On Saturday I ran my eighth marathon, my first since the fall of 2012 (post-Leo). It was hard – harder than I remembered them being – but I came out with a new PR of 4:21:21. I initially hoped to go under 4:20, but with how I felt and how I had to fight the last few miles, I am really happy with the time I got.
So let’s back up.
I started running again – consistently – this past spring when Molly (finally) started sleeping through the night. I had thought about doing a half marathon but wasn’t sure which one to do or if I wanted to put the money into it… and then Kimberly generously registered me for the Fort4Fitness half marathon! Around the same time my friend here in town started training for her first marathon and I said I would be happy to run with her anytime. I jumped in on her long runs and found myself going 12, 15, and then 18 miles easily. I felt really good. I started to wonder if maybe a marathon wasn’t such an impossibility after all. I checked and I could easily switch my Fort4Fitness half registration for the full, so I did. I ran 22 miles by myself one Sunday morning and felt fantastic. I realized when I finished that if I had kept that pace for the whole marathon I would PR. That felt crazy to me and also really exciting.
Race morning I got up and got my stuff together, coated myself with coconut oil to prevent chafing, poured coffee in a large mug, and hopped in the car. I drove down to Fort Wayne and met up with Kimberly, who had graciously picked up my packet for me the night before. We went to the bathroom and talked and I tried not to be nervous. It felt really strange to be running a race again after all this time! We got in the corrals and I saw my friend Richele, who was there to run the 10K. It definitely helped to see her, too, and to feel her excitement for me.
The first 10 miles I felt really good. I don’t think I went out too fast but I did feel like my energy started to flag a bit. Miles 10-20 I held steady and just did the work. Miles 20-26 were hard – I really had to dig in to keep going and to keep moving. I knew going sub 4:20 was looking dicey and at mile 23 I knew that I really needed to push hard if I wanted to PR (previous best 4:22:06). The finish is in the baseball stadium and you run around the bases, which is fun. I went hard and finished really well, which felt good.
I know there are some things I could do differently in the future – most notably a longer training cycle and better fueling (fortunately Kimberly gave me a GU race morning which I took at mile 20 – otherwise I would have not been carrying enough fuel on my own). But for being my first marathon back in four years and for a PR I am so incredibly happy and proud of what I achieved.
I watched Kimberly finish her race (4:23 and a PR for her on a run she intended to do slow and as a training run!) and then I drove home. In true mom-fashion I washed my face with a wet wipe in the car, then stopped at Aldi before I got home so I could grocery shop (I put on a long sleeve shirt over my running clothes so maybe the smell was masked a bit? Let’s hope?). Then I came home and cleaned up the kitchen and showered and took the kids for a walk and made dinner… post-marathon looks a lot different with three kids! I also slept 10 hours last night, which felt amaaaaazing.
The day of the race I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it was and how much work it took. And one day later I’m already eyeing another marathon in November, debating if maybe I should give it one more go this year.
On an unrelated note, I just paid $18 to renew my domain again for the year, so who knows, maybe I’ll return to marathons and blogging. If I did, what sort of things would you come here to read about?