Tuesday, November 17, 2015

TOTR: I'M A MARATHONER!

Wow. I honestly have absolutely NO idea where to start on this one. Saturday was... amazing. Everything I had imagined and MORE.

Linking up for Tuesday's on the Run.


I know most recaps go mile by mile but there's no way that would even begin to do this race justice. Everyone told me that the first marathon would be "special" but I had no idea what they meant until I crossed the finish line.

Saturday was the most emotionally/physically draining thing I've ever done.



The morning started out a little hectic. I slept surprisingly well but for some reason I thought I'd have more time than I did before the race and kind of took my time. I made it to the start line with plenty of time to spare but the porta potties? Not so much. I stressed out a bit about not getting a chance to take advantage of them but it turned out to be okay in the end.

The weather on Saturday was seriously perfect. It was a little chilly at the start (around 40 degrees) but I decided to go ahead and drop my throwaway sweat shirt before the race started so I wouldn't have to worry about doing it later. The sun was out and I had gloves on so I knew I'd be okay.



I made the decision to start off with the 3:35 pace group and just see how long I could hold on. I thought MAYBE if I got lucky I'd be able to hang with them but unfortunately that wasn't the case. Oh well. The first marathon is all about learning, right?

The first 13-14 miles absolutely flew by. I guess maybe it was the adrenaline rush and the excitement that I was FINALLY running a marathon but I had no major problems. I've been dealing with a bout of achilles tendonitis recently so it took a while to get fully warmed up but once I got there, I was fine. I stayed with 3:35 pace group up until mile 17 or so and that's when the wheels started coming off a bit.

I totally hit the wall between miles 17-20. No question about it. My body was okay but mentally, I wasn't doing so hot. Going into the marathon, I KNEW from day 1 this would be my biggest challenge. Instead of taking it one mile at a time, I started thinking about how many I had left and it was tough to take in.

Luckily for me, my family was waiting for me at mile 19. And good thing too because it was right before a pretty decent size hill. I knew if I stopped, I'd have a hard time getting going again but just seeing them helped more than I can explain. Peter handed off my final two gels and I was totally bawling my eyes out because I was so emotional but I don't think he noticed since my sunglasses were on. ;)

I slugged it out through mile 20 and then, the realization hit that although I wasn't going to hit 3:35, I could still get a sub-4 hour marathon on my first try. And that was the motivation I needed to get my butt in gear again.

From 20-26, I took it one mile at a time. I ran as much as I could but admittedly took a few much needed breaks. I'd run half a mile, walk for about 1 minute (or the length of 2 cones, ha) and then pick it up again until I hit the next water stop. Luckily, Richmond had water stops every mile from 20-26.

Miles 23 & 24 were my slowest miles of the day, 10:12 & 10:06. Not terribly happy with those but I got through them and that's what counts.

And then I hit mile 25. This was by far my favorite mile of the day. I was in pain, I was tired, the thought of shotblocks and gels made me absolutely sick to my stomach but oh my gosh--I smiled the ENTIRE time. The crowds started picking up again, my adrenaline was pumping, and tears were already starting to flow. I couldn't stop thinking about how I was about to finish something that I said I would NEVER do 3 years ago.

I ran mile 25 in 9:12--a far cry from my normal pace but the fastest mile I'd had since about mile 17. And then we hit the magical number 26 and it was literally all down hill from there. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I sprinted down the hill--there was no stopping. I caught a glimpse of my family cheering me on and it was everything I'd hoped for and more. I crossed the finish line in 3:50:22 and just like that, I was a marathoner.




I got my medal, blanket, and hat and SLOWLY started making my way to the finisher area. I heard someone shouting my name and looked up to see my best friend Anna sprinting toward me. As soon as she got to me, the happy tears just started flowing again. I couldn't' hold it in and didn't want to. That was one of the most surreal and proudest moments of my life.


I ran a marathon, I hit my B goal (sub 4 hours), and I got to celebrate with my family. It was one of those days I'll never forget.



And for those of you wondering how I felt afterwards, I was pretty tired and a little stiff but after some food (pizza and potato wedges! ha), a shower, and a nap, I felt pretty good all things considered. I took it fairly easy on Sunday and yesterday but today, I decided to test out my legs and went for a 5 mile shakeout run. So, I'd say my training was pretty successful. ;)

So there you have it. I'm now a marathoner. It's weird FINALLY knocking it off my bucket list because it's been there for so long and I feel like I've been working toward it since I started running 10 years ago! I guess that just means it's time to find a new goal, right? ;)

Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Sarah

11 comments:

  1. CONGRATS! That's amazing. And finally off the bucket list. ;)

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  2. Congratulations on the race! Your first marathon is one that you'll never forget, so I'm glad it was such a positive experience :) Great job!

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    1. Thank you!! You're right--I'll NEVER forget the feeling of crossing the finish line. So worth the training!

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  3. SO proud of you! You did an amazing job!!!! Killer time - can't wait to hear about your next goal, but I hope you have a fabulous time celebrating you're amazing accomplishment!

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  4. way to go!!! go add your recap to my linkup on my blog. congrats, marathoner!!!

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  5. Congrats! I want to run the Richmond Marathon one year. I love the half there.

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    1. Richmond was so much fun! So glad I chose it as my first one!! And thank you!

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  6. What an experience!! It's amazing that you didn't hit the wall until close to the end...you inspire me!

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