Thursday, June 28, 2007

My first marathon - the why, how, and after

Twin Cities Marathon Oct 2003.

I didn't take the traditional route to doing a marathon. The marathon was my first race EVER. Now what was I thinking?!? Who knew there were other races out there. :) We were in the process of buying our first house in Jan. 2003 and our mortgage lady said she ran marathons and I was like I can do that too. So I found a book, "The Non Runners Guide to Marathon Training" and started to train on my own. So I trained using that book and then switched over to Hal Higdon's novice plan in July. I had ups and downs through the training. I kept getting injuries, mainly pains in my feet after a certain distance and needing to back off and start up again.

Needless to say going into the marathon was scary and nerve racking. My longest run to date was a 17 miler and that didn't go so well because my foot hurt. So I even questioned myself if I was going to even run the darn thing. I was so worried I wouldn't finish. It didn't even cross my mind that I wouldn't walk parts of the race because who knew other runners kinda look down on other runners that walk. Silly me, this race was for me and not them.

I can remember standing at the start line as it was yesterday. My heart was beating as fast as it could and my mind kept racing. What the hell was I thinking? What am I doing here? Wow, there are a lot of people that run these things. Will I finish? When is the horn going to blow?

It sounded and there we were off. I felt fine up through 7 miles. Then I kept getting tired. I was so tired at the half and realized I had half more to go. What was I thinking? Can I do this? I trudged on. Mile 19 - Man, I'm stupid, why am I out here, 26.2 miles is a long ways. My feet hurt and my legs are super tired. But all I kept thinking was I can't stop. I need to keep moving forward.

The last 10k is a blur. I can't even reminder how I got through it. At mile 26 and seeing the finish line a big smile came to my face and I ran as fast as I could. That meant I could stop running and rest and get off my feet. My legs, body, and mind were so sore. It took a lot of mental power to get through the last 10k. I didn't have a big emotional meltdown after I crossed the finish line as I was to emotional drained from just finishing a marathon. I was super happy I finished but wished I had done better.

Hey, it was my first and I did enjoy it and look I'm hooked. I've completed a total of 4 and currently training for number 5. But it took awhile. I totally took off running for 3 months since I couldn't think of running anymore. But I decided I wanted to run another one so I started training again in Jan of 2004 for the Grandma's Marathon in June 2004. Running marathons is a gradual process and I learn something new everytime I train and run another one. I don't get as nervous at the start line but I always do question myself during training but in the end I always finish the race even if it's not what I was hoping for.

What you can't reach makes you stronger as you strive to reach it.


Emily said...

hm, this makes me feel better than the marathon was your first race ever!! I'm just embarking on training (for real) and I'm vaguely concerned because I've only done two half's and 2 10 milers ever...

Oh 2 Run said...

I had a similar experience. Started running and went for my first one in Disney World. I guess you don't know what you can't do/arne't supposed to do when you are just starting out. You are a stronger person than me, because my first was my last - I switched to tri's for the long races - just didn't have a long enough attention span for the time it takes me to run a marathon. Great post!