I've been thinking about my first marathon for a while now, and I finally am ready to share my feelings about it.
October 31, 2014: Race Packet Pickup & Expo
I was super excited for this weekend and my parents went with me to get my bib and other race things. The expo wasn't as big as the Mini Marathon's was but it was still good. My mom and I went halfers on some runningskirts capri skirts and I bought a pair of socks. After the expo, we went to the mall to kill a little time before our Team In Training Inspration dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.
At the dinner, we were treated to various presentations and guest speakers. And at one point, Maggie, our campaign specialist, started reading one of my posts from my fundraising page. I broke down in tears writing it, and had to fight back the tears as she read it. Someday, I'll copy it here. I was also named Indiana Chapter's Rookie of the Year, and my friend Janet won the spirit award.
I also want to mention how crappy the weather was. Last year it wasn't cold, but it was very rainy on Halloween. Luckily for me, it was snowing this year. Yes I said snowing in October. Being from PA, this was very common for me growing up.
November 1, 2014: Race Day
All of the Team In Training participants met up in a hotel lobby about a block away from the start line. Our coaches gave us a lot of last minute advice and at about 7:30 am, we headed out into the cold to get to the start, do bag check, etc. I stuck with my teammates and got around the five hour pace group leader. My A goal was to finish. My B goal was to finish inbetween 4 hour and 45 minutes and 5 hours. I thought that it was a realistic goal based off of my half marathon times. I figured that if I ran even 11 minute miles I would accomplish my B goal.
Miles 1-9: I ran these and felt great. There was plenty to see on the course and lots of people to talk to. My family was at cheering me on just after the first mile marker. Jesse ran most of these miles with me and helped me keep my splits pretty even. He dropped back around mile 7 as I continued to run and wave at the cars that were stuck in traffic.
Miles 10-15: These went pretty well, but I was starting to wear down. I had to take more walk breaks, but overall it wasn't bad. I came close to hitting my personal record for the half marathon. I honestly don't remember much of this part because there wasn't much to look at.
Miles 16-18: the start of the uphill portion of the race. It was challenging, but I managed to stay close to my goal pace and toughed it out. I also ran through Greek row on Butler's campus. It was cool seeing all of their houses. This part also ran through Indianapolis Muesum of Art, which is one of my favorite places to run.
Miles 19-25: This was the absolute worst part of the entire marathon experience for me. I feel that this was because my training never hit the magical 20 mile mark and my fueling strategy needed work. I was super nauseous for most of these miles and I would run, feel sick, walk, feel better, try running again, feel sick, and so on. It was a vicious cycle that wrecked my goal pace. I am really thankful for the Team In Training coach that ran with me during this section. I probably would have DNF if it wasn't for her. She managed to get me through until Mark (our Indy area coach) and then Scott pushed me through until mile 26.
Mile 26-finish: I found a new friend who was going to get a PR in the marathon, so we decided to run together. She would get the crowd pumped up for me finishing my first marathon and I'd get them to cheer her on to her new PR. Our last Indy area coach, Leah, and Maggie were cheering us on about a half mile from the finish. This was the final boost I needed to get through. I crossed the finish line with a jump (not sure how in the world I managed this) and my mom caught an awesome picture of it.
This pretty much sums up my marathon experience. It was the most intense, interesting, difficult thing I have ever done. I spent months training, battled through some stupid injuries, battled "the suck", and finished with strength. I am unsure about completing any future marathons. It might take me a while before I even consider it. But I am now part of the 1% of people who have finished a full 26.2 miles!