Well, I can officially cross “run a marathon” off the ol’ bucket list.
I ran the Eugene marathon yesterday morning.
I know. I can’t believe it either.
Eugene brought out the best running weather we could have asked for. After a week of beautifully warm, sunny days, I was a little nervous that it would be too hot, but it ended up being a little cloudy, dry, and between 50 and 60 degrees. Perfect. What wasn’t perfect? The complete lack of bathrooms before the start of the race, which led to a long line of runners waiting to pee at the first bathroom stop about 1.5 miles into the run.
Eric and I mapped out where he would come visit me along the race course (miles 7, 18, and 23). And my sweet-as-all-get-out husband surprise visited me at mile 14 too! I can’t tell you how much it helped to see a smiling face along the route (thanks to Megan and Jordan for coming out to cheer me along too!). I got a little extra burst of energy each time I saw them.
The race course was relatively flat, which these non-hill-running legs appreciated. I’d say I was feeling pretty darn good until somewhere between miles 18 and 20. After that, I was just looking forward to water stations so that I could rehydrate and walk while I drank my water. I think I nursed that water cup a little longer with each passing water station, trying to prolong the amount of time I could let myself walk. And by the end, each time I started running again, I was shocked at how slowly my legs were moving. Is this seriously how slow I run now? Yes. It was exhausting.
Luckily, the marathon course was beautiful, passing through lots of parks and running right alongside the Willamette River, so that provided a nice distraction. Honestly, the first 2 hours of the run flew by. But the last 3.2 miles or so felt like they lasted hours and hours.
The highlights of the race?
-A band of kids playing “Eye of the Tiger” on ukeleles, followed a few minutes later by a man playing his accordion in the street.
-A little boy running alongside us on the biggest hill, yelling, “Go, Mommy, go!” It was so adorable.
-All of the “You’re all Kenyans to us” signs in the crowd.
-Our bibs had our names printed on them, so lots of strangers would cheer us on (by name) as we ran. I don’t know if it was just a result of being really exhausted, but it made me a little emotional. It was just so beautiful to see all of these people coming together and cheering one another on. Cheesy, I know.
-Chocolate milk at the finish line. So, so good.
And the worst parts of the race?
-Getting really hungry and wishing someone would just hand me a sandwich instead of those silly energy gels.
-My shorts rubbing against my inner thighs. It would be far more convenient to run marathons if my legs were skinny enough that they never touched one another. This has had the embarrassing effect of making me waddle like a duck when walking today, in an attempt to keep my legs at a safe distance.
-Running downwind of particularly smelly people. I suppose the upside of this was that it made me run a little faster to pass them.
The race ended in Hayward Field, which is where they held the 2012 USA Olympic track trials. So it’s kind of a big deal in the running world, I suppose. And that cushy track felt really nice on my feet after 26 miles of pavement.
So what am I looking forward to now? Eating ice cream. I made myself avoid ice cream for the past month or so, partly because I’m a little lactose intolerant, and partly because I think it kills my running for a few days. So we celebrated the end of this non-ice cream season with some yummy Ben and Jerry’s last night. I’m also looking forward to losing some of this marathon leg muscle, which has made all of my pants way too tight. When I started training, I didn’t expect running a marathon to make my clothes tighter (more cardio equals skinnier, right?), so I’m looking forward to fitting back into my formerly loose pants.
How I’m feeling the day after the race? Surprisingly good. I was halfway expecting to not be able to get out of bed this morning, but I’m much less miserable that I anticipated. I am having a pretty hard time going from standing to sitting, which is a little rough. I’ve also found that if I drop anything on the floor (which I seemed to do more than usual this morning), it takes quite an effort to bend down and pick it up. So I suppose my post-marathon feelings are pretty similar to those of a 90-year-old woman.
Will I run another marathon? Honestly, I’m not sure. As I was running the last 6 miles or so of yesterday’s race, I kept thinking, “I’ll never do this again. This is miserable.” But once I finished, I was a little more open to the idea. So, we’ll see. At this point, I’m just proud to say I finished my first marathon in 4 hours and 32 minutes!