26.2 miles in 4h45m21 (10:53/mile)! I did it! What a great feeling it is to accomplish a goal! And I did it with only 14 weeks of training, instead of my planned 20, and no injuries!
The Monday before the race I felt confident and excited, but as Friday and Saturday rolled in, I started having massive headaches. Also, my hamstrings were extremely sore from doing Cross Fit. The day before, I got a massage to relax me, but even after that I was still about to cry as I didn’t think I would have it in me. Besides all the physical and emotional woes, I did make a point to enjoy my food. The boyfriend and I went to True NY Pizza Company in Sparks for a baked ziti pizza. Yup, pasta as a pizza topping might be my favorite new thing, but I think I’ll have to reserve the 1,000 calorie slice for marathon days only. Then, of course, dessert: frozen yogurt topped with Nutella and all sorts of sweets.
The day of the race I arrived at the finish line 5 minutes before, just in time for a quick picture and the national anthem. I started too fast, with a 9 minute mile right away, but during that first mile I met S., a 50 year old woman who had done many marathons before and was planning on finishing this one under 5 hours, just like me. Throughout the whole race we were near each other and without her, I would have fallen behind. For most of the time, there was no one else in sight, so seeing her a bit ahead of me, made me feel confident I was at least going the right way!
The weather was perfect (60’s), I was wearing my favorite clothes, including my compression socks, the water stations had Vanilla gels, and the course was mostly flat. Everything was falling into place when at mile 21 the right side of my right foot started to hurt. I had to run the last 5 miles on my tippy toes. Oddly enough, those were one of my fastest miles and I passed S. to finish strong. I got 3rd place in my age group (18-29)! Okay, there were only 5 people in my age group, but still, I not only got a finisher’s medal, but also an award!!! Overall, I was number 45 out of 86, right in the middle of the pack. Not too bad for my first marathon.
The boyfriend was waiting for me at the finish line with a sign that read “Run, E., Run. I have cheesecake.” And he did! When we got home he also had a cake with candles that said 26.2 miles. What a sweetheart! I’m also really proud of him and my friends S. and B. who ran the 10k distance for the first time.
After devouring the cheesecake, we had all-you-can-eat sushi at Hiroba’s, where I finished my meal with more cheesecake. The afternoon was spent lying on the couch, but a few hours later we got up to have a celebration dinner at Harrah’s Steakhouse. Nice dress, high heels, a 1995 bottle of wine, onion soup in an onion bowl, crab cake, steak with béarnaise sauce, and, of course, more dessert, a tiramisu in a cute chocolate cup. I pretty much ate all of the 4,000 calories I had burned during the race in one sitting.
I can’t express how happy I feel to have achieved this goal: a marathon, under 5 hours, in my hometown, before my 30th birthday. Plus, eating and drinking all of my favorites for a whole weekend. Exceptional! One of the best days of my life. The very best part, though, was being able to share this experience the boyfriend. He was by far the most supportive person during this period, even a couple of days later, when the tiredness and crankiness finally hit me.
Thank you everyone for all the encouragement. I am grateful I have been able to share this journey with you as well. And no, I won’t be running another marathon anytime soon. Training was a part-time job, and now I need a vacation from it, although more baked ziti pizza and another massage do sound good right now…