Ahhh… it’s finally here! My first full marathon! I was excited, but also very nervous. I flew into Kansas City the day before the race, and my mom and sister picked me up from the airport. We headed to Abilene to go to the (small) race expo. I knew it would be small, as this race was also my first half marathon a year ago! You can read about that race here. Then we all headed to dinner (my in-laws, grandparents in-law, husband, sister and her husband, and my parents) before hitting the hay.
My mom and sister were both doing their first half marathon this weekend too! Last year, I ran the half, my sister the 10k and my mom the 5k. You could say this family runs!
Race morning… zero dark thirty! You guys… spring marathons are tough. You train all winter long in cool/ cold conditions and then race morning shows up and it’s already 75 degrees and crazy high humidity… oh and 30ish mph wind gusts. WHY?! Alas… that was the situation today. Nothing I could do about it but adjust my goals a bit. My only REAL goal was to finish the darn thing. but secretly I’d love to break 4 hours! That’s a tall order for a first marathon, or ANY marathon but let’s see what happens!
I knew the course, and knew there was really only one hill, that we went through a nice park both on the out and back in… and that the marathon course was just a double loop of the half marathon course.
Knowing this info, our families stationed themselves in the entrance/exit to the park area so they’d be able to see my sister and mom four times, and me eight times! Not bad spectating for them and easy since they didn’t have to move until after we started (and they’d have about 4 miles to get there) and until the last time I passed (around mile 22). I’m not sure there’s an easier race to spectate!
We took off and headed straight into the headwind for the first 3 or so miles… awesome. I felt pretty good and just tried to keep my pace nice and easy. I just recently got my Garmin watch, and I must say it’s nice to be able to see what pace you’re running! I headed out around 8:45 pace and tried to tuck behind a few taller people to use them as a wind block.
We climbed the hill and headed into our first loop of the park. Luckily the trees blocked the wind and the rising sun for a few miles too.
I decided to carry my own bottle this race with my Tailwind I’d been using for training. The course did have a few aid stations but I figured I should use what I trained with for months on end… even if I was totally tired of the flavor!
I kept cruising along pretty well, and remember hitting the first turn around point (about 6.5 miles) feeling really good! I knew I’d see the family in about a mile and a half, and once again before heading to the finish line for the first time.
Once down the hill, I got to run WITH the wind! Boy… I felt like I was flying!
But then… I crossed the finish line and there were cheers in the crowd! Until they realized I was turning around and heading back out… and the entire crowd let out a collective groan, as if to say “oh, yeah, she’s not done yet.” Right then and there, I feel like I lost all my mojo. Poof. Gone, like their collective sigh, blown away by the 30 mph winds I now had 3.5 miles to run straight into again.
Really, the only “good” part that came out of the next miles (13-17ish) was seeing both my sister and my mom bringing it home for their first half marathon. I was so proud of them! Even though I knew I wouldn't see them actually finish the race I could feel their joy and excitement building (all while mine continued to dwindle).
Around mile 18 I found a gentleman to run with (in the picture he has the red/ white/ blue shirt on). This marathon was his 129th. ONE HUNDRED AND 29 marathons. I couldn’t believe it! He was working his way through the 50 states for a third time. He just loved running in races, even if they weren’t his fastest. I ended up running with him until about mile 24 when my energy was pretty much gone and all I could think about was sitting down and eating pancakes.
I was thankful for the tail wind the last few miles, because if it weren’t for those big wind gusts I’m pretty sure I would have walked it the entire way back in. The wind pretty much blew me to the finish line. It wasn’t a pretty sight, but it was a big learning experience on needing a bit more marathon preparation for the next one for sure!
In the end, I finished in 4:10 and change, right about 9:30 pace. I did end up walking some. I let my mind get the better of me starting around 16 miles. I was very thankful to be able to finish, but I really feel like even though I “finished” a marathon I haven’t “ran” a marathon. I definitely want to do what I can to see if I can run an entire marathon, and maybe even try to qualify for Boston. Who knows how long it will take… but dreams worth doing don’t come overnight.
This race sparked a new dream, and I ended up getting second in my age group. Found that out while shoveling pancakes into my mouth. No one needs to know that there were only two of us in that age group…. :)
To go back to the race report archives, click here.