a sweatshirt for the start.  And a hat and gloves.  I actually felt pretty warm at the start!

I got dropped off right downtown and appreciate that the logistics of this course are so much easier than huge races.  You just show up! I waited in a long bathroom line which meant I had a rushed start.  I jumped into the race at the front with just enough time to peel off the outer layers, and we were off!

The race

I was up with the 3:05 and 3:15 pace groups because of my last minute jump into the course so I tried to hold back and run my own pace.  The 3:15 group was right in front of me for the first 4 miles or so and I felt better when they moved on and I could run my own race, instead of worrying that I was going out too fast. The pace did not feel as easy as I wanted it to.

This was a pretty section through downtown Richmond and pretty flat.

Miles 1-5: 7:24, 7:29, 7:23, 7:31, 7:24

There was a bit of an uphill at mile 6 and downhill in mile 7, both reflected in my splits: 7:37, 7:05.

We had a few more flat miles (7:36, 7:29, 7:35) and then headed across a flat bridge to a really pretty stretch along the water.  I knew miles 11-15 had some rolling hills and that the biggest hills were coming up in mile 16 so I was focused on a steady effort through the hills, knowing my pace might drop a bit.

I was working harder but the effort felt easier than the first 5 as I was in a good groove. Somewhere in here I heard, “Go Mommy run fast!” which made me smile! (Thanks, Sara!)

Miles 11-15: 7:31, 7:36, 7:28, 7:26, 7:27

The bridge at mile 15 really wasn’t bad- the wind was calmer than previous years.  But after the bridge, mile 16 had a good amount of climbing. 7:40

Mentally I was trying to get to mile 18 and thought I would be able to pick up the pace then.  I knew from the map that 17 was a slow, very gradual incline.  Those are tricky because it looks flat as you are running but isn’t. I held onto pace but was getting tired.  7:36

At 18 I saw my family and husband’s cousin and kids who also live in Richmond! That gave me a nice boost for a mile or two: 7:34, 7:25

At 20, I was starting to fall apart.  My legs felt beat up from the climbing, and even though this part of the course was mostly flat with just a few rolling hills, I couldn’t get back into a good groove.  I really thought my goal was going out the window for a few miles: 7:50, 7:41, 7:42, 7:48

Thanks to my long time blogging friend Amanda for the awesome cheering squad at mile 22!!

In mile 23, I was giving myself a talk about how much discomfort is mental- our mind wants our bodies to stop long before our bodies need to.  I was determined to find a final push!

Mile 24-26: 7:31, 7:34, 7:12 ! and the final .3 downhill sprint at 6:25 pace!

I still need to work on that mental game but I’m proud that I was able to turn the race back around.

Final chip: 3:17:59 !! (This dropped a second from the time I saw initially on the tracking app… and I was working hard to break the 3:18 that I saw coming on the clock, so yay!!)  A five minute pr and I felt so much stronger than my pr marathon last fall.

Thanks to my husband and his cousin Jill for cheering me in at the finish!

The Richmond marathon is really scenic the whole way- I tried to soak up the views and remind myself to be in the moment! The crowd support is awesome too, with several “party zones” with music and larger crowds.  This was one of my favorite races so far!

Thank you so much for the encouragement and support through training! Now to enjoy a week of sleeping in, eating and resting.  🙂

Do you have a favorite race you’ve run?

How to you handle the mental piece at the end of a race?

I’m linking up with Tricia and HoHo from The Weekly Wrap, with Jess Runs ATL and The Right Fits and PattyErika, and Marcia for Tuesdays on the Run.





67 thoughts on “Richmond marathon recap + new pr!!

  1. Yay! You worked so hard for this, both training and during the race. I think earning a PR takes a lot of mental grit during a race. You have to be willing to endure the HARD for a long time. So nice that you had so much family support in Richmond.
    Coco recently posted..2017 Wilson Bridge Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

  2. Really amazing run. Your speed is outstanding. I really enjoyed your post here explaining how you handled the whole race.

    What are throwaway outer layers? Do you just toss them to a family member on the course or are you literally throwing them away? Sorry, marathon newbie question.

    To answer your questions, my favorite race was probably the Lake Tahoe Relay. Seven runner relay around the whole lake (72 miles). The team building was so much fun. The views were amazing.

    Handling the mental piece typically includes daydreaming about the long hot shower when I get home.

    • Thanks so much, Darin!

      The throwaway layers get tossed at the start – you want to keep your muscles warm while standing around, so a lot of races now collect anything thrown away and give it to Salvation army or a similar organization. I usually use old gear that I need to get rid of, or occasionally will go to a consignment shop or Walmart to buy sweats or a cheap sweatshirt. It’s worth it!
      Laura recently posted..Richmond marathon recap + new pr!!My Profile

  3. So glad I saw you! I was tempted to yell Laura, but figured it was more fun to say your handle and that way you would know that’s how I knew you 👍🏼

    We cheered on some family and friends at 13 then headed to 20 and the finish. You were too fast for me to see again!! Way to go!!!

  4. Congratulations on the pr and a great race! I’m so glad you liked Richmond; it really is one of my favorites!

  5. Nice race, Laura! Congratulations! You deserved this, speedy! 🙂 (It’s been a while since I read a good marathon report, so thanks for that too.)

  6. Way to push hard!! I’ve run Richmond twice and really do love it. I don’t have any other marathons to compete against but I would think this one is hard to top. So pretty and I agree- great crowd support!! Awesome job!!!

  7. Amazing! Congratulations on a new PR and a great time!! I think you’re right about the mental game in the later miles. Our minds want to tell us we feel bad (and to a certain extent we do!!) and our bodies believe it!!

  8. This is so awesome! Weren’t you on the fence about running this race for a while? And, aren’t you glad you did? WHOOT on the five minute PR. Way to push through the discomfort in those final miles. Thanks for linking!

  9. You know how excited I am for you!! Woo hoo! The hard work and smart training paid off big time! Soak it all in and enjoy – psyched for you!! xo

  10. I must remember that our bodies want to quit before they need to!
    I am so glad I was able to see you come in! You looked awesomely strong gliding down the hill! Gave me chill bumps 🙂 Pretty amazing time!! Congratulations 🙂

  11. Congratulations on your PR, Laura! You trained super hard for it and it is well deserved. I totally get why you wore all the layers- I had some friends run this race and they all said it was really cold (but we are in SC). I love the pics of the bundled up kids too- I feel like the cold is so much worse for the spectators and volunteers and try to remind myself that at least I’m moving during the race.

    I hope you have a good recovery and Thanksgiving holiday!
    Amy Lauren recently posted..Weekly Rundown: November 6-12My Profile

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  13. Congrats on a big PR and a strong finish. Those late miles can be so tough as your body and mind are getting tired, but you were able to fight through. Way to go!! 🙂

  14. Congrats on a PR and an awesome race!! Richmond is one of my favorites, I’m glad you enjoyed it as much as I have in years past. Very impressed at your ability to dig deep mentally and physically those last few miles and pull yourself out of the doubts!!!!

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  16. Congrats on an awesome race! I’m just reading this now. You rocked it. Hopefully you can give yourself some downtime – and then scheme about “what’s next”! 🙂

  17. Congrats its amazing. Really very excited for you. I knew that you will do it and it is just because of your hard work. Very congrats. I love Richmond and am much impressed.

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