Richmond Marathon Recap!!

Warning…. this will probably be long. I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you: I finished my first marathon in 3:59:57!!! I honestly didn’t think breaking 4 hours was a possibility going into this race, but now I’ll give you the run down of how we (me and my dad) made it happen.



Thomas and I took off work on Friday to drive to Richmond and got to the expo around 3:00. We walked around picked up my bib and my dad’s and then I had to do a double take when I saw Bart Yasso just standing there. I introduced myself and took a quick picture with him and then told him how this was my first marathon and how nervous I was. He told me to run steady and smart and that I would be fine.


After the expo we waited on my dad to get to the hotel and then went out to an Italian place for dinner. Dad and I both got pizza. I don’t eat pasta a lot so I went with a thin crust white pizza (basically dough and cheese) and showed some real restraint while Thomas and my dad drank their beers. I was being really good about my hydration all day, so I wasn’t about to give in and drink anything but water or gatorade. We went to bed around 9:30/10ish and I slept pretty good Friday night.


My alarm went off at 5:45. We did a quick check of the weather – 40 degrees and clear skies. I ate half a bagel, some coffee and gatorade. I wore a tank top, shorts, Tiux compression socks, and my fuel belt. I bought some throwaway clothes from Walmart – a fleece jacket, gloves, and a headband for my ears. Let me just say, Walmart has seriously stepped up their activewear game. They had some pretty good stuff in there! But I went with the $8.99 fleece because I knew I was going to throw it away.


Thomas dropped us off near the start and then went back to the hotel for a while. I made a quick porta potty stop and then we found a good place near the start to finish stretching and warming up. I was technically supposed to be in Wave 2, but I snuck into Wave 1 so I could start towards the front. I hate getting caught up in crowds and tripping over people.

This meant we started way ahead of the 4:00 pace group, which I’ll come back to later.


There were about 6,000 in the marathon and over 10,000 running the half marathon. The half started somewhere else at 7:30, so we didn’t run into them at all. Before we knew it we were off! I was soooooo excited and nervous at this point, but as soon as we started I saw my pal Bart Yasso again and ran over to him to give him a high five. He said “RUN SMART AND RUN STRONG” and I decided I was going to take his advice.

Miles 1-10

We were running a really steady 9:00 pace and staying ahead of the 4 hour pace group. I loved running in a new place where I had no idea where I was. The crowds were awesome and there was a lot of support throughout the whole race. Also, there were TONS of puppies! I loved seeing so many dogs wagging their cute little tails. My dad and I both had to take a quick bathroom break right after the mile 4 mark, but it only took us about 30 seconds. I may have overdone it with the liquids that morning.

I got to read a lot of sweet texts from friends and they helped me a lot! I took my first Gu around mile 6 and drank water/powerade every two miles at the water stops.

Splits: 9:04, 9:03, 8:55, 8:58, 9:40 (bathroom break), 8:57, 8:48, 8:56, 8:55, 8:56

Miles 11-20

I still felt really good through the halfway point. I knew I would see Thomas at mile 16 so I just kept going. I think I took another gel right before mile 16. This was my reaction when I saw Thomas.. I was really excited.


We stopped for a few seconds so my dad could change his shirt and I got a good luck kiss. We passed by more puppies, free Jim Beam shots and a table of Miller Lite in little paper cups. I was tempted, but I knew I would throw up. Spectators were handing out donuts and candy but I didn’t have any of that either. I put my headphones in somewhere around mile 18 and listened to music for a few miles. Then I took them out around 21 because I wanted to take in those last 5 miles

Splits: 8:54, 8:54, 9:05, 8:49, 9:02, 9:12, 9:38 (Thomas), 9:15, 9:08, 9:13

Miles 21-26.2

This is where it got kind of tough. I had been feeling really good. My legs felt strong and healthy and my breathing was fine. I slowed down through every water stop to drink some powerade and took one more gel around mile 21 for some energy. My body was just getting tired. But then I looked around and thought to myself EVERYONE is tired. No one feels good right now. They are all still running so you can keep running too.

