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My First Marathon (part 2)

1
Jun

Marathon 01

Happy National Runner’s Day! What better way to honour today than to finish my writing my race recap. I’m most certainly not going to celebrate it by going for a run…I’m still a bit too sore for that! I still can’t believe it’s over…I’ve looked forward to that race for weeks and weeks. Now it seems almost like a dream.

I hadn’t been feeling well for quite a few days (and had little sleep) so I had a headache, back pain, and stomach uneasiness during the first few miles of the marathon. Then the running cramps came…so I took my second pain killer hoping it would stop all of that quickly. It seemed to help everything but the cramps.

A while ago, my hairdresser had run a half marathon so she gave me a juicy, little trick to stop cramps (don’t hairdressers know everything!). Tums. So I threw a few in my pocket to see if they helped. Those cramps seemed to stop pretty soon after I sucked on a couple. Maybe, just maybe…I have discovered something that might work for me and my annoying running cramps. I ran the first couple miles pretty close to one of my brothers and he suggested that I raise my hands over my head to stop the cramping…I guess I felt too ridiculous to keep them up for too long, so I still have no idea if that works or not.

It’s funny, often the first 6 miles of running feel “out of rhythm” for me. I feel like my breathing is shallow and that I’m not getting enough oxygen…but once I get in the groove, it all seems very mechanical. That’s how it was for this race, that is, until my calf and thigh muscles started to seize up and get super tight. I started using stretching when the tightness was too much for me, which really seemed to help.

As for my knee pain, it was gone! One of my brothers prayed for my knee before the race and the whole 26.2 I had no pain, but once I stopped moving my knee started bothering me again. God was so gracious to answer that prayer!

The race had an intense, long, drawn-out hill which was a challenge. I have a little secret. I did next to nil with hill training. I know, it’s bad. I should have, but I didn’t. This race course had a good range of inclines, so that was a challenge for me…so I walked up hills when I needed to.

I used to feel that walking isn’t what runners do and that you are not a real runner if you walk. I realize now that this is pish posh. I ran my last half marathon without stopping because that was my goal, but if I hadn’t…it wouldn’t have changed the fact that I’m a runner. I knew that in this marathon I would be walking. For myself, I know that I actually have a better time overall if I walk once in a while. It seems that if I do a fast walk in between, I actually run a little faster. It also makes the run more fun for me…if I force myself to run, run, run and not stop it becomes torture. I wanted this marathon to be fun too, especially since I’m not sure I’ll run one again.

Intake during the race:

  • 6-7 GU gels (always followed up with water)
  • 2 Ibuprofen
  • 1 Advil
  • 1 package of Sharkies

I have to admit that around mile 13 I felt a little discouraged. I realized that my two brothers had finished their half and that now I had to go and run a half marathon all over again and yes, I was tired. But I chose not to think about it and just keep going. I believe that our mind runs a race almost more than our legs…we can do so much more than our body thinks we can.

Around that time, my parents and my sister had finished their first 5k. I am so proud of them! My parents did the whole thing together and my Mom loved it! My sister ran the whole thing without stopping and she had a great time! Now she’s thinking of doing a 10k sometime…

Marathon 06

I was surprised how alone I was for the last 19 miles were. There weren’t as many people in the marathon as the half and of course, since I’m not an expert marathoner I wasn’t exactly leading the pack. I could always see some runners, some way ahead of me and some far behind, but mostly; I was running by myself. I missed the energy of running with lots of people like in the half.

Did I hit the “notorious wall”? Once I passed the 20 mile mark I grinned…I had not “hit any wall”. I felt almost perky, aside from the joint pain in my hips and the burning muscles in my thighs and calves.

I never really looked at my time when I was running. I only had a goal for when I wanted to be finished before and it felt realistic for me. If I felt I needed to walk, I would tell myself that after 1-3 songs was finished playing on my i-pod I could walk for however many seconds. The system worked really well for me. Obviously, as the race went on and my muscles started crying, I walked more often.

Finally, there was one more mile left…I could barely believe it was almost over. Then I saw one of my brothers waiting for me by the road side. He totally made my day and then he made it even better, by hopping on the road with me and running the last mile with me! That was really special. Then with maybe a half a kilometer left in the race I saw my Dad and my sister Anne-Marie waiting for me on a curb…and then they ran the last couple minutes with me…then I saw the finish line!

