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My first Marathon recap

Monday, May 05, 2014

The family and I arrived Saturday in Tacoma, WA in the afternoon to hit the race expo and packet pick up and check into the hotel. The expo was really small, but then again, we were hitting it near the end of the day and it isn't a HUGE race.
Took the kids to the local children's museum (play area) and I sat around as much as possible. We ate dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory.. bland marinara for me! but it was just what I should be eating!
Went to bed early, thank goodness for ear plugs and eye shade! and woke up off and one between 1am and getting up at 3:30am.. Caught the 5am shuttle bus for a 20-25 min ride to the starting line.

After early morning rain while waiting at the starting line (from 5:30-7 am) in an airport hanger, the rain stopped and cloud cover provided the near perfect (in my mind) temp for a run! The forecast had varied from 70-50% chance or rain, but 50 degrees at start and climbing toward 60 by mid-day.

It was a good course, oh except for the part that wasn't clearly marked in the park and a dozen of us took the wrong road and had to double back! I haven't mapped that yet, but estimate we might have ran an extra .2 mile!! Which considering you are already doing 26.2 miles may not seem like a big deal, but it did to me at the time!
The start of the course we crossed the Tacoma Narrows bridge and it was a nice view. I tried to take notice of the beauty around me while I ran.. Lots of Lilac in bloom as well as pink dogwood trees and azaleas. Oh, some some gorgeous poppies at one house.

I had a great pace the first half of the race, right on track for the best time I could hope for with an 11 min/mile pace, but unfortunately, the second half of the race slowed me down. A few slow water stops (somehow I always got cut off by slower people in front of me) and just over all physical tiredness got to me. I swear I was concentrating on faster foot turn over, but the legs wouldn't listen! When me and 2 other ladies too the wrong turn in the park, and turned around to double back, the 5 hour pace group was just behind us. I had stayed ahead of them up until then (having passed them at the start), I tried to catch up to them (they were ahead of me because they turned around sooner than I did after the wrong turn) and I just couldn't catch up. I tried to let my stride carry me down a couple of downhill slopes, but got a stitch! (a reoccurring issue for me), so after I lost that group, I just tried to enjoy the rest of the run at whatever pace I could manage.

Although there was water after every even mile, I never seem to have seen the 20 mile marker. There was a park restroom right off the road, so I ran in and drank from the sink! Then hit the water station that was just after the 21 mile marker.

As fast as the first 1/2 of the race went by, the last 5 miles were slow! I tried to mentally break up the race into segments. And envisioned the last 5 miles as my usual 5 mile run at home, but dang those mile markers took forever to show up! ;) And to torment me, I was surrounded by run/walkers.. It was just that I kept shuffling along, and they would pass me running, then I would pass them walking! BUT, I know my body doesn't do well with walking, it thinks we are done if I stop to walk and can't start back up again! But I guess if you train that way, your body gets use to it? Anyway, I think there were 2 gentlemen that I finally passed and didn't pass me near the end.

So I finished at about 5 hours 21 minutes or so, having hoped for 5 hours with a best case scenario of 4:47. The primary goal was finishing without walking (except to slow down for water) was accomplished and I'm very happy to have done it and be finished!!

Thankfully, my family, my 3 training partners (one of which ran the race with me) were at the finish line to cheer me on and congratulate.

I'm feeling pretty good today, just sore legs and blisters on my feet (thus the hobbling about). After feeling physically ill for several hours post race and barely eating yesterday, I am baking some vanilla scones this morning to enjoy with bacon and a cup of coffee on the couch with laptop in hand! ;)

I can't find my race results online and I'm guessing someone at the finish was supposed to take the chip off the back of my bib after the race!! I saw a small group helping another finisher, but I just walked past and got my medal.

So my 2 big gripes about the race? They didn't mark the route well enough. They had used spray paint to mark the road in residential areas and had plenty of volunteers at ends of streets to point the way, but in the park, with a limited sight distance, they didn't have a fork marked?!
Then there were NO directions with the race bib, and no directions in the race bag, and then I guess since I finished well after the bulk of the racers (around 800 full marathoners and 1400+ half marathoners) the support staff at the end of the race was sparse and the finish area so quiet it was almost anti-climatic! Which was actually Okay with me, because all I wanted to do was get back to the hotel and sit down for a bit and hit the shower!

Well, thanks for sticking with me to the end of my story!
I ran a marathon! I didn't walk, I made it up all the hills and look forward to resting and recovery and seeing what else life has in store for me! ;)

Next up.. losing 30 lbs! 20 of which I aim to have done by my cruise around Europe in September!!!

Update: Official time was 5:22
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Way to go!!! it was your first full and so now you have your PR! I think you did GREAT! And I would be annoyed about having to double back too! And that stinks about not getting your official time, but I guess there are worse things that could have happened.! you finished and you ran!!! what an inspiration!!
    I walked 24,000 steps at Disney yesterday! was thinking of you =P
    1504 days ago
    way to go! you finished! that's all that matters. i have heard many people do a marathon and never want to again. haha. the second half always seems to be complete torture. i would love to do one myself.
    good luck with the 30 lbs!
    1504 days ago
  • HILLSLUG98239
    Wow - running the entire route is a great accomplishment! Congratulations on finishing and meeting that goal.

    I hear ya about poor marking. I think some people fail to appreciate how nerve-racking it can be to not know exactly where you're supposed to go. I hate that feeling.

    I did Bloomsday yesterday. They have super-tight security controls, one of which is no opaque water bottles and no haydration packs. I ran in a cycling jersey to take advantage of the pockets, and I carried a 16-ounce Platypus water bag. They had water every few miles, and it was really well organized, but having my own water meant I didn't have to stop (although I did have to navigate around the other participants). It was just enough water for me. I had about two ounces left when I got the finish, and I never had to utilize a porta-potty. emoticon

    My goal for next year is to at least twenty pounds lighter and twenty minutes faster.

    And next year, I am taking Monday off. Getting seven hours of sleep the night after was dumb.
    1504 days ago
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