I DID IT!! I friggin ran my first ever Marathon!
I decided that wearing the race T and metal all day is a totally normal thing… right?
Let’s recap how it went:
The race started at 7:30 am, so I woke up around 6 am to have a PB & J – my pre-race meal of choice – and get ready. I applied copious amounts of sunblock, body glide, and did a full equipment check. I also ran to the bathroom a dozen or more times.
We were staying in a hotel that was a half a mile from the start/finish — so we left 7 and headed towards the park where the race was located. It is a new race – which is part of it’s charm, so it was super organized. There was a 5K, half, and full all started in the same place and the half and full started at the same time. Kind of felt like chaos.. which added to my nerves.
My tummy was tight and I was definitely a bundle of nerves. I didn’t remember to bring a printout of the course map or the directions, which came back to bite me later on.
The first half of the race felt good! I’m not a fast runner — I do the chubby kid shuffle — but I was determined to try my very best and give it my all. I knew that my race time would be right around 7 hours — since my half time was 3 hours 20 mins…
I averaged 15 min/mile pace the first 13 miles of the course — it was cool, slightly sunny, but gorgeous! Lots of spectators were scattered around the course which definitely made me feel all the race day feels!
Turn around trouble
Right after the 13 mile marker and water station, things got rough… The teenage volunteers that were manning most water stations and key course markers FLAKED OUT! They just VANISHED! So that meant at the turn around at 13.5 miles — there was no one and no markings and no way for me to know where to turn around. Being the slow kid meant there were no other runners around to ask. I ended up overshooting the turn around by a mile or more! Meaning by time I turned around and got back on the course, I added MILES to my race.
EVEN WORSE was that the street was FLOODED with shin high water — so I had to run through and get my shoes totally SOAKED TWICE!! (There and back).
So the entire second half of the race was run in soaking wet shoes and socks. I was demoralized, discouraged, embarrassed, and super uncomfortable…
Just keep Swimming
I just kept going. By course mile 15 I saw more smiling faces and by the hill/bridge I felt way more confident I was on the right path and saw a bunch more runners. They weren’t that far ahead of me, but in the winding streets it’s easy to lose sight of the others. I powered through and just kept going!
By course mile 20.78 I was in the weeds. I was exhausted and my feet were totally shredded. I was dead last (due to my slow pace and the extra miles I added), so the volunteers and water stations were starting to pack up as I ran by. I was running low on water and feeling like I need to call my hubby — so I did.
Best Race Director & Team Ever!
I told my hubby I needed water, and he send the race director out to me! That sweet man was my savior — he handed me cups of water and filled my camelbak up for me! In what other race would that ever happen?? This guy was amazing!
After mile 21, I was still in the weeds and feeling cruddy. I slowed to a march and called my hubby again. It was just what I needed. By mile 22 I was off and running full steam again. The race director, realizing I was last and really under-supported by the race teen volunteers, stuck with me in his little red pickup truck!
He’d drive to the next turn and aim his truck in the direction I was supposed to go — and guided me to the final straight away, screaming directions and encouragement all along the way!
After rallying, and with constant encouragement and support from the race director and my hubby, I finished strong!
The race director’s wife even allowed my hubby to give me my metal!
I grabbed a handful of bananas and went straight to the car to change my shoes and drive home. All I wanted was dry feet and a shower!
On the way home, my hubby told me all about how nice the director and his wife were — and that they gave me one of the leftover age group prizes since I “earned it” — HOW SWEET IS THAT!???
In the light of a new morning, I’m still proud of my accomplishments — and realize that every marathon poses challenges for everyone. I’m just so blessed to be so supported and uplifted!
How was your first marathon experience?
Have you ever finished dead last?
Did you ever have a marathon that was super tough?