I’m going to derail and talk about running. I’ve been asked to share what it’s like to run and finish a marathon.
First of all, I wish I had some great story to tell about why I wanted to run a marathon. But I don’t. I just knew I wanted to do it and could do it, so I did. Secondly, there’s no way I could have run a marathon without my awesome coach. He got me where I wanted to be in good physical condition and with a training plan that worked out perfectly for my first go-round.
When I finished the original version of this post, it ended up reading like a damned thesis. I got bored with it fairly quickly. I feel like most everything has been said and/or written about running a marathon, and all of it is true: it’s mentally tough, it takes dedication and determination, it’s exhausting, and at the end of it all you look like a zombie ambling around just looking for food.
I didn’t want to do this post filled with the usual explanations of going through 26.2 miles, so I decided to go all gif-fy with the parts I do remember. I gotta admit, I was on auto-pilot for most of the race.
Mile 1: Pure internal confusion when my GPS wouldn’t pick up a signal.
Miles 2 to 16.5: I actually have no idea what happened. I do remember looking over to see a guy juggling while running the marathon.
Miles 16.5 to 19: There was apparently a large hill to climb between these miles. I didn’t feel it. At all.
Miles 19 through 22: Back on auto-pilot.
Mile 22: Things started to get a little fuzzy.
Mile 23.1: I had to pee and regroup, because that last 5K started to seem a long way off. Then, I encountered a random stranger on a bike sitting at the top of a small hill, shouting: “Pick your damned legs up! What the hell are you slowing down for? Go! GO!” So I did.
Miles 24 to 25.7: All a blur.
Miles 25.7 to 26.2: All downhill. Which is a terrible way to finish. I just ran 25.7 miles, and now I basically have to avoid sprinting because there’s a good chance I’ll fall straight on my ass trying to fight gravity at this point? I’m hungry, all I want is a beer, and I can’t sprint to either one because that would only wreck my legs.
Mile 26.2: I finished in 3:53:08, 79th out of 424 women in my age group. According to my stats loaded from my GPS, the last 10K was actually my fastest 10K. For a first-time marathoner, it was a proper showing.
My husband, who had crossed the finish line at 3:24:08, came over and reminded me to keep moving. I had stopped when I officially finished, which is one of those things you don’t want to do after a marathon, even though you really want to just sit down.
He led me through the crowd, into the food tent where he warned me that he had tried to eat a bagel when he finished but couldn’t even get one bite down. He said this as I stuffed half of a whole bagel in my mouth while grabbing for a banana.
I had no trouble eating, as it turned out.
So a few minutes after the run?
And a few hours later?