Marathon 02

That was one of the best feelings in the world…crossing that finish line and realizing that my dream had come true (and that I had beaten the man in red, haha). I did it! My time was 5:26 and my goal was not to be over 5:30. Granted, despite my long legs, I`m not the fastest runner in the world. This is something that I really want to get better at (as well as hill training!), but I`m happy with my time. Like I said, I didn’t really have a goal for a time. I just really wanted to run a marathon.

Marathon 03

Drinking water after the race…oh my, does water taste wonderful!

Marathon 04

All of us who did a race…it was such fun to do this as a family (though all of my family/siblings obviously weren’t there). The whole day was an amazing memory and I`m so glad that I decided to do something out of my comfort zone and run a marathon.

Marathon 006

Lately, all I’ve really done for fitness is run, run, and run some more…so now I`m looking forward to expanding my fitness in a different direction. I would like to do more strength training, core work, interval workouts, speed-work, and hill running in substitution of some of my runs.

Thanks for reading about my marathon journey! It was special to share it with you.

What`s a dream of yours that has come true?  Do you have any race day experiences you`d like to share with me? I`d love to hear them!





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10 Responses to “My First Marathon (part 2)”

  1. Kelly

    wow, great job! you so make me want to try it! I love the part with your family joining you at the end!

  2. Nadia

    It sounds amazing! Doing a marathon! And the fact that your family was there, supporting you, running with you, it all sounds so cool :)

    You are one lucky girl with a big family. I think I want a big family too now :)

  3. jenny

    Congrats! God is so goooood! I’m glad u beat ur time goal!! and also that you had a good run overall. how special ur fam was there and got to make it even more special!

    since u r thinkin about doin other types of exercise…i would like to recommend Peak 8 exercise.
    here’s a link:
    http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2010/06/26/10-minutes-of-exercise-yields-hourlong-effects.aspx

    this exerise has made me feel sooooo much more in shape than running strait for long periods of time. it’s also easier and less time consuming. you will probably enjoy it! there are lots of different ways to do it….some people walk fast, walk slow….others use the recumbent bike…..i personally have a Cellerciser (mini trampoline) and so I run as fast as i can for thirty seconds, then bounce without my feet leaving the trampoline for 1 and a half minutes, then repeat that 7 more times….i also warm up for like 5 minutes and cool down for like 3 minutes before and after my Peak 8 routine. thanks to God for a new fun exercise!

    God bless you and yours.

  4. jenny

    i reread my note to u and to clarify….i run as fast as i can ON THE trampoline for thirty seconds then bounce on the trampoline for 1 and a half minutes….. it sounded like i was saying i ran on the road for 30 sec then got on the trampoline and bounced….anywayzzzz ;o)

  5. Anna

    Oh my gosh, congratulations! I can’t imagine still being conscious at 20 miles, let alone grinning to myself at that point, haha. Well done!

  6. Amanda

    Congrats!!!!
    I am sidelined with an injury but love to run too, completed my first 2 half’s this year and hope to finish one more.

    You rock – enjoy your running break, you’ve earned it!

  7. Maria @ Scandifoodie

    Well done and congratulations, that is a great achievement!

  8. Nora @ Natural Noshing

    CONGRATULATIONS! What an awesome achievement! God is definitely sooo good! I love how yall made running a family affair, what a great thing to share :) One of my goals is to run a marathon, just working on my knees and trying to be pain-free (or less so) to move forward. Less than 1% of people run marathon – and you are one of the few!
    thanks for sharing your experience!

  9. Charissa

    Kelly~ Thanks girl! I still can’t believe it’s over!
    Nadia~ Have to say, I looove big families…and I’m so blessed by mine.
    Jenny~ Hey, that’s cool…thanks for the ideas. I really do love new ideas to get me out of fitness routes and right now I am looking for new routines to try! Sounds like good interval training.
    Anna~ Your comment made me smile…I’m sure you’d do great!
    Amanda~ Thanks girlie! That’s awesome you run halfs! I can’t wait till my next one!
    Maria~ Thanks girl!
    Nora~ Awesome! You’ll do great…I know what knee pain is like and it’s sometimes hard to work through…I hope when you do run your marathon you blog about it…so I can read it! :)

  10. anan

    So I got all teary eyed when you tell the part about seeing your brother near the finish. I know that feeling! Awesome job!


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