This past Sunday I ran in my first marathon – and I LOVED it! It was everything that I imagined and better. Thank God. Ahem. OK, let me start at the beginning.
When Husband decided to come with me to the race we immediately thought a road trip would be the way to go.It was icing on the cake when the good folks at GM provide a brand new Chevy Equinox as our official “Ride to Run” vehicle. Not only were we riding in style, but comfort is even more important when you are traveling to and from a marathon. Let’s just say the Equinox passed with flying colors; Husband and I will share our thoughts about the ride, the Equinox, and how to survive 12 hours in the car with your spouse in another post.
I love going to expos! I’m cheap as hell financially responsible so most of the time I don’t buy anything, but this was my first marathon so I picked up a few goodies including a cute MCM 26.2 shirt. I also splurged on two head-bands and a little bling for my car.
While I was there I did pick up my race number and goodie bag. Um, yes I know that’s the most important thing – not the shopping or running for beer. Ahem.
Before I left I had to spend a little time with the MCM’s most famous finisher – Oprah.
I woke up around 5:45 a.m. after a surprisingly goodnight sleep. I was due to meet the crew from my running group, Get Fit Atlanta, in the lobby at 6:15 a..m. After snapping a few pics we headed out to wait on line for the free shuttles to take us to the start. Everything at the race was so well organized and manned by the Marines. They loaded us on the shuttle buses, handed out Powerade and water, and even put the medals around our necks – but that comes later.
Once we got to the Runners Village I waited on line for a port-a-potty pit-stop but realized I was too close to start time and wanted to find my running buddies for the day – Jamie, Bo, Michael and Doug. We trained together doing 2:1 run/walk intervals in Atlanta and planned to run together for the big day. Once the race began it took about 25 minutes before we got to start so I sneaked into a port-a-potty on the side of the start and was fresh and empty for the race. Good move.
As if running a marathon isn’t a big enough challenge I added tweeting and take pictures to the mix. I was chosen with a handful of runners by the Washington Post to be tracked online during the race. Good thing I wasn’t actually “racing.” I wasn’t concerned about my finishing time, I just wanted to enjoy the experience and adding the interactive social media element made it even more special. Once people realized I was tweeting live while running a marathon they were cheering me on in full force. The love and support I got from my Twitter friends was priceless. I had my own twitter cheering section and it gave me lots of great energy . Surprisingly, I didn’t tweet and trip once -Yikes! – I sent most of them out during walk cycles.
I felt awesome throughout the entire race. I kept waiting to hit the dreaded wall but never did. I trained properly, followed my race day plan and it paid off – big time. I stayed with my running buddies until around mile 20 and we all kind of spread out. I loved having people to share my experience with and definitely recommend group running. Even though I still felt good, Mile 25 was the longest mile ever made on earth. For real. At that point I was ready to just be done and wanted that medal hanging around my neck – oh, and a chair would’ve been nice.
Here’s some of my favorite pics from the race …
So, 5 hours and 53 minutes after I crossed the start line I became a marathoner – and I loved every second of it.
Winks & Smiles,