Double Trouble Day 2: Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon

Here is Part 1, in case you missed it.

The three crazies pulled into Raleigh close to 8 pm, stopped to grab some food, and headed to Hotel Jenster. I think we were all a bit broken from the heat at Savannah and so worried about the race in the morning, it was almost forgotten we had just finished a marathon earlier in the day.

Of course, there was fresh meat in the form of an old friend also staying at my place to remind us “I cant believe you ran a marathon today.” However, as a military medic he came prepared with IVs, just in case…so we allowed him to stay.

Sleep was pretty similar to the previous night, quick and peaceful,  and the “fall back” allowed for an extra hour of much needed rest! The whole place was up and ready to go early, even Mr Penguin.

He’s mad he hasn’t been in a race report all year…but still let us rub his nose for good luck!
Time for one last group pic, and we were out the door!
Once parked, it was a little chaotic trying to pick up packet, get to port-a-potty, etc etc… but we some how made it with a few seconds to spare, and hopped in somewhere between the 4:30 and 5:00 pace group. 
Don was doing his own race, but JJ and Soup (If I told you his real name you’d think my imaginary cat walked across my keyboard) stuck with me through most of the first mile. 
Dumb girl is blocking JJ, not that she was looking
I started talking to a Maniac, although it’s always a bit harder when you don’t have the gear…”I wore my singlet yesterday” gave me some cred. As we chatted, JJ and Soup made their move to the front, leaving me with my new friend. We were going a decent easy pace, and I hoped I made a friend for the rest of the race, but around mile 1.5 she said she was going to slow. I prob should have followed her lead, as I said in the first mile I already felt like I ran 15, but I was dumb and pulled ahead. 
Fatefully, I was only alone for a quarter mile before I saw my friend Melissa and her sister. Melissa did the first few miles of the MST 50k with me, and is usually a sub 4 marathoner and a Maniac, but she was pacing her sister for her first half…and they were doing perfect 11:00 min miles, so I hung out for a few. 
Friend dubbed us – Raisins (Running Asians)
I felt really good with the sisters. I run through downtown all the time and the rolling hills are not an issue at the slow pace. However, approaching the 10k mark, I had to slow going up a long incline and lost them just before hitting the water stop I volunteered at last year. 
Next few miles were lonely. I was in an unfamiliar neighborhood and no one was talking. The previous day was starting to catch up with me, when I met a halfer who seemed to be struggling. Nothing makes you feel better while running than trying to help someone else. We ran the next few miles together and I left him shortly before the half/full split at mile 10. 
The volunteer at the split noticed my Savannah shirt and said “You ran yesterday? Half or Full?” and I got some really crazy looks from everyone in earshot as I said “Full,” then made the turn onto the greenway to complete another. 
I think that gave me a bit of a big head. I sped up, knowing there was a huge downhill coming up. I normally take downhills really hard, it’s usually when I make up my time on trail races, as my quads like to take a beating. So, I attacked the down hill…
Yeah, THAT downhill.
By mile 11, my legs felt like they went though a meat grinder. It was a horrific pain, similar to the numbing pain of frostbite. I walked, but that hurt too so I did the power waddle shuffle that got me through the Afton 50k earlier in the year. 
Pretty soon the 5 hour pace group was on me. I clung on to them, hoping I’d magically fall in step. We chatted and I could already tell they were real pacers, not the sorry excuse for one I had in Savannah. They introduced me to the group, gasped when I talked about Savannah, and all was happy with the world. 
For about a mile.
My assessment of felling like I was at mile 15 when we were at mile 1 turned out to be accurate, as I hit the wall at 11….and was totally burned out at 12. Crossed the half at 2:34:24, with no hope of negative splits and very little hope of finishing. This was gonna be a long race!
Luckily a guy in a Shamrock shirt came along, and I was able to run with him. Talking about my favorite race really helped. The front runners were coming through on the opposite direction and Don passed with the 3:30 group looking strong and gave me a high 5. Pretty soon after I saw JJ looking amazing, followed by Soup who was just a head of the 4 hour group. I was kinda jealous of them, as knew I had a long way to the turn around, but that’s what I get for not training….and for being slow. 
Shamrock guy lasted a few more miles before he wimped out on me, and I was alone heading up to the lake. I know this lake well. It’s only a few miles from my house. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was tempted to just go home from there…but I made the turn at 17 to head back to the finish. 
Don’t be fooled, I feel horrible. 
Long time readers know mile 17 is my nemesis. Being tired and having 9 miles left always hurt my head and my spirit. But mile 22 of a 50k is a totally different story (I know this makes sense to the Ultra peeps)….so I kept telling myself mentally that I was doing a 50k…Mile 18 became 23, 19 was 24, etc, etc…and it made all the difference. 
I was actually picking it up in these miles and around mile 20, I got to see a ton of my friends out cheering for me. Of course, being my friends, they made it a tailgate and had a bloody mary bar set up. Words cant describe how happy I was to see them. Luckily they got a pic…
No, I didn’t take a roadie…

I’m either saying “I love you guys” or “kill me now”

It was a big boost and enough to keep me running for the next 3 miles. I still felt horrible, but I’ve finished ultras feeling worse…

At the base of the big hill, hashers were giving out beer. I said “I’ve been dreaming about you since 17!” and they retorted with something that sounded really funny at the time but I cant remember what it was! Since I was in ultra mode, I walked the big hill…but I passed a lot of people doing more of a zombie shuffle than mel. In my head I was at mile 28….basically done!

Trying to run at the top of the hill was difficult. I’d run a little, then walk, the run again. It was all about what hurt less at the moment. It almost felt like a really bad hangover…one minute I thought I was ok and the next I thought I was dying. By mile 24.5 I wish I really had died, so the hurt would go away.

Angels came in the form of Don and Tobi at 25. Don had pulled off a sub 3:30 on day 2, Tobi PR’d her 10k and planned on cheering…but when they saw how bad I looked, jogged me in. It was rough. Usually mile 25 is pretty painless for me, as I know the end it near. This time, the finish just seemed farther and farther.

Me, Don, Tobi

Gamin had me at 5:15:42 and the original results had me at 5:15:37 (I updated my maniac profile with it as soon as it came out)…but for some reason the results now have me at 5:16:25. Doesn’t matter since I missed sub 5 by a long shot. But considering how bad I felt, I’ll take any of those times.

Yeah, I’ll say Day 2 felt pretty bad in comparison. 

Everyone was right around the finish, which was good because my legs weren’t so great at functioning. I know there’s a group finish photo somewhere but I have no idea where it is. All I know is I was done…in every sense of the word.

Asleep…in public…post brunch….with a smile!

The next day I was walkin like this guy…
The crazy pain made me worried about Marshall…
But that didnt stop JJ and I from doing a little celebration!
Not as big a Grazis, but they did the job!

I still cant believe it happened…that I survived a double. I definitely owe it all to the Ultras I’ve done this year…there’s no way mentally I could have handled it at this time last year…despite being in roughly the same physical space. Would I do it again? After a lot of thinking, yes. But I’d want both races flat…and cold. Anyone wanna join??

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