Sunday, June 12, 2011

My first marathon

           Like I said before, I never have wanted to blog. It's hard to imagine that anyone would be interested in what is going on in my running life. Now that I look back over the last 7 1/2 years, though, I wish I would have been keeping records of my running journey. Maybe no one else would have been interested, but it would have been a great way for me to look back and remember and learn from my running experiences. So, for the next few posts I will back-track and tell the stories of my marathons and maybe a few half-marathons, as well.

            I ran my first marathon in November 2006...the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The race was in honor of a running legend in our community who passed away several years ago. His children had decided to put together a small race with friends and family. We all talked about it for months, and three friends and I trained for it together. They were planning to run the half, but I wanted to take on the full distance. It was going to be informal, but I thought that there were others who were planning to run the full marathon as well. About two weeks until the big day, I found out that I was, in fact, the only person training to run the full marathon. Let me mention that I hate being the center of attention. At that point, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go through with it. I could have easily dropped down to the half marathon distance, but my friends encouraged me to go through with it. I didn't know anything about fueling, hydration, training...pretty much anything. After about four hours of sleep the night before, I stepped outside into the cool but humid morning and drove the one mile from my house to the starting line. I ran the first half with friends; there were about 20 some-odd other people running the half. It turned out that one other guy from the local running club showed up to run the full, so I actually was not the only participant.
            Everyone had advised me to take it slow, so I did. My mind kept dwelling on mile 17. I had heard that that's when "the wall" appears. With no garmin and no mile markers, I had no idea when it was going to happen. My friends who had finished the half came out to cheer for me and even run with me a mile here and there. Then, a childhood friend came out to run the last five miles with me. When I saw him, the first thing I asked was, "Where is mile 17?" He assured me that I had already made it past mile 17. I was so relieved that I had not hit the wall! He talked me through the last few miles, and helped me cross the busy highway to make it back to the finish line. What a wonderful feeling! Friends and family were waiting for me. They even made a banner for me to bust through at the end. My time was 4:40, but the best part was that I felt strong. Tony, the other marathon runner, had finished about 20 minutes earlier. He congratulated me and told me he was impressed with how "fresh" I looked. In my opinion, that was the best compliment I could have asked for, but it also made me realize that I probably could have gone faster. Of course, that made me anxious to train for another marathon and see if I could improve my time. (That's a story for another blog.) Now every time I see Tony at a running event, he tells everyone that I once came in second place at a marathon!

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