October 9, 2021 | Lake Junaluska, NC | FIRST MARATHON done and dusted!!
I DID IT! I can’t even believe it. And I totally want to do it again. haha. The post-race stupor is real y’all. But to recap…
Leading up to the race in the taper I got super sick with a head cold. It was awful. I was hacking up until race day. Thankfully my nose had stopped running but the hacking made it difficult to breathe deeply without setting off a coughing fit.
Anyway I didn’t sleep great (as per usual for race days) but I was able to eat breakfast, use the bathroom, get all my stuff together and headed out to the lake. I had a 4.25 mile loop to keep me company for 26.2 miles. HA.
First gel taken and off I went. First loop felt great! I settled into a 10-11 min a mile pace and got it done. I had already decided I would power walk up the one hill on my course each lap so I lost a little time there but overall everything was going well.
Second lap- another gel down – I started having some weird pain in my left hip as well as my right lower back. I tried stretching them out a bit as I continued on. I kept up my pacing and overall was feeling ok. I wished the soreness wasn’t there but I was able to forget about it as the race went on.
Third lap – another gel down – still feeling pretty good and maintaining pace. The sun was starting to come up around the lake and it was really pretty!
Fourth lap- just as I started this lap I ended up seeing the boys and my inlaws. They were coming to stake out a spot to eat breakfast, and be our water stop. I got some cheers (which totally helped) as I continued on around the lake. During this lap I started to get tired. But more to go!
Fifth lap- got a water refill and did an extra lap around the parking lot to pick it back up. I got more highfives and cheers yay! I started letting myself have little walk breaks each mile just to help me keep going.
Final lap – another water refill. It was getting hot out and the sun was really starting to come out. I told myself it was only another lap, only 4 more miles. I could do this!! The walk breaks were a little longer during my miles but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
And then just like that I was at the finish! I did it! I was a marathoner. WOW. 4:58:43
Takeaways – running alone for 5 hours is ROUGH. I want to do another just to be part of the race environment. I think crowds and other runners would really help me keep going.
But man- I’m so glad I did this. The training had some dark spots but overall I would do it again. So maybe next fall? We’ll see. 🙂