It's been nearly 10 years since I ran my first marathon, and I can't believe how much I have grown as a runner since then! I feel very fortunate that in my 10 years of "serious" running, I have been able to experience so much.
I wish I had started my blog 10 years ago and not 2 years ago. Then I would have memories written down from all of my races. At least from now on I will have written record of all the cool things I have been able to do!
A few days ago, I ran a virtual 10k. Unfortunately my mp3 player died right before my run so I had nothing to entertain me during the race! It's nice to be alone with your thoughts sometimes, but I am alone with my thoughts a lot. I needed some sort of focus for this race.
So for each mile, I decided to think about all the different marathons I ran. Obviously each race could warrant an entire post to itself, so I am just going to give you the little tidbits that stuck out in my mind from the races.
Here we go, my "Marathon Thoughts" during my 10k without pod casts! Alone with my thoughts...
Mile 1- Harrisburg, 2006 - My First Marathon
Whenever I think about this race, I think about the weather and my clothes...
- It was so rainy and windy! This was definitely the worst weather I have ever raced in.
- I raced in a red cotton zip up jacket. Yeah. 26.2 miles in the rain and I wore cotton. (You see what I mean about growing as a runner these past 10 years!?)
Rockin' the red cotton at Mile 24
Mile 2- KeyBank Vermont City Marathon, 2007
If I had to recommend a race to someone, it would be this one. Burlington Vermont is beautiful and the entire town comes out to cheer on the runners.
- There is so much entertainment along the route, including drummers at the bottom of a HUGE hill at Mile 15. Their beat gives you the energy needed to get you up the hill. Just thinking about it gives me chills. But here is a video in case you want to see for yourself.
(This is not from when I ran it.)
- The last couple miles are on a bike path along the Lake Champlain. Then it opens up into a park where the race course is simply lined with cheering spectators. This was my first moment in a race where I literally felt like a rock star. It is the best marathon "ending" I have ever experienced.
Mile 3- Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, 2008
The Flying Pig Marathon was a very FUN race. I mean, there were two women in pig costumes bouncing up and down at the Finish Swine. (No, that's not a typo. It was called the FINISH SWINE!!!!)
- Mile 22 seemed like it was lasting FOREVER. This was the days before everyone had Garmins, so I think most runners chalked it up the the fact that Mile 22 always feels like it lasts forever. Except this Mile 22 actually did go long. When the race was over, we found out there was a fire along the race course the morning of the race and we had to be re-routed. The distance we ran that day was actually 26.45 miles. Our race times were adjusted and I wasn't upset. (I feel like nowadays I would be upset.)
Mugging for the camera at the Flying Pig Marathon!
Clearly, this is Mile 2 or something!
Mile 4- Philadelphia Marathon, 2008 (My first BQ!)
I couldn't say this race was "fun" as I was too focused/worried about BQ'ing to soak in the sights and sounds. This was still before I had a Garmin, so I had printed out a little pace bracelet to wear around my wrist. It told me what time I should be at for each mile so that I could stay on pace. Wow, this was like the Stone Age...
The two main things I would like to say about Philly are...
- I was a HUGE bitch the day before this race. I mean, the biggest bitch in the whole wide world. It was totally due to stress and worry, but that is no excuse.
- I have never suffered as much as I did during this race. From Mile 11 until the finish I was really hurting. The lactic acid had built up in my quads and it was a struggle to finish. I BQ'ed 64 seconds before the cut off time. Talk about cutting it close!
That is the face of a gal who suffered!
My friends Chris looks like he had a much better time!
Mile 5- From Boston to Baltimore, 2009
My next race was Boston. You can read all about that epic event here. After that, I chilled out on the speed and ran the Baltimore Marathon for fun. I was not stressed about the event. In fact, I was still in line for the bathroom when the race started. (Who cares!? Chip timing!)
- I felt great the entire race. I am sure this is due to running a relaxed and comfortable pace.
- On the way home, I ate an entire box of wheat thins. They were good.
- Baltimore was the only marathon Paul didn't tag along to. I drove down myself and everything. I'm a big girl! And since I went alone... no pictures! This race only exists in my memory!
Mile 6- Trails, Injury, and another BQ, 2010-2012
- After Baltimore, I really got into trail running to the point that I totally switched over to trail races and even ran a few Ultras. At some point after my last ultra, I jacked up my knee and I ended up having to bow out of several races I had already paid for. That sucked.
- I eventually recovered from injury and was running healthy again. But I was still really into the trail. I even said, "I'm never running a road marathon again unless I'm trying to PR."
- Well, it happened. I somehow got myself out of "long, slow, trail runnin' shape" and into "speedy road runnin' shape" and BQ'ed at the Harrisburg Marathon! (This is the only marathon I have done twice.)
That's my "I'm Going To PR" face.
The Last .2- Boylston Street, 2014
I think the most epic last .2 of any race I have done has got to be Boylston Street in Boston. I have never "raced" Boston. I feel like the race is actually qualifying and the event is meant to be soaked in. And while I really feel like I soaked everything in the last time I ran Boston (check out this re-cap if you don't believe me!), I took some extra time to really enjoy Boylston street. I even stopped to snap this picture...
As I stood here, I took a moment to look around and just soak in the moment.
I felt very lucky and thankful to be where I was. Sure, I put in the hard work. But I was also thankful that I had the money, the time off work, and the support of friends and family. Without that, I wouldn't have been able to run Boston.
Wow, it was really fun thinking about races from a long time ago! There is so much I don't remember, but there are some things I will never forget for the rest of my life. The silence of the bike path in Vermont, the sweet feeling of a BQ, and the cheers from Boylston Street. I am so lucky running is part of my life!