So, no really great excuse for putting this off for … ahem … nearly 2 months … but, uh, yeah. I would have neglected this post altogether, but let’s be honest. I can’t NOT write about completing my FULL MARATHON!
I still can’t really believe it, to be honest with you. I thought I’d get a couple weeks out and accept it, but the fact that I accomplished it still hasn’t quite hit home. I’m not sure that it ever will. Until, maybe, I do another one. Then I’ll be able to say that it’s not my “first”. That I have some experience under my belt. Maybe I’ll be less nervous. Yeah. Right.
For my full marathon, I chose to do the IMT Des Moines Marathon, the home of my first half marathon just one year prior. I thought that the race was really well-done, and the crowd was awesome, so when I wanted to complete a full, it was an easy decision. I’ll be honest – it’s also pretty convenient, being the only full marathon in the area (that I know of – if you know of one I’m missing, let me know!).
I only signed up a month and a half or so prior, but if you’re sure, I’d sign up earlier, as it’s quite a bit cheaper. If you’re brave, you can sign up 9 months (or so) early for the best rate. The race comes with the usual coupons. This year, we got this awesome shirt, too – it’s probably my favorite yet!
Check out the back!
Coming into race day, I felt okay. I knew I could have trained a bit longer, but I had an 18 mile, two 20 mile, and a 22 mile run under my belt, so I knew that I could do it. Regardless, I was terrified, and had to focus really hard on my training history to give me any confidence for the race. I tapered appropriately, and waited for the big day.
Race day, unfortunately, did not start so well. The morning of, Phyll and I headed downtown and he dropped me off near-ish to the race line. I started walking to the start, but had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something. I looked down, tapping my stomach out of habit to check for my race number, and ears for my earbuds. It was only when I looked at my feet that I remembered. Sure enough, it was my race chip. I had left it at home!
I broke into a sprint to find a race tent. After a panicked conversation with a police officer (I’ll be honest – I thought he was just a volunteer at the time and afterwards, felt bad for bugging him) I found the tent where people were picking up day-of information. The volunteers there reassured me there was no issue, and assigned me a new chip. The only big issue was that the text notification of my locations to my family would no longer work. I was bummed, but relieved I had a chip and was able to get my official time.
I lined up at the start, looking for anyone I knew. It didn’t take too long for me to spot Katie, although with all the people around, I was pretty shocked. It was so nice to see a familiar face at the starting line since I couldn’t find Phyll!
And then, we were off! I’ll be honest, a lot of the race was a blur. I don’t know how people give mile-by-mile recaps.
The race, for me, was separated into about three chunks.
- Miles 1 – 15(ish): I felt good! No issues. I was worried I might be going a touch too fast, but went with it. All the excitement was getting to me, and I rode the wave. I was able to run part of it with my friend Elena, and part of it with the 10 minute mile pacer (this probably should have been my sign I WAS going too fast).
- Miles 15(ish) – 22(ish): This chunk was rough. I was pretty convinced that running a marathon just might have been the worst decision I had EVER made. Things started to hurt a bit, and my mental blocks were pushing back at me. I hit the wall – hard. But, as they say, all things will pass (is that the phrase?). I took some walking breaks. I’ll be honest. (I hate when people don’t admit to that when it’s true – we’re human. This was my first marathon!)
- Miles 22(ish) – 26.2: Once I hit this point, I couldn’t believe that I only had 4 miles left. I hurt, but my mind was in it, so it was all about pushing through the pain in my feet. I hit some runner’s high, I think, because although I was in pain, I was EXCITED!
And then, we were at the end. Phyll came out and ran the last half mile with me, which was amazing. It really made me go that much faster at the end, and I was all smiles. I think that he should do a race with me for real – what do you think?
As I crossed the finish line, I still couldn’t quite believe it. I got my medal, and picked up some water and food. My family thought I was in the first-aid tent the whole time, but I was just chilling with my banana (and chips … though after two bites, I was done with those. Yuck!). Seated on my rear. Cause I mean, if you can’t take a seat and stretch after 26.2 miles, when can you?
Final time: 5:16:45
Overall, I was happy with my race performance. I know I went too fast in the first half. Oh well. And I would have liked to break 5 hours, but I was out there to finish. Next time? Under 5 hours. For now?
DONE. And done.
How did you feel after your first marathon (or race?).
What should be my next race? I’d love to find a half when I’m in Vegas in April (the weekend of the 26th).