Running a Marathon: 26.2 Miles in Bullet Points

I'm still working on a mega recap for my first marathon experience, the Mercedes-Benz Marathon this past Sunday.  For now, here is a list of all the moments that stood out for me, in order from the start to the finish:

  • Climbing over the barricades into the starting chute like a deranged monkey.
  • Seeing an angry/terrified feral dog loose on the course around mile 2.  Normal Me thought, "poor thing!" and then Lawyer Me thought, "I wonder if that's a liability?"
  • Waving to Nate and W at mile 3.
  • Watching several people pretty blatantly cut the course around mile 5.  
  • "Hey this is actual rain and I'm soaked."
  • Seriously loud rap music and droves of people dancing at "Miracle Mile" in Avondale.
  • Realizing I was done with ten miles and still basically euphoric and carefree.
  • Bumping into my co-pacer and Track Club buddy around mile 12...and then running silently next to him until about mile 16.
  • Seeing Nate again at mile 16.5 and trying to smile and wave in a way that would reassure him of my sanity and sound judgment.  
The resulting photo.
  • Getting onto the strugglebus near mile 18, the second repeat of the hilly section.
  • Seeing some seriously weird stuff on the GPS, like an impossible 15:30 average pace.  Artifact?  Problems with the tunnels?  My own sanity slipping away?  THE WORLD WILL NEVER KNOW!
  • Bargaining with myself after that..."I'll run until mile 21, then walk a bit, then see what happens."  "Okay I'll run until mile 20."  "Or maybe just 19 if I run up this hill."  "Maybe I'll just run until my average pace is back under 8:50, then walk for a bit."  Not productive!
  • Walking through the mile 19 water stop, chugging sports drink, and feeling immediately better.
  • "The dog probably isn't a liability, because participants in an event like an urban marathon assume the risk of stray dogs and other obstacles on the course."
  • "OMG shut up, Lawyer Me."
  • Shocking myself by getting to mile 22 without hitting a wall or wanting to give up.
  • Feeling like portions of my legs were being amputated on the second time down Avondale Hill.
  • Being caught by the 4:00 pacers at mile 24 and screaming profanity.  Sorry to everyone within earshot.
  • Running with the 4:00 pacers for almost a mile and finally, actually feeling the wheels come off.
  • "So this is what people mean when they talk about The Marathon Endgame."
  • "I'm actually handling this pretty well."  
  • "Okay maybe not." 
  • "I've been THREE blocks REALLY??!  Am I caught in some sort of space-time glitch?" 
  • Seeing a man puking his guts out around mile 25.  That was...sobering.
  • Turning onto the last .6-mile stretch and being amazed that I still felt like running.
  • Not really noticing anything about the chute or the finish line except the fleeting thought that the timing pad was wet and slippery.  You know, the important things.  
  • Babbling incoherently to the other runners who finished around me, including my frenemies the 4:00 pacers.
  • Trying to come to terms with the fact that I finished in 4:00:45.  It hurts so good. 


Dolly said…
Congratulations on finishing your first 26.2... I had a similar experience, I ran my first marathon hoping to just finish, and hopefully come in around 4 hours. The morning of the race, it was pouring rain. But, hey no big deal. I really didn't care about the time goal. However, when I was near the end and I heard the announcer yelling "one more minute to four hours" and I was still 400 meters away, It stung a little... I finished in 4:01. But, still there is nothing sweeter than finishing your first marathon. Congratulations again!

I hope you are not too sore today.
Rheagan said…
Thank you. It sounds like we had very similar first experiences! As far as soreness goes, I am definitely sore in new places in my legs. I think the hilly course destroyed my quads, but it's getting better quickly :)