Anyway....about that marathon...
I successfully completed my very first full marathon last Sunday night and I am very proud of my accomplishment. I'm a marathoner!
Post-Race: Half delirious, in pain, and really freaking cold. But happy.
Pre-Race: The nerves are written all over my face.
So, here's how it all went down. Awhile back I chose the Las Vegas RnR marathon to be my first full. Originally this race was chosen because Travis's birthday was the next day and my friend and I thought it would be fun to go to Vegas, do the race, then hang out and celebrate his birthday. Somewhere along the way my friend got pregnant (she had her baby this past week, so the timing certainly would not have worked out!) so it was just me. I was fine with that. My friend Shala ended up signing up for the half, and we had some other friends come out. It ended up being a fun weekend.
With my cardio base and my fantastic coach, Lindsay, the training went pretty well and I was prepared for this race. Mentally I had a tough time with the fact that my longest run had been just shy of 20 miles, but it ended up being OK. My long runs were all done at an 8:30ish pace, so I felt that I would be able to run at an 8:30-8:45 pace for the entire marathon. I didn't quite make it at that pace, but there were several factors at play:
1) I hadn't run more than 20 miles at that pace, so I was going into no man's land for that last 10K. I really didn't know what to expect.
2) Crowds! Crowds! Crowds! RnR is seriously going to have to change this race for next year. The second half of the marathon course was the half marathon course, and the half marathoners (38,000 of them) started an hour and a half later than the marathoners (4,000 of us). You do the math. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that it was a giant Charlie Foxtrot. The half marathoners were supposed to stay to the right, but of course they didn't. Oh well! It was fun anyway. (See picture below to get an idea of the crowds)
3) I was sick. I came down with a nasty cold the night before the marathon, and woke up with all sorts of congestion and an extremely sore throat. I medicated myself appropriately and tried to put it out of my head. I didn't feel so bad once I started running, but it did start to catch up with me around mile 22. I am still getting over it.
Crowds at the start of the second half.
With all of that being said, I still was very proud of myself and my time. I finished in 3:58:02, which was faster than about 2700 other runners (four and a half hour time limit my arse). It was an hour faster than Kate Gosselin :-). Me, competitive?? No....
I did a good job of keeping my speed in check for about 15 miles, then I tried to speed up. I even made a friend on that first half and ran with him for a good 12 miles or so. He checked up on me at the end when I was HURTING and then went on to finish a few minutes before me. He's incredible; he's trying to do a marathon in each state and had done one in Baton Rouge the day before. He also did one this past weekend with a 3:48 finish time. Incredible! I also did a good job of taking in gels every 35 minutes or so, but it depended on the location of the semi-scarce water stations. My stomach did start cramping at the end, which is sort of normal for me (or maybe it was the water contaminated with parasites?), but it did slow me down a bit. Let's face it, though, everything hurts at mile 24 of a marathon. According to my Garmin I had run an extra half a mile, too, which is mentally and physically painful. I only thought that the strip was HUGE when wearing heels; it seems even longer at the end of a marathon.
Honestly, though, the worst part was right after passing the finish line. CROWDS!! All I wanted was some water, my husband and friends, and a warm place to sit. Oh, it was tortuous. I was happy though when I reunited with my supporters. They were all so proud and it felt really nice!
The marathon finishers were over to the right, and that big huge cluster is the half marathon finish line.
Me and my supportive hubby :-). I had to sit down while we were waiting for our friends to get in on the next tram! It was heavenly to sit.
My friend Shala. She was awesome for coming out to support me!!
Afterwards we celebrated at the Sugar Factory (no, getting to the Paris was not particularly fun or fast) where I got a S'more martini and a cheeseburger :-). The next day we walked around the Strip. We even ran into a few notable people!
Ha. Not really. We just took advantage of the wax museum discount for marathoners!
All in all, it was a great experience! I'm so happy I did it. Thank you to everyone for all the support!