2010 Mercedes Marathon – 3:38:41

The day before we layed low. We got out to drive the course and got turned around, but did get an idea of where we would be running. Then we ended up doing 4 Miles Recovery on the treadmills in the sauna of a workout room at the hotel.

After our workout and dip in the hot tub and pool we headed back to our room to find out that the Black Eyed Peas were playing at this facility too! OMG! Why couldn’t the concert be Sunday?! We would totally go, but we needed our rest. The hotel was packed so I was worried that the concert goers would keep me up all night when they got back from seeing an amazing concert. However, I surprisingly slept well and didn’t keep waking up with nervous jitters nor did I hear one peep from a concert goer or door slam, I was out cold.

We got up at 4am to get the doggie out and eat breakfast. We took our time getting ready since the start was just two blocks away.

Picture of my outfit. The temps were 34-41 for the race, but I wanted to feel warm this time. I tend to under dress for races and end up feeling like an ice block. Not this time!

Ready to go! Instead of ‘Cheese’ I said ‘BQ’. 😀

I did wear a hooded throw away sweatshirt (not pictured) to the start corral and I ditched it before the start. The race collected all the throw away clothes for donation which is awesome.

The race start was 7am. Being so close to the race allowed us to wait until 6:15am to leave the hotel. We lightly jogged to the start and found that they had the auditorium open and it was very warm right at the start corral. There was barely a wait for the porta potties either. Then we did a light warm up in the start corral. The weather felt really good.

Then we were off. Rob and I did not run this race together. We each have our own pacing and want to do what works best for us. He was well ahead of me and out of sight after the first turn. This marathon course is two laps of the half course. I have to say that I liked it. It was nice to know where we would be going the second time around.

We found out after the race that the chip mat for the 15K wasn’t placed at 9.3 miles and instead was at 10.4 miles, so that messed up the tracking and the breakouts. They posted the difference at the top of the results. At least we know what happened because I know we didn’t fall off pacing that early.

So back to the race…I didn’t care to see the signs for miles 16, 18, 20 and so on as we were on our first lap, but the second time around it made it feel fast knowing the course. There were inclines throughout. I felt really good the first time around and took in the sights and enjoyed myself. I chatted with a few people. Crowd support was lighter, it’s not a comparison to Chicago, but it was even lighter than IL Marathon. Most people do the half marathon and so the crowd and other runners were so nice to acknowledge that I was running the full with comments of being impressed/shocked. I was cruising along with no problem. Our Garmins did get messed up at an underpass and then the signal bounced off the skyscrapers. A few people and I chatted about it and I was telling them how in Chicago there is no accuracy with the Garmin pacing/distance and really the lap time is all you have. Luckily it appeared to be just this one section.

Around Mile 10, I have beans in my hand and the half marathoners are still on the course and I’m no longer wearing my throw away gloves, just my Under Armour ones, how’s that for detective work?

Then we split off from the half marathoners so they could finish.

Rob doing his thing.

It made me so excited to know one more lap to go! I said to the people cheering at the split ‘that was so good I think I’ll go around again!’ and a lady said ‘Yeah girl! There you go!!’.

Then it was quiet, very quiet. There were points in the race were there were no runners in front of me and I was alone. I definitely had to pay attention to the course to not miss a turn. The crowd support dwindled to a few people here and there. I was glad I had my music and rocked out.

Me with more beans meaning either Mile 15 or 20.

I was all cheesy and smiled until mile 17. I felt the smile leave my face and it was time to start putting in some effort to keep moving forward. The second time around my legs were now starting to feel the pain of the hills. I was feeling sore, but my spirits were high. I kept plugging away and at the end of mile 22 I came up on Rob! It was so good to see him. We said ‘Go Baby’ to each other as I passed by.

Then mile 23 to the finish I got two full foot cramps on my left foot that made me say the F bomb. I kept running and it was a shot of pain that went away both times after a few steps. I was so scared that it was going to bring me down right at the end. They had an incline at the finish just like Chicago. And then I was there! Feeling much stronger and fulfilled. A truly great run!! I BQed!!! 3:38:41! Almost a 30 minute improvement from my last marathon! I got my beautiful medal and was able to wait in the finish chute for Rob.

He came in at 3:41:47! Rob’ improved his time by 54 minutes! It was an amazing Valentine’s Day that I will never forget!

Can you tell I’m a bit happy?!


I asked if we could have a kissing picture, being Valentine’s Day and all.

Us at the post race party.

The amazing full marathon medals.



8:21 pace

F 30-34: 6/49

Female: 25/278

Overall: 147/887

Luckily the 10K mat was in the right spot so I got a new PR there too! 47:37

This post will be updated once we have professional pictures and as I remember additional things to note. 🙂

43 thoughts on “2010 Mercedes Marathon – 3:38:41

  1. CJ & Rob I am so Fing proud of both of you. I have to admit I was stunned that you where both going to race again so soon after Chicago. It just proved how dedication you where towards meetin your goals. I was yell and shouting all morning and was actually screaming at my phone waiting for you to give me a final update.

    Your Boston bond Mrs. CJ…….did you ever think you would get to this point so fast a year ago? No pressure Rob, but I’m thinking a BQ for him at Chicago is nearly a given. Congrats again to both of you……truly an unforgetable Valentins Day!


