Finishing the race!

I finally arrived at my mom’s and will help celebrate her birthday a day late. Better late than never!

Here is a recap of the marathon… I will write some more later about the interesting time we had outside of the actual race, but I want to write about the race alone in this post.

We started at exactly 7:00. I was so nervous at the start, but after we got 1/4 of a mile into the marathon, nerves turned into running. It was really crowded for the first 4 miles or so and then it spread into a manageable amount of runners.

For me, I started at an 8:00 pace. Fast for me, but I had my reasons. I really wanted a chance at my dream of running it under a 3:30 and I figured if I didn’t try, I wouldn’t know if it was possible.

It wasn’t. πŸ™‚

I ran an 8:00 pace for 12 miles. Not bad. But that was about all I could do. Almost out of nowhere I lost the steam to keep the pace. So, knowing I wouldn’t make my first goal, I settled in to finishing the race and enjoying the run!

It was an interesting course. Fairly hilly in the beginning. Then we got to the river and the trail beside the river. For about 8 miles we ran this trail. Two grooves of dirt with grass in the middle and on either side. So runners settled into a groove and did the best they could to pass when possible. I fell in behind a guy who was keeping an 8:00 pace. For several miles I just ran his pace. That was nice, until he suddenly stopped to walk. Ugh. That messed with me a bit. But I kept going and finally got through that 8 mile stretch.

At the half way point when my steam ran out I ate gels and drank Gatorade to keep me going. That was a good plan. I ran for a couple of miles and walked through the water/Gatorade stations. As soon as I downed my sugar, I was running again. At mile 15 a woman handing out Gatorade asked me if I was okay. I said yes, but I guess I didn’t look that great. After that, I turned off my app and just ran as I could run. Not very fast, but not walking either. In my mind I kept thinking, “If I walk, I won’t finish as fast”.

At mile 20 I fully hit the wall. We had just run 16 miles of river trails and gone up a hill and now were running on gravel. I had to walk a bit. I then got a text from my Lovely Wife saying to keep going and she was pulling for me. I thought, I can do this. Not long after, I started running again. I never walked longer than a minute or two. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Finally around mile 22 we got back onto asphalt. I never thought I’d be so happy to see a road again.

This was the hardest part. Between mile 22 and 24. I hurt a lot. I would run a while and then have to walk because my whole body hurt. After a minute I’d start running again. Then I made it to mile 24. Another runner, about age 35 came up beside me and we began to talk. He told me he had run 3 other marathons but not run one in a couple of years. We talked for almost 2 miles. Wow, that really helped. At the point where the finish was a half mile away (uphill), he asked if I was doing okay and I told him I was and to head on as I could see he wanted to run strong at the end. He took off up the hill.

As I ran up the hill and onto the final stretch I was feeling much better. The finish was visible and I could hear the announcer on the loud speaker. So I went to my phone app and FaceTimed my brother. He had suggested that a few days earlier, but I didn’t know if I would be in a place to be able to do it or not. So I ran my last .2 miles with my brother and mom cheering me on. I saw the finish in front of me and was running well. Suddenly my right calf cramped. Ugh. Only a couple hundred feet to go and I was limping as I ran. It then worked its way out and I was running again, though a bit more carefully.

The finish line

My running friend of the last two miles finished ahead of me with his two toddlers running with him. How cool. I ran over the finish line only to see TJ there to greet me. I got my finishers medal and a water.

I did it. I finished. 4:14. I then, at TJ’s and my Lovely Wife’s request went to the medic tent for an IV. I was a bit out of it. After about 30 minutes I felt fine and finished with my Intravenous beverage and headed out to catch a shuttle home (a whole other blog post).

Tj finished amazingly fast at 3:08 (3 minutes off Boston Qualifying time). I am so proud of him.

Special thanks again to my big bro Jeff and my Lovely Wife for posting all the updates. Also special thanks to all of you. The support I have received from the blogging community was way more than I ever expected and had a huge impact in my marathon. When I felt the wall hit and wanted to give up, I would think of YOU. I couldn’t face not finishing and having to post that to this blog. Thank you so much!!!

That is it for now. I am more sore than I have ever been in my life. Right now my 85 year old mom could beat me in a race! πŸ™‚

Ahhh. Life is good!

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43 thoughts on “Finishing the race!

