My First Marathon!!! {Bob Potts 2014 Recap Part 1}

I’m back and I’m a MARATHONER!

For the first time ever I’m going to be writing a post in 2 installments. Partly because I don’t want to post something that is like 5,000 words long, but mostly because a day later my brain still isn’t working well enough to be able to form coherent thoughts about everything that happened during the race. (Especially after mile 22.) In fact, I’m so tired that I’m writing this post right now on the notepad of my iPhone while lying in bed because I don’t have the energy to sit in front of a computer.

Don’t worry I’ll spell check in the morning because I think it’s pretty common knowledge that iPhone autocorrect is not to be trusted, but advance apologies for anything that might slip through the cracks.

Much like the movie Titanic on VHS where you can just skip the whole love story on the first tape and go straight to all the action of the boat sinking on the second, part 1 of my recap is probably going to be a bunch of stuff that no one really cares as much about. But just in case you want to know more about the scary shirtless guy hanging around outside my motel at 4:30am on race morning, by all means read on. 🙂

I dropped my daughter at my mom’s house at around 3pm on Saturday and then proceeded to almost get in like 8 car accidents during the 50 mile drive to York. I seriously felt like someone must have it out for me; one guy came to a DEAD STOP to make a U-turn in the middle of the highway. Who does that!? The expo was open until 5 and I got there with a little less than an hour to spare. I could have gotten there with 2 minutes to spare and it wouldn’t have mattered. Bob Potts is a small race with only around 500 registered runners and packet pick up only took about 30 seconds. The volunteers they had on hand were exceedingly friendly, organized, and made me feel right at home.

photo 2

Small race = small expo; it took up just one ballroom at the Holiday Inn. But as small as it was, they had everything I could have ever thought to need for the race: every kind of fuel imaginable, socks, hats, SPI belts, headbands, water bottles, Body Glide – which I purchased at Suz’s recommendation even though I had never used it before in my life and I’m SO GLAD I did…more on that later – souvenirs like magnets, etc. I added a Bob Potts magnet, some Roctane, and some Honey Stinger chews to my order, hung around listening to a musician that was entertaining us with an acoustic set for a few minutes (pretty cool!), and headed out in search of my own motel which was only about 2 miles away.

Motel 6 tends to have shady written all over it, but the rooms were obviously recently renovated and there was a Starbucks next door so I initially felt pretty good about the situation. As soon as I got checked in, I did the obvious thing and laid out all my gear for a flat selfie.

photo 1

As you can see, I had a pair of SPI Belts, which is what I decided to go with instead of my gargantuan new Nathan belt and which ended up being a stellar decision that wasn’t even necessary in the end. More on that later too.

Speaking of stellar decisions, I think I’ve pretty well established how directionally challenged I am, especially when trying to find my way to an early morning race (ex: here). I thought it would be a great idea to map my way over to the race start so I wouldn’t get all lost and panicky in the morning. York College was only about 4.5 miles away though and how hard could that possibly be, right? This should only take me a few minutes and better safe than sorry.

Guess what!?

I got lost. Fast forward to nearly 45 minutes later and I’m sitting in my car on the York College campus completely unable to find a building that I ended up being parked about 100 yards away from. I can’t believe I just admitted that on here.

Anyway, eventually I figured out where I was going and by that point I was chew-my-own-arm-off hungry so I headed back toward my motel in search of food. That’s when I saw this sign:


AMERICAN ROCK SALT!? I know it’s kind of dumb, but it felt like such a good omen. Especially after all the coming-to-a-complete-stop-to-make-a-u-turn-on-the-highway that I had encountered on my drive up.

Pasta is a solid choice for a lot of runners the night before a big race and I remembered passing an Olive Garden on my way to the college, so that’s where I went. Not only would the extra carbs be nice, but it’s one of those ‘unlikely to give you random salmonella’ kind of foods. I’m so smart! Except that as soon as I looked at the menu I must have experienced epic short term memory loss because I went straight for the menu items that would be MOST likely to make me sick.

Fish. With shrimp. I might as well have just ordered a plate of raw meat.

I probably wouldn’t chance it again, but it was a DELICIOUS gamble and I luckily I didn’t get sick. If you frequent Olive Garden, it’s the tilapia with the wine sauce. OMG so good. Plus I got my carbs in in the form of their all you can eat bread sticks.

After dinner – where the waitress treated me a little like I had leprosy because I was eating alone – I headed back to attempt relaxing. I know a lot of you can relate to what a completely ridiculous challenge that is. What made it all the more ridiculous is that the Motel 6 apparently turns into a dance club at sunset and people were partying from the time I locked myself in until the time that I checked out at 4:30am and I’m sure beyond that too because that’s when I saw Creepy McShirtless hanging around outside. No lie. It sounded like someone was doing construction the next room over. I really don’t want to know what was going on in there, but suffice it to say that I got maybe 20 minutes of legit sleep the entire night.

