Monday, October 7, 2013

My First Marathon!

I've been training for 3 months (and four years) for this moment; the moment that I crossed the finish line after running 26.2 (26.44) miles. It happened October 6, 2013 at the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon.  I am finally a marathoner!  It was worth every sacrificed weekend and sore muscle.  And now that I've had a good night's rest, I would definitely do it again.  I mean, not tomorrow or anything, but in a couple of years when I've forgotten how much pain I'm in right now.

The start was at 7:30 at Grafton High School.  My husband and father in law drove me up there to watch me take off.  They dropped me off at the start and went to find a parking spot.  While I waited, I immediately got in line for the port a potty.  I was jealous of all the guys walking into the woods to relieve themselves, but glad they were leaving the line, thus shortening it for us ladies.

The start line.

I found Kevin and his dad on the way to the start.  They had run into his cousin who was running it too!  He was already lined up at the start by the time I got there so didn't see him.

Before the start with Kevin.

I was pretty nervous about doing this.  I kept trying to push the negative self talk out of my head, but the distance was still so unreal to me.  Could I really do it?  Is it possible?  Would this be the first race I didn't complete?

When I lined up at the start, I found the 5:30 pace group led by Gary.  He was pretty awesome and told us about his first marathon in 1980 (the year I was born!), his races in South Africa, and Mt. Kilamanjaro, and the time he had to be carried off Comrades after running 10 minute miles for 56 miles!

My view from the start line.

We started pretty fast for the pace group.  By mile 7, I was only at 1:25 instead of my anticipated 1:31.  I had fallen back from Gary, but I was concentrating on keeping him in my sight so I had something to keep me going.

There were some pretty funny race signs I wish I had taken pictures of, but I didn't want to stop.  One sign had an arrow to the right saying,"finish line 18 miles" and another to the left saying. "Green Bay 96 miles".  And right after that there was a sign that said, "Run faster. Kick off is at noon"  Only in Wisconsin!

The race course was beautiful and pretty flat, like promised in the course description.  There were hills, but they were gradual rolling hills and nothing like I have to run on around here.  I passed a lot of people when I was running up them, which helped the self-esteem.

The actual race itself passed pretty quickly, except the last 2.2 miles.  The first half of the race I stayed pretty steady.  I was at a 2:45 at 13.1, which would have been perfect to finish in 5 and a half hours if I held that pace.

I had gotten teary-eyed a couple of times, once at the start as I crossed the starting line and a couple of times on the way while people were cheering. Right at the half way point I looked up to a group cheering and I saw Becky!!  I almost started crying again!  She ran with me a bit and encouraged me and asked if I was okay.  She came back mile 16 and 18 to help me through.  It distracted me from my pain for a little bit at least.

Mile 16 - courtesy of Becky

Mile 18 - snack break with Becky

At the mile 21 water stop they had a cardboard, broken brick wall for us to run through.  Again, I teared up.  I only had 5 more to go.  There were people cheering the whole way and a couple of them even had snacks for us!  One family was handing out breakfast bars, another had bunt cakes, and another had licorice!  I just took some licorice.

At the top of the hill on Lakeshore Drive, just a couple of miles from the finish, I knew where I was!  I charged down the giant hill and was running at about an 11:30 pace towards the finish at Veteran's Park and gradually slowed down and then walked.  It seemed so far away!  I decided to take one more gel since it had been about 6 miles since my last one.  Hopefully, the caffeine in it would propel me to the finish.

I started my shuffle to the end.  I had to start swinging my arms first before my legs would follow.  I would run for a few minutes then walk a minute.  I finally made it to 25 and a half and started running.  There were people all along the walk way who had finished and were cheering me on.  Our names were on our bibs and everyone was yelling, "Go, Jordan!" and "You're almost there!".  I was tearing up again.  It meant so much to hear the encouragement of the other runners who had already finished.  They knew how much I was hurting and they knew what I had been through to get to this point.

I crossed the finish line right under my goal time of 6 hours at 5:57:56!  I got my medal and tin foil blanket and hobbled to find Kevin.

 Here is my finish that Kevin taped.  I have a video from mile 18 that Becky filmed, but I can't figure out how to save it off of Facebook.

Today, I am SO sore!! I feel like I have a 6 pack of abs, my quads are screaming, and my left ankle is throbbing, but I am a marathoner!  Yesterday, I said I would never do this again; that it wasn't worth it.  I lied.  It's worth it.  It may be a while until my next full, but I loved it and it's everything everybody hypes it up to be.

I can't wait until next weekend to cheer Becky, Heather, and Marin on at the Chicago Marathon!!  It's going to be a blast!

What was the best part of your first marathon?  Did you think you would ever run a second one?

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