This past April I ran my second marathon, and achieved a new personal PR of 4:24! Finally, a sub 4:30, which was what I was aiming for last fall when I ran my first marathon with a time of 4:52.
(Around mile 20 after my bib flew off)
The race went really well, and it was nice to take a small vacation just for myself to go do something I really enjoy. I think we all really need to remember to take some time for ourselves every now and then. I am aware I'm a workaholic, along with being a full time student that can't settle for anything less than an "A". However, taking even just a weekend off to leave town and do something for myself was just what I needed.
I woke up that morning feeling surprisingly rested and eager to get ready for the race. I had my banana, date, and chia seed power breakfast and then started getting ready. I made sure to lay everything out the night before, and fill my Camelbak up so I could do the bare minimum race morning. After getting everything together, double checking to make sure I had everything, and packing up the car, I was finally off.
I arrived to the race expo about an hour before the start, which was nice because there wasn't even a line yet for the bathrooms. After locating and using the restrooms I headed back to my car to just sit and relax for a little while until the start got closer. 30 minute before the race I figured I would get back in line for the restrooms again. I remember reading a marathon training book that advised just getting back in line after using the restrooms until it was time to line up. It may sound kind of silly, but it makes perfect sense come race day when you're all anxious and constantly feel like you need to pee. Haha, plus what else are you going to do for 30 minutes before the race starts anyhow?
With only 10 minutes until the race start I use the restroom one last time, and then head off to the corral. I set my ipod up, made sure my backpack was securely in place, and got in line around the 4:30 finish mark, since running a sub 4:30 was really my only goal. I planned to run the first half of the race at an easy effort, the 3rd quarter at a moderate level, and the last 6 or so miles with whatever I had left. I also packed my race fuel the night before and stuffed it into the pockets on my Camelbak. I brought 10 dates along with me in 5 little plastic baggies. My plan was to eat 2 dates every 5 miles during the race to keep myself from hitting the wall.
At 7:00 the race was off!
These miles for me were basically just really easy relaxed miles. I learned my lesson last time how stupid it is to head out too fast. I let people pass me and didn't bother to worry about the split times on my Garmin. I was determined to run this marathon based completely on feeling and nothing else.
It started raining around mile 5 and didn't let up for about an hour. The majority of the time it just sprinkled, however the was about a 10 minute stretch when it just poured, causing everyone and everything to get soaked. Oh well, a little water never hurt anyone.
(around mile 12 after the rain finally let up)
Miles 12-20 I started to push a little more here as I planned to halfway through the race. Now I was starting to feel some of the fatigue set in, but I tried to block how many miles I still had left to go out and just focus on the present.
Miles 20-25 Now I was really starting to feel tired, and it was getting harder and harder not to dwell on how many more miles I still had to go. Time was going by slower than it had before, but I just reminded myself that I was in the final stretch, and that now was my time to step it in to gear and push myself with whatever I had left. Due to the wonderful wind and rain that day, my race bib flew off around mile 20 landing face down in the mud. I had to turn around and run back to go pick it up.
Right after completing mile 25 my Garmin died on me. Normally I would have been a lot more frustrated, but at this point I was too tired and too close to finishing to even care. I just dug deep and pushed with everything I had left, making my last mile of the marathon my fastest. I passed so many people the last few miles. You can tell they had hit the wall or wore themselves out too early, which reassured me I made the right decision holding myself back during the first part of the race. It also let me know that my fueling system with dates worked perfectly! Finally I could see the finish line and an end to what felt like the longest mile I've ever ran. As I crossed the finish line I was so thrilled to have finished a sub 4:30 marathon. First things first though, I had to make a trip to my car to get my recovery shake and my victory banana!
After chugging my shake and devouring my banana, I walked around for a bit to stretch my legs, hit the restroom one more time, then headed home. It was a decent 3 hour drive back to Wichita, and I had to fight the urge to fall asleep the whole way home.I thought about a lot of things, like how far I've come in the last year. Not just with running, but with myself in general. I've grown and learned so much. I'm so much more confident now, and certainly much stronger than I ever would have thought I could be. I feel like as a runner I know who I am, and I really like where life's taking me.