Saturday, October 01, 2005

I Did It! I Ran a Marathon!

Wow, what an amazing experience the Saint George Marathon turned out to be! I hadn't run an organized road race since I was 13 years old (I'm 36 now) but because my dad and brothers have completed so many marathons I figured I could just ride the coattails of their advice and preparation and show up the night before race day.

First of all, it hadn't dawned on me that I was going to have to wake up three whole hours before the marathon. Had I thought about that a bit more I would have brought solid food (Met-Rx bars don't count) to the bonfire. Maybe some hotdogs to roast or something. As it was, even with a good breakfast at home, I ended up getting hungry during the run.

As the bus kept going and going and going up the canyon I found myself wondering how on earth I was going to be able to run that far. I also underestimated how cold it would be at the start. Fortunately, Apax's husband loaned me a pair of warmup pants, some gloves, and a hat or I would have frozen. The bonfire sure felt good, though it meant that all the stuff in my gear bag had that nasty post-camping trip smell.

I'm really proud of Apax (my sister, btw). It became apparent after 5 miles that we were going to need to split up because our brother was (wisely) doing a minute of walking after every mile. I wasn't accustomed to walking that much and felt like I could go faster. Apax was concerned about potential knee pain so she stayed with brother and they both finished. Since I finished a bit ahead of them I was able to walk back to the 25.5 mile mark and run through to the finish line with Apax and brother as well as my Cougar (my dad) and another brother who were kind enough to meet us at mile 20. Youngest brother helped out a lot by running miles 21 and 22 with me.

I intentionally had set no time goal prior to the race but by mile 5 (which we did in almost exactly 50 minutes as was our plan) I felt like I could go faster so I at about mile 6 I sped up a bit. I promised myself that I would not use a watch because for me a watch ends up making me run too fast. By mile 13.1 I was at about 2:06 and still felt good so I decided to speed up a bit and try to break 4:00.

I underestimated how much "goosebump factor" I was going to be able to draw from the crowd. That really helped, especially from miles 18 to 23. Miles 23 to 25 were definitely the hardest. I had plenty of fluids and carbs (gatorade, gels) in my system but because I had not done much downhill training, my quads were very tired. It was just a matter of pushing through to the finish.

My chip time was 3:54:17. Woo-hooo! I broke 4 hours. I'm going to be very sore for several days and I had abdominal cramping for several hours after the race--but I'd do the same thing if given the same chance over again.

Will I ever run again? Hmmm. We'll see.


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