A marathon weekend

Tom accomplished a lot this weekend.

Marathon: Check
Thirtieth birthday: Check

And just as a quick side note, I’m SO glad I didn’t run the 8k.

Tom’s race started at 8am, so we were up bright and early to cheer him on.

Here we are at mile 4 — waiting for the pack.

For all the craziness of the morning – getting in and out of the car, being passed around to different people, missing his morning nap, and being out in the cool weather – David was incredibly cooperative. I think he fussed once. Thank you, thank you.

This is right after we saw Tom at mile 4; that’s him in the green singlet, my mom in the red coat and me with the baby and the big smile.

I’ve got that smile because as Tom passed, he ran up and gave me a big kiss. Made my marathon morning.

Here he is passing the mile marker (my dad was a little farther up the road taking pictures). We have several pictures of Tom like this, checking his watch. PACE is maybe the most important factor in running a successful marathon…second only to training. He was right on pace for the whole race.

After mile 4, we jumped in the car and headed to mile 6. We barely made it. After ignoring some traffic signs and an illegal parking spot, we jumped out just in time to see Tom run by.

After that we were super tired, so we made a pit stop at Starbucks. Marathons are hard work! Tom ran 14 miles while I sipped a steamer and fed the baby. 14 miles!

Recharged from the pit stop, we headed to mile 20.

And here he is, right on pace. In the 14 miles he’d traded his ear warmers and gloves for a pair of sunglasses. These sunglasses remind me of Franklin County. And NASCAR. And fly fishing.

(Tom ran with the guy in black, #2731, for most of the race)

See the guy in blue, walking behind Tom? Mile 20 was the first time we saw walkers. It was sort of heartbreaking, knowing how badly they must feel and how far they still had to go.

Tom’s good friend Steve hopped in the race to run a stretch with him.

Tom had so much support during the race. I kept getting texts from friends who had seen him at different mile markers and cheered for him, and people sent updates about his pace and spirits. Running can be a lonely, singular experience, so I was thankful for friends who made it out to support Tom.

In the photo above, you’ll notice Tom looking back at Steve and smiling. He was in great spirits at mile 20. He even paused to give David a kiss. I was amazed; we headed to the finish line. 

However, it seems a lot happened between mile 20 and 26.2. Suddenly the going got tough. Support thinned around mile 22 (whoops, sorry babe), and Tom said the hardest part of the race was in the final miles. Tom trained for the marathon with Sportsbacker’s Training Team and LOVED it. It especially paid off when his coach jumped in and ran the final miles with him, helping him not only maintain his pace but run a negative split.

Meanwhile, we waited anxiously at the finish line.

And there he is! Cruisin’ downhill to the finish.

(In case you’re wondering, I checked the results and Tom totally beat Mr. #585. Yeah Tom!)

He crossed the finish line in three hours in seventeen minutes.

I decided to write out the  numbers dramatic effect. THREE hours and SEVENTEEN minutes!

A few minutes later I found him in the chute like this:

He’s really selling the whole “run a marathon” thing, isn’t he?

(check out that cool medal…)

After two pieces of pizza, a half-cup of fruit and a lot of Powerade, Tom rejoined us in the land of the living.

The marathon was a day before Tom’s 30th birthday, so we celebrated in style with a post-race party.

Chocolate pie a-flame with candles.

(This is David with his Great Grandma Andrews, or GiGi)

In their birthday card, Tom’s parents wrote: “We are so proud of you!”

I couldn’t agree more.

P.S. Several people asked me if I thought running a marathon would be harder than childbirth. I haven’t run a marathon but I have given birth to a child without drugs and I can say with confidence: nothing is harder than childbirth.


  1. Beckykrieger25 November 14, 2011

    Tell Tom congrats (wonderful pictures by the way).. He’s truly remarkable! and again this made me a little weepy lol… I am so emotional .. good thing Don loves that!

  2. Kate Collins November 14, 2011

    my uncle Jack (and Sarah’s) is in your 4th picture down – orange shirt, white hat, green socks, #454- this was his 58th marathon….

  3. tomamanda November 14, 2011

    whoa, that’s awesome! sarah’s told me about your uncle jack, crazy that he and tom crossed paths during the race.<br>tom said he ran with jack for a while. wish they’d made the connection!

  4. Grammy November 15, 2011

    This was a special and fun weekend. I’ll sign up to be a spectator anytime; and especially the much needed pit stop at Starbucks.

  5. Kristie November 17, 2011

    Congratulations Tom! Happy Birthday, too. Way to celebrate in a big way.

  6. […] I wrapped Tom’s other gift in a course map for the Richmond Marathon. […]

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