After days, weeks, months of training I finally did it. I ran my first marathon, 26.2 miles! I am still on cloud 9 from one of the best days. I accomplished something that seemed so daunting, and I enjoyed every minute of it, truly!
This recap is very detailed because I don’t want to forget anything! So feel free to scroll down to the race recap haha.
Let’s back way up to the beginning of race week. I didn’t workout much, just a 5 miler Monday with an upper body workout, rest Tuesday, Wednesday 4 miler, Thursday and Friday rest.
All week I drank a lot of water, ate the best I could(nourish my body first,then satisfy it second from Carli Fitness’s meal plan) and tried to go to bed early. It felt great to sleep in on those rest days and I was feeling ready. Thursday I ate a lot more carbs(I don’t like to eat a ton the day before a race, so I carb a load a lot more 2 days before a race and it seems to work for me). Then Friday I ate normal and then Josh took me out to Olive Garden. I ate spaghetti parm but I took most of the breading off the chicken and asked for plain bread sticks (sometimes garlic doesn’t sit well with me so I didn’t want to take any risks).
Saturday morning I woke up at 4:30am, 2 hours before the start of the race and ate 1/2 a plain bagel and 1/2 an applesauce pouch with lots of water.
Got ready, used the bathroom and nursed Cooper and left by 5:15am.
My fueling plan throughout the race was to take in something every 2-3 miles. I get very hungry! I brought a Gu just in case I got sick of chewing but I didn’t use it. I was able to eat every couple of miles and at mile 16 I ate half a kidz oatmeal z bar. It hit the spot!
Utah decided to be very cold the week of the race, so I went to our local thrift store on Friday and got an extra layer so that I could take it off and donate it(you can leave gloves, hats, jackets at aid stations to donate)as I got warmed up. Best. Decision. Ever. Oh and hand warmers, those were so so wonderful. I put them inside gloves and they kept my hands nice and warm.
^wearing the jacket I bought at Savers early on in the race
I met at the buses that were shuttling us to the start at 5:45am and then we waited for more runners then headed to the start, Copperton Park. We got there about 6:30am where I ate a few bites of my pb&j sandwich on white bread, more water, and used the bathroom again. It was cold at the start, but not freezing like most UT runs that start up in the canyons. This is a VERY small race, only 104 marathoners total. So after about 10 minutes a guy said it was time to line up and start.
^on the bus
I was off! I wanted to start out nice and slow and just get warmed up. My body was cold, so I wanted to give it time to start moving. I hit mile 3 and took in 2 energy beans and planned to take water at the aid station but they were out. I’m so glad the weather was cold, because it wasn’t a big deal waiting for the next aid station. Luckily, every aid station after that had plenty of water. My biggest fear on race day was getting lost or hitting a wall. I had read this was a small race and that you’re often alone and the race isn’t well marked so my plan was to stay by someone. Eventually, at mile 4 I was with the 4:15 pacer going up a long 2 mile hill that ended at mile 6. He was an older gentleman that runs races every weekend, and even competed in a 100 mile race!
^the long hill in the distance
The pacer and I chatted from miles 4-13 at a very comfortable pace. The scenery was gorgeous and I really enjoyed hearing about his running journey and take in any tips and tricks he had. He kept telling me to reserve the first half and if I felt good to push ahead at the halfway point, so that’s what I did.
We parted ways and I picked up the pace slightly. I was so nervous I would hit a wall, so I really tried to run at a very comfortable pace and keep moving. I stopped and walked through every aid station so I could drink the full water cup( I only drank water, Gatorade upsets my stomach and makes me feel thirstier) and then I would keep going. I was still feeling really good, and was sending video updates to Josh and my sisters. I was having fun! Then, my watched dinged saying I hit mile 16 and when I looked up the race sign said mile 17! I was like, “my Garmin is a mile off??” so at the next aid station I asked what mile we were at and they said 16.5 miles, the mile marker was wrong! Oh well! Right after that aid station I went up another steep hill(there were probably 5-6 pretty good hills, but the rest of the course is flat as a pancake) and then down a bit and passed the Oquirrh Mountain Temple.
I started to feel pretty lonely at mile 19, I still hadn’t turned on my headphones and started to think ahead at how many miles I had left. Just then, I hear the cutest voices yelling, ” Mom” Mommy!” “Go Mom!” Josh had surprised me and stopped along the course with all the kids to cheer me on. I still get teary eyed about it. It was such a wonderful relief to see them. I stopped for hugs and kisses and of course started to cry. This crazy goal of mine took up a lot of time. My kids and Josh were always there to support me and it was just the cherry on top to see them. I through them my gloves and kept going. They popped up again at mile 21 for high fives and cheers and I just kept pushing.
^this is at the finish, I was never fast enough on the course to get a picture of my crew ❤️
Miles 22-to the finish
At this point I was running the mile I was in. I didn’t want to think about the finish and start going too fast too soon(looking back I wish I had pushed just a bit more to break that 4 hour mark haha) so I put in my headphones I started to sing along to take my mind off running. I saw Josh and the kids one last time at mile 23 where Josh asked if I was feeling okay and I said I was. He said, “great, see you at the finish!” and I felt so excited. I was doing it! I was 3 miles away!! I started feeling a little achy in my legs and randomly in my back, I’ve never felt that before. But nothing crazy, so I just kept moving.
Finally I could hear the finish line and I wanted it so bad. I started really picking up the pace that last corner and there were several spectators walking on the small sidewalk on the path to the finish. That was frustrating to dodge people, but I sprinted in at 4:02 and it felt so great!! My parents, sisters, my kids and Josh ran over. It was so fun to see them. I felt so loved and so great to have accomplished such a big goal I set for myself. I never had to stop and use the bathroom and I didn’t hit the wall!
Everyone keeps asking if there will be another marathon. My competitive side would love to break the 4 hour mark, but I’m also so proud of my time. I feel very happy and content right now, so the answer is I’m not sure. I will definitely be running more half marathons and trying to beat my previous times there. I love that distance!