I knew the last mile was downhill, so I just kept telling myself to make it to mile 25 and then you’re done. I think mile 23 was the hardest. Once I passed mile 25 I just took off. We passed the 4 hour pace group, but then we remembered that they started way behind us, so we had to beat them by about a minute. At this point I knew I had to break 4 hours… I trained hard and came all this way and I wasn’t going to accept anything less. I saw Thomas right at the top of the hill near the finish and he took a quick picture. Game face.


I was sprinting FAST down the last quarter mile stretch (which is a pretty steep downhill). I knew my legs would pay for it later but I didn’t care. Everyone I passed was yelling at me to go faster and I heard Thomas cheering, so I just sprinted harder and harder. I crossed the finish line and immediately paused my watch and looked down – 3:59:56!!! I could not believe it. I knew there was a chance my watch was off so I looked up my official time before even grabbing my medal. 3:59:57. I was so happy.

Splits: 9:14, 9:16, 9:25, 9:12, 9:14, 8:12

After the race we got fleece blankets and hats with our medals and headed straight for the pizza and beer. Pizza has never tasted so good.


I could not have done this without these two guys. I’m so lucky to have a husband who will give up his weekend and wake up at 6 am on a Saturday to watch his crazy wife run for 4 hours. I’m also so lucky to have a dad who enjoys running as much as I do.



Oh and of course I have to thank my other training partner. Dixie spent the weekend with my mom and Greta. She gave me LOTS of good luck kisses and was very excited to see us on Sunday when we got home. She obviously loved the fleece blanket.


I feel like I’m forgetting a lot of details but I don’t want to make this a novel, so that’s it! For the first time in my life I’m really contemplating buying race photos.

Anyone else race this past weekend? How did you do?

Have you ever bought your race photos?

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37 Responses to Richmond Marathon Recap!!

  1. Wow!!!! What an awesome race…congratulations!!!!!

  2. Sam says:

    Congrats!!! That’s amazing you finished right under 4 hours, way to push it at the very end. I’ve never bought the photos before, but you look pretty happy in yours so I think it might be worth it. 🙂

  3. Jamie says:

    FABULOUS RACE!!! SO SO SO happy for you 🙂 Congratulations – now time to celebrate, rest, and eat !! And yes, I totally buy race photos … few and far between because they’re usually not so flattering haha.

  4. cheryl says:

    Congratulations!!! You did great! I don’t buy race photos–I look awful. I prefer to live in my fantasy land where I don’t look like I am road kill (oh, and where I am a lot younger looking too!).
    I love the pic of Dixie sleeping with the fleece. That was nice swag!

  5. Congrats on an awesome race, Maddie! I’m so glad you had the race of your dreams, you very much earned it! Way to go!! Congrats to your dad as well, he sounds like a fantastic pacer and running buddy 🙂

  6. Hannah says:

    Can’t wait to hear more about it! So happy for you!

  7. Suzy says:

    I love so much that you got in under 4 hours by 3 seconds! BAD. ASS. Love all the pics, loved the race recap. I sat here with Andrew and showed him your paces and pics. Pressure is on now, baby! I’m obsessed with the photo of Dixie sleeping under the blanket. HA HA! SO CUTE.

  8. Loribeth says:

    Great job!! I raced in Georgia this weekend………… second ever marathon. I did this as my first race in 2013 and finished in 4:04 and wanted to break 4 hours this time, but ended up 4:28……………not my best time, but I was so tight after mile 16 that I am glad I got that time and kept running the whole way. My half time was 2 hours on the dot, so it’s that last part that was tough. And it was cold that day……….34 at the start! yikes!

  9. jade says:

    Excellent race! I know what it takes to get under 4 hours, I’ve only done it once… in Phoenix. Huge congrats!

  10. TOLD YOU you’d nail it. Totally taking credit :D. So proud of you.

  11. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!! A sub-4 finish for your first marathon! Just let that sink in! Wow! I am in awe of you! Congrats!

