Crossed off a bucket list item just three days into the new year: run a marathon! It was my first (and maybe last) marathon. In short: I definitely wasn’t prepared for it, but somehow I finished.
I signed up for the marathon on a whim sometime last November. I had been running about 30 miles a week at the time. After I signed up, I maintained that mileage rather than increasing it (big mistake). Winter vacation came and went during which I did very little serious running. Then, all of a sudden, it was the new year. Excuses aside, I registered for it so I was going to run it.
The day before the race felt similar to some of my past Duke exam days. Scrambling around despite knowing that last minute prep is futile. FL became “cold” (read: 50s) overnight from Friday to Saturday. It started raining Saturday afternoon, which continued into the next day (race day).
The race started out well enough. It’s touted as the flattest and fastest course in the South (go figure, it’s FL). The first 13 miles went by without a hitch and I felt pretty good going into the halfway mark at 1:58. (Although I told myself before the race that my only goal was to finish, let’s be real. No one goes into a race without a target time. I thought running 4:00 would be a reasonable expectation. At the half, I saw I was right on target to reach 4:00.) At this point, I was very thankful for the cooler weather. Dad came out with Toto between mile 17 and 18 to cheer and said I was on target for 4. Since I’ve never eaten gels and I didn’t read any literature about how to fuel myself with gels, I stuck to what I knew: gatorade and water.
Mile 23. That was my demise. I hit “the wall.” Everything hurt. Before the race, I said I wouldn’t walk, but guess what I did? I walked. I started bargaining with myself, thinking, if you make it to that tree, you can walk for 30 seconds… That’s how the last four miles went. I felt annoyed with myself. It’s only four miles! But at the same time, my thoughts of walking overpowered my thoughts of annoyance. I made it through the finish at 4:25 (those last four miles really killed me). I’m not sure if the pain during the last four miles was worse than the pain of the last 3K at Zermatt, but I do know that it was not fun.
At the end of the race, I ate a banana, hugged toto, and didn’t sit down for fear that I wouldn’t get up. I’m not sure why people run marathons. At the end, everything hurts. Today, everything hurts. (Though I’m sure my pain is related to not being properly ready for the mileage.) I am proud that I accomplished my goal to finish and crossed off a bucket list item. I’m not so proud of my time. In the future, I think I’ll stick to half marathons. Those are actually fun.
One plus side of marathons is that I’m actually hungry enough to eat everything my eyes want to eat! Had a delicious dinner of a veggie baguette with a side of strawberry pancakes. Gotta love America: the only place where you can order a “side” dish of giant 10 inch pancakes.