Wow!! I knew the marathon would be hard, but my body was not expecting that!! I don’t want to scare anyone from doing a marathon, but that had to be the most difficult race I’ve done so far!! But I did finish, and my New Year’s resolution has been accomplished!!
First off, I am sure most people want to know how I did, so here’s a breakdown of my stats.
My official (chip) time was 3:42.12.
My average pace per mile was 8:29.
Overall place: 996 out of 5606
178 of 2147 females
106 of 1162 for my age group: females 19-34
Splits (of the ones that I got accurately):
1 – 8:12
2 – 7:32
5K (3.1) – 8:21
4 – 6:47
5 – 7:42
6 – 7:42
(total time at 10K – 48:53)
7 – 7:46
8 – 8:00
9 – 8:01
10 – 7:44
11 – 8:06
12 – 7:59
13.1 – 8:50 (total – 1:43.43)
14 – 7:57
15 – 7:02 (that’s not quite right)
16 – 8:03
17 – 8:15
18 – 8:21
19 – 8:20
(Mile 20 – 26.2 I did not get accurate splits–just the total time.)
20 – 2:40.37
25 – 3:31.04
26.2 – 3:42.12
If you are familiar with the running world–especially the marathon world–you know that qualifying for Boston is what “everyone” talks about. In order to qualify for Boston, I needed to run the marathon in 3:40 or better (which was also one of my goals). Well, as you can see, I just missed it!! I was quite bummed. However, I have to remind myself it was my first marathon and there is always next time.
There is so much to tell you that I don’t know where to begin, so let’s just begin at the beginning.
Saturday morning, the marathon started at 7:30 a.m. A bus picked us up and took us to the start at 5:45 a.m., so I got up around 5:00 a.m. and started getting ready. As I went to put my running shoes on, I discovered something that I did not plan on. . . .I forgot the orthotics for my shoes!! I started freaking out; this was not good!! I didn’t even have the inserts that come with the shoes when you buy them, which left me with nothing in the bottom of my shoes. I quickly called my mom since they were in the trunk of her car, but she spent the night 2 hours from the starting line and there was no way she could get them to me before I started running.
I was going crazy!! How could I make such a rookie mistake? I told my mom to try to get as close to the start as possible to give the orthotics to me. She said she would try to meet me at mile five. I was still freaking out because I didn’t know how my feet would adjust to wearing running shoes with no inserts in them, but I knew I couldn’t let it get the best of me. I finished getting ready, boarded the bus, and said some prayers on our way to the start. When I arrived at the start, I knew there was going to be a lot of people, but I could not believe how many people were actually running this race–over 5000.
And that was just one (of five) set of porta-potties!!
We got to the start at 6:15 a.m., so I sat down and waited. Normally, I spend anywhere from 30-60 minutes warming-up for a race–depending upon the distance, the shorter the race, the longer the warm-up and vice-versa. However for the marathon, I could not sacrifice any energy.
Then it was time to line up in the chute and wait for the gun to go off. Once the gun went off, it took me about 1.5 minutes to actually get to the start line, and now it was time to accomplish a goal of mine that I’ve had for quite some time.
One of my biggest worries was that I was going to start off too fast, so I did my best to keep the pace easy. I just kept telling myself that this was just a normal Saturday long run–no pressure. In no time we crossed the one-mile mark–8:12–a little slow (I wanted to average 8:00 per mile.), but that’s okay, I still had 25.2 miles to pick up the pace.
And then lo and behold, I hear my name being called–it is my sister with my orthotics!! Hip, hip, horray!! I quickly sat down and put them in my shoes, and ran off again. My sister joined me for a little while here, which was fun.
From here until the half-way point, the miles clicked away easily. I was feeling great (no knee pain–yeah!!!), my pace was easy, my breath was not labored, and I was passing people up quite frequently.
At mile 13.5 my sister caught up with my again. I was starting to feel the effects from running so long but I was barely over half done, so I took some GU in hopes it would revive me a little. She stayed with me for a while and I told her that I was starting to get tired. She said she’d meet me at mile 20 for some more GU and water. Mile 14 turned into 15 and then we got to mile 16–only 10 more miles to go. What?!?! 10 more!! I don’t know about this. “Alright,” I told myself, ” just get to 17 and then it will be down to the single digits (of miles remaining).” Miles 17 -20 were tough and actually quite a blur. I still had a ways to go, but my body was starting to break down. I didn’t have the energy I did at the beginning, my joints were getting sore, but somehow I managed to keep moving my feet.
Finally, I got to mile 20 and my sister was there with some GU again. I took the rest of it and continued on. By this time, I had seriously considered walking. I did NOT want to walk at all though (it was one of my goals), but I was in a lot of pain and I didn’t know how I could run 6 more miles like this. I figured I had already broken my goal of not stopping when putting my orthotics in, so I pushed as long as I could and finally told my sister I had to stop and walk. As soon as I stopped, I staggered, swayed from side to side, but forced myself to regain my balance before my legs gave out.
We walked for a little while and tried to give my legs a break. Restarting is always the hardest, but somehow I convinced myself to start jogging again. I did feel slightly better, so I pushed on. Lemon Drop Hill (the largest hill of the course) was coming up and even though it wasn’t that steep, I knew I couldn’t waste my energy running up it, so we walked up the hill and my brother joined us at the top. My sister, brother, and I continued to walk/jog the next couple of miles–taking 100-200 meter walk breaks to try and give my legs a little bit of a rest.
This time was very difficult for me–physically and emotionally. I could not believe how excruciating the pain was!! I quickly said good-bye to my hopes of qualifying for Boston and now just made it my goal to finish and get in under 4:00.
We finally got to mile 24.5 when my sister took off for the finish line. I continued to run and forced myself not to stop again until the finish line. It was a long 1.7 miles until the end, but the shouts from the crowd were loud and very encouraging. I continued to shuffle along and recruit every last ounce of energy my body would give me.
Slowly but surely I came to the end and saw the finish. As soon as I crossed the finish line, I knew I had given it my all. I was weak, tired, and completely exhausted!! I had just endured something most people only dream of. I knew running a marathon was going to be difficult, but that was a level of difficulty I was not expecting. It was an adventure I will never forget and one that is a true test of physical endurance, mental toughness, and heart.