It sounds horrible, but when my alarm went off at 4, I was buzzing with so much adrenaline that I pretty much leaped out of bed. I had purchased a bagel from Dunkin Donuts during my travels the previous evening, so I ate that, downed some Emergen-c (I didn’t talk about it much on here, but I was fighting off a nasty cold all last week), and of course no race morning would be complete without one final nervous-face selfie:


I was as ready as I was ever going to be.

This concludes part 1 of my recap and if you made it this far, bless your heart! ❤ Stay tuned for part 2 where I will talk about what everyone REALLY wants to know about…the race.

And if you really just wanted to know about Olive Garden tilapia, well then I hope you enjoyed this post. Seriously it’s so good. 🙂

I hope everyone had the most amazing holiday weekend and THANK YOU SO MUCH for the awesome texts, comments, and emails that you guys have been sending! I LOVE YOU GUYS SO HARD!!




73 thoughts on “My First Marathon!!! {Bob Potts 2014 Recap Part 1}

    • runsaltrun says:

      THE SUSPENSE!! Haha I really didn’t want to have to do it this way, but this post alone was like 1200 words. It would have been the longest blog post in the history of blog posts. 🙂

  1. SuzLyfe says:

    I am so so so sososososososososososososososososososo excited and happy for you. Ps, you would get lost. But anyway. When you texted me “ahhhhhh” that morning I had a slight freak out. “Ahhhhh” can be good or bad, woman!! Plus, it was pretty early here, and I didn’t know what time the race had started, so I was like WHAT. But then you told me and I freaked out in a completely normal friend runner way. SO excited for you and SO proud. #swirlon #swirllovin #marathonmamasalt

    • runsaltrun says:

      OMG I totally didn’t think about it that way until just now! I’m sorry if I freaked you out! My brain had no concept of time or space at that point. Thank you so much for texting me the night before. It was the first thing I saw when I looked at my phone (besides thinking “holy crap it’s 4am”) and it made me smile and was such a great motivator! YOU ARE THE BEST! ❤

  2. txa1265 says:

    Funny stories so far – I have to confess I would have been wary of the Motel 6 as well … and at least it was clean! Not that you would have slept much anyway!

    It is also funny how sometimes we get a case of the stupids – my last marathon I left my 1-liter Gatorade G2 on the island at home, ugh – and fought a losing dehydration battle the whole time!

    Can’t wait for part 2!

    • runsaltrun says:

      SUCH a bad stigma! I wanted to stay at the hotel where the expo was located (it would have been a MUCH nicer choice), but by the time I got around to booking it was all sold out. So then I figured I really only needed a place to sleep. Or not sleep as the case ended up being. I was happy to get the heck out of there though!

      Our brains just get so overwhelmed. I’m surprised I made it up there with all my gear. (Luckily the little expo rocked though in case I had forgotten something.)

  3. emmelineruns says:

    When people are crazy in the hotel it is the WORST! We had some kind of crazy parties going on all around us when we went to Texas for a race. I tried to call management and have them shoot them for me but no luck. I can’t wait to read the rest but congrats on being a marathoner!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I thought about it for about a minute, but as nice as the girl was that checked me in, I highly doubt she would have been able to do anything about it. I’m not sure how well I would have slept even without all that going on so in the end I guess it was okay. I made up for it by going to bed at like 7:30 the next night.

  4. Hannah says:

    congrats on your marathon! I saw your time on your fb page–won’t be long before you qualify for Boston!! 🙂 seriously though, that’s a very good time for your first marathon!

  5. Running Bear says:

    Great first half of the recap. Very glad to hear you found something appropriate to eat. I failed miserably at that before my first marathon, ate 1/3 of the amount of calories I should have eaten, paid the price big time the next day during the race.

    Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Thank you so much! I definitely took full advantage of the unlimited bread sticks. SO good. And stopping for a bagel to eat in the morning was a good idea too!

  6. RunBeckyRun says:

    Ahh I can’t wait to hear about Part 2! I love hearing pre-marathon stories, because I think I’d just be sh*tting myself hiding under my bed from the nerves!! And the fact that you went alone intrigues me. I’d probably be calling someone in the middle of the night or trying to sneak my cat into the hotel haha.

    • runsaltrun says:

      I’m pretty used to flying solo, especially for races. 🙂 I was probably more relaxed being on my own than if I had someone with me! Having my cat there would have been nice though. 🙂

  7. fitnessmeetsfrosting says:

    AHHHHHHHHH I can’t wait to read part II!!! LOL WTF- who makes a U-turn on the freeway??? American Rock Salt was definitely a good omen. My goodness you like to gamble with your stomach and undies with that food choice lol! And this is super weird of me, but I can’t eat at a restaurant alone. I feel awkward. This concludes my spastic reply 🙂

    • runsaltrun says:

      I think a lot of people can’t eat in restaurants alone. 🙂 I think I can because I grew up as an only child and my mom went to school so I was on my own a lot and had to fend for myself. It’s just sort of second nature as an adult. Waiters and waitresses do tend to get confused by it though. (They also get confused when I take B out to eat alone. I don’t know why it would be shocking but there is a definite difference in how I’m treated when I’m alone with her as opposed to when we all go out to eat as a family with my husband there.)

