Harrisburg Marathon

Well, its official guys!!  I AM A MARATHONER!!  Woot!!  I am still on Cloud 9 and will probably be for a bit.  Choosing to make Harrisburg my first marathon was the best decision I could have made.  I felt like I had a “hometown advantage”.  I loved not having to worry about traveling and being able to sleep in my own bed the night before was the BEST! 🙂  I had so many friends running the full, the relay and just there being spectators…..the support was amazing!  I consider myself blessed to have such an amazing group of friends and family out there supporting me and cheering for me. 🙂

You couldn’t have asked for better weather for Sunday’s race.  The morning started out chilly, but by the time we finished, it was in the 50s.  The sun was out and there was barely a cloud in the sky.  The view of the river from the course was stunning.  If I could, I definitely would have taken tons of photos!

I woke up Sunday morning with absolutely no nerves which is unexpected for me!  Anyone who knows me will tell you, rarely is there a time that I am not anxious or nervous about something “going wrong.”  That was not the case on Sunday, I was full of excitement and confidence.  Let me tell you, what an awesome feeling that is!

img_9817I had a very general game plan for the race since it was my first full.  I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself with being a newbie.  I had 3 main goals:

  1. FINISH – do what I need to do to take care of myself, but cross that finish line.
  2. Play it smart – start out nice and easy, don’t push it, see how my legs feel then go faster
  3. ENJOY IT – have fun, love the experience and soak it all up

To help myself play it smart and start out easy, I asked my friend Katie if I could run with her.  She is just coming back from an Achilles injury and wanted to do the full but knew she had to go easy.  I figured that having her there beside me, knowing I had to take it easy along with her would keep me from doing something stupid! LOL   I ran with Katie for the first 8 miles, keeping a nice and easy pace of about 10min/mile.  At 8 miles, her group of relay girls were there waiting to run the rest of the course with her and I was ready to start picking up the pace! img_9819

I then kept on with my new running buddy, Jill! 🙂  We met by happenstance a few weeks ago at a local diner after a long run.  We got to talking about running and discovered she was running Harrisburg and it was her first full as well! We introduced her to the River Runners and the rest is history! 🙂

It was such a blessing to have Jill to run with.  She and I were focused on each other and occasional chatting that we weren’t really focused on the miles.  Before we knew it, we were more than half way there!  Around that time, I could feel my muscles start to tighten up.  I spent the next 3 miles or so focusing on keeping moving and my legs stretched out.  Jill helped to remind me that we were getting closer to my mom.  I knew my mom was up between miles 16 and 17 at the Fleet Feet water stop.  As we got closer and I could see my mom in the distance, Jill started to yell out my mom’s name for me! lol 🙂  It was just the boost I needed to see my mom, get a quick hug and cup of water.  We went about another 1 mile and a half before we turned around and headed back into town.

Around mile 20, I started to feel everything, my sore feet, my ankles, my hips, my quads.  The miles were starting to get to me.  Luckily, around mile 21, we met up with Jill’s husband, Justin.  He had been a part of a relay team and had already run his leg of the race.  He had fresh legs and tons of energy still, which was just what we needed!  Looking back at my splits now, I see that the first mile we ran with Justin was actually one of my fastest miles!  I did start to get a nasty pain in my IT band, but was able to run through it and about a mile later it went away.  Just about that time, my friend Ana and her son were out cheering on runners.  It was great to see them both and Ana had a nice bottle of Nuun for me too! Yay!  That gave me a little pep in my step for the finish.  (Check out Ana’s blog at WorkRunHikeRepeat)

Not long after that, Jill started to feel ill and needed to stop for a moment, she had her husband there with her, so I kept going.  At this point, it was almost mile 24!!! O_o  That was when it was all starting to sink in, I was so close, I was going to do this, I am going to be a marathoner!  I got my second wind and kept my pace steady around 9:40min/mile.  I passed another running friend, Michelle, at mile 24.  It was great to see her face, I got so excited to see her that I actually started to cry! lol She ran with me for a little asking why I was crying, all I could say was, “I’m gonna do this!” 🙂 Ha ha, but the problem was that was making me hyperventilate!  Luckily, I pulled myself together and kept on going.

img_9837With just about a half mile to go, maybe less everything felt much further than reality at that point, I came upon some more River Runner friends, Marni and Jeff.  They both ran with me for a bit.  It was great to have some extra added support there at the end.  I had the energy to finish, but I really wanted to push myself to finish strong going across the finish line.  Marni stayed with me up until the last little bit, all the way yelling to the crowd, telling them it was my first Marathon.  🙂  That was super cool!  My mom and friends got some great pictures of that as well.

I did it!  I crossed that finish line at 4:19.23!! 🙂  Much better than what I had planned/expected of myself.  Overall, I physically felt great.  Yes, I had aches and pains here and there, but….come on! That’s to be expected when you are running straight for hours on end.  Here I am three days out and I’m back to running and my legs are feeling great.  I honestly couldn’t be happier with how things went on Sunday for my first full marathon.  🙂  Not only did I have great support along the course, but there at the finish were my Mom and two really good friends.  It was fantastic to be able to see them and celebrate my achievement with them.  What a day to remember! 🙂

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