Marathon Training: My First Marathon – Race Day Part 3
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I had made the turn that would take me through the Big Flat valley. I was running along, feeling good as I had just seen T and I had a fresh boost of energy, hydrating and unaware of the “Leg Mile Marker” No. 9 coming up. Let me explain.
Each mile along the route was marked not only by a big number painted on the road indicating the mileage, but Missoula artists had painted really amazing, very unique mile marker sculptures in the shape of a runner’s lower leg. The leg mile markers were life-size and had balloons attached to them.
Well I, of course being legally blind, did not see the marker, so naturally, I plowed right into it, getting the balloons wrapped up in my legs. It took some maneuvering, but I was able to extract myself from them within a few seconds, fortunately with no damage to the mile marker or myself. Of course my up close and personal encounter with the balloons was witnessed by my fellow runners.
Still shaking my head and laughing to myself, I continued on my way; the Big Flat Valley was so peaceful and scenic. Soon I began a gradual climb, the only hill on the 26.2 mile course, and really not too bad of a incline, except that it was really starting to heat up, and it was only 8:30 a.m. The shade of the canyon was very refreshing and welcome.
About half way up the hill, I saw that quite a few of the other marathon runners were walking, and the urge to join them was too much for me to resist, so I walked for a while too. The walk did me good, and soon I was back running again. I hit the half way mark and my time was 2:16. I was excited to be right on track for a 4:30 finish.
My dreams of a 4 hour marathon were long gone! As I started the descent down out of the canyon, the 4:30 pace group passed me. I started to run with them, but found their pace was too fast for me, and I fell behind.
Coming out of the shade of the canyon, the heat hit me full force, like a blast furnace with its doors wide open! At least I was now running in familiar territory; I had done a lot of my training runs here. I got an energy drink at the aid station at mile 15 and had a power gel. It was hot; did I mention that it was hot?
I was really looking forward to seeing T at mile 16! My hip was now hurting more, and all I could think about was getting to mile 16. When I got to where I thought T would be, I didn’t see or hear her, and the fatigue and pain was making me feel a bit desperate and anxious. I kept running and looking, when I heard T shouting to keep coming, just a little bit farther. I made it to where she was. I kept saying, “Where were you?” She told me she had to park a little ways down the road, as there were too many cars right at the turn. In reality, she was not even 100 yards down the road from where I expected to see her, but in my bonked out mind it seemed miles! LOL
So I got some cold water and a fresh, cool neck wrap and we poured water on my neck and wrists and I splashed it on my face and arms. The heat was intense and the next 10 miles came with no shade at all! So with another hug for luck I was on my way a bit more composed…But not for long…
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Title: Marathon Training: My First Marathon – Race Day Part 3
P.S.S. You’ll want to check out my Run Over To Ellen’s fundraising run. We only need 30,000 people to donate $1 each. When you get your donation in and get your private access to the donor’s only daily updates, you’ll want to go check out the video blog because we love to do give-aways to our donors. This month one of our giveaways is a free download of the iPhone 3G/3GS application – RunKeeper Pro – it’s a fitness and activity tracker for runners, bicyclists, and other athletes – so everyone who’s donated by the end of September (which is today!) who emails me : t at runnerinsight.com that they have an iPhone will be in the running for those. If you don’t have an iPhone, tell your friends!!