Things that are Huntsville Marathon Race Recap
For the past 2 weeks, since starting the taper, I realized how soon it would be for me to run my first full marathon. I’ve done 5 half marathons, which don’t scare me anymore. But I have been terrified to run 26 miles. I was SO worried that my body would just fail me, and I would get injured. Because I have injured myself SO much in the past.
The things that I did differently for this race that I haven’t done for previous races…
1. Go to my chiropractor at least every month if not more (depending on how my body was feeling). I knew that this was a must to make sure that I would not injure myself. I wanted to stay injury free.
2. Swim, Bike, and Barre. I did a lot of swimming and barre before I did my first triathlon in August. Then after that race, I focused more on strengthening, by going to barre, and doing more squats and reverse lunges.
I can’t believe what a difference doing those things made in my training, and knowing that I can run a full marathon without an injury.
Okay before I begin (well actually it is the beginning of the story – but it was funny and awkward and thought I had to share)… So I was hoping I would be able to pick up my race packet at 8:30pm the night before the race – I knew I was cutting it close, but thought I would at least give it a try (wasn’t able to btw). As I was in this big building looking for the Gold’s Gym I noticed it was upstairs. Well I get to the stairs, and there is this cute little girl (like 12) sitting on one side of the stairs, and her friend of course standing on a step above this boy, giving him a hickey! Seriously right!? So as I’m walking up the stairs I say out loud “uh, that’s not awkward,” I turn and look (as I’m walking up the stairs) and she stops, and gives me this look with her eyes that says “uh, like what are you talking about” (in one of those tween voices). I laugh and keep walking up the stairs, but seriously, a little young don’t you think?! Or maybe that’s just me..
The marathon start time was 9am. I needed to pick up my packet before they started loading the buses.
It was a fairly cold morning. I had on my sweatshirt and some sweats to ride up to the start. I say goodbye to Chase and I hop on a bus and sit next to someone I don’t know. That’s usually how things go. I’m open to meeting new people, and it’s fun to talk to others about their training, and previous races.
We drive 20 miles up the canyon – though it’s not really a canyon per say. I’m pretty warm in my sweats by the time we get off the bus, and the temperature feels pretty warm. I’m a little worried because I know it’s going to take me 5+ hours to run. Thankfully, I had my little hand held water bottle, and carried that with me the entire time.
We walk to the start, I met some other ladies, who made their very own cute shirts, and their shirts were pretty funny. At this point, I’m seriously dreading running 26 miles. I am not in this run mentally. If I’m feeling dread, this is bad. The temps scared me, the distance scared me, and I just wanted to be back in bed. What a great way to start a marathon off right?! Wrong!
The police sirens go off, and we’re all off. I’m trying to take it slow, because I need to save my energy for that last 6 miles – that I never did in training. But I feel like I’m one of the last people to run. My pace stayed pretty consistent with 9:39-9:45 for the first half of the race. I ended up using the bathroom at the first aid station, and couldn’t believe I was ONLY at mile 3!
I run with this girl named Morgan for a while, cause she’s got a pretty consistent pace. I told her how I was feeling, and somehow my mindset changed, and I felt like I could keep going. I ended up saying bye to her before mile 13, and then caught up with another runner I wanted to meet from instagram who was also running it. She had been sick, and she was feeling very nauseous, and ended up getting a “did not finish” (DNF). She made it to mile 15, which is still pretty good with her not feeling well. I kept on running, and it seemed like there were more hills getting out of the canyon. It definitely didn’t feel downhill (or was it my mind playing tricks on me?!)
Once I got out of the canyon, it felt at least 10˚ hotter than it was, at this point it was about 1pm. It was also this point where I had lost my appetite (I had gotten hungry around mile 16-18) due to the heat, and I stopped ingesting my gus. I kept drinking lots of water and Gatorade did not sound appealing either. Chase met up with me at mile 22, and it was nice getting a hug from him. He said he was worried that he wasn’t going to get to the finish line before me. Shortly after I met up with him, I was pretty much walking. I was so hot and not feeling 100%.
At mile 25ish (last aid station), I felt sick – I felt I was going to pass out. I asked to sit down for a minute, and it happened that one of the girls from the start line was there and she wasn’t feeling good either. I asked for Gatorade, and the sugar from that helped me feel a little better. I figured I was pretty darn close to the finish, so I just kept going, walking, but that’s moving. At this point, my hips were a little sore, my legs were sore, and something with my foot was bugging me. I get to the final corner and I see the finish line. It was pretty much the happiest day of my racing life. Chase and my friends were there to cheer me on for the final stretch, and I knew I could run in. As soon as I crossed the finish line, there were tons of people asking me if I was okay. I said yes, I just needed to cool off.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I can’t believe I did it. I can say I’m a marathoner. That’s pretty cool for me.
Oh, I finished the race in 5:43:29 minutes (I think on social media I posted that I finished in 5:45, oops). I ended up with positive splits rather than a negative one. My pace for the first half of the race was 11:50/M, and total was 13:07/M.
There are lots of things that I could have done differently to make this race experience better, and to get a better time. But I did my best and stuck with it and I finished it. So now that is my PR for a marathon.
Will I run another marathon – probably, I honestly feel great after having run 26 miles. Yes I’m sore, and its hard for me to walk down the stairs, but I was also like that when I first started running half marathons too.
Pros: They are mailing me an actual women’s shirt (there was a screw up with the shirts), there was SO MUCH support! (aid every 2 miles), I really enjoyed the course, there was enough water and GU and Gatorade.
Cons: The late start (9am), THE HEAT, I felt like I was running a relay race in that there were hardly any runners behind me or in front of me and at times I was the only one on the road – which I did not like.
Will I run this race again? Though I loved the course – I did not love the start time. If they don’t change the start time then I will probably not run it again.
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