  1. Great effort going that fast early. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you give it a shot. TJ’s time was fantastic. For those that haven’t done the math yet that’s around 7:10 per mile (correct me if I’m wrong Tom) for his first marathon. Awesome performance out of both of you.

  2. Great post! When I ran my first (and only :)) marathon I went through very much the same thoughts and feelings you did but you were much stronger and much faster than I. I’m so impressed by your perserverance! Great job! Rest up. You’ll be ready to run again soon. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. It was tough, especially when I knew I wouldn’t make my first goal. However in the end, I am thrilled with finishing. I wondered how I’d feel when it was all over. Sore, tired, hungry and satisfied!

  3. Congrats again and thanks for the recap! I know there were many readers pulling for you the whole time. I’m sorry the end was so painful (it always is!), but you still had an incredible race and posted a fabulous result. Hope you’re feeling back to normal soon…it takes some time!

    • Thanks! I am so thankful that I have so many wonderful people pulling for me. It is quite overwhelming. It was a great race I’ll remember the rest of my life. I’m still in a bit of shock over it all. πŸ™‚

  4. So happy for you! I had to resist checking the updates while I was in church yesterday! Lol. You are amazing and inspiring. Now go take a nap!

  5. Thank you for sharing your race. I must be getting sappy because I got misty-eyed imagining you running your last bit with your brother and wife cheering you on.

    I’m so inspired! Well done!

    • It really was amazing. I love technology. BTW, my foot was fine for the whole run. It is a little sore today, but I am glad it held up under pressure!!! I hope yours is better also!!!

  6. What a race! Sounds like tough terrain, particularly running in the groove (though that kind of has a nice ring to it). Wonderful support along the route from your family and other runners. Congratulations on completing the race. Your time looks pretty amazing to me too. I look forward to continuing to read about your next running adventure.

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  8. Huge congratulations on getting through the marathon. This is an experience you’ll never forget — even four years removed from my first, I still remember it as if it were just a few months ago.

    “This was the hardest part. Between mile 22 and 24.” In my experience, it always is. Those miles are the cruelest, most unforgiving ones. After that, you can smell the finish line, taste the sweet nectar of glory, so your legs start moving almost on their own. That is, until you cramp up in the last 0.2, which happens more often than I’d like.

    Well done πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. It was amazing for me. Even with all the pain, I can’t wait to run another (well, I’ll have to wait as I still can barely walk). I’m glad to know my experience wasn’t unusual. πŸ™‚

  9. Great work Tom! A very respectable time for a first marathon, and the biggest first step of making your BQ. Be very proud of your accomplishment!
    Make sure to rest up, replenish your body and do a lot of active recovery this week, and spend some quality time with the LW.
    Here is a Hal Higdon guide I use if you don’t already have a ‘zero week’ and onwards plan:
    http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51152/Post-Marathon-Zero-Week-Training-Program
    How to have quality time with the LW I’ll have to leave up to you! πŸ˜‰

    • Thanks for the link. I will be reading that ASAP. LW. LOL. I asked my Lovely Wife what that stood for. (Duh). She got it right away. I thought it was a running acronym i hadn’t heard of. Thank you for the encouragement. Now that I have a PR time to beat, I have a more reasonable goal!!!

      • Haha! Well, at least the LW got it right away!
        Finishing your first marathon is great for so many reasons, and it will also now sit as a benchmark. Beating a time you know you’ve run before is a much more tangible goal than trying to run a time which has no real personal meaning for you. By constantly increasing your goal, and achieving it, great things can be done!
        Hope the recuperation is going well. And RunningGirl has it right – a slow ‘shakedown run’ will hurt for the first few minutes, but will take days off your recovery. Trust me, as someone who did no running or anything for a week after my first marathon, and regretted it!

        • My LW is definitely smarter than I. I was thinking you were talking about a new type of foam roller or something. πŸ™‚ I am excited that I now have a goal to achieve. I am happy with my time, but I know that had I gone out with a 9:00 pace goal, I probably could have kept it. But I had nothing to lose, so I went for the gusto, and lost my gusto around mile 12. I am sure you and RunningGirl are right about the slow shakedown run. I was in so much pain, yesterday was the first day I could even think about doing anything more than walking (and I spent the day in the car). I plan on running some today. I did walk a lot over the week though and even though it hurt a lot, I tried to walk normally (as normally as I could). Thanks again for your help.

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