Wednesday, April 14, 2010

My 1st Marathon

With the Boston Marathon, which should have been my 5th marathon, less than a week away, I thought it was appropriate to share the joy and suffering of my 1st marathon. Ever since I started running track and xc in high school, I thought it'd be cool to someday say I ran a marathon so it became one of my goals in life. I also thought I'd be content with only running one....boy, was I wrong! Once I was in a grad school, I was no longer a competitive athlete in the sense that I didn't have races every weekend that I was training year round for. I loved running and working out but needed something to fulfill that desire to train for something. So, in October 2006 I ran my first half marathon, the Columbus 1/2 Marathon, which was also in conjunction with the Columbus Marathon. Considering my longest run was 10 mi, I was very happy with my finish time of 1:38:34 (7:32 pace), which is still my half marathon PR. I knew after that race I was going to run the full marathon the next fall.

In August 2007, I started training for my first full marathon. I had been running year round but wasn't doing any really long runs. I made up my own training program from combining several other training programs to fit my needs. I only ended up doing 3 longs run--one 16 mi, one 18 mi, and one 20 mi run. Of course, I didn't have my Garmin but I knew the distance of several loops around the neighborhood I was living in and thought I was running those distances. In reality, I was coming up a bit short. I still remember how tired my legs were after running my first 18 miler, I could barely move the rest of the day!

October 21, 2007 rolled around and I was excited. This was pre-Todd so my parents came to cheer me on. I was a little naive and thought I could run faster than I realistically could (rookie mistake right here!) so my goal was 3:30. I figured 8 min/mi would be a piece of cake after my 1:38 half marathon a year before. I remember how nervous I was at the start as the loud speakers blared U2's "Beautiful Day." I quickly found my rhythm and felt great at the beginning, even seeing random people in the crowds I knew cheering for me. I hit the half in 1:44:33 and was right on pace. 2007 was the last year of the old Columbus marathon course before they made some revisions in 2008 (which I ran and definitely liked the newer course better) so miles 11-16+ were all up High Street and relatively boring. After turning off of High Street, I encountered my first and only real hill of the day. And then I hit the wall....big time. My legs were dead. I told myself to keep running and I could still BQ with a 3:40. I was still on pace for 3:40 until mile 22. I had to do a walk/run for a couple miles. I pulled a stellar 11:00 min/mi at one point. I wanted to curl up on the side of the road and quit, but I didn't. I knew I could hang in there for less than 30 more minutes. As I came up towards the final stretch, I saw my parents cheering for me and pushed through the pain. The final 0.2 mi was all downhill and I have never been more relieved to stop running as I crossed the finish line, but also never so proud of myself. I finished in 3:49:14 (8:45 pace) and before I even took my timing chip off my shoe, I was already planning my next marathon. I had caught the marathon bug.

Huge smile on my face as I'm about to cross the finish line

Looking a bit exhausted afterwards but still showing off my medal

I knew I'd be sore after the marathon, which I was for about 5 days. It was torture to walk up & down stairs and sit down in a chair. The worst thing though was the severe blisters I got during the race. It was so bad that I couldn't wear running shoes for a few days because it was that painful. I'll spare you the gruesome pics of my foot but as you can see from this photo, my shoe was actually bloody during the race. My dad was taking photos during the race of me and somehow when we zoomed in on one of them, you could see a red spot on my shoe.

Yes, that red spot is blood

It's hard to believe that on Monday, I was going put myself through the torture, agony, and joy of another marathon. I still hope though that there are many a few more to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing this! sounds like your first one was really tough but you were obviously tougher and finished. and with a smile on your face.

too funny that right after you finished you were planning your next. my only thought when i finished was "no way in hell" haha