3:49.43…and i lived to tell about it

27 03 2009

It’s friday, march 27 – 5 days after completion of my first ever full marathon.  I still catch myself recalling certain points in the race.  it helps that everyone who knows i ran it wants to know all about it.  i’m thankful to say that i really was able to focus on taking in the whole experience while running it.  i remember the walk from the hotel and how it was much less crowded than i’d thought it would be.  i remember getting to the end of atlantic ave. on the first trip out and the guy blasting contemporary Christian music and cheering us on.  i remember a lot of stuff, but most specifically, i remember it was hard.

tweeting prerace

tweeting prerace

i got to the start line and decided i’d start between the 3:40 & 3:50 pacer.  now i really didn’t think i’d finish in 3:40, but there was a good spot for me there, and the goal was under 4, so i knew i could cruise along somewhere in there.  i rolled out at the start and really cruised through the first 7 miles, actually a bit fast.  my 7 split was 59:50.  My 13.1 split was 1:52.50.  I felt great at that point and had really settled in to a pace I was happy with, although it was still faster than I had planned.  Coming back through atlantic ave. was nice as there were people all along the road cheering us on.  Shamrock prints your name on your race bib, which i thought was a nice touch.  i realized once the race started that it gave spectators the ability to call you out by name.  which is a bit strange.  and then it just gets old.

so the north loop of the race gets lonely.  it moves up past the atlantic ave. then loops up through a military base.  I felt completely awesome right on up to mile 17.   that is when i started to get a bit tired, and it happened to be at the furthest point out, and the most lonely.  i could tell that the runners around me were starting to fade a bit too, as there was less chat, less positive vibe in general.

it was at mile 22 that i was beginning to think i was ready to be done.  the good news was, by then i could see that i was certainly going to come in under 4 hours, which was the goal.  the entire race, i’d been peaking back to see if i could see the 3:50 pacer, and not until this point did i see him creeping back up behind me.  he was beginning to hoot and holler and had started his kick.  i’ll admit i had these visions at a couple of points of finishing with the 3:40 pacer and owning it.  i really wanted to keep him behind me, but at about 24 miles, i fell behind the 3:50 pacer.  i was able to keep them in my sights though, and crossed the line within about 20 seconds of him.

i can see the finish line from here

i can see the finish line from here

immediately, at the finish line, the first thing i thought of was how much my back and legs hurt.  the second thing i thought of was how awesome it was that i had just finished.  once i made it down onto the beach to the after party, it all hit me and i did get a bit emotional, and shed a few tears.   it was an amazing experience. yes it was hard.  yes, i’ll do it again.

i’ve never thought of a bucket list for myself.  but as i thought of it the other day, if i did have one, it would have “run a marathon” checked off.  if you’ve ever considered it, do it.  you can.  there were thousands of stories at the race last weekend.  mine was just one.  yours could be there too.

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