      I love your spastic reply! And I have no idea wtf that guy was thinking but he almost caused a 5 car pile up.

  8. northernambitions says:

    haha honestly sometimes the best part of a recap is the pre-race shenanigans! And the Olive Garden seems like a perfect pre run choice, all that pasta and free bread sticks?! Excellent. But you are such a better person than me, I would have been such a nutcase if there was a dance club happening the night before my big race! I hope you at least got lots of sleep after your race

    • runsaltrun says:

      SO much sleep after. Like a nap and then a solid 12 hours at night too. I think I’m all caught up now, but my brains are just still a bit scrambled from the running.

  9. Lindsay says:

    Hahaha, love your comment about the Titanic VHS. SO true. 83 is a MESS, all the time. FREAKING CRAZY. They’ll be doing construction until the end of time on the part that’s closer to my house. Some of my River Runner friends went to spectate, and I can’t believe I didn’t put 2 and 2 together about what race you were running, or I totally would have came to cheer you on! York isn’t too far from me. DARNIT. Also, I hate eating alone, even when I’m traveling alone for work. The last time I traveled for work I ate 2 meals in the hotel, watching TV & eating take out. Love. Anyway, you have left me in epic suspense, and I can’t wait to read the rest.SO SO SO proud of you!!!! ❤ ❤ ❤

    • runsaltrun says:

      Ahhhh I wish we had figured it out too! Obviously before next year we will have met up a few times, but I am definitely planning on doing it again. It’s such a beautiful course! Thank you so much, friend! Seriously lets make some plans soon!

      • Lindsay says:

        YES. WE are meeting up soon! I’ll be in Annapolis Friday/Saturday – is that close at all to you? Just read Part 2 and teared up. LOVE YOU. You are amazing!!! And what a great example for Betty – won’t be long until you two are running together! ❤

  10. Hailey @ Striding Strong says:

    Ooo a two-parter! That is such an awesome sign! I would have taken it as a good omen too. I lol’d at the building being right in front of you. I’ve had similar things happen to me because I’m terrible at maps and directions. And that is so creepy about the shirtless guy! Yikes. In college one year they put us up in a Motel 6 when we traveled for a track meet and it was the worst experience ever. The little peep hole thing came out so we had to put tape over it, it wasn’t that clean, and there was a hole in the ceiling…lol I’m happy that yours was at least clean! If only there was a way to keep the weirdos away haha.

    • runsaltrun says:

      The peep hole came out!? Hole in the ceiling!? Yeah mine definitely wasn’t that bad. If I was in the room I could almost pretend it wasn’t a Motel 6, but then as soon as I went outside…yeah. Definitely a Motel 6. I think next time I’ll steer clear.

  11. piratebobcat says:

    Yaaay! I kept checking Twitter and Instagram waiting to hear how you did! Can’t wait to read about the race.
    And yes, nobody ever gets any quality sleep the night before. Just one more thing to make marathons even tougher than they need to be!

    • runsaltrun says:

      I knew I wouldn’t sleep much, but man I was not expecting like NO sleep. But really it didn’t matter all that much. I was so wired that it didn’t even catch up to me until well into the afternoon. 🙂

  12. Sun says:

    Congrats on your first marathon and can’t wait to read part two to hear how the race went for you! Also, Olive Garden is a great pre-race spot to eat dinner and that tipapia sounds delish 🙂

  13. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine says:

    Olive Garden is a solid choice for a pre-marathon meal! (I ate at one before my 1st!) but I probably wouldn’t have gone for the seafood:) I typically stick with chicken or meatballs pre-run because I know my stomach can handle it. I am glad it worked out for you! I can’t wait to read the rest of your recap!

    • runsaltrun says:

      Yeah honestly I have no idea what kind of lapse of judgement that was, but luckily it worked out okay! Haha in the future I don’t think I’m going to go there with the fish. 🙂

  14. littlegreenrunningshoes says:

    So far it seems like it was a great experience! You can never go wrong with Oliva Garden and your hotel sounded interesting. I am never able to sleep the night before a big race regardless of my surrondings. Dying to hear part 2! Part 1 was great!

  15. Change of Pace says:

    Serious cliffhanger!! Smart to drive to the race the night before- you definitely didn’t need lost nerves marathon morning! That sucks your sleep was rotten, but they do say two nights before is more important, so good thing you didn’t hang with shirtless guy two nights in a row 🙂
    Your nervous pre-race selfie is awesome, and I’m all about good omens, too. That sign was definitely a positive sign!
    Hope you’re a little less tired and still basking in your marathon glory! Can’t wait to read about the race!

  16. Run Colby Run says:

    I love a cliff hanger!!! And a pre-race selfie!!! And maybe even Olive Garden tilapia. Who knew?!?!? I LOVED your “omen.” See?? And look at the race you had!!! I’m so so proud of you Salt! And I can’t wait for Part 2! 🙂

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