A recap of my first marathon! The details on the race, running, and why your body is capable of so much more than you think it is.
Warning: This post is longwinded, but I didn’t want to miss any details. It is broken up with a lot of pictures and finishes with some encouraging words, so make sure you get to the end. And there are a lot of funny race pics!! I will never be that person that looks good working out.
I completed my first marathon!! WTF is really what is going through my mind. I competed the San Antonio Rock n’ Roll Marathon on December 4, 2016 in 3:33:01, a time qualifying me for the Boston Marathon.
I have never really imagined I would be saying that. Running was always part of the sports I played all throughout my childhood and high school, but I never really enjoyed it. Then college rolled around and I started running as a way to get in better shape. It started out with running 3 miles a few times a week freshman year, then increasing my speed, and then going longer distances. By the time senior year was almost over, I was running 30-40 miles a week in only 5 days (weekends in college = partying and binge eating for me).
Truthfully, running a marathon has never really been on my bucket list. Yeah I have thought about doing one before and it would be cool, but it was never a must. A couple years after college I found CrossFit and took a break from running as much as I was. When I moved to Austin I found some friends that ran and did races on the regular. I started to run a few races with them here and there. I then started working at Crush and my running drastically improved. HIIT is the way to go if you want to become faster. Fellow employees at Crush (and now my friends) were pretty badass runners so they inspired me to be better. Danielle said she wanted to run (another) marathon soon so I jumped on board with her.
Above was some of meal the night before! Hi carbs. So freaking good.
Let’s get into the marathon recap though! The week leading up to it I took it super easy on my workouts. You can find that here. Race morning I felt pretty good! A little tired from sleeping in a sketchy place and different bed, but that is just normal. The race was in downtown San Antonio and we stayed about 2 miles from the start. I woke up naturally at 4:45, got up, and got ready. I had brought some overnight oats with me and ate those. I normally don’t eat much before working out/racing, but 26.2 miles is a long way. We got an uber and headed downtown around 6.
We got there in plenty of time, stopped at Starbucks to use the bathroom, and headed to the start. We thought the race started at 7, but turned out it was at 7:30. This worked out to our advantage though since we started near the front and didn’t have to weave through a bunch of people.
Race started at 7:30 and we were on our way. The first few miles were good. It usually takes a little for my legs to warm up, but by mile 3-4 I felt good and my stride felt like it usually does. It didn’t really hit me that I was about to run 26.2 miles though. The rain started at about mile 6. It wasn’t bad at first, but then started to come down hard. And it was cold. It definitely sucked, but there wasn’t anything you can do about it so I just had to make the best of it. It rained for about 20 miles of the race.
The next handful of miles felt so good. I stopped and got gatorade once and before I knew it I was at mile 13. I ran this race last year and remember feeling pretty crappy at mile 11-12. Such a change of pace this year! I snagged a half of banana and some more gatorade at about mile 14 and kept cruising. Miles 15-20 felt great! I took advantage of that and tried to run at a pace I felt comfortable with without it being too fast since I knew that feeling might not last forever.
Around 20 miles I got a little tired, but it wasn’t anything too bad. The 3:30 pace group hadn’t passed me yet so I knew I was still in good shape. That changed pretty quickly though. Around mile 21 the 3:30 pacer caught up to me. My first thought was shit. I still had 5 miles to go. I guess I was slowing down more than I thought I was. I stayed with that pace group for about 3 miles. The guys leading it were amazing. I think the one knew I was struggling a little and told me to draft behind him and follow his stride. He also was being really encouraging with all the runners. He said “just hang on” a few times and it really stuck with me. I knew if I could just stay with him for the next few miles I could do it.
Not sure why my half marathon pace didn’t register, but I was running with Danielle at that point and hers said around a 7:45 I think.
Well I stuck with them for about 2.5 more miles. That 8:00/mile pace felt so fast. They slowly pulled ahead of me around mile 23-24. My legs, knees, and feet were in a lot of pain and I was slowing down fast. This is where my friend Lena saved me. She was running the race pacing one of her clients. He ended up getting hurt and they only ran about 13 miles. She was walking the course away from the finish line and came across me around mile 24. I pretty much started to cry a little once I saw her. I think some of the words that came out of my mouth were “Lena help me” haha! I was just in a lot of pain. I keep asking her how much longer and I just wanted to be done. She ran with me the last two miles and was so encouraging, telling me I was going to do it, I was ahead of pace, and how much of a badass I was.
Once we hit 25 miles I knew we were there. Seeing the finish line was the light at the end of dark tunnel. We picked up the pace and I knew we made it. I was on the verge of tears, but was overcome by joy and managed to crack a smile while crossing the finish line. Or at least that is what I thought. My race pics def say other wise as you can see. I thought I would include them for some laughs. I gave Lena a huge hugged thanked her.
I could barely walk once the race was over. My legs and hip flexors felt horrible. Every step hurt. We found the rest of our group, snagged our amazing finisher jackets, and slowly headed back to Michael’s car to head back to the house. We changed, grabbed our stuff, and headed out to go get some food! We got breakfast per Danielle’s request.
What I really wanted to call this post is your body is capable of so much more. Could I have ever imagined running a marathon? No, not really. Did I do it? Yes! And I did it better than I could have ever imagined. Your body is capable of so much more than you could ever believe. Whether it is from CrossFit, running, yoga, zumba, climbing a mountain, or whatever you have it, you can do it if you believe in yourself. Our minds are the ones that are saying it is hard, it is too painful, and to stop. Pain is usually only temporary. Push past that comfort zone.
I put in the training and hard work leading up this race. Somedays were great and then others were shitty. I thought countless of times if I really wanted to do it. Did I have doubts that I wouldn’t finish under 3:35? Yes, of course. I had actually just planned to finish under 4 hours and not to walk. I didn’t know what to expect on my first marathon. Those last 2 miles were probably one of the hardest things I have done so far in life. Not only physically, but mentally. Knowing that you are only 2 miles from the finish line and so close to finishing within a certain time, but in so much pain is a mental battle. You want to stop, but you know you can do it. To push through that pain and finish with an amazing time was so completely worth it though.
I hope you go out and try something new. Push past your limits. Find people in your life that motivate and challenge you. Be better every damn day.