I will remember this month! May…Back in October I ran the Kansas City Half Marathon. Loved it! I told friends that I may just want to run a marathon. And so I ran… and I ran… and I ran some more! Through November, December, January, February, March and April. Just to get ready for May. In fact, I logged over 1000 miles as a prepared for my inaugural marathon.
And on May 6th, I ran 26.2 miles through the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska with over 10,000 other participants. I was lucky enough to have my mom and children come with me. We made a weekend out of it, trying out some great eating establishments in town such as the Blue Orchid and touring the campus of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
Our hotel served its purpose. It was clean, had two beds and smelled ok!.My daughter was amused by the Doctor Love John’s 24 hour “Novelty” shop that sat across the parking lot from our hotel! She wanted to take pictures of it.
The night before the race, we headed to a Pastathon. I loved the fact it was free for me AND my entire family. Everything about the Pastathon was excellent! The food was delicious, the servers efficient and helpful, and the atmosphere lively. After eating, I was definitely pumped to run!
Fast forward to Sunday morning. I woke up to thunderstorms outside my window. I was ready and down to the start line by 6:30am. Now, I should point out that I will never set a land speed record. In fact, when we lined up in the morning amid booms of thunder to start the race, I was down the block, around the corner, and then some! I chose to begin my race with the 4 hour 50 minute pace group. I figured if I could stay with them for most of the morning, I could maybe finish in less than 5 hours. So, the gun went off, the runners started, and I decided to find my place in line.
You see, the race may have officially started at 7:00am, but I crossed the start line at 7:34am. There was a staggered start to help prevent congestion. I had plenty of time to post a status update on Facebook, text my family, and meet the runners around me!
What I will remember most about the race were the spectators. I’ve never seen so many cheering faces at a race! It made me smile as I high-fived all the hands of children along the way. The first half of my run progressed pretty much how I expected. I ran with the pace group, tried to eat something every 4 or 5 miles, and continued to visit with those around me. Thankfully, the sprinkles at the start of the race never turned into a downpour. Around mile 7, I headed to the Porta Potty. Amazingly, I was able to catch back up with my pace group when I was done–around mile 10!
This was also the time when I realized that although it was cool to be in a hoard of other runners, it just really isn’t my thing. Now that the sun had come up, the puddles on the ground began to evaporate. Oh the humidity! I kept looking at the trees along the way, wishing I was under them. The pavement was a tad uncomfortable on my joints. But I just kept running…
At the half way point, all the half marathoners veered off the right and we continued on. What a difference! Over 8,000 runners were finishing up. I didn’t realize that the marathoners were such a smaller group. It made me proud of myself for attempting it. This was also the point when I was convinced that the pacers were speeding up. It was becoming tougher for me to continue running under 11 minute miles…
I tried. I even managed a smile when I heard my friend Sean Nash shout my name. But, about mile 15, the running wasn’t much fun… The sun had come out, it was hot, I was tired, and thirsty. I run because I enjoy it.I knew that if I wasn’t having fun, then I needed to change something. So, I slowed down, walked and ate a Gu. I drank some water and ate another Gu. Around mile 17 I used a Port Potty once again. This section of the race was the toughest for me. Between miles 15 and 20, my average pace was around 12.5 minutes per mile. Still, I slowly began to perk up and smile again. I got to run through a park and by a pretty lake.
I got myself back on track. Running was fun again.
My trek back to the Cornhuster’s Stadium was a blast! I felt great, didn’t worry about the time…ok, that’s a lie. I didn’t worry MUCH. Occasionally, I’d look behind me to see if the 5:00 hour Pace Group was in sight. (…and it never was!) My pace for the last 6.2 miles was faster than the 6 before it! I averaged around 11.5 minutes per mile.
When I crossed the 50 yard line, I felt like a could continue running for miles and miles! My official times was 4 hours 57 minutes! (Remember the staggered start)
My first marathon is under my belt! I am so happy to have made this accomplishment! I did it! I kept on running for twenty six point two miles!
What will be my next adventure? What will be yours?
It turns out, as I prepared for my marathon, I would run many miles along the bike paths in my hometown. Occasionally, I would catch glimpses of runners off the paved paths through the trees of the Parkway. Eventually, I followed them. And now, most of my runs are trail runs. In the mud, over rocks, through the spider webs….ahh what fun.
But that is a tale for another day.