Fifth Time is the Charm

I finally ran the marathon I’ve been wanting to run for five years.

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Saturday’s race was marathon number five for me. Marathon number one (five years ago almost to the day) was amazing by default. It was a huge accomplishment for me, never being an athlete, just to finish my first 26.2. I was thrilled to cross the finish line in 4:40:49, even though I had hoped to run a bit faster.

Marathons two through four were less than fabulous. I had all sorts of bad luck – hot weather, an injury, and nutrition issues, respectively. Each of these races took me over five hours to complete. It’s devastating when you have put in months of training, suffered through long runs in the dark, given up other activities to accommodate training, etc., only to have a bad day on race day.

But yesterday was my day. I finally got to show everyone – including myself – that I can really run 26.2 miles.

Going into this race I definitely had my doubts. After two months of some pretty terrible insomnia and a couple of weeks of an uncooperative right knee, I really wasn’t sure what to expect going into the race.

While I had some concerns about my ability to have a good race, I also tried to reassure myself by thinking back on my season and reminding myself that I am a better athlete now than I have ever been. But you never know how your race day will unfold.

Laying out my outfit the night before the race. I also planned plenty of throwaway layers since the temperature was in the 20s at the start.

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The Race

I won’t give a super detailed race report, because frankly, who reads those? But overall the race was great. I felt comfortable for most of the day. I was on top of my nutrition the entire time and didn’t have any stomach issues at all. I enjoyed the great crowds and the beautiful scenery. I high-fived Bart Yasso around mile 4. Miles 8-10 are along the water and I made sure to take a moment to appreciate the view. This section of the course doesn’t have many spectators, but there was a man with a megaphone calling out bib numbers – “5209, you are fine!” “6708, you’re doin’ great!” He said “I’m here again next year, folks. Same time, same place.” I loved him. Hearing his cheers was definitely a highlight of my day. My favorite sign was a sign that said “If Britney Spears can survive 2007, you can survive 26.2.” I saw one of the Moms Run This Town ladies near the end of the race and that gave me a little boost, too.

In the end, I had a great day and a great time too, finishing in 4:23:58 – a PR by almost 17 minutes.

I am ecstatic. I’m filled with feelings of joy, but also relief – I finally have the bad marathon monkey off of my back.

It certainly wasn’t a perfect day. My left IT band started giving out around mile 22 and I was in a lot of pain for the last few miles of the race. I also had planned to run the first 10k with the 4:30 pace group and lost them at the very first water stop at mile 2. And, I know that a 4:23 marathon is very slow by a lot of people’s standards. But, I don’t care. I am absolutely thrilled with my day.

It was an evenly paced race – I reached half way at 2:11:37. My miles were all relatively even-paced as well, ranging from 9:30-10:17 pace. I didn’t have any crazy fast or slow outlier miles. I’m really proud of this because I only used my Garmin to time my nutrition and based my pace totally on feel.

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I was so lucky to have my friend Jackie at the race the cheer me on and to have my coach there to see me have this breakthrough. I cannot possibly say enough about how much she has helped me this year.

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Big smiles at the finish with Alyssa (above) and Jackie (below).

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Celebratory burger and fries with Jackie after the race (below).

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While I’m very much looking forward to a short off season training break, I’m already getting excited for next year!!

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20 thoughts on “Fifth Time is the Charm

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