    1. Finally home after 10 hours of driving. I slept so good last night and now feel like myself again. Thanks for all the support! You crack me up! I appreciate all of your encouragement! I NEVER would have anticipated Boston. Heck this time last year Rob was saying I should run a full marathon and I registered for Chicago having no clue what I was in for. Now to be at my second marathon feeling great and running strong even with inclines was so exciting, then BQ on top? Yeah I’m still in shock! 😀 I couldn’t be happier!



  2. You don’t know how happy I am that you loved the race. No, it’s not as big as the other races you’ve run, but it’s a good one. And for Birmingham, the support for it is HUGE. You were in a part of the country where football and NASCAR are king and running is just a blip on the radar. This year was the biggest so far and the crowds were the biggest, too. The course used to be different and would go right through my neighborhood. We would sit out there for HOURS watching people go by. Yes, that incline at the finish gets me every single time. (several races in town are coursed right there with that finish) And WOW! what a great time you had! So happy for you! Safe travels back, my friend!


    1. Thanks Sue! I’m so glad you and your daughter also had a great time! I wish I could have gotten into running at your daughter’s age. I would recommend this race to anyone. The race logistics (start location, after party, etc.) couldn’t have been better. And the medals are the best we have seen!



    1. Thanks! The temps were good for us since we are used to IL weather. The race organizers were commenting that for them this was colder than it’s been in the past so it’s more likely that it would normally be warmer. But like any race day, you just never know what you are going to get. I was psyched we didn’t have rain or anything.



  3. I have to admit, I knew all along you were going to BQ!! I’ve been waiting for this day to say it! I followed your times yesterday and was so excited for you. Congratulations!!! You shaved 30 minutes off your previous marathon time. Holy Moly!! :0)

    You are truly an inspiration to me. I started running around the same time you did and can only hope to be as fast and as strong as you are. My goal is to BQ this year as well.


    1. Thanks Steph! I always enjoy hearing about your running too! This is going to be a fun year! I know BQ is going to happen for you too this year, your first FM time was amazing!



  4. Amazing amazing job sweetie!! I’m still so proud of you! My mom says congrats too!!! 🙂 We really need to meet up soon– once the weather warms up and you guys can start flying again, we should do lunch! Again, great job girl- you rock!


    1. Thanks Nic!! And tell your mom thanks too! She is so sweet! Oh yeah we are definitely flying up to see you for lunch. I wish the weather would hurry up and get better!



    1. Hi Laurel!! Thanks so much!! I love running couples too! In fact your blog was one I showed my husband when he first got serious about running and I said ‘check these two out!’. You and your husband (and baby bean) are an inspiration to us!



  5. Congratulations CJ! That’s an amazing accomplihment. I’m so glad everything came together the wayit was supposed to. You must feel like you’re on a cloud right now. Fantastic work!


  6. To my wonderful bride — words cannot express how proud I am of you!!! You have been such an inspiration to me, motivating me to join in this adventure with you. I can’t imagine a better way to spend Valentine’s day than with you doing something that we love. I love you more than anything and can’t wait for what the rest of this year brings us! We are off to a GREAT start!!!!


    1. Baby, you are such an inspiration to me! I could never have dreamed this big or imagined our lives to ever be this great without you there to show me how wonderful life really is. You make everything exciting and fun. I’m so proud of you!! I love you so much and am so happy that I get to spend my life with you!


  7. Congrats woman!! I snuck off the couch a few times to see how it was going. So proud of you:) I am getting over being sick and ready to get a few miles under my belt as well as getting ready to race. See you soon!


  8. Been reading your blog regularly for a while now and noticed those paces continued to get faster and faster! Congratulations on a huge accomplishment – BQ – sign up early if you plan to go. . .Boston is simply amazing and i wish every runner had the opportunity to experience it. BTW i was lookiing back at all your posts/pics and noticed you are so much smaller and look great! WOW Losing a little weight is always a nice bonus to training 🙂


    1. Hey Mikah! Yeah I’ll definitely keep a close eye on registration for Boston. I’ve lost 48lbs since I started running in 2007 and my husband has lost 63lbs since really getting into it in 2009. It’s been a great bonus!



  9. I just started reading your blog, and oh my goodness! CONGRATS! What an amazing accomplishment to qualify for Boston, but to do it in such a short amount of time! HOW WONDERFUL! What an inspiration you are!


  10. Just found yoru blog and love it! 2011 will be my first Boston too…Congrats on the BQ and I hope someday I look as happy as you while running a marathon! 🙂


  11. CJ, I had to stop by and read your recap again this year…… my girl and I ran the half again and had so much fun. The marathon winner broke the course record….. which means I got lapped earlier than last year! The weather was perfect running weather in the 40’s and 50’s with tons of sunshine. All of the winners that were interviewed mentioned how great the weather was this year and how they loved the course, too. Also, there were around 1000 running the marathon and it seemed to me that there were a lot more spectators all along the route….. which made me so happy that people are coming out to watch people run by! Again, I’m so happy to read a blog from somewhere far away and you picked MY city to run a marathon in! Small world for sure!


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