Tuesday, November 20, 2012

First Marathon!

  This past Sunday, I took on my first marathon. This isn't a blog about how I've carefully followed a training plan to build up to it, or how I was perfectly prepared. There were plenty of things that didn't go off without a hitch. But I'm also really excited to have finally raced my first marathon!

TeamAfrica

  I ran the 9 1/2th Annual Potomac River Run Marathon, which is small (350 runners), flat, and a double loop--way more manageable than Boston or even Philadelphia! The marathon raises money for Buy a Brick Foundation, which builds and furnishes homes and schools near Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. I also ran to raise awareness for the Virtual Race for Hurricane Sandy Recovery. If you are racing or have already raced in November, enter the virtual race to raise donations for the Red Cross recovery efforts. You can even win goodies donated by sponsors by entering!



  Sunday was a lot of fun. I did race pieces on the water Saturday (two practices of them!), so the first few miles didn't feel that hot. I found a pace buddy and we took turns leading for the first eleven miles or so. I decided to run faster than my goal pace for as long as it felt good--not crazy fast, but around 20 seconds per mile faster than my target.

  The only time I've done a long run (20 miles), I was super low on salt and bonked, so I carried a Gu and Margarita Clif Shot Blox (3x the sodium!) along with my handwarmers. It was in the low 40s, temperature-wise, hence the handwarmers. I was really satisfied with my clothing choice: I ended up running in our Olympic-issue Nike Pro spandex shorts, Lululemon Arise Bra, and Run:Swiftly Tech T short sleeve layered under the Run:Swiftly Tech T long sleeve. I also wore 2XU compression socks and a brand-new pair of Nike Air Pegasus. (More on that in a bit.) And a generous amount of BodyGlide!

THE GEAR:
2XU Compression Socks
Nike Pro Combat 5" Shorts
Lululemon Arise Sports Bra
Lululemon Run:Swiftly Tech LS
                           
Lululemon Run:Swiftly Tech SS
Nike Air Pegasus 29


 

  Around mile 9-10, I started feeling really good. Maybe it was the Carly Rae Jepsen blasting in my headphones, but I was totally stoked on the marathon. I had the thought, "Okay, first 10 miles were tough, now there will be 10 good ones, and then six tough ones." Since the marathon was a double loop, you turn around at the finish line of the half, and while I stopped at the aid station for a second to grab another Gu, I felt great. No regrets--next 13.1 miles, here I come!

Heading into the turnaround (13.1)...still smiling!
Photo credit: http://felipedlh.smugmug.com.

  Then mile 15 or 16 hit. Ouch. My lungs still felt fine, but I started feeling loopy, and my stomach started not cooperating. Every stop for water or Gatorade meant that about a minute later, I'd lean over the side of the trail and puke. I wished I'd brought some Tums! But it was almost the home stretch...almost...I did get a second second wind around mile 20, the last turnaround, but this one only lasted a few minutes. Everyone on the trail heading towards me looked miserable, and I passed a lot of people who were walking or stretching. I kept forgetting to look at my Garmin, and when I did, I could barely remember what my targets were--it felt like my brain had turned to Jell-O. After the race, I saw several of the finishers with targets Sharpie-d onto their arms...now I get it!

  The last couple of miles were pretty painful, but I was cruising. I was a little disappointed when my Garmin clicked to 26.20 miles and I couldn't see the finish line yet (it was around a bend in the trail), but I ended up at just over 26.40 miles, which is pretty darn close. Official time...3:33:42.

  Wow. I did it! I didn't know how I'd finished, time-wise--all I could think about was wanting to not be on my feet and needing some Tums. I peeled off my shoes and discovered this guy.
yum!
  Drank some Gatorade and wandered over to the finish line to meet the race director. He thought I was there to ask about my time and before I could say anything, he said, "Oh yes! You won your age category and qualified for Boston!" Which, in spite of my delirium, I COULD understand! That felt pretty good.

  I got to take a few photos with some of the kids there to cheer on their parents--running is a pretty great community, too!--and after a bagel with peanut butter and a lift home from the best support crew out there, my boyfriend Kyle, it was time for a hot bath/nap, ice bath, my first trip to Massage Envy here in DC, a big, yummy dinner, and BED. All in all, I'd say it was a pretty great first marathon!
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