Was surprised by how easy it actually was, despite all my last minute panicking. No clue on my exact time yet as there was apparently some glitch with the timing, FMI says results should be posted on Thursday, but was definitely under four hours(stopped my timer after walking past the medal handouts at the finish and it was around 3:54) so I can live with that(til the next one).

Backtracking, a few months back I was in my local running store looking for a new pair of shoes to get used to before the Rock 'n' Roll Half when the woman who owns the place was all "Well, there's this one marathon that's coming up, right in time for training after that half..." and, since I was kinda in the market for a marathon, I asked "where" and the moment she said "Norfolk"(I'm in Virginia Beach, we're neighbors) I was sold.

Sure, it's one thing to say and another to do, and I stressed a little over the training and over folks online being all "it can take soooooo much of work!/be so grueling!" and having just really gotten back into this racing thing this year I was a little twitchy about it. But, I'm stubborn. I signed up and started figuring out a schedule.

In the end, I kinda skimped on the tapering, never really have been great at sticking to those things, but in a way I think not running the week leading up to it actually helped. So, with my last long run being 20 miles the day after the From Here to Eternity 5k(so, 3 weeks before the race), I reached race day feeling excited, cautiously optimistic, and mildly terrified. I spent at least an hour the night before last minute googling "marathon tips" and nonsense like that and reviewed my gear/"plan"(don't stress) a million times.

While I'd recently gotten a slim belt with a pouch(to carry junk while running) and jacket(since it'd been getting colder), at the last minute it started to warm up enough that, despite the chilly 6:30am start, I ended up sticking to my fav. shorts, singlet, and, to keep my fingers warm, gloves. And, since I hadn't really run with the belt, I decided to ditch it and after some debate shoved a Clif Shot in the palm of one of my gloves, just in case.

At 6:25am, the wheelchairs, Team Hoyt VB, and elite runners were off, 5 minutes later the rest of us started. While there was mention of corrals, I didn't notice them until the finish, so to start I just put myself kinda in the middle of things. That said, I just went slow.

The whole first half of the race was pretty simple, lots of telling myself to slow down and, in truth, never really pushing myself enough to breath hard. Many people passed me but I forced myself not to care, I wasn't going to be caught up in anyone else's pace. That said, I think I would have gone a little faster, and ended up with a better time overall, if there'd been more mile markers or at least if I'd noticed the 2 mile marker, but since I didn't I had little to go off in figuring my pace other than just "go nice and slow, save your energy for the second half!"

At the 6 mile mark I had half a Clif Shot, a vanilla one(tasted like frosting!) handed out by the race, and at the 10 mile mark I finished it. Always tend to split gels this way since taking it all at once always seems like so much for me.

Around the 11 mile mark I spotted a pacer, as I got closer I noticed it was the 4:10 runner and started to fret a little, realizing how slow I'd been going and worrying I wouldn't make my 4 hour goal(I know you're not supposed to really have time goals for the first, but couldn't help it. I mean, I was being realistic in my expectations!) I hit the halfway point at 2:05 and immediately started to pick up my pace.

Maybe it was telling myself "a marathon is just a half that starts 13.1 miles in!", maybe I was just that ready, maybe it was the two Clif Shots I took in the second half(another race granted one started at the 18 mile mark and the one from my glove started at the 22 mile mark)... probably a mix? Either way, I ran the second half of the marathon in around the same amount of time as my last half marathon and roughly 17 minutes faster than the first half. I negative split my first marathon, lol.

The best part? I passed damn near everyone I'd seen pass me earlier in the race and a couple of people I'd seen ahead of me at the start. Actually, no, even better? I was pumped. I was full of this weird energetic high whereas near everyone I passed seemed to be slowing down. It was ridiculous. I could hardly stop smiling and just felt great. Aside from a tiny settling down in the last mile, in which I still passed four people(one of which found me afterward to be all "you passed me!"), I never even had the whole moment of "I feel like I'm going to die" that I'd had in both halves. I can honestly say that the full marathon felt easier than either half marathon.

That said, my legs were totally made of jelly at the end. I was a wobbly-legged grinning fool and while, as I said, I think I could have done better, I'm still happy with how I did and can't wait for the chance to run another one. Also, maybe moving into something even further. Totally wanna do an ultra!(maybe a 50k or 50mi will be my next distance goal for a race)

In the meantime, recovery! Despite not hurting while I ran, it caught up to me about two hours after finish and walking kinda hurt. After a nap, I was stiff all over. The day after, yesterday, I rode my bike to work and it was the most difficult time I'd had riding in a long time. Was all "goddamn..." but six hours later the ride home was considerably easier and painfree. Today I was a little stiff, my calves are tender, and my right leg is a little iffy, but mostly I feel pretty good. Should be back running, gonna run a 10k with my sister and father on Thanksgiving, before the week is out. :)

P.S. the ridiculously large finisher medal

excuse the fuzzy webcam quality, lol


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