Yesterday I ran what some call one of the hardest Marathons in the country… ♦
THE INAUGURAL BLUE RIDGE MARATHON ON THE PARKWAY
This was my 8th Marathon and I didn’t do it for time. I did it because a couple of friends suggested I do it. I also wanted to support Roanoke. I just wanted to finish.
I was doubting myself the night before because I work 10-12 hr days selling cars, juggle 3 children by 2 different mothers, and I’d only run 3 18 milers for preparation. I also have been lifting weights a lot and I am bigger than most runners at 6’2, 211lbs.
I called my Dad in Houston and he said “Don’t worry… when I ran my first Marathon, I’d only run a longest of 18 one time, you know you can do it.” This inspired me.
This is where you know… A lot of it is mental.
As I always tell people when running
their first Marathon “What you don’t
know, won’t hurt you!”
Some of the people I ran with were not from Roanoke, so even though they’d seen the course on a map, they didn’t know where they were. I did and every hill too.
The first 10 were pretty easy. I’d run all of these mountains before, just not at one time! What made it easiest was that my friend Jason ran the 1st 10 with me. He (in better shape; training) then proceeded to leave me. When running, if you have a buddy that’s faster… you just gotta let them go! “Run Jason Run.” I said!
My Friend Jason Made 1st 10 Easy
As I proceeded past the 1/2 way point I came along the best Water Stop… Fleet Feet Sports of Roanoke. I love them. The owner Blaine walked with me for about 100 yards and asked me how I was doing and made me feel great.
The first sign of hammers on my legs was coming down the old road on Mill Mountain. I couldn’t believe it.
At the same time I was on (w/headphones) my blackberry talking to my Father in Houston. We had been talking from before The Star to Toll Booth.
This motivated me more. I ignored the pain and “Mentally” moved forward passing a guy walking.
My Mom and Stepdad met me at mile marker 17. This was nice. They had a change of shoes for me but I decided to keep on the ones I had.
At Franklin Road, I felt good. This was mile 18 and in my head was trying not to think “This is all you have done!” That will really mess you up. I just kept telling myself “Only 8 more to go Fraze, you can run 8 miles.”
*At the same time, my boss texted me asking me what price I’d given to a customer on a car! And I answered him!!
As I hit 19 on Avenham I walked a little bit. Then turned the corner to see my old Church Reverand Diane as a volunteer. She said “Come on Fraze! You Can do it!” Her energy inspired me!
Then another 50 yards my friend Chris Coleman’s (great humble people) wife was at Crystal Spring playground with her little girl and out of nowhere came out running in her flip-flops cheering for me saying “You Can Do It Fraze!” I was like wow! This is amazing.
I really felt love and support from and to all of those around me.
I began to walk some after this past mile marker 20. My feet really hurt. “Fraze, You Can Do This” is all I thought.
Even if you have to walk some, it’s okay. That’s a big misconception for some. Especially for this Marathon!
Some how I made it to mile marker 22. I was hurting but felt confident. Very confident…
At this same time, my Blackberry died. Sorry… no more pics. Was my blackberry’s battery me…. no way!
As I came in to Old Southwest I asked one of the Volunteers “Is this the last hill?” She said with a smile… “I am not going to answer that to someone who just ran 22 miles!”
I then before mile 23 as I was trudging into Highland Park I told one of the Volunteers “This is hard” and he said “It’s a race for masochists.” *Masochist: gratification gained from pain, deprivation, degradation,etc., inflicted or imposed on oneself, either as a result of one’s own actions or the actions of others, esp. the tendency to seek this form of gratification. – I said “True!”
As I passed 23 a guy who was in the Marines and Volunteer said “You got it man, you got it, it’s all you, you can do this thing.” That made me feel good as I picked up the pace. I was all alone.
I came around the turn into Wiley Drive and thought “I have to go through this damn park”, where I’d run a thousand times and felt a lot of pain!”
I looped around and stopped at the second to the last aid station. I told the people there, who were in great spirits “I Love America” and they said where are you from? I said “Roanoke, but it feels good to joke when you are in so much pain!”
I pushed it up the bridge to mile 25 and knew… “I am about to finish my 8th Marathon.” Tears of Joy hit my face. I came past Fork In The City and saw a pretty girl eating lunch with her parents and waived at her. I thought “Hey baby, you gotta love me… I am finishing a Marathon!”
At the last Aid Station, I saw my friend Patty Lucas. She and I and some friends had run Chicago together. I hugged her. She was my Angel giving me my last push.
As I rounded the corner from The Science Museum, I only had a few hundred yards. I cranked it out. Reverend Diane was there cheering me and I heard John Carlin say “Congratulations Frazier Hughes!”
WHAT I LIKED
The Volunteers: They made it happen. Their Cheering Helped.
The Aid Stations: They were stacked with Heed, Water, fruit and more!
The Taubman: A great place to start, gives a lasting impression.
The Mountains: They Were Beautiful
The Race Shirt Material
The Finish: Professional all the way with the Blow-Up Banner
Massage At The End: Incredible
The Directors: The guy shook my hand at the finish, now that’s impressive!!!
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Not enough volunteers at Mile 21 & 22.5, I was confused on were to go.
Having to do a loop in the camprgound, I felt they were making up for a mile.
The Race Shirt’s Design Could have been better.
Not enough beverages at the end, I’d rather have more than coke and water, more fruit.