Well, the weather couldn’t of been any better. It was overcast and cool for most of the race. But when you’re running 26.2 miles, you’re pretty much a sweaty mess throughout it all. I think the good and bad thing was I had never ran a marathon before. So at the start I was surrounded by others who had. I ran with one lady for 8 miles, who was my age, had the same amount of kids and was competing in her 8th marathon. I was comfortable running at her pace. I think we were between 8:30 and 9 minute miles. Her goal was to make the Boston cut-off. And mine wasn’t. I just wanted to make it under 4 hours. Eventually she took off and I didn’t.
Then I was running with a couple and I thought if I stay with them, I will surely keep my pace under 4 hours. They had 12 marathons under their belt and as I crossed the 4th water station, my little family was there waiting to cheer me on. I felt good, we were at mile 8, and I was still hanging on to their pace. There was a young guy who was staying with us too. By the 1/2 marathon mark, we were under 2 hours. Which was great. But something happened after mile 18. And all I could think of was that “wall” everyone talked about. I hit it. My lovely pace was diminishing and I got passed by a pink fairy.
My family was waiting for me at mile 19 with a bottle of powdered food. Even though all the water stations provided junk food, like jelly beans and gummi bears, I didn’t take any of it. I hadn’t trained with solid food and thought it wouldn’t be a good idea to start now. Plus, I was at that “wall” and wasn’t feeling the best. I slowed down to a snails pace, but kept running. I wasn’t going to stop even though everyone around me would stop and then go. I just kept thinking “when will this end?” And more importantly, I was looking forward to the water station with the shower.
By mile 22, I was at a water station that had the shower. I ran under it. The grime on my face was thick. Every time I hit a water station, I would get water to wash my face off. I started to feel good at mile 23. And I kept telling myself I only have a 5K left. I was no longer running with anyone, which was lonely, especially at the end when you are at your limit. And I knew I wasn’t going to be under 4 hours. I wouldn’t be close. But as I turned the last corner and ran into the track area, I felt good. And I charged into the finish at 4 hours 19 minutes. And the man thought I was going to fall and held onto me for awhile. I was like “I am fine. I am not going to fall.” Because if I fell to the ground, I wouldn’t be able to get up. My husband and kids were right there and of course, they were hungry. I wasn’t until about 1:30 PM that day.
The funny thing about this race is it doesn’t feel like I did anything big. Like I ran 26.2 miles and I am still not aware of how big that is. I am fully aware of the pain I am feeling. More than I thought it would be. And in different areas than my training runs. My run was on a gravel-packed trail, which I had trained on once a week. I am not sure it’s better than pavement. They both seem to have their pluses and minuses. I had no chaffing either. Which is amazing. One of my toe nails may fall off. I am not sure. It’s sore and I was aware of it near the end. Luckily the one area I always blister was not too bad. Due to my skin being calloused.
I think all in all, it was a great experience. The race was awesome and well-organized. I know now I need to up my mileage for the next time. Which will be the end of the Ironman-distance race I have scheduled at the end of September. I kept thinking about that race during the hard parts of my marathon. Mostly, I was thinking how will I ever finish. I also have my half-Ironman in 26 days. I feel confident about this upcoming race, but I know I need to get going after today with training. And I am not sure how because I feel pretty bad this morning. But like anything, I just keep moving. Because right now, sitting is the worst possible thing in the world.