Michelob Challenge: Part II – It’s Marathon Time Baby!

by Meghann on February 28, 2010

Michelob Challenge: Completed!


That’s a total of 38.4 miles for 3 races in 1 weekend. :)

The best part is, I feel great!!

My alarm was set for 4:00am this morning. This gave me an hour to get dressed, eat, and mentally prepare myself for the marathon I would be running at 6:00 am.

I fueled for my 26.2 miles with the exact same breakfast I had yesterday. Only I decided to add chocolate chips to the bagel half with almond butter for good measure. :)


As soon as Ashley arrived at Derek’s apartment we were off to the start line. Luckily we had learned our lesson yesterday and were prepared to pay for parking this morning. Not having to worry about parking was a huge stress reliever. We were able to park and make it the start line with plenty of time to use the porta potties and relax before the start.


Melissa decided last minute that she would be running the first 7 miles with us. Ashley and I welcomed the company. :)


Not only was this my 3rd race this weekend, but it was also my third marathon. :)


I was representin’ the #3 all morning. 😉

Gasparilla does not have a dedicated corrall system for any of their races, so all of the starts are a bit insane. The start for the marathon/ half marathon was no different this morning. The three of us entered the crowd at the very back and tried to push our way to the front, but had no luck.


Close to six minutes after the the start of the race, we finally crossed the start line. Our goal for the first mile or so was to simply stick together and fight our way from the bottle neck of the crowd. We were quite successful at our goal until we hit the mass of people waiting to cross the first bridge.

The first bridge was INSANE to say the least. We were brought to a dead stop as a few thousand people tried to cross a very narrow two lane bridge. The only thing we could do was laugh and go with the flow. :)

Eventually we did make it over the bridge and on to Davis Island where we were still surrounded by people, but at least we had room to move. The sun began to rise as we ran through beautiful multi-million dollar house neighborhoods on the elusive island.



Ashley, Melissa, and I picked our future homes and discussed why we would ever need so many bedrooms. We decided we needed the extra rooms for all our future little ones and for when friends (such as ourselves) came to visit.


The loop around Davis Island took us to mile 6 of the course and before we we knew it we were entering the same narrow bridge to exit the island. Fortunately by this time the crowds had begun to stagger the trip across was much more pleasant. The sun had also risen giving us gorgeous views of the water and downtown Tampa.





Derek was patiently waiting for us just past the bridge and managed to capture a couple of photos.



Mile 6 and we were still going strong!


At this point we were averaging just over 10 minute miles and everyone was feeling really good.


We circled around the start and right before mile 7 we hit the split where the half marathoners and full marathoners separated. After running the half marathon last year, it felt strange to follow the arrows to the full marathon route.



At mile 7 the three amigos became two. Melissa stepped out and headed back to the start to meet up with Derek as Ashley and I began our new adventure into downtown.


We missed you Melissa! Thanks for keeping us company for the first 7 miles!!


I really enjoyed running through downtown Tampa. It was a new experience compared to the half portion of the race I ran last year. I made sure to soak up all of my surroundings.


Ashley pointed out the old building she used to work at and we talked about the days when she lived and worked in downtown Tampa. She recently moved to Orlando a few months ago and loves it, but you could tell Tampa still has a place in her heart.


Ashley had failed to mention until we were over an hour into the race that she had trained for all her marathons with the run/walk galloway method. We had not walked at all for the first 7 miles or so, but Ashley had requested that we start. I felt bad for not realizing her training methods earlier and encouraged the walking breaks as opposed to pushing her too hard.


It felt funny to walk during a marathon. My legs did not enjoy starting back up after the walking breaks and they were beginning to yell at me to make up my mind on whether I would be walking or running.

Ashley was still doing great though! We looped back around to the start line for a second time and saw Derek and Melissa waiting to cheer us on.


I grabbed the sports beans I had planted on Derek earlier and we continued on our merry way.



Right at the halfway point was when things began to go downhill. Ashley’s stomach began to act up and she needed more and more walking breaks. I tried to stay as encouraging as possible, but I also felt bad that I might be pushing her too hard.

We were right on track to reach Ashley’s finish goal of 4:45, but with each mile I could see our pace dropping significantly and the goal sipping farther and farther away.


Ashely kept telling me she had to get in her zone and for me to go on. I kept telling her no and that we were in this together, but she kept pushing me away. She told me to go and to promise her I would get under 4:30. I hesitated, not wanting to leave her, but she was pretty persistent on telling me to go ahead.