    I love that picture of you with the two slices of pizza. That’s Facebook profile pic worthy! 😀

  12. Congrats, Maddie (and to your dad as well)! What an awesome finish time and it sounds like you had a genuinely good experience for your first marathon! I love the picture of Dixie sleeping under the fleece. Also – I liked how you kept mentioning all the puppies – I get so excited about all the cute doggies out at races also!

  13. Congrats Maddie! You did so awesome and I’m glad you had a wonderful first marathon experience 🙂

  14. Congrats on a great race! How awesome that you were able to push so hard for that last mile and break 4 hours. You definitely ran smart and strong just like Bart Yasso told you to!

  15. That is awesome! What a great 1st marathon experience! No knee pain at all? I ran 2 miles yesterday and my knee was throbbing a bit afterwards. It’s still making me nervous that marathon training isn’t going to go well. Your splits are awesome! My first marathon I just got steadily slower and slower as the race went on LOL. Congrats!!

  16. Fallon says:

    Congratulations!! Sub 4 is awesome! Great pictures! The pizza shots are awesome. 🙂 A fleece blanket is pretty awesome race swag.

  17. Jessi says:

    Congratulations! I don’t know why, but reading the end of your post brought tears to my eyes. I love that you were able to experience this huge accomplishment with your dad. That’s just so cool!

  18. Ariana says:

    YAAAAY! Congratulations! Mile 23 was the hardest for me too. I had the same feelings of being tired and realizing that everyone around me was tired too (and a lot of them were cramping and I was not) so I just kept trucking along. I’m so excited you had a great first marathon experience. Enjoy your recovery time.

  19. Wow! You did great! Such an awesome race and great recap too! 🙂

  20. Jenny says:

    Congratulations!!! Great way to nail your first marathon. : )

  21. Woo Hoo!!! You did it!!! That is a killer time for your first marathon. You weren’t even sure that you were going to do the marathon, or finish, but you did both AND surpassed all expectations. Way to go!!! Your pace and consistency is really impressive. Not a lot of people can do that for their first marathon. Congrats, girlfriend!!!

  22. Awesome job! We must have been right near each other during the race because I finished in 3:57:49! It was a great (and hard) day!

  23. Kerry says:

    Congrats! You had such a great race. Great recap and pics too! 🙂

  24. Toni Ynes says:

    Congratulations to you!! What a great race and your recap brought tears to my eyes and put a huge smile on my face. Wonderful job and so happy for you!! XXOO

  25. Nice recap! Sounds like a great race and I love how you thanked your training partner!

  26. CONGRATULATIONS!! You had such an amazing race! So happy for you, especially after everything you’ve gone through before this race. Enjoy this moment and celebrate!

  27. Karen says:

    Wow!! Way to go! A sub 4 for your 1st is pretty amazing 😉
    I ran the half and ran a PR. The weather was so amazing, it was wonderful go fast weather lol I am glad you had a great time!
    Congrats marathoner!

  28. Wow!! Congrats on a great debut!

  29. I’m so late getting to read this, but congratulations!! I’m so happy you had a great first experience with the marathon and your time was incredible!! Great job! Can’t wait to hear what you decide to do next!

  30. Congrats Maddie!! That is so impressive and I’m so glad you came back strong from your IT band problems. I don’t think I could do a shot of Jim while running, but I’ve definitely had some beer during a race 😉 I’m so happy you got your sub-4!!

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  32. Jason says:

    I’m a little behind here but OMG AMAZING!!! Congrats on finishing and that is such an amazing time!!!!! That is so great that you snuck in under four hours.

    I love the fleece blanket – I think that’s a really great idea. I’ve never seen that before – if you don’t mind me asking, was the registration fee super expensive?

    Yayy – awesome work!! Any races coming up?

    • Maddie says:

      Thanks Jason!! It was $95, but I signed up way early. I think it went up to $120 or $130 closer to the race. It was definitely worth it… a beautiful course and lots of spectators!

      Just taking it easy right now until I figure out what my next race will be!

  33. Great job! Looks like such a fun day!

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