Saturday, April 28, 2012
I decided to run a marathon about six months prior to getting married. I knew that it was something I eventually wanted to do, but I knew I would keep putting it off if I didn't just sign up. I figured getting it done before my wedding was a good goal so i signed up for the
Cleveland marathon in may 2012. However plans changed and I ended up going for a Louisville marathon in April.
The fact that I took a whole month off my initial training program had me extremely worried that something would go wrong and I would not finish the race. I also switched from a relatively flat course in Cleveland, to a hilly one in Louisville. My number one goal of course was to finish. I also wanted to run the whole way and stay under 4:45. With all of this in mind I had high hopes as I made the two hour drive from Indianapolis to Louisville.
The morning of the marathon I woke up very early and had a light breakfast. I remember stretching in the hotel room and not wanting to be done stretching because I knew that meant I had to head downtown. (I was a bit nervous) When I got downtown it was much better being around fellow marathoners. People were asking others about training and if this was their first. I was relieved to know that I was not the only first timer.We lined up for the race and started to run.
Miles 1-8 I knew I had to hold myself back and did a pretty good job at it. I enjoyed people watching and taking the experience in. I could do this stretch of the run in my sleep by this point and knew it was going to get harder from here. We ran through Churchill downs, which was the stretch of the run I was looking forward to most and it didn't disappoint.
After Churchill, the half and full marathoners split. I remember looking around and thinking about how many people were just cramming up the course and how empty it all seemed now. I felt good about being one of the full marathoners, but in a way envied the people who just had to head back to town and finish.
Miles 14-20 were the hardest by far for me. We went through Iroquois park, which had hill after agonizing hill. It seemed like it would never end, but of course it did. We then had a long stretch back toward downtown and during this point I had to really push myself to keep going. My entire body hurt and it took everything in me to keep going.
Around mile 21 I was slowly past by the pace setter for 4:45 surround by a group of about 10 or so people running with him. I realized that my goal was passing me and I this motivated me to stick with them. The people running along were in about the same place I was at this point and it helped us all to be surrounded by eachother. I do not think I would have continued to run if it weren't for that pace setter and his group of runners. I manage to stick with them until the final hill at mile 23.
As I neared the top of the final hill I knew I was going to finish and that feeling was incredible. I hadn't walked yet and I just wanted to make sure I didn't hurt myself in the final stretch. The last 5k was actually tough but I enjoyed every minute of it. People were lined up with their medals rooting us on as we neared the finish line. As I past the 26 mile marker I immediately felt lighter and knew I could crawl from here so I allowed myself to start running harder. I finished the race in 4:52, but ran every step of the way.
At the finish line I was greeted by volunteers with water and bananas and finally got to sit down. I was extremely happy to be finished and proud to have accomplished so much.
Through training and the race I had learned so much about myself and how much I can endure. I can honestly say that running a marathon changed my perspective on life. I am very happy to have done it, and probably will do another in the near future.
to the First Marathons page