After two miles of Ashley pleading with me to go ahead, I decided I had to obey her wishes. I felt AWFUL leaving her, but I knew Ashley was still on goal to PR ( her PR was 4:57) and I knew it really was what she wanted.

We gave each other a big hug and I was on my way.

I departed from Ashley around mile 16. My legs felt great and I let them fall into their natural 9:30 pace. I was actually pretty surprised how great my legs felt. I only had ten miles to go and I knew in the back of my head that I could easily hold this pace for the remainder of the race.

Around mile 17 I grabbed a vanilla gu, but waited until a water station just before mile 19 to take it. It tasted like vanilla icing and was pretty nasty.


Mile 19 was probably one of my favorite miles of the course. It took us on a loop around this beautiful park that was essentially our turn around point before heading back to the finish.



After the turn around point I was able to spot Ashley in the crowd heading to the park. She was walking, but still had a smile on her face. There was now a 2 mile gap between us, but it encouraged me that she was still smiling and still determined to finish.

Once I passed mile 20 I knew the rest would be cake. My legs felt great and after some quick math I discovered if I held under a 10 minute pace that I could easily finish under 4:30. I wasn’t planning on finishing this race in under 4:30, but since the opportunity had presented itself I was going to take advantage of it.


I bet it you were to compare the pace averages from all three of my marathons for the last 6.2 miles, you would find today’s marathon the fastest. I’m not sure if I had just been conserving all my energy from the first 20 miles or what, but I felt like I was flying. It was seriously the easiest 20 -26.2 miles I had ever ran. I couldn’t believe I was about to finish a marathon!

At mile 24 a woman was handing out M&Ms and I happily grabbed a fun size bag. I think my new favorite thing is chocolate in the last couple miles of a marathon. Those M&Ms tasted just like gold. :)


The finish line was so close! I had hauled ass and knew my 4:30 goal was 100% attainable.


I saw Derek and Melissa at the finish line and gave it my all as I crossed the finish line in the closest thing to a sprint that I could muster.


There’s the finish line I’ve been looking for!


My official chip time is not posted yet, but my Garmin has me crossing at 4:26:21!!

That’s 3 minutes faster than my first marathon in San Diego and I had been pacing the first half of the race with a goal of finishing at 4:45!

I grabbed my two finishers medals (one for the marathon & one for completing the Michelob Challenge) and went to find Derek and Melissa.


I was very proud of those medals. :)


They were also handing out little finisher’s towels.


Its kind of sad this was Gasparilla’s final voyage for their full marathon. I LOVED this race and would 100% run it again in the future! I’m so glad I took advantage of the opportunity to run it at least once before it simply became a part of history.

After I finished our wait for Ashley began. The minutes began to tick by and I began to worry. What was I thinking leaving her? I should have stuck with her! I began to have an awful feeling deep in my stomach that something was wrong. :(

We waited and waited, but we all knew Ashley would not give up. Melissa had ran a half a mile or so down the course to see if she could spot Ashley and run the last half mile with her. Finally just after the clock hit the 5:30 mark we got the call that Melissa was with Ashley and they were going to finish the race together.

A few minutes later we spotted them ourselves.


It felt so good to see those smiling faces. :)


Ashley was finishing strong. God love her!


I drew a big sigh of relief when I found Ashley in the post-race crowd.


She was GLOWING and so happy with life. She said her stomach was off when she tried to run, so she decided to walk the last 10 miles. The idea of giving up was not even an option in her mind and for that she is officially my new idol. LOVE HER!

With Ashley safely across the finish line, I felt it was safe to finally start celebrating.


Got to show off all my new bling.


That’s 4 medal rights there!!

We headed back to the car and I grabbed 1/2 a bagel to munch on.


Ashley and Melissa loaded up on the bananas the volunteers were desperately trying to dispose of.


After crossing the finish line more than 2 hours before, I was more than ready for a post marathon feast at J. Christopher’s.





I wanted PANCAKES! But knew I needed some protein as well. The pantry feast seemed to be the perfect fit.


I went with the blueberry crunchcakes, scambled eggs, and instead of meat or potatoes, I had double fruit.




Those plates didn’t stand a chance.


We all left very happy. :)


I have a lot of thoughts and insights regarding my third marathon, but I think I will save that for another post. Right now I need to prepare for the long drive back home. :)

I will say this though – this weekend was AWESOME! 😉

{ 91 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Allie (Live Laugh Eat) February 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

You’re crazy/amazing/a running machine!!!!

