Thanks for letting me vent! Now on to the race report!
I completed my first marathon!
AG Place: 19 out of 23
First of all, I have to say that I really did have fun at this marathon. That's hard to believe after that first paragraph, right? I knew it was going to be hard, and one of my goals was to have a positive attitude the whole way and keep a smile plastered on my face the whole way. Well, I did both of those, and I think that's why I had such a good time.
Jenn and I woke up way before the sun on Sunday morning to go to packet pickup. We had stayed at my sister's house which was only 20 minutes from the race site, so it was no trouble finding a parking spot really close. As we arrived, I noticed that there were no signs telling us where to go. This was a foretaste of things to come as I felt the race was not executed very well. We finally found the packet pickup tent. The poor volunteers inside didn't even have any lights to perform their duties with. There was only one person that had a headlamp to use to find race numbers and fill bags with swag. I was lucky enough to meet fellow blogger and triathlete, Beth, who has an awesome blog, The Petty's Quest. She was just like all the other bloggers that I meet...super cool. It's always fun to put a voice with the face and name you already know. I would see her several other times during the race, and several of these pictures are from her camera.
After packet pickup, Jenn and I went back to the car to warm up since it was a chilly 45 degrees. Before long, we headed one block over to the start line. Of course the porta potties had a huge line, but I had found some earlier, so no worries there. I gave Jenn a hug and kiss goodbye, and then got in line in between the 4:15 and 4:30 pace groups. My game plan was to go out at 9:30's and see how far that carried me. I knew that this wasn't "going out too fast," but I didn't know what would happen. It's kind of scary running your first marathon or even your first full 20 miles. At 7:00, when the race was supposed to start, THEY MOVED THE START LINE! Everyone had to move to a completely different area and line up again. Soon the national anthem was sung, but it wasn't someone singing it but rather a recorded version. No big deal, but it kind of gave the impression that the little quality things of a well-organized race were missing. Jenn told me later that right before the song began, the girl that was going to sing came up and said that she was there to sing the national anthem, but it was too late. Finally, at 7:15, the race began.
The first few miles were dandy. A half mile into the run, a friend, who was running the 1/2 marathon, came up beside me and asked what my goal time was. I told him, and he said, "You're going out a little hot, right?" Well, I knew that I was right on the money, so I went to show him on my Garmin. Well, I hit the power button rather than the light button AND SHUT IT OFF! I immediately realized this and turned it back on, but the rest of the day, it wasn't accurate. Bummer. By the first mile, I had ditched my sweatshirt and was enjoying the cool morning.
The first aid station was the third as well, since we were doing an out and back, and I was amazed at the lack of organization. There were two, TWO, volunteers that had to fill cups and hand them out for ALL the marathoners and half marathoners. It was ridiculous. I carried my little Nathan water bottle, so I didn't have to stop at too many stations. I was just amazed at the lack of organization. There was even one station that was "self-serve!" There were coolers and cups, but people had to stop and fill them to have anything to drink.
I made a friend, Helen, at mile 4 that was running the half, and we struck up a great conversation. Before I knew it, I had seen Beth, Jenn, and then I saw my dad at mile 7. He and Jenn were awesome all day as they leap-frogged me and each other to be a mobile cheering squad. They really helped!
|Helen is on the right|
Lizz and I had fun talking to each other and telling stories. She had run several marathons and had actually run the All-State Half Marathon (See race report HERE) a few weeks ago.
|Lizz and me chatting it up|
We got to the one hefty climb of the day that goes up and over the Chickamauga dam, and of course we slowed down. I ran/walked it but kept the same pace as Lizz. At mile 18, we finally made it to the Riverwalk that I had been looking for, but the wheels started to fall off. I had to make a pit stop, and wished Lizz good luck.
After "draining the radiator," I felt pretty good and picked up the pace. I ran to mile 19 where I saw Jenn again. She saw that I was hurting pretty good (although still smiling!) and got a little choked up. That choked me up too, but it was great to see her pretty face. The run/walk started shortly after that, and it was slow going from here on out. I made one more friend to get me through the race, Rachel, who was a student at UTC. This was her first marathon too, so we stuck together. We ran what we could, and walked quite a bit as well. It was SO lonely out there. I really thought this would be a bigger event, but there were some empty roads with few people. I think if I ever do another marathon, I will pick a bigger one just to have people around me. Rachel and I pushed each other and did our best. With 1.2 miles to go, we decided to run the rest and powered on. With about 3/4 mile left, I told her that I wanted to pick it up, so I did and floored it to the finish line.
My goal was of course to finish my first marathon, but I really wanted to do it under 4:30. Well, that didn't happen, but it's finished! YAY! It was quite the experience, and I can look back on a beautiful day and a whole lot of calories burned (almost 3500).
Again, I was a little disappointed with the post-race food. They handed out water bottles (bike bottles) full of water, but there wasn't any powerade/gatorade/chocolate milk/electrolite drink of any kind. The had a few bins of fruit that was chopped up and some REALLY stale pizza. Maybe I'm being stuck-up, but I thought it would be a little different. I just thought my $110 would have bought me a bit more...
I found a seat on the bottom of the Market Street Bridge, and ate, drank and rested.
Today, two days after the race, I'm feeling a bit sore, but it was worth it! I definitely don't have a marathon on my race calendar, but it could happen...we'll see.
***Special thanks to Jenn and Dad for taking their Sunday to be spectator/cheerleader just for me. It really helped, and you guys are the best! I love you both!***
One last HDR shot that I thought looked pretty cool. Thanks for reading!