So I did a marathon… OBX Marathon Recap
That’s right I completed my very first marathon in November! It’s kind of daunting achieving a goal that was on your lifetime bucket list. Of all the posts I’ve written thus far, this required the most thought. Running a marathon is a surreal experience. I was pushed to the brink of my mental and physical endurance… and I can’t wait to do another.
Let’s start at the beginning. The very first half marathon I ran was in November 2008. I ran the OBX half marathon. It was exhilarating and I was sore for a week. I felt so accomplished, like I could do anything.
When the time came to choose a marathon, I leaped at the chance to run in the Outer Banks again. After all, the first race was such a positive experience. I convinced my friend Christine to run and my husband Michael too. It was definitely a busy weekend. Michael was doing the 8K & Marathon challenge and Christine decided to do the Half Marathon & 8K challenge. (no challenge for me… running a marathon was more than enough)
Since Michael and Christine were doing the challenge we needed to arrive on Friday for packet pick-up. Driving down the east coast was gorgeous in the fall. Beautiful drive. I think it took like 4.5 or 5 hrs. I don’t really remember. I was a nervous wreck and a semi-permanent resident of LaLa Land.
Here’s the scary part of the weekend. I was not ready. Like not ready. No really. The most I had run was 15 miles to prep. But I could crush those 15 miles. I had spent so much time preparing for halves, that I neglected to finish my full training program. I thought since I was going easy on my other races, that I could compensate by pushing myself more on the marathon… well it kind of worked. But we’ll revisit this later in the recap.
We arrived at the expo on Friday in the late afternoon. It was smooth sailing. We parked in a nearby neighborhood, because the community center has less than 30 parking spots. That’s my guess. Packet pick up was fine. There were a few small local running stores and that was pretty much it. Not too thrilling.
Our hotel was about a mile from the half start and 13 miles from the full start. This was great all weekend, except on race day afternoon. After finishing the marathon, driving the entire 26.2 miles in reverse sucked.
We had dinner that night at Kill Devil Grill. If you are ever in the area, eat there. It was amazing. No really, amazing! After that we called it a night, so Christine & Michael could prep and I could stare at them while I panicked some more. Later in the evening, Rudy arrived (Christine’s boyfriend & my friend from childhood). We all woke up bright and early the next morning, to get Michael and Christine to the start. Rudy and I would be taking pictures and cheering. Sometimes its nice to be on the sideline.
Later that afternoon, we headed back to the expo. I needed GU and throw away gloves. After I picked these up I grabbed a new fuel pocket for my hydration belt. I was concerned that my current utility belt didn’t have enough space for all my marathon needs, a phone, extra glide, wipes, safety pins, extra gu, blocks and a few other items. Yeah… I ran with all of that. Too much. Btw I call it a utility belt like Batman, because that’s how I roll.
For those of you who didn’t know the Outer Banks is home to Kitty Hawk, where the Wright Brothers took their first flight. We were not going to miss this. Rudy and Christine are a science-y couple so we checked out the whole place.
Alright let’s get to the main event. Sunday. Marathon Day. (Oh Dear)
Michael and I drove to an elementary school by the start parked, walked across the street and promptly found the restrooms. There were 2 corrals. A & B. Michael was A… and naturally I was B. I was experiencing the calm before the storm at this point. I knew there was no backing out. Remember my training. And hope my perseverance can take me the rest of the way.
It starts. The excitement is everywhere. I throw my gloves on the side of the road and begin to find my rhythm. I had decided to try to stay at the 14min area. So a very slow jog. This would help me not get winded and finish. My only real goal was to finish. 1 mile, 2 mile, 3 mile. I’m with the pack. That’s when I look at my GPS again. 32 minutes. That can’t be right…
So I check out my current pace. I’m teetering between 10-10:30 min mile. And I feel fantastic. Like amazing! I can keep doing this. I continued this was till mile 10. At this rate I was just a touch slower than pace for my half marathon PR.
Then came the trail. Oh the trail… 3 miles of hilly trails between miles 10-13. I did not run any trails, at all, none. I figured it wouldn’t be so bad, just a bit of dirt. “Just a bit of dirt,” were almost my last words. Those 3 miles took me almost an hour. It was all downhill from there. Not physically regarding terrain, but physically regarding me as a human.
After mile 13, I knew I had to just keep going. I was much slower now. I was racing the clock now. I just kept plugging away and rocking out to my music. The course support was amazing and all the volunteers so uplifting. Their continued cheering and positive attitude were one of the few things that kept me from throwing in the towel.
The rest of the race was me telling myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Just keep moving. Don’t stop. You can finish. Left, Right, Left, Right. Beer is at the finish.
Then came the bridge.. Oh the bridge. At mile 23 a steep 825 ft tall bridge pops up out of nowhere. (I think that’s the height, I’ll double-check). I could barely move up the bridge. There was a head wind and I was chafing under my bra strap so badly I was bleeding. (yep, that left a scar). At this point my movements were glacial. All I wanted was an ice-cold bucket of water to pour over my head.
I won’t drag it out any more. The race was great. Very local. Beautiful scenic course. I would recommend. I finished in 6:24. Glacial. But I finished. I crossed something off my bucket list. And I’m doing another one. Marine Corps Marathon 2014, I’m coming for you and I’m training for this race specifically. (and I’m shooting for 5 hrs…) So much training… here we go!