Those are some amazing photos–so glad you recovered them.


2 Kara (@ Kara's Marathon) February 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm

CONGRATULATIONS!! Glad you had such an amazing race!! 😀


3 Ashley February 28, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Congrats! Race recaps are always my favorite reads.


4 Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) February 28, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Congratulations!!!! You are a rockstar!


5 Jessica Zara February 28, 2010 at 7:33 pm

You are superwoman. No question. I have my first ever half marathon next Sunday and all through it I shall be thinking of you. You have inspired me with my own running so much since you started blogging, and I can honestly say that if it wasn’t for your determination and example I never would have made double digits…heck, I doubted my ability to even complete a 10K until I started following your amazing journey.

Words cannot express how amazing you are.




6 whitinspired February 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Wow! You ran it under 4:30 and ran a 15k and a 5k yesterday! Seriously, you are an inspiration!


7 Alyssa February 28, 2010 at 7:35 pm

CONGRATS!!! Three marathons under your belt?! You were definitely born to run! :)


8 Angela (Oh She Glows) February 28, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I can’t believe you got the photos! I will have to learn that trick.

Congrats to both of you!!!! Such an amazing accomplishment.

That is so great that you found the last 6 miles so easy. I think that speaks a lot to your training and dedication every week. It pays off, eh? :)


9 Alison February 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Congrats Meghann! What a huge accomplishment; you’re definitely an inspiration.


10 thefitbride February 28, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Great job to you AND Ashley! You two both have such great attitudes.

I love reading marathon recaps. My first full isn’t until October, but it’s so nice to read about how everyone’s experiences are so different from race to race and that there’s never two stories exactly alike. I can’t wait to see what mine is!


11 Justy2003 February 28, 2010 at 7:42 pm

Congrats on another marathon…and on the Michelob challenge! You don’t even look like you broke a sweat in the pictures! I’m always a hot, sweaty, nasty mess after any run.


12 jentrinque February 28, 2010 at 7:43 pm

You are so amazing! I can’t believe this marathon was so easy for you – seems like you’re just getting better and better.


13 Michelle February 28, 2010 at 7:44 pm

amazing job!! you’re such an inspiration and you made it look so easy today! congrats, you should be so proud!!!!!!!


14 Mikey February 28, 2010 at 8:02 pm

CONGRATS!! You’re such an inspiration!


15 caitlin February 28, 2010 at 8:05 pm

yay so fun! you almost made me want to torture myself with another marathon! ALMOST.


congrats on finishing an amazing weekend!


16 gavrielski February 28, 2010 at 8:11 pm

Congratulations on a fabulous weekend! This is an incredible feat!


17 Laura February 28, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Amazing job meaghann! You’re really an inspiration to me! I did a four mile race and a ten mile race back to back last weekend and i was pretty much dead. :)


18 Bernadette February 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm


YOU are amazing!!

This really shows you what hard work and determination can do, makes me want to run a marathon!!



19 Heather February 28, 2010 at 8:19 pm

every time you race i feel so inspired to run in one too! if my knees still worked i would totally do that…you’re such a great friend to ashley, and it sounds like y’all had an incredible time!


20 Jessica February 28, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Congratulations, what an amazing weekend for you! You’re such an inspiration :)


21 Gabriela (froyolover) February 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm

You´re my hero. You´ve ran 3 races in 1 weekend!
Congratulations, girl! You´re tough!
Loved the race recap. You did an AWESOME job!
I´m proud 😉
Have a great week, sweetie!
Brazilian XOXO´s,


22 caronae February 28, 2010 at 8:29 pm

CONGRATS. That’s such an amazing feat! I can hardly believe how easy you made the last miles sound. Wow! It juts goes to show how much your speed, endurance, and running ability have really come together this year

Here’s to many more happy marathons!


23 missyrayn February 28, 2010 at 8:31 pm

You are amazing!!!! congrats on the time and all the bling.

I love that Ashely didn’t give up either. That may be me at my first marathon but I’ll do it. :-)


24 Erika February 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

sounds like a phenomenal weekend :) Way to go :)


25 eatavegan February 28, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Congratulations!! Your weekend of races is so inspiring!


26 Louise February 28, 2010 at 9:00 pm

WOO HOO!! Awesome!! As always an inspiration!!


27 Betsy February 28, 2010 at 9:07 pm

I think you’ve officially inspired me to start running!


28 Evan Thomas February 28, 2010 at 9:16 pm



29 Kate February 28, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Wow- that is an amazing marathon considering the races the day before!


