An Asheville Marathon Story

5 Mar

YWCA Director of Health & Fitness Susan Macdonald participated in the Asheville Marathon last weekend. This is her story. We’re so proud of her!

My Marathon Story

Along time ago (about 5 years) Alphie Rodriguez said after your Marathon you will write your story. I said I am NOT going to do a Marathon.  Typically she was right and I was wrong.

Last September YWCA member Liz Atkinson said “Let’s do the inaugural Asheville Marathon.” Since I like to mark my birthdays with an event I agreed. For the first month I did not train with the group because I had a client that was committed to training on Saturday morning. For 3 Saturdays she did not show up. I joined the Team Tortuga at 15 miles. That first week I lay in bed after the run and my daughter Katherine brought me ice bags for my knees.

I stayed with the training really enjoying my time with my BRFF’s (Best Running Friends Forever) until we ran 23 miles. Each week was easier and easier even though the miles were longer. Liz our leader had a treat for us after our runs, her homemade recipe granola bars, chia seed recovery drink and our favorite  puffed brown rice crispy treats from her kitchen, rice, honey and peanut butter. Yum! Every week we received from Liz an email with RSVP for Saturday and when we showed up at the YWCA she had mapped our runs and presented us each with a map.

I traveled in February and did not get to run 26 with the group.

The Saturday before the race we took a picture at the YWCA and headed out for a run. Following the run she gave us our next week’s plan. I was excited to see that on Saturday I would be resting eating carbohydrates and keeping my legs up. I was thrilled to have permission to sit on the couch, watch movies and drink water. I thought to myself, “The marathon has got to be worth this day.”

Marathon Day

I got up at 3:15 am, boiled my egg, showered, feed the cat and dog. They wondered if I was out of my mind since usually we go back to bed when I get up at 3 am.  Met the carpool at 5 am, we arrived at the venue at 5:45. Gene Webb texted at 6:03 SAYING “IS THERE SOMETHING WE ARE SUPPOSED TO DO?” My reply was “YES 26.2.” He said “Hahaha.”

We visited the restrooms  with flushing toilets twice before we went to the race start. It was 23 degrees with sustained winds of 22 mph gusting to 35 mph. At the start we gathered around kerosene heaters waiting for the start. The start was delayed 15 minutes waiting on the last shuttle bus. At  7:15 am we started. Liz, Susan, Susan, Susan, Gene, Bradley, Trina, Mindy and Tim.

Mindy, Tim, Bradley and Susan Herzod and Trina moved ahead, Gene, Susan Haldane, Liz and I stayed together until we were in front of the Biltmore House, Gene had an injury and had to leave the race. Susan, Liz and I moved on. We were at a loop and saw the leader of the race meet us on the trail. At 9:45 am we approached 10 miles and acknowledged that the first finishers would be crossing the line.

We went to the west side beating the bridge by 12 minutes. We ran trails and vineyards; we saw friends at water stations and were encouraged by cheerleaders, bridge trolls and spectators. We ran and ran and ran.  Twice we ran the designated Damn Hill.

At 23 my team pulled away from me, I was slowing, I was cold and tired. Rochelle slapped my butt as I passed her Girls on the Run station and I was energized once more. At 24 I began to weep. I recognized that I was going to make it. I had overwhelming emotion as I could see the finish line. I ran and ran and ran. I saw the finish arch and my YWCA team started cheering; screaming my name. I could see the camera in Bradley’s hand. I posed for a picture with a big smile and a longer stride.
426547_10200674765899377_223609183_nA volunteer placed a medal around my neck and wrapped me in a blanket. As I rounded the finish chute Bradley brought me an envelope from Liz. It was a thank you card for training with her (can you believe that!?!?), a 26.2 sticker, and a stretching recovery plan. On the way back to the car I said to her I love you and I really do mean that.

5 Responses to “An Asheville Marathon Story”

  1. Susan March 5, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    We are all so proud of you; way to go!!!

  2. Beth March 6, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your story! What a great team and team leader. So inspired… but I think I’ll stick to Zumba and Soul Groove!

  3. Amy Renigar Gotr March 6, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

    We’re so proud of you, Susan! You are a great role model for girls, and we are glad that Rachelle’s pat helped get you through it!

  4. becky de moura March 7, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Congrats on your finish totally awesome great accomplishment hold your head high

  5. Holly Jones March 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Wow! I am so inspired (but not in the sense that I will do a marathon.) Congrats on a fantastic accomplishment! Such a YW model.

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