It’s a week later and I still kind of can’t believe it. I still don’t know just what to say.
The first 16 miles were amazing. The five after that, not the worst thing ever. The final five? Torture.
Okay, maybe not torture. But really, really hard.
I had a few problems:
- My shoes were too loose until mile 16; I think this is why I hurt so much at the end.
- I didn’t give myself enough mileage in those shoes – they weren’t broken in enough and weren’t similar enough to my old pair of Nikes to be okay with that.
- I didn’t bring my own water. This was absolutely, no doubt, my biggest mistake. I thought, with the cooler weather and the many water stops, I would be okay, but I was wrong. My fingers started to swell up around mile 19 and I couldn’t drink enough to help after that. I just know by now that I need a lot of water and plan accordingly.
But lots of things also went well!
- The pacing was dead-on perfect throughout the race for the five-hour mark we were looking to hit.
- I had two amazing support crews! I saw Team 1 (my parents, husband, and college friend) three times! I saw my grad school friend and her super-cool sister twice! It was so amazing and they are all so wonderful for coming out to cheer us on.
- I felt absolutely, 100% legitimately great for the first 16 miles. I can’t reiterate how great that makes me feel.
- I had no chafing and didn’t lose any toenails.
- I didn’t get sick and I only had to stop to use the bathroom once during the race.
- It didn’t rain! The hurricane held off until Monday afternoon so while it was windy, it wasn’t terrible and it was nice and dry.
- My recovery was extremely smooth, thanks to an ice bath, stretching, and Ben Gay. YESSSSS.
I also learned a few of really race-specific things. For instance, don’t pee at the runners village! There will be more port-a-johns at the start and they will be less crowded. The overpasses at the end – specifically the ones after Crystal City – are just miserable. Also, when meeting your family at the family meeting area? Always pick the letter A, not the actual letter of your last name. So much less walking, especially if you have a late-in-the-alphabet name.
Will I do another marathon? I’m…not sure. Other runners have advised putting at least a year between your first and second marathon. I think that’s absolutely sound. While I feel incredibly proud to have finished a marathon, I’m not 100% sure I want to put that much time into competing in another one. I’m thinking about it, but I think it tells you something that my first reaction on finishing Marine Corps was: “I don’t think I want to do that again.” Telling in that I didn’t think I wanted to do it again, but also that I wasn’t sure. So it’s still on the table! But not for quite some time.
Here are some pictures, in more-or-less chronological order:
And a special, enormous thank-you to my family, my husband, my dear, dear friends who put up with all the nights I said, “I can’t, I have to run tomorrow.” You guys are the best and I couldn’t have done this without you.