Tuesday, September 18, 2012


I was awake a few minutes before my 4 a.m. alarm that I had set the night before.  Amazingly, I slept pretty well for it being the night before my first ever full marathon, the Air Force Marathon.  I usually don't sleep well the night before any race, so this was definitely unexpected but appreciated.  I figured I was going to need all of the rest I could possibly get for the next 26.2 miles I was about to endure. 

I jumped out of my hotel bed that surprisingly served me well and immediately commenced consuming my pre-race breakfast that I had removed from the hotel fridge; 2 pancakes, 1 banana slathered in peanut butter & a Powerade Zero, all brought from home.  Just say I have yet to get this pre-race fueling down and was questioning whether I was eating enough or too much.  Can you even eat too much when you're going to run over 26 miles?  

My stunning legs and their KT Tape.  
I got dressed and KT taped my knees and feet. I usually wear a knee brace, but it tends to be cumbersome and I hate wearing it during races. The tape is anything but.   If you've never used this stuff, believe me, it works.  My biggest issue is my right knee because of details I won't bore you with, but I've ran less miles that really hurt my knees while I finished 26.2 miles and my knees feel great as if I've never ran.   

We took some pre-race photos before we left the hotel and discovered how chilly it could be at 6 a.m. in the morning as we packed up the car with our overnight bags.  Thankfully, I had picked up a $2 clearance sweatshirt at the local Walmart the night prior in anticipation of the chilly start of the race.  

Once we arrived at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base, just say a warm up was unnecessary.  We had to park so far away,  I'm almost positive my mileage after walking to the start line and back to the car after the race exceeded 32 miles versus the expected 26.2. It was definitely a brisk walk in 50 degree temps and running shorts. Although perfect for running, I was definitely not ready to walk the guesstimated 2 miles in this nippy air.  

We made our necessary two trips to the infamous race port-a-potties, checked our bags and got in some additional pre-race photos before we headed over to the start line.  When I say "we", I'm referring about my uncle & cousin, also both running the full.  It was a family affair. 

This "guy" flew over right before the
official start! 
My opinion of my marathon training was that is was less than fabulous and was not consistent. Regardless,  I would finish whether it was crawling or being pulled across the finish line by my hair as I had suggested to a fellow runner who had coincidentally mentioned some cave man strategy around mile 14.  Hey, whatever it takes! 

I lined up behind the five hour pace team not because I thought I had any chance of finishing within five hours, but because there wasn't a 5:15 or 5:30 pace team.  I figured they would eventually lose me, but it gave me an idea of what pace not to exceed before they did.  

I was forewarned about the hill early in the race between mile one and two.  I made sure not to out pace myself and to ensure an early bonk.  

       Mile 1 11:10.1       Mile 2 11:22.2

As I settled into my run, I had decided part of my strategy was going to be take water at every station and eat at all opportunities, especially earlier in the race as suggested on my Facebook page by a fellow and more experienced runner, Mark over at Wise Running.  Fueling on my long runs has never been my strong point, so I figured I couldn't do anything worse.  When the volunteers held out bananas, I had a banana.  When a lovely lady was handing out Fig Newtons from a tray, I helped myself to two of them.  I later had more bananas and even a cookie somewhere along the route. I did skip out on the Krispy Kreme glazed donuts.  I was wanting energy and fuel, not a diabetic coma.
Mile 3 10:15.3
Mile 4 10:45.2
Mile 5 10:48.2
Mile 6 10:44.1
Mile 7 10:47.1
Mile 8 10:58.8
Mile 9 10:59.0                                       

My  pace stayed pretty consistent as you can tell from my early miles up until about mile nine. After that, my right IT band was started making his presence known in a very painful way.  I guess I should have KT taped him too! My IT band made sure I knew about his unwelcome and painful visit for longer than I had hoped for.   This is well indicated in my slower than desired pace up until about mile eighteen. 

Mile 11 11:04.5
Mile 12 11:26.2
Mile 13 12:00.3 
Mile 14 11:33.5
Mile 15 11:50.9
Mile 16 11:50.6
Mile 17 11:53.7
Mile 18 12:11.6

Right before I was about to come up on the 18 mile marker, I hear quite a bit more conversation from the runners coming up from behind me than I had heard through out the race.  As I hear it get closer and louder, I turn around to find the 5 hour pace group literally on the back of my heels.  Surprised that I hadn't noticed that I passed them, the pace leader makes a comment referencing mile 18 being where many tend to encounter the "wall".   As I hear this, I immediately pull out my GU Chomps.  I'm determined not to be a statistic.

