6'0 tall, former athlete, mother of 3, struggling to keep up on the RUN of daily life.

Monday, June 29, 2009

26.2 things I learned running my First Marathon

This is my no-frills list of what I learned…

1. Running on closed roads makes you feel like you own the city. This alone is worth the entry fee.

2. Having friends and family along the path and at the Finish Line makes the journey amazing.. Wear a bright color so your poor spectators don't have to strain for hours..

3. Pain is temporary, your accomplishment is FOREVER!!

4. A good Pace group leader can make a race truly enjoyable, they do all the Math, hold the sign and you just follow.

5. Your race T-shirt will not always fit you, but may look great on your better half.

6. A Marathon includes people in all shapes, sizes, ages and outfits. It is the great equalizer. The guy with the poofy grey hair and thick glasses, who you could see running a library or being a cereal killer, has run 101 Marathons and may just kick your butt!! The older ladies in pink wearing tiaras have run over 80 Marathons combined and WILL pass you too.

7. Over hydration may be a worse problem that being on the edge of dehydrated.

8. (This is just for me) Tapering too much may make you feel out of shape. Know your body and keep with the mileage that you feel is right and won't tire you out or make your legs sore. The worst thing would be getting to the race and being out of shape. Find a plan that fits you for training, then tweak it and listen to your body.

9. A GREAT play-list (Will post soon) cannot help you if your mind is OFF.

10. Race day is not different than any other run. You have your good runs and bad runs. But it TRULY sucks to have a bad run on Race day.

11. Running a Marathon is in some ways harder than giving birth. When I had Easton I was laying down and had an epidural. What I would have given for a bed and pain meds at mile 20.

12. Companies that claim they will send texts about progress during the race may FAIL!! Do not rely that your friends and family know where you are on the course.

13. My husband is SMART!! I already knew that.... having someone who is savvy with maps and directions can make driving and parking on a busy race day a breeze.

14. My Dad is SMART!! I already knew that too…when Dad did not get the texts he went online to watch my progress and even saw me cross the finish line. Pretty sure he had the best view of my Marathon from his cozy home with my boys.

15. Running for FUN and to FINISH versus running for time on your FIRST Marathon is really good advice!!! (I know you all told me, SORRY I did not listen)

16. Waiting in the porta potty line is NECESSARY, do it there so you don't have to do it on the race course. GEEEEZZZ!! (If I only had some patience) Men have it easier when it comes to "going" during a race, anywhere is their bathroom (well for the #1 part anyhow). I will never think the guys going in the bushes are crazy again. Dropping trow to get out the urine is TOTALLY acceptable on race day. If you need to pee (or worse) drop your pants and go, no one will care and you will feel much better.

17. HILLS are the devil! If a race boasts that it is FLAT, sign up and quickly..

18. Wearing toss-away clothes to the start line is SMART!! You may look a little crazy in your worn-out over sized duds, but no crazier than the people wrapped in garbage bags. You will stay warm and the clothing goes to a good cause.

19. (Personal Opinion) Big races are a PAIN in the A--!!! Not worth all the hype. Yes, they may be well organized and have all the bells and whistles. But the intimacy of a small race cannot be matched.

20. My work marathon running friend Faith said "respect the distance" because a marathon isn't just 2 half marathons... Mile 20 and beyond will be the longest miles you will ever run in your life!! I did not believe this, but it is soooo true. The idea that 1 mile is a short distance is totally transformed in the Marathon. One mile is a BEAST!!

21. Wearing your name on your race Shirt is GOOD! It takes away the anonymity and lets people cheer you on by name. May seem dorky, but at mile 20++ when you hear your name being yelled by another racer it keeps your legs MOVING..

22. There is nothing like crossing the FINISH LINE. It means you have accomplished what you set out to do. It means you can stop running. It means that you are a MARATHONER.

23. Putting the race Medal on is AMAZING! I would still be wearing it if I didn’t think people would point and laugh.

24. Grab everything in the post-race food section. You never know what will hit the spot. A dry Bagel, water, Cheetos and Lays chips were heaven for me. Cheetos have never tasted so scrumptious.

25. Your body will HURT after a Marathon. Take the pain meds, ice, wear recovery socks, rest and DRINK an adult beverage (if you are of age).. LOL. I am not promoting alcoholism here, but toasting to your accomplishment and having some spirits take away the pain is a GREAT idea.

26. The Marathon is something that should not be entered into lightly. You will be humbled, you will be tested, and you will want to QUIT!! You will tell yourself a Million times over that you will NEVER DO THAT AGAIN… But you probably will. Once the pain wears off, you will be back for more. My boss told me "I think you have another Marathon in you. Sorry! But I think you do." She may be right, but today I will not think about that.

26.2. People who run race longer distances than Marathons and complete FULL Iron Man races are Robots or possibly Aliens.. LOL.. WOW people!!! There has to be some non-human DNA in there somewhere to take that kind of torture.


Melanie Tait said...

Mel what a great post! Are you going to come on my show? Maybe Thursday? I love your 26 things...

Marathonman101108 said...

Great list...yup, it IS easier being a male runner when it comes to bathroom issues! Congrats again on a great time.

Oz Runner said...

nice post and great list...i will have to keep these in mind when i try to tackle my first full marathon in about a year...

Velma said...

Respect the distace - this is the best advice that has been given to me as a runner. I always remember this when I am having a rough run. Great post!

Unknown said...

great list of 26.2 things you learned. :-)

Ashley said...

I love reading everyone's reflections after a marathon....so life-changing! I can only imagine how proud you must be of yourself - what an accomplishment!! WELL SAID! :)

Mel-2nd Chances said...

great reflection, love this list -- I learned a lot of those things on my journey too. :)

Relentless Forward Commotion said...

Great list!! I am known for wearing my medals everywhere for the 24 hours following the race! I'm just too darn proud to take them off!

robinbb said...

Great list. After my first marathon, I thought the marathon was very similar in terms of pain to giving pain. It hurt so bad, now it is getting better. :) And definitely pee with the men, I did. I never thought I would, but it hurts so much to run with a full bladder. You are amazing and I bet you will sign up for another marathon as well! You will get your revenge on that crazy/evil thing we call a marathon!

Jen said...

What an inspiration!

#3. SO true. Accomplishment is forever, no one can take that away.

#10. Yes, bad runs on race days, SUCK!!! (just think about #3)

#15. Race for FUN and to FINISH, not TIME...I still need to remind myself of this!

#17. My first half marathon boasted about the hills...HILLS ARE THE DEVIL!!!

#22. I still get a little teary-eyed and get goosebumps when I cross the finish line! One of the best feelings in the world!

Great job, keep it up!

Aron said...

such an awesome list and everything is definitely right on :) its pretty crazy how much you learn over those 26.2 miles huh?

#10 is unfortunatly oh so true...

Felice Devine said...

Great list!!

Stacey said...

Great list! #22 I still cry everytime I cross the finish line. Congrats again on your marathon.

Mrs. Spencer said...

I popped over from Marathon Mommies...Congrats on running the full marathon!!! The half was fun...I sure the full was fun but added alot of pain into the mix! I love your 26.2 things you learned...so true of a marathon!

Unknown said...

I love the list. My first marathon is in September and your blog is teaching me so much!

J said...

Hills are the devil for sure! i had a devil of a one this morning!

Native Stone Company, Inc. said...

Love your list! So glad I read it! You have some awesome advice!