Grandfather Mountain Marathon: SPECTATOR RECAP

Today's race recap will be a little different in that I wasn't the one to run the race. Blair "One & Done" Harris yesterday completed his first marathon at Grandfather Mountain, "One of America's Toughest Marathons." In short, he did GREAT. Ran the entire way, only used 4 out of 5 Gu's, and was still upright and coherent upon finishing. (The same can not be said for me and many of my marathons.) 

Since Blair's idea of a race recap is something like, "I got through it," I thought I'd fill the space with what I experienced as my first time being a sidelines cheerleader at a marathon. 


Grandfather Mountain is a small race, limited to 400 entrants. This means there's not the parking lot/port-a-potty/getting to the start line frenzy of a typical race. The race began at 6:30 am at the ASU track. We were staying less than 10 minutes up the road and agreed the night before that we would leave at six to go to the track. 

Apparently there was a discrepancy in what "leave" meant. To me, a 6:00 a.m. "leave" means we are in our car, heading toward the track. For Blair, it meant, at approximately 6 a.m. we may or may not leave the hotel room, because there's still plenty of time and what's the rush?

This was Blair's day, so I was trying to be zen and not freak out, but he finally took pity on me around 6:04 when I started foaming at the mouth every time I looked at the clock. 


The race begins with a one and a quarter lap around the track. I filmed the guy firing the start gun and then zoomed in on the crowd, looking for Blair. Finally found him near the back of the group, chatting with another runner as they walked toward the start. OMG. Must. Not. Kill. Him. Did the proud wife thing and cheered and applauded. 


What I dislike about this race is there's no chance to see the runners. Once I waved Blair off at the start, that was it. I wouldn't see him again until he crossed the finish line at the Highland Games in Linville. I went back to the hotel room and tried to read and sleep, but mainly I worried. Worried that Blair had no idea of what he was letting himself in for, worried that he'd be hurting and in pain, worried that he'd hit the wall. 

I was texting friends that I was freaking out and my friend Christie called to see if I was okay.

"I'm stress eating," I said. "I've hit the free breakfast buffet, like, three times. If I go down there again, I'm pretty sure management is going to ask me to step away from the Raisin Bran, take a complimentary role of toilet paper, and head back to my room."


I caught the 10 am shuttle to the games and arrived a little after 11. My guess was Blair was going to run a 5:20 marathon, but no way was I going to miss it if he surprised me and came in early. The runners had to come up a small hill just before they hit the track for their victory lap, so I found a spot at the top of the hill, grabbed the camera, and began my watch. 


It's hard to describe the feeling that surged through me when I saw him coming up the hill. Love, pride, elation (he's okay!) and--"Hey a**hole in the truck who just pulled out and blocked my view of my husband. MOVE IT." Seriously, runners had to navigate around cars that were parking on this hill. It was ridiculous. One pulled out as Blair was coming up and thankfully pulled away before Blair got to him, because I would have taken this driver out myself. 

Blair ran to the track for his victory lap with me right behind him. I filmed him coming in to the finish, getting his medal, and I'll have to check the recorder but I believe his first words to me were, "C'mon sugah, let's go home." 

As I predicted, he wanted nothing to eat or drink. He just wanted to be in the car, going home. Actually, I get it. After burning yourself out like that, you do just want the comforts of home.


 Getting home, however, came with glitches. The shuttle bus taking us and host of other exhausted, sweaty, stinky marathoners stayed stuck in traffic for almost an hour due to a car accident. I have to say, I was impressed with the attitude of everyone on the bus. They had just given it their all, were cramping and hurting, and I didn't hear one word of complaint from anyone. All I heard was, "I hope no one was hurt."

Runners are great people. 

I finally got Blair in the car and we were home by 3:30. 


The man is unstoppable. He was tired but fine after the race, tired but fine in the car, and walking around a little stiff but almost normal yesterday and today. Not only that, but he cleaned the house this morning while I was out running and at BodyPump, even after I expressly forbid him to. I walked into the house and saw polished furniture and vacuum lines, dropped my gym bag and yelled, "Blair!" 

He came downstairs with a sheepish grin on his face. 

"I told you I was going to clean when I got home," I said. "You're supposed to be resting."

"I know, but I feel fine," he said, giving me a hug. "I'm sorry I disobeyed you."

"You know, I'm getting really tired of hearing that as an excuse," I said. (Got a good laugh from him on that one.)


And so, all returns to normal in the Harris household. My marathon training for Richmond begins tomorrow and Blair is going back to his 2-3x/week running schedule. 

He insists this race was no big deal, but we all know different. First marathon? Grandfather Mountain?