While trying not to choke on my Chomps, the 5 hour pace group continues their party mentality with stories and riddles.  I know this works for some and very possibly gets them through 26.2 miles less painfully, but I'm not very tolerable of a loud noise. I don't even run with headphones or music.  At this point, my only goal is to separate myself considerably from the group while not  out pacing myself.  

Strangely enough, around the same time, my IT issue has seemed to lessen considerably and I feel energized once again. I'm able to put in the distance from the pace group and find myself utilizing a fellow runner to pace myself.  We both admit to pacing each other and keep up the conversation.  He tells me he had registered for a total of 12 marathons this year and had just had a heart attack 90 days ago.  I mentioned the irony of his efforts when he admits to his love affair with french fries and fast food; proof that our health is 20% exercise and 80% diet.  

Mile 19 10:56.9
Mile 20 10:22.6
Mile 21 10:23.3
Mile 22 10:45.5
Mile 23 10:41.6
Mile 24 10:54.0
Mile 25 10:16.9
Mile 26 10:39.5

I eventually lose my company somewhere at a water station and venture on my own for probably the last 3-4 miles or so.  I'm not too excited to see the next hill as this race was advertised mostly flat, and it had been anything but mostly flat. Didn't I specify "No Hills" in the special requests part of registration?  Regardless, I storm up it like a trooper.  I'm not letting this hill take me out.  

I finish my first ever 26.2 miles ever at 4:51:21, considerably less than my anticipated time of 5:15-5:30ish.  I'm absolutely ecstatic.  As mentioned before, with my less than stellar training, I definitely underestimated myself.  

Standing in front of the wall that runners had signed the
night before at the expo after I finished my marathon!
This is the only "wall" I encountered!
After crossing the finish line of my first ever full marathon, I accepted my medal and headed over for post-race fuel, pizza and chocolate milk.  I earned every calorie! 

www.momrunsfasterthandad.com 1st marathon
on the wall 

I then sought out my uncle who I knew most likely finished more than an hour prior.  We took some post race pictures while waiting for cousin.  
Me, next to a very big Air Force airplane.
I couldn't asked for a better first marathon.  The weather was perfect.  For once my fueling strategy worked.  I was able to pace myself well enough that I was capable of running the race in its entirety.  The volunteers and street side spectators were extremely supportive! I'm already contemplating which race will be my next marathon! 

Thanks to those who have endured reading my long, sometimes rambling blog entries, liked me on Facebook and/or have followed me on Twitter . If you have yet to do so and are a glutton for punishment, you may also find me here on Daily Mile and Pinterest.


  1. Congratulations! You definitely deserved a post-run celebration! You have no idea how excited you've made me for my marathon now - it an be fun, it can be surprising, and it can be worth it. Your terrific.

    Much SPA love :-)

    1. Thank You Kate! Exactly everything you said! It was surprising, fun and beyond worth it! Thank You from a fellow SPA!

  2. How exciting and congratulations! I loved reading your recap and hope that you haven't taken your medal off yet - you totally earned it! I'm running my first marathon (the Marine Corps Marathon) in less then 6 weeks so your recap totally energized me!!

    1. Lol, I've removed the medal! It was a tad heavy! Good Luck and enjoy every second of it! You never get back your "first"! I'm so glad I can say my first was spectacular!

  3. Awesome time! Congratulations on becoming a marathoner!

  4. Fantastic job!!!!! I too have a small running blog, glad to see I wasn't the only doing this!

    What a great marathon for your first one!!! Congrats! I finished at your planned time of 5:30:11 .... bit longer then planned but it's all about the fun of the race and this one was great.

    1. Thank You Ward and congrats on your finish as well!

  5. Congratulations!!! There's nothing like your first marathon! You did AWESOME!!! Loved reading all about it!!!

  6. Great job! It seems like you kept about the same pace the whole time! That is awesome! Such an inspiration! (: One day I'll get there!

    1. Thanks Danielle! You can do it! Signing up is the first step, lol! That alone is my motivation. You can do it.

  7. Wow congratulations chica! Very admirable feat! SPA <3

  8. Great Job! Weird how you already want ot do another right? I felt the same way.

  9. Thanks Heather! Exactly! I'm currently trying figure out which will be my next. The sooner the better!

  10. Congratulations! I found your link on the AFM Facebook page - I ran the half (and yes, I was one of "those" halfers!lol). Despite the course fiasco, it was a fabulous time. My first full is in Nov., so I LOVE reading about other experiences runners have for their first - thank you for sharing! I hope I have an experience similar to your's!

  11. Thanks Mandy! Which full are you doing in November? Good Luck & remember to enjoy it! Your first only happens once! :D

  12. It's the Pensacola Marathon in Florida. Forgot to mention that we just moved from Indiana this summer! We were right on the border of Westfield/Carmel. LOVED running out there!