Never say never – because Saturday I accomplished a huge goal and ran my first marathon! I still can’t believe I did it.
Training and preparing for a marathon is NO joke, that’s one reason I’ve been putting it off. There is SO much time involved. I’ve been watching my sister train and run them for years. And honestly, I’ve been pretty happy with training for half marathons, but after finishing my 10th half this spring I felt like I was at a cross roads. I’ve been running for 4 years now. I needed to either step it up and really try to get faster at a half marathon pace, or finally go for the full.
I registered for the Big Cottonwood full and then promptly decided I was nuts.
I’ve posted about my training here, on Facebook and Instagram over the summer. Part of posting about it keeps me accountable. But the week of the marathon I was really getting nervous and even though I knew I had finished the training – I suddenly because super nervous and wished I hadn’t told anyone about it! I was really going to do this thing!
The weather this past week was something I was super worried about. We’ve had a really warm couple weeks and I was nervous for the heat. My husband has worked a lot of medical tents at marathons during residency and he’s seen a lot of runners get sick from the heat. His horror stories were not good for me to hear! I drank a Gatorade every day the week of the race, and the day before I drank a gallon of it. Ugh. I really don’t love that stuff, but I knew it was good for me. I also really enjoyed carb-loading. Who doesn’t?
And then suddenly, Saturday morning was here! My sister drove me up where we finish, where I caught a bus that took us to the top. The bus ride was SO long…and I was just about to turn around and run the whole thing? I love the atmosphere at the start line. It’s always so fun! I took out my emergency blanket – and found a spot among the sea of runners. I ate my last snack – and then read a book on my phone. 🙂 I talked to one women who came from Detroit to run the race and another who came from Jacksonville, Florida. Both were trying to qualify for Boston. I just really hoped to finish and not die.
Soon it was time to line up and then we were off!
I was surprised at how many different runners there were in this race. Maybe this sounds horrible, but I always just assumed marathon runners were those runners who had been running for years, who had the super skinny, sleek runner’s body, who could run and qualify for Boston……who were all faster than me. Honestly, I’ve never felt I was good enough to run a marathon, and I’ve always felt a little bit like I’m not a real runner because I had never finished a marathon.
I was wrong! All kinds of shapes, sizes and paces. I wasn’t alone!
Around mile 4 I had to stop and retie my shoes. That actually slowed me down more than when I took a potty stop around mile 11. The canyon was beautiful and I loved it. I saw two moose off the side of the road along mile 5 or 6 and one actually started looking at the runners and coming our way – SCARY! – but a race truck quickly came and blocked it.
If I could change anything – I would have changed my food for the day. I needed to eat more. I ate before I left my house, but I was nervous to eat much, and then I ate a banana at the start line. I ended up actually feeling hungry for the first 13 miles of the race. It was something I just had to get though and keep running. I also should have brought more fuel for during the race – I had enough, but it would have been nice to have a couple different options instead of just the minimum with me. Because of the heat, I had planned to drink a Gatorade at almost every aide station, which I did and I believed that really helped me. After miles 15 I started drinking a Gatorade and a water just to be safe.
At the S curve – about miles 14…I was over halfway! I cut my hair short a weeks ago – and it’s kinda like crazy bat wings in most of my race pictures.
And then….at mile 18 you drop out of the canyon.
And there is an out and back.
And you gain some elevation.
In the hot sun with no shade.
And I lost it. Miles 20 through 23 were really hard.
And I wanted to totally sit down and give up and texted my husband that I was done.
He sent me the best text back and it really helped. And I just kept going – because at this point, even though I really wanted to sit down on the side of the road and quit, I had come SO far, I just couldn’t give up. I had to finish. But it was SO HARD. I’m not even kidding or joking. The worst miles ever. I put my head down, changed my playlist, counted my steps (out of sheer boredom) and just kept going.
At mile 23 you turn a corner (literally) and you know you only have 3 miles to go. Plus the sun went behind some clouds and a nice wind even picked up. It was SO refreshing to not have the sun beating down anymore and I felt so much better!
My sister and good friend came with a sign to cheer me on around mile 24, and then at the finish line my husband, my kids and another good friend were there. It was SO fun seeing everyone at the finish. I had to stop myself from crying as I could see the finish line coming up – I had done it! I could see the finish line and new I had actually met my goal…but then I was trying to run and cry – which is never a good combination, so I had to quickly stop that and run for the end.
Finished! I had two goals when I registered for this race. I wanted to finish – and I really wanted to finish under 5 hours. I know I’m not the fastest, but I was worried about the miles and thought that would give me ample time.
I finished 4:43:58
The girl at the Sodalicious booth didn’t really find it funny that I needed a Diet Coke after my race…even after I pointed out that my racing bib said I would run for Diet Coke.
After a shower, a nap and my husband fixing my feet (it pays to be married to a good foot doctor) he took me out on a date to Chili’s where I got way too much food, and didn’t care.
I spent the rest of the day relaxing with my family. Saturday was the big game day – The Holy War between the U of U and BYU. We are a house divided, (boys=blue, girls=red) and the boys always come away from the game feeling disappointing. They haven’t won a game in the past 7 years, so I’m not sure why they still bleed blue… but whatever…we earn bragging rights each year.
It actually wasn’t the best win, but it was a win. And a great way to end the day.
I’m not sure. It’s Thursday and I can finally walk normal again. So there’s that.
Will I run another one? Ask me later.
But never say never….