I didn’t get much sleep on Friday night, but as soon as I woke up at 4:45 (a half hour before my alarm was supposed to go off) I was wide awake. I figured I would be nervous before the race, but I was surprised that it was less “ugh I feel like I’m going to throw up” and more “I feel like I’m going to cry.” I met my family outside by the start line, but they couldn’t hang around for too long because they wanted to make it to the 4 mile mark. Jon stuck around for a little longer though and kept me company… although I wasn’t very good company, because I wasn’t talking and I kind of wanted to pass out. I made sure to drink my Gatorade Pre-Game fuel and take one last potty break about 15 minutes before the race started. After that bathroom break I honestly didn’t have to go again until about 3 hours after the race ended.
30 seconds into the race and I was already taking pictures.
As soon as the race started my nervousness went away and I was just so happy that I was finally running the marathon! I feel like I’ve been looking forward to it for so long, and it was so exciting to finally be running it. The first few miles went really smoothly. I was feeling good, I wasn’t tired, and my knee didn’t hurt! I did the first 2 miles a little faster than I should’ve (10:30 pace), but I felt good so I just went with it. I saw my family at mile 4 and I probably used up energy just being excited to see them!
My awesome family cheering me on!
Running through the forest preserve.
Miles 8-10 and 13-17 were probably my favorite. We ran into the forest preserve and there were so many people cheering and lots of music along the way up until mile 10. It was awesome and I was smiling at all the spectators. After I got out of the forest, I was focused on seeing Jon and my family at mile 13! When I finally got to them, Jon came on the course and ran with me until mile 17, where I saw my family for the last time until the finish. I probably shouldn’t have talked so much when I was with Jon, because I could tell it drained some of my energy (or maybe it was running another 4 miles in a marathon…).
So happy to be running with Jon!
I wanted to walk at mile 17, but I forced myself to keep running until mile 19, which might have been a mistake. By the time I got to mile 19, I was drained. I kept an 11:00 pace up until then, but after that I was doing closer to a 12:30 pace. I forced myself to keep running (with short walk breaks every few minutes), but by the time I reached mile 22 I felt like I was dying. I knew I was going to be really close to not making my goal of finishing in under 5 hours, but my body refused to move any faster.
Mile 24: Not my favorite part of the race.
The last 4 miles were pretty awful. At some points I didn’t care about my time at all and I told myself it wasn’t worth the torture (I’m dramatic in my head sometimes). It didn’t help that I accidentally turned my Jogtracker off at mile 23 and was really mad/sad :( And then I saw a sign that motivated me. It’s a saying that I’ve heard many times before, but I needed to see it right at that moment. It said, “Pain is temporary, but pride is forever.” It still wasn’t easy after that, but my brain turned on and I remember that I really wanted to finish in under 5 hours!
I jogged/shuffled/walked the next few miles. At mile 25 I knew I was really close to either making or missing my 5 hour goal. I knew I had to do about a 13 minute mile or I wouldn’t make it. 13 minute pace seems incredibly easy, unless you’re at mile 25 of your first marathon with zero energy left. I saw Jon and my dad at mile 26 (.2 left to go!) and I couldn’t even muster up a smile for them. I think I just made a pouty face to show them how miserable I was. It kind of makes me laugh looking back on it. Once I made it inside the stadium and saw the finish line about 200 meters away I full out sprinted to the end. I have no idea how I found that energy, but I just wanted to be done so bad. I saw the clock at 4:59:38 as I was crossing and was so relieved it hadn’t passed the 5 hour mark.
Sprinting to the finish line.
I had planned on smiling and pumping my fists in the air as I crossed the finish line, but I completely forgot!! I’m probably making the worst face ever in my finish line photo. I’ll be sure to post it as soon as I see it. As soon as I crossed the finish line I thought I was going to cry, and not out of happiness. It took a couple minutes for me to stop thinking about how miserable I was and be happy that I finished!! My mom and my sister were inside the stadium waiting for me. I felt a lot happier when I saw them and saw how happy they were for me. After a few minutes I was finally in a good mood and happy that I finished. I just kept thinking, “OMG I can’t believe I made it in under 5 hours!” Making my time goal made it all worth it.
Finally sitting after 5 hours of running.
Now that I’ve had a couple days to reflect on the marathon, I am so proud of myself for finishing. I’m especially proud that I pushed myself so hard at the end, even when I wanted to give up on my time goal. This was such an awesome experience. I’m not going to say that “I can’t wait until the Chicago Marathon,” because I’m not quite there yet, but I know that in a month or two I’m going to start getting the itch again. I will run in the Chicago Marathon in October, and I’ll probably be even more nervous than I was this time. Hopefully next time I won’t get injured half way through the training and I’ll be able to run it even faster <– See!? I’m already making new goals in my head even though part of me never wants to run again!! I guess that’s a good thing :) Even as I’m writing this I’m starting to get more excited for my next marathon. One step at a time though. Next up in August: Champion’s Run 5k and the Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon!
Official time: 4:58:51