A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

A blog about my life, fitness and fun! (...and maybe a few cat pictures...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Marathon Thoughts

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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!


  1. I remember last year around this time you were still going back-and-forth about whether you should/could run Boston and what your training plan would be like!

    Did this get you thinking strongly about a fall marathon, or are you just teasing us? ;)

    1. I know I was thinking about that the other day! I really did the minimum training required to make it through 26.2 miles uninjured and relatively happy!

      I think I am just teasing you. :)

  2. I also wish I had started my blog 10 years ago, even though I would have been a senior in high school and it would be so embarrassing to look back on. Because that was when blogging wasn't "big" yet, so if I had gotten ahead of the curve, man - I could be one of those famous bloggers who makes a good living off my blog by now! Why am I always late to the party?

    Our local running club does an annual trip to run the Flying Pig every year. I've heard it's a great, fun race.

    I can't imagine what it must be like looking back on that .2 Boylston now, in hindsight, knowing what was about to happen.

    Great post!

    1. Nevermind - your post says 2013 but I just realized from checking out your recaps it was 2014!

    2. My mistake, I will fix that straight away, I don't want to give the wrong impression.

      You should totally do Flying Pig it is really a FUN race!

    3. Oh and I had a LiveJournal and Xanga from college. It is EPICALLY embarassing that I copy pasted them, saved them on my computer, and then deleted them!

  3. When I opened up the blog I thought, "Cool, she is going to do a marathon!!"
    I liked reading about each of the races. I thought about doing the Vermont City Marathon this year, then put it on the back burner. After reading your recap, I am reconsidering, but I am probably too late to the game, It is 10 weeks away, but I would like to get a better BQ time under my belt...now I have crazy thoughts swirling around my head...Gonna have to check out a plan and see exactly how far behind I am...

    1. I would totally recommend VT if not this year then next year. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  4. Omg you've run so many marathons!!! You are amazing. I've never even done 1! I loved reading about all of them here.

    1. Thanks! I used to do them a lot more than I do now... obviously...

  5. Go Meg! This is a great post!!! I wish I blogged when I ran my first marathon or got my first BQ. I have to say that last photo made my belly do a loop de loop! That was so epic!

    1. Woo! And you get to do it for a THIRD time in a few weeks. :)

  6. Yeah that would be fun! I will let you know. :) It's funny, a lot of people who read this commented on my facebook page how it made them want to run another one. Writing it did not make me want to run another one! I mean, it didn't make me NOT want to run one. It just made me feel nostalgic and thankful. Marathons are freaking crazy!

  7. Fun to get a brief history of your marathons!
    Do you have another race coming up?

    1. A trail half marathon with my brother at the end of May. Just looking to have a fun experience with my bro!

  8. What a fun walk down memory lane! I hope in a few years I can reflect on my multiple marathons! (I have to run them first lol.)

    Random question...do you tuck your shirt into your shorts when you run? I remember reading a silly debate on tucking vs. untucking and I noticed it in the Mile 6 section haha.

    1. If it is a shirt that rides up then I will tuck the front into shorts. I usually always tuck it into my pants because it is more comfortable. (Only if I have a vest or coat on top, if it is just shirt and pants then I don't cause I would look like a huge dork!) Sometimes I tuck if the shorts ride up because it helps them to not ride up. The only reason I tuck or untuck is due to comfort, not for any performance reason!

  9. Great post...I just started reading your blog fairly recently, so a lot of this info was new to me. Very impressive-you are an inspiring and talented athlete! My all time favorite distance to run is the half. I have done several of halfs and a few fulls. I would love to get into ultra running, but it seems daunting. I think I would love it though, as I much prefer to run longer and a bit slower. Again, fantastic post ;)

    1. Thanks Eugenia! I think you would like ultras. In a way, it seems daunting, but it is a totally different mindset than road racing. I always tell people to look at an ultra as just a long day in the woods slow running and hiking. That's the good thing about trails and ultras- you can walk whenever you want! When I did my 50 miler, we walked up every single hill. It was great!

  10. Since you seem to have marathons on the mind, are you considering another one in the near future?

    1. Not really. I mean, I am sure I will run more in the future but I am not contemplating any right now.