30 Erin February 28, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Congrats! I can’t believe you did that – you are awesome!!!


31 Paige February 28, 2010 at 9:23 pm

You are a warrior!!!!!


32 Holly February 28, 2010 at 9:24 pm

You are so hardcore and amazing!


33 Erin February 28, 2010 at 9:28 pm

Meghann- It’s unbelievable how strong you are and how far you’ve come. Congrats on an amazing weekend! You’re an inspiration to us all


34 NYCRunnerGirl February 28, 2010 at 9:31 pm

CONGRATS!!! You are such an inspiration. Congrats to Ashley as well.

You look so happy in the pictures of you with all the medals and with the bagel. It just shows that all of your hard work paid off. Well done!!


35 eaternotarunner February 28, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Seriously you are amazing!! And congrats ASHLEY!


36 Karla February 28, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Oh my goodness!! You don’t even look like you ran a single mile!! How do you not look like a sweaty mess!? I definitely would! Congratulations!! Great accomplishment!


37 Karissa @ CardioFoodie February 28, 2010 at 9:37 pm

You are awesome! Congrats! You inspire me to get my butt out there and run! I was telling my husband about your challenge and he said you are “seriously hardcore”!


38 Lisa (bakebikeblog) February 28, 2010 at 9:40 pm

I am so very very proud of you! What an inspiration :) CONGRATS!!!


39 Lily @ Lily's Health Pad February 28, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Congrats on completing the Budweiser challenge!!! And yay Ashley!!!


40 amanda February 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

Great job!


41 Jacquie February 28, 2010 at 9:51 pm

Congratulations! I can definitely not run that much as my knees are bad from so many years of dancing, but I totally look up to what you can do! You’re truly inspirational! :)


42 Melissa S. February 28, 2010 at 9:53 pm

YAy! such a great weekend! i’m glad i could share it with you!!!


43 christina cadden February 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Good job on the race! Your a good friend to support your friend during a tough run!


44 Dori February 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm

You are amazing!!! How do you run a marathon so easily!! Yay for Ashley too, I love her!


45 Joey February 28, 2010 at 10:11 pm

AWESOME! I love that you make it seem so easy….. I can’t even run an entire 5K yet & I’m reading your post going, yeah I could do that… yeah right! Your determination is very admirable & I find motivation in it! :)


46 kelly February 28, 2010 at 10:13 pm

Very cool. I love the idea of three races in a weekend! Congratulations to you three! Awesome!


47 Gwen February 28, 2010 at 10:15 pm

YOU are amazing lady! Congrats on such a fantastic weekend!


48 amanda @ fake ginger February 28, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Congratulations! You all did awesome this weekend!


49 Julie @ Wearing Mascara February 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm

You are such an inspiration that I can complete a marathon one day :-)


50 emily February 28, 2010 at 10:20 pm

You are such a freaking rockstar!!!


51 theprocessofhealing February 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Congratulations!!! You are SUCH an inspiration!!!! I cannot wait to run again.. a full marathon is my ultimate goal one day 😀


52 Annie (Running with Forks and Spoons) February 28, 2010 at 10:31 pm

I am in complete awe of what you accomplished! You really do inspire me. I wrote about you on my blog, because I genuinely believe people should hear about what you accomplished this weekend!

“For those of you who do not follow Meghann’s blog and are wanting to get into running, read her latest post. You will most certainly be inspired.

Meghann just completed the Michelob Challenge, which…”


53 Emily February 28, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Congrats on your busy weekend! I’m amazed at how great all of you look in the photos, like you didn’t even sweat a drop!


54 Ida February 28, 2010 at 10:39 pm

congrats on a great weekend! you made it look too easy:) i can’t wait to read your thoughts on everything.

hope you feel good in the morning.


55 Jeanie February 28, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Meghann..Congratulations! You inspire me!

Jeanie :)


56 Anne P February 28, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Awesome job to both of you!! Love the shots of Tampa and the action shots – you girls are too cute :)


57 Matt February 28, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Wow you did awesome today!


58 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 28, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Congrats on your run! It looks like you had a beautiful day for the run!


59 jessica February 28, 2010 at 11:32 pm

Congrats! What an accomplishment! Thanks for sharing with us :)


60 Julie February 28, 2010 at 11:34 pm

what an amazing race weekend! I hope one day I can run like that!


