First things first:
I’m officially a marathoner
I qualified for The Boston Marathon
On Sunday, May 1, I ran the Potomac River Run Marathon – my first marathon – in Carderock, MD. It was a small local race, only about 300 runners, that ran along the Potomac River towpath. It was also, gasp, a double out-and-back.
|Annie and me, around Mile 10|
A little background:
I thought long and hard before registering for a double out-and-back marathon, especially since it was my first. A double out-and-back can be a really good thing (I know what’s coming) and a really bad thing (I know what’s coming). I think it can be mentally draining and challenging, too.
But once I decided to train for the marathon, I was too close to running a March marathon (I wouldn’t have enough time to train), and too busy for an October/fall marathon (weddings, Army 10 miler, etc.). So, May 1, small, local, double out-and-back marathon it was.
I woke up feeling nervous, excited, happy, and scared. 14 weeks of training, early morning runs, and sore muscles was all dependent on this morning. I ate breakfast, took a quick shower, dressed for the race and headed out. I was ready to chase down my woolly mammoth.
I could not have constructed, asked for, prayed about, wished upon more perfect weather for a race. It was a glorious day – overcast, no breeze and a high of 62 degrees. Around 7am I made my way up to the front of the start line – this was an old school race with no timing chip/system – and I couldn’t afford to lose any seconds once the gun went off. 7:15am race start – the gun went off and Annie (my pacer) and I were on our way. 4x10k: no big deal, right?!
|Best hubs ever|
I felt really good on the 1st out-and back (13.1 miles). We were on pace (8:00/mile) – it didn’t feel too fast or too slow – and I was still smiling. But, as I started my 3rd stretch (miles 13-20), I was not prepared for the mental challenge I was about to face. Miles 16-20 were hard. I mean really hard, both physically and mentally. While I was training I encountered physical pain and mental challenges – but I never experienced both at the same time or on the same run. Miles 16-20 scared me because I questioned myself, my training, and whether or not I was able to capture a BQ. I was thrilled when I saw the 20.5 mile turn-around point. I was also relived when I realized the following:
a) I could run 10 minute miles and still BQ
b) I only had a 10k left – and I knew I could run a 10k
|Post-race, All smiles|
Physically the last 6 miles were hard – I was tired and my legs were starting to fatigue -but mentally I was in a better place (than the previous 6 miles). I counted down the miles, thought about it in terms of laps around the track, put my head down and ran as hard as I could. With 0.5 miles to go, half of my support crew was waiting and cheering for me – all of this, in addition to the finish line, was a glorious site – I sprinted it in and finished in 3:32:42. My very first marathon complete, and a BQ! I could not be more thrilled or excited – permanent smile for the rest of the week.
- My mom – she is the reason I am a runner, and flew up from Florida just to watch me run my 1st marathon
- BJ – my very supportive hubs and water provider
- Annie – my training partner, marathon runner extraordinaire, friend, and pacer who would not let me give up
- Betsy – a dear friend, who hopped in at mile 13.1 and ran the rest of the race with Annie and me
- Allison – my best friend, one of my biggest fans, water provider
- Erika (and her dog, Tucker) – friend, runner, triathlete, major supporter
- Jared (Allison’s finance) – borrowed BJ’s running shoes to run the last 2.5 miles with us
- Julianne – a good friend and one of my biggest fans
- The K Family, including Julie – my 10-year friend and the best water girl around
|Top L-R: BJ, Mom, Allison, Jared, Erika
Bottom L-R: Annie, Me, Betsy, Tucker
Not Pictured: Julianne, The K Family
Thoughts about the race:
It was really nice to run a small local race, sleep in my bed the night before, and go home after the race. It was laid back. I never had to wait for a port-a-john (this is the 1st race I didn’t have to wait in line for a bathroom). Everyone was nice and runners cheered for runners.
But, there is something to be said about race support and infrastructure, timing chips, and plenty of water stops. The volunteers were awesome, and I totally appreciate their time and support, but there just weren’t enough. Same with water stations, there was one every 2.5 miles but the last 1/2 of the race I needed water more than that.
|Mom and me|
I’m not sure if I’d recommend this race for a first time marathoner or someone trying to run a PR – but if you have a few marathons under your belt, this is a great race. Jay Jacob Wind, the race director and long-time runner, is passionate about running and putting on a great race. Thanks to Jay, the volunteers, and Marathon Charity Cooperation for putting on a great race.
|Post-race grub down with mom|
|BJ – thanks for letting me selfishly train for my marathon and BQ dream|