Oh my goodness! Where to even start?!? Warning: this post is gonna be a LONG one! How about we start at the beginning?
5:50 am. Departure time. Sister and I stayed at my parents house on Saturday night to be a little bit closer to the start line on Sunday morning. I thought about checking out a hotel in the area but when I did a quick search everything was full and not super nice looking. A certain little pup came along to be my cheerer!
6:35am. Arrival in Manitowoc. Sister, Croz and I stopped at a gas station about 3 blocks from the start and then headed to the start line area. This race was pretty small but was organized SO well. I honestly cannot say enough good things about this race. We lined up to start by a fire truck and after a few minutes of announcements, a racer sang the National Anthem and then a gun shot, and we were off at 7am!
7am. I started a really long run and Sister went off to try to meet up with the parents. They actually sailed up to Manitowoc to stay overnight on the boat so she had to pick them up since Sailboats are not really land vehicles This worked out SO well because I was able to shower at the Marina facilities after the race and have an ice bath that consisted of me hanging in Lake Michigan at a whopping 62 degrees!
7:30am. First cheer from the gang! I ended up seeing them probably 18ish times along the way! It was such a spectator friendly course and they were able to pretty much keep just ahead of me and get me what I needed and take LOTS of photos of me running
8:30am. I got to run along a beautiful portion of trail right on the beach. This was one of my favorite parts by far! The sun finally peeked out at this point too. Time for some sunglasses. Mile 9-11.
9:08am. Halfway point! I made really good time getting to the half way point but then slowed a little in the second half. I didn’t end up bringing my Garmin so I was just doing whatever felt tolerable for the duration. Sometimes this meant keeping a good pace and sometimes that meant walking for a while. I was pretty consistent running 9 minutes walking 1 for the first 13-15 miles. Then the walking breaks got more frequent and closer together!
9:45am. Saw this really cool hang glider flying over the course. Picture was taken by Sister but I thought it was pretty cool too and would have taken a picture if I had a camera. Also around this time I passed the 15 mile mark and therefore was in the new distance territory for a race! So exciting!!
10am. Most inspiring moment of the race by far. This man ran/walked this flag for 26.2 miles in honor of all the men and women serving our country. This was his 5th marathon in 8 weeks and his birthday. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have tears in my eyes when he told me that. I know it boosted my spirits at this point as I was definitely starting to appreciate the distance of a marathon… but at least I was not carrying a heavy flag the whole way so who was I to complain!
10:15am. Getting really tired but just kept ticking off the time on my watch to walk/run. This was about mile 20-21 and it was at this point my stomach started doing flips and all gu and clif shots were tasting like poison. I ended up doing ok with just switching to my homemade gatorade like drink from here until the finish. (1-2 oz juice, 1/4 tsp salt and water to the top.) Also I felt so alone by this point! The race only had about 255 full runners and I was near the back so it was lonely going! At this point I had switched to run 4 minutes/walk 1, repeat. Once I passed mile 20, I remembered thinking – I have never run this far before!!! PDR!
11am. Just a 5k to go but that felt SO long at this point. Nothing hurt specifically but everything hurt all at the same time. Mile 23ish.
11:38am. A finish line has never looked so sweet! Almost.there!
12:00pm. Pose for lovely pictures with the dog. got carbs? Might never walk again.
12:05pm. Stuff face with peanut butter cup blizzard provided at the finish line! Life is good again! Ice cream is my favorite.
12:15pm. Look at my medal and realize that I have accomplished something I have been wanting for so long. It took a false start at training, a false start at marathon finishing but I made it. And it turned out so nice in the end. My parents and pup could be there to cheer me on, the weather was cool and breezy with a few bursts of hotter sun. So much different than the marathon that would never be. Things really do work out in the end if you are just patient and persevere and try not to be defeated when it seems the cards are not stacked in your favor.
All in all, this race was awesome! It was an inaugural event so I was a little nervous considering my history with the Summerfest half mary last year. But this race could not have gone any better. The volunteers were so wonderful and always asking if they could help. The course was so amazing and was an out and back which turned out to be a good thing for me because it was so pretty you wanted to look at everything again. Also it was pretty neat seeing the winners speed past you when you were just getting close to halfway! The course was very well marked with one instance where I followed someone a little bit the wrong way – oops! We got water bottles at mile 25.2 to carry with if we wanted (really needed that at that point!) and the finisher chute was anything but crowded for me which is one of my pet peeves. I could grab my medal, my water and chocolate milk and then walk a bit and sit. All my legs could handle after all that running.
I have become a firm believer in the carbo-load phenomena as well. Sure I felt like a bloated, disgusting pig those three days but on race day I know it helped! I didn’t need as much gu/clifs as I normally do and I never bonked. Not even sort of. Starting at mile 18 I did get quite tired but I don’t think that’s what they mean by a bonk or the wall. I remember this “bonking” feeling when I started training for a marathon a few years back! I never thought I couldn’t keep going and I just had to slow a little and start walking more often but I had been running for 3+ hours!
As for my pace. I surprised myself with my half time! 2:08:something. This was probably a little fast but I couldn’t really say I was pushing too hard at all the first half. I tried to keep a “comfortably uncomfortable” pace this half and did slow a little in the second half. Since I don’t have my splits I don’t really know my slowest miles but I would guess mile 25 was right up there. My last 5k took about 38 minutes so that shows this was likely my slowest section of the course compared to the previous miles. I didn’t run much in mile 25 because I was just mentally done and hitting mini hill after mini hill that felt like mountains!
I really cannot believe it happened! I am a marathoner and might not ever take my medal off I also got to cross the finish line to cheers from Mom, Dad, Sister and Crosby and that is pretty darn awesome. Sometime my family is pretty nice even if my sister is a Pester and so, so mean (a hilarious post for another time… Let’s just say I found a journal my 8 year old self penned and laughed so hard it hurt!)
Now I think it’s time to stop thinking about running for awhile and tackle something else instead! My legs feel the need for a break that is about 5 weeks over due Now just to decide what!
Other random tidbits:
- I have
awfulawesome tan lines on my legs from my shorts…
- I ran in BRAND new shoes for this race. Pretty good christening for the new pair. I know you are totally not supposed to do this but I would have been in so much pain with my old pair and I knew these were the exact same, just new so I lucked out there. I can tell they ran much better and left my legs in marginally better shape than the oldies would have!
- Marathons are painful to run but I am surprisingly less sore today than I thought I would be. I feel like I was more sore after the Cellcom 15 miles than I am today after running 26.2! I am still walking a bit funny though…
- I need to get one of those bumper stickers with 26.2 in the oval because now I really earned it!
- I wish I could run this race every year but I don’t know if I will be up for another Marathon next year that is the same. Maybe I can run it as a relay or something
- Ahhh! Still cannot believe it!!
- I AM A MARATHONER!!!!