It’s one heck of an experience just standing in this crowd. Excitement is pouring out of everyone, there are literal twinkling stars in everyone’s eyes. It was impossible to be/stay nervous standing in this crowd, there’s so much positive energy. Too bad we can’t bottle this energy.
The start went smoothly, I was pacing just right at an 11 minute mile. I had decked out my singlet in stickers that read “26.2 virgin”, which led to other runners passing me cheering, “Good job virgin! Way to go virgin!” One woman even slowed her pace and ran next to me for a few minutes to chat. She said that she put the same thing on the back of her shirt on her first marathon, and she was from New York. There was another couple later on in the race that slowed to chat with me as well. This alone makes me believe that runners are absolutely the best athletes out there. Runners are truly the greatest kind of people, nuff said.
At this point I was still in good spirits, everything was going very smoothly.
And then I hit mile 14, the heat had gone up around 10 degrees or so (maybe more). At this water stop I chugged some warm Gatorade. I believe this the cause of my falling apart at this point in the race. The warm Gatorade really upset my stomach until mile 20. My stomach was just UGGGHHH and I had a hard time getting my HammerGel down after that too. I opened a HammerGel up, (it was warm too), tried to get it down, but I’m certain I didn’t get even half of it down. Even a stick of gum didn’t last more than 10 seconds in my mouth. I definitely had a refueling/hydrating problem.
From mile 16 on it was run/walk to the end. Boo. 😦
Finally at mile 20 I got a good hydration pattern down, at the water stops I’d drink some, pour some over my head, drink some, pour some over my head, and repeat..This helped significantly because I was able to cool my body temperature down a little.
China Town was somewhere in the 20 mile area and that’s when I started to toughen up a little. Just a little. My goal wasn’t completely out of sight yet either. This was my favorite part of the route, China Town. You come around a corner, they’re blasting the theme from Rocky, and it’s an amazing sight. The cheers seemed to get louder here too, or maybe I wasn’t in such a coma at this point too, who knows.
Somewhere after that I did lose sight of my 5 hour goal. STOOOOPID HEAT!!! STOOOPID WARM GATORADE!!!
Finally the 25 mile mark came, WOOOOOOO, let’s DO THIS!! I picked up my pace a bit, and then there was a 25.2 mile mark, bastards!! “Aghhhhhhhhhh, now it’s one more mile!!” I thought. Shortly after there was an 800 meter mark, “I don’t know how far 800 meters is, but it can’t be that far” I thought, so I picked up my pace even more. Actually, going balls to the wall might be better phrasing for my pace at this point.
There was a pretty big incline with 300 meters to go, “Ha, I’m from Madison, it’s hilly there, I train on hills, BOOYA” I thought and powered up that hill like it was nothing. My awesome husband even got a good shot of it (too bad it wasn’t video)
And there it was, FINISH. After crossing the finish, I was hobbling to get my medal and a girl approached me, “Congratulations virgin! You were really flying to the finish! You know only 1% of the population has completed a marathon? You just did it!”
By this point in the blog you’re probably at the edge of your seat waiting for me to confess my finish time, so here it is: 5:17:33. Missed my goal by 17 minutes. BLAAAAAAAAH. Now I see how people get hooked on marathons, they want to smash prior marathon times. I know you’re all going to say, “This was your first marathon, you’re not supposed to have a goal time, you just did something amazing,, etc, etc…” I know and understand that, but I’m honestly not proud of that time, I need to register for another marathon and just kill it.