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My First Marathon

April 30, 2012

I don’t even know where to begin this post.

Let’s just start by saying that yesterday I completed my first Marathon!

And now let’s back up a few steps.

Training

About halfway through training for my first Half Marathon in the fall, I decided I wanted to run a full Marathon this spring. I picked a plan, did some research, and realized if I was going to do it, I would need to start training immediately after the Half. I was on a complete runner’s high, so there was no doubt in my mind. I was going to do it.

After the Half, I dove in headfirst, completing my weekly runs and gradually building up my long runs on the weekend. I dealt with a few minor pains, taking days off when necessary, but it was going good. About halfway through the process, I started to get a little burnt out on training, but I plugged right along. Then, less than two months from the Marathon, I suffered a leg injury that kept me down for about two weeks. After that, I had to completely alter my Marathon plans. I considered dropping down to the Half, but really wanted to do the full, so I tried to get back to training. My endurance was shot though. Taking two weeks off mid training is a blow physically and mentally. So, I did some research on walk/run intervals and decided this was the route I was going to take. I started out with 8:1 intervals, which proved to be too hard. So, I did my final long run at 6:1 and decided that’s what I was going to do in the Marathon.

Marathon Weekend

I chose do do the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. OKC is about an hour and a half from Tulsa, so my friends got a hotel for us to stay in. We drove down Saturday, checked in to the hotel, and hit up the race expo. I don’t think the expo was as good this year as it was last year, but we spend a while walking around and checking it out.
Saturday evening we ate at a local Italian restaurant. It was decent, but not the best. That along with extreme nerves and anxiety about the race left me with an upset stomach. I still managed to enjoy my evening and got in bed pretty early. I didn’t sleep very well and woke up several times to the sounds of thunder and rain.

My alarm went off at 4:30 and I got ready for the race. It wasn’t raining at this point and it looked like the rain was going to hold off. It was perfect weather outside. Slightly breezy and in the low 60’s. We checked out of the hotel and made our way downtown. After finding parking relatively easily and walking a few blocks, it was time for me to say goodbyes to my family and friends and to find my corral. Before the race, they had 168 seconds of silence for the 168 people who were killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing. It was amazing how eerily silent it got. People seemed to really realize the importance of this race for this state and that city.

It took me about 10 minutes to get to the starting line once the gun went off. My first mile was pretty slow because of the huge crowd. After that, I sped up and was doing a pretty good pace, keeping it under 10 minute miles, which was my goal. Right after mile 6, it started raining, and continued to do so on and off the majority of the race, until the last few miles.

About halfway through the race, I was really feeling it. I was tired, my feet were wet, and my legs were hurting. At this point I also ran out of water  in my water bottle (which I knew was going to happen). I tried to keep up my 6:1 intervals, but was really struggling. So, I decided to do 3 minute run, 30 second walks. And then my watch stopped working (apparently my lap data was full?). At this point I decided to give up on my goal of finishing in 4:30 and to just really try to experience the race. I ran as far as a could and then walked for a little bit. This was my strategy for the rest of the race. I also hit every water stop (getting both water and powerade at most). The two Gu’s I had taken seemed to be bothering my stomach, so I didn’t want to take any more. But I was feeling really drained, so I grabbed a few orange slices and a handful of pretzels at water stops. The last 4 miles were brutal. I remember thinking at one point that this was the hardest thing I had ever done. I was having a really sharp pain in my right calf that killed me each time I started to run, but I wanted to power through. If it weren’t for the other racers and crowds through the neighborhoods, I don’t know if I could have done as much running as I did. Plus, I kept thinking about my family and friends waiting for me at the Finish Line.

I came up on the last mile and a fellow racer patted me on the back and said, “you’re almost there. You can do it.” I did a little more walking/running and then I could finally see the finish line. As I inched closer, people in the crowds would call out my name (it was on the front of my bib) and it really made me keep pushing. When I saw my sister, boyfriend, and roommate right near the finish line, I started crying. It was pain, relief, and accomplishment hitting me all at once. I did it! I finished in 4:57. Yes, it was almost 30 minutes slower than I planned on. No, I didn’t run the whole race. But I had  completed my goal. I was am finally a Marathoner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I stumbled my way to the photo area, to pick up my finishers shirt, and to grab a few refreshments. And then I did what I had been waiting to do. I went and met my family and friends.

Post Race

We went back to the hotel locker rooms and showered before grabbing a quick lunch (turkey wrap at Jason’s Deli) and heading back home. I was more sore than I had ever been in my life. I hobbled around the rest of the day and crashed at about 8:30.

I am so glad I took today off of work. I am so sore. My legs, my back, my stomach. All of me. I have been trying to move around some today. Working with three year olds tomorrow is probably going to kill me.

I am so glad I can finally say I have run a Marathon. Do I ever want to do it again? No. For now, I think I will take a week or two off, then gradually get back in to running 5k’s, 10k’s, and Half Marathons. And finally, I plan to introduce some other forms of exercise into my routine. I love running. It is my passion, but I am a little burnt out right now. I need some variety.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2012 6:18 pm

    no effing way! congratulations! I didn’t know it was yesterday! I can’t wait to join that club- four weeks away! and thank you again for all the lovely treats- so happy I was paired with you for my first month!

  2. May 1, 2012 10:47 am

    Congratulations! That’s a title that you’ll have for life, so wear it proudly. I’ve always found it impressive that we’re capable of doing crazy things with the support of friends, family and even strangers. I refer to the part where you allude to not being able to continue were it not for the crowds and spectators, you might have called it a day.

    That’s basically how I’ve felt at the end of every marathon. You figure, if it were just you, by yourself, it’d be so easy to just relax. But there’s people ahead, people behind, and in some big races, in all directions, to keep you moving forward.

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