Friday, October 3, 2008

Two years ago this weekend....

Two years ago this weekend, I ran my first marathon. It's hard to believe that I was in that kind of shape two years ago. Since then, this little thing called the "MBA Program" came along and consumed my life. I still run, but not nearly as much as I did before I started the program!

Aside from my family, I haven't talked about the Marathon experience all that much, so I thought I'd post about what it was like to run that race!

The date was October 7th, 2006. I drove myself to Minneapolis where the race was starting. The energy around the Metrodome was insane - everyone was nervous and excited. I wonder if they were thinking what I was thinking - 'can I really do this?' Of course, telling all your family and friends that you are going to run a marathon kind of alleviates the option of not doing it...

As I was stretching, I ran into my cousin's husband, Jamie Zuel, which was pretty random considering 10,000 people were running this race!! After exchanging hellos & the 'good lucks, see ya out there' comments, I met up with a friend that I had met at the 20 mile training run.

The race started off well. It's a pretty interesting experience... they have port-a-potties along the course, but guys 'can't be bothered' to you use one, so just turn their backs to the course, and, well, relieve themselves by a tree or something. So as you are running, you'll see lines of 10-20 guys, all relieving themselves!!

The fans definitely make the race for the runners. If/when I run my next marathon, I will definitely put my name on my shirt so that I have encouragement along the way. They say that the marathon can be divided into 2 halves - the first 20 miles and the last 6.2. This is because at the 20 mile mark, most runners 'hit the wall' - which basically means their bodies run out of glycogen (what carbohydrates are converted into) so the body then has to burn stored fat which does not burn as readily. I can't say that I truly ' hit the wall' - those last 6.2 miles were tough, but I never felt like my legs were made of lead or anything like that, as other runners experience.

Knowing that mom, dad, Kevin, Julie, Abby, and Andrew were at the finish line, waiting for me, kept me going. Also, during those last 6.2 miles, lots of spectators would look you in the eye & tell you that you were doing awesome & that you could do it. I can't tell you how helpful it was to have those strangers out there, encouraging you to keep going! I pretty much said non-stop Hail Mary's for those last 6.2 miles; it helped to repeat those prayers and focus on the words v. the pain I was feeling in my legs. I also thought alot about the people on my prayer bracelet (I prayed for 1 person/mile).

My finishing time was definitely nothing to brag home about (4:50 when you back off the 10 minutes it took me to cross the start line) but I was proud to have finished it at all. A small percentage of the population runs a marathon, so I was happy to be part of that small group of people who had accomplished this major feat. It's kind of an indescribable experience. There are people with Vaseline along the run so you can battle the chaffing that inevitably happens when you run that long. There are people with jolly ranchers so you have sugar to help keep you going. Then there's the volunteers who give up their Sunday morning to pass out Gatorade & energy gel. It was a wonderful experience, and something that I hope to do again.

It's funny how my thought about those 26.2 miles have changed since October 7th. Shortly after the race, completing a marathon didn't seem like such a big deal. Training for a marathon warps your sense of what a long run really is. When asked what I would be doing for a run that weekend, I'd often respond and say, 'oh, just doing a 12 mile run'. However, 2 years later, a sense of accomplishment has returned. I'm proud of the fact that I finished the marathon. And hopefully I can give it another go in the future. My friend Nicole just emailed me this week to see if I was interested in doing the Fargo marathon. So I might be doing another one as soon as May 9, 2009.... We'll see!!


K and E Paper Creations said...

very good post. i enjoyed reliving your experience.

Marlys said...

I remember the last two Twin Cities Marathons extremely well - waiting for you and Abby to finish was exhilirating! It felt odd not to be there this year, but babysitting for Andrew & Matthew was wonderful, too!

Amber said...

I hope you get this comment since this post is so old. I'm being a lurker tonight when I should be SLEEPING!

So excited to be joining you when you run your SECOND marathon this fall!

Also? You're SO right about the training warping our idea of what a "long" run is. Half the reason I'm still up is because I keep telling myself that I ONLY have to run NINE miles in the morning. Only 9. No big deal. I should have said that to myself two years ago and see what I thought! Hehe