If you're reading this, then hi. This blog has fallen into disuse, so I'm using this as a memory-space. But feel free to enjoy :)
Today was my first marathon. 26.2 miles.
We signed up for the St. Jude Memphis marathon for December 2013, but the thing got canceled after a nasty ice storm. That was a real let-down. I wish the weather had been different and we could have knocked it out, but there's nothing you can do about the weather. Since it was 14 degrees out that morning though, I think they made the right decision.
So we rescheduled for the Nashville run in April.
Last year I'd trained pretty hard. I had set out to run 1,000 miles over year (which I hit in November, I think), and had done a number of long runs leading up to the St. Jude Marathon. So I was essentially finishing my marathon training, and then immediately starting my marathon training once again. Frustrating.
But I kept up my running. Not quite as consistently as last year. I was getting in 4 or 5 runs per week last year, religiously, and was doing regular 7-9 milers, with long runs on the weekend. This year I was only doing 5 milers regularly, and was doing somewhat long on the weekends, 9, 13 and 16 miles, I think.
Getting up to Nashville for the marathon turned out to be fun. We left Piper and Griffin with Grandma. I would have loved to have them there, but it was not fair to leave the two of them for Krissi to manage in downtown Nasvhille for X hours. The drive up was rather fun, it was a chance for me to get into the thrill and differentness of a Marathon. We got into town, checked into the hotel, then went and picked up our race packet. The huge convention center was impressive, and we nearly got lost on account of some sort of Junior Star talent show. Eventually we got our packet and wandered into the expo, which was kinda cool and a little culture-shock for me. I don't recall having wandered through an expo - which I guess translates to "maze of vendor booths". It was neat to see all the gear and tech and kitsch, and also to people watch, and after grabbing a few little things, we got the heck out of there. We wandered a bit, trying to get some good local italian food, and ended up at Mirko Pasta on Lebanon Pike, though we tried to figure out a place that I'd decided on before the trip, but then couldn't remember the name of (it's Pomodoro East; next time, Nashville.) Mirko was descent, with nice atmosphere, but my dish (angel hair pasta bolognese) was reasonable but not impressive. We headed back to our hotel, the budget minded Nashville Airport Hotel, which was across the street from the La Quinta. It was nice, we were on the third floor, our door opening out onto a balcony walkway and the parking lot. All the normal ammenities, and it seemed clean and nice. I could tell it was budget priced though by the wobbly faucet fixture. Still, for the required "place to stay before the race where I can get some sleep", it mostly satisfied. Though we were awakened twice by men walking on the walkway speaking in some southeast-asian language, and once by a loud motorcycle.
We sprang from bed early in the morning, 4:55 in fact. We'd traveled light, and packed last night, so we only needed to worry about prep in the morning. I downed 24 ounces of electrolyte-water, a banana, and a couple of granola bars. We dressed and grabbed our stuff and were out the door. We'd mapped our route, and hit the road. I navigated a wrong turn off, which cost us a few minutes, but then we were on our way-- and quickly ran into gridlock traffic, leading to the bridge toward where we needed to go. Seemed like a simple case of 30,000+ people trying to get to the same place, even though it was only 5:45.
After consulting our maps, we took a detour, as it looked like we could get around the bridge snarl. And it worked out. We pulled into the Nashville football stadium parking lot, and then headed toward the race.
The crowd was huge, and pretty awesome. So many different types of people, and different types of runners. I'd dropped back in corral, and was hoping for a 5 hour finish time. With the difference in elevation and temperature and my training, I had different expectations than I had for St. Jude Memphis.
The run got kicked off, and the corrals filtered down, and soon enough, my wave was off. The first couple of miles was through downtown nashville, then it turned south and west a little, and went down through a bunch of small and pretty neighborhoods, including a Montessori school. Then the full and half marathoners split off, and the marathon went north. And it got warm. And sunny. Mile 13 was at the turn around point north, so back we came again toward downtown. I was already starting to feel the distance, and as the warmth and sun worked on me, I slowed down. The route went through downtown and over the bridge. At mile 18 I met Krissi, who had water and nutrition, but I turned down the race goo/bars. I didn't think my stomach could take it. I put on more sunblock, and was off again. By mile 20 though, I was getting spent. The miles seemed way longer than a mile. I had to walk for a bit before running again. The route on the east side of Nashville was back through an industrial and impoverished area, and then a state park, and was an interesting route. I was pretty beat by this time, and my feet were worn out, and my body was getting tired. But I kept going, sometimes alternating walking and running, and by mile 24 or 25, I'd got a bit of a second wind, and was able to team up with another runner and motivate each other to get across the finish line.
Krissi was right there cheering me on, and we took a couple of minutes to rest and chat before we moved on. Krissi had been super busy all day trying to keep up with me and the marathon, and so was almost as spent as I was. We got to the car and drove straight to Gabby's Burgers and I devoured a double burger in like 90 seconds flat.
We headed out of town at that point hoping to get home and have the night off (from obligations and such). We ran into two awful traffic snarls that turned a 3.5 hour trip into a 5 hour trip. But eventually we were home and got to relax.
I was worn out after the run, but not demolished. And today (sunday after the run) I'm in good shape, with only a small amount of soreness.
In hindsight, I'm glad to have a marathon done. I hoped to do it much faster, but I'm not gonna complain. It just gives me an easy PR to beat. Krissi and I talked about whether I'd do another marathon, and beforehand I said that I wasn't sure if I'd do another marathon after this one. Having just finished my first, I think I'll do another. Not this year - but maybe in 2015.
Meanwhile, I think half-marathons are just my speed!
postscript - I meant to mention (actual today) the day after the marathon, Sunday. I still had some energy on the marathon itself, it was just my feet that were so completely spent. I think that next time I'll do a marathon in running shoes. And in colder weather. The day after a marathon is often tough, but I've been in really good shape today. Some soreness and a little stiffness, but if I walk around for a bit, the soreness goes away and I'm in good shape. I think I can destroy my PR at St Jude Memphis 2015