Nothing is better then a 4:30 am wake up on a Sunday. Read to leave, I begin to head to my 11th marathon, the Tobacco Road Marathon in Cary, NC. Driving in the pitch black to a race in an area I have never been to made me feel excited. Participating in a marathon in a place I have never bee to before sounded ideal. I knew a majority of the trail was going to be on the American Tobacco Trail which meant nature, which helps me relax and not get overwhelmed during the race.
Once 6:30 came around, I had a half hour to kill before the start time. I found a comfortable spot to stand next to the 6-hour pacer and waited, dancing by myself to the music the DJ was playing. Once 7 am hit, the marathon began. The first 2 miles took us through the town of Cary. After the initial two miles, the marathoners and half marathoners broke off to their own paths leading the marathoners to 22 miles down the American Tobacco Trail.
The route was designed to reach a certain point and then turn around so the people ahead of you would pass you. At mile 6, the person in the lead passed me which meant they were on mile 13. He said good luck to me which made me so happy. This man who runs at professional speeds is cheering me on! Those two tiny words helped me have no issues until mile 14 where the weight of the water started to become to much.
Usually, during the marathon, I will simply carry the water in one arm and then to the next for a few miles. I did not do it until mile 14. Once I brought the jug of 5 gallons off my head, my shoulders started to burn. They have been above my head holding a weight for almost 3 and a half hours. I tried putting one arm at my side while the other continued to carry the water but my arms would not go all the way to my sides. My shoulders have been engaged for so long. After about 3 miles of giving my head a break, I felt strong enough to put the water back on my head. At this point, mile 17, everything hurts, and I just want to be done. The volunteers handing out water could see it in my eyes. After taking a minute break at an aid station, a few volunteers talked to me, gave me words of encouragement, which pushed me to continue.
The volunteers at the marathon were amazing. The energy and encouragement were constant. Even when I would pass aid stations 5 and a half hours in, the DJ was still blasting music. The marathon was extremely well run and all the runners had a great time during the event. This will always be a marathon I will recommend to future runners.