61 simplyshaka February 28, 2010 at 11:41 pm

I would like to think of another adjective to say after reading this but I am going with everyone else on -AMAZING! I loved reading about this and a big congrats is in store for you!!


62 Erin February 28, 2010 at 11:50 pm

That’s so brilliant — congrats girl! Such an inspiration. 😀


63 Niki @ Niki's Neverending Adventure March 1, 2010 at 12:02 am

Congrats!! Great job girl! You totally rock and are so inspiring!!


64 Margaret March 1, 2010 at 12:05 am

Congrats Meghann! Looks like you had a blast!!! WOW!


65 kirsten March 1, 2010 at 12:33 am

Great job Meghann!! Congrats! Looks like you had a blast 😀


66 Jayce March 1, 2010 at 12:40 am

Amazing!!! Congrats!!


67 Fallon March 1, 2010 at 2:10 am

Whoo hoo!!! Congratulations on finishing so strong. I swear you give me so much inspiration to run. You are a great runner!


68 britchickruns March 1, 2010 at 3:04 am

:O You superstar woman!! What a fabulous recap! My goodness you must be feeling so awesome and proud of yourself 😀 yay you!
And good for Ashley and Melissa too :) It’s great when everyone is successful! I hope you aren’t too stiff today :)


69 Becky March 1, 2010 at 7:57 am

You are inspiration! I love the recap – you should feel sooo proud! Congratulations on such a major accomplishment!


70 Angel March 1, 2010 at 8:07 am

Meghann this made me cry tears of joy! You and Melissa are amazing to support Ashley the way you did. This is my favorite post and I hope you look back on this experience later in life and smile everytime! Your nickname might be machine but know there is a huge heart inside running the machine! I love you!


71 wnk505 March 1, 2010 at 9:02 am

your phenomenal! I am so inspired by you!!! You did a fantastic job in the race. You make me want to jump on the race wagon again.

Congrats on all your amazing accomplishments.


72 rachael March 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

Congrats on your amazing accomplishment! Your energy level is unbelievable, only your marathon recap could make running 26.2 miles sound easy:)


73 lauren (athlEAT) March 1, 2010 at 10:14 am

Congrats! such an awesome accomplishment!


74 feetinmotion March 1, 2010 at 10:19 am

Congrats girl!! I love love love your tank top!!


75 Jessica March 1, 2010 at 10:22 am

Way to go! it looks like a beautiful day and a beautiful race. be so proud or yourself!


76 Heather March 1, 2010 at 10:37 am

Awesome awesome awesome!! I can just feel how happy you guys were reading that! That looks like a really cool course to run- I love the pictures with the sun just rising. Congrats on your amazing running weekend and FOUR awesome medals! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


77 Whit March 1, 2010 at 10:38 am

Congrats to the both of you!!! That is awesome. 😀


78 runningwithsass March 1, 2010 at 10:59 am

congrats that is such an accomplishment, way to go!


79 Reenie March 1, 2010 at 11:14 am

WOW! You continue to amaze me….congrats to you, Derek & the girls:)


80 Jess March 1, 2010 at 11:21 am

Congrats on tackling and kicking butt at such an incredible challenge. You totally rocked those races and should be proud!


81 Laura Georgina March 1, 2010 at 11:25 am

WOW. You are seriously amazing!! I’m so glad that the races went so well and hope you get some good R and R today :-)


82 Sophie March 1, 2010 at 11:39 am

Awesome job! You make running a marathon look easy =)


83 laurenonymous March 1, 2010 at 11:47 am

Congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment! Person above me is right…you DO make it look easy!


84 Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama March 1, 2010 at 11:50 am

What a re-cap! Amazing! You are such an inspiration to the running world!


85 valerie March 1, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Congratulations!!! Awesome job by you and everyone else. You are definitely an inspiration!!


86 Lauren March 1, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Awesome work to you and the other women! The race looked incredibly fun, and scenic as always. Great job!


87 inmytummy March 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

You are an f’n rockstar! Congrats.


88 kristilyn March 1, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Congratulations! It sounds like you had a great experience! :-)



89 Lacey March 1, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Congratulations Meghann! As always,you truly are an inspiration.

Congrats to Ashley & Melissa as well :-)


90 Eating Abroad March 1, 2010 at 4:07 pm

I have been so proud of you all week, but this one tops it off! Wow! Congratulations! I started tearing up just reading about your amazing accomplishment! Way to go!


91 Jes March 6, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Awesome report and congrats on the race! You are quite inspiring. I cannot wait to run my first marathon next February!


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