I recently crossed the finish line of marathon number six and in looking back, I have run four of my marathoners with first timers. It’s kind of becoming my thing!
Miami 2015 with my mom, well… we were together for the first 6-7 miles and I tracked, texted and cheered for her across the finish.
Disney 2016 with Sam! A friend of a friend who I met for the first time the weekend of the marathon and we stayed together for most of the marathon. Towards the end it hurt more to walk, so I kept running. I knew she had reached the 23-24 mile mark and mentally would be ok to finish without me.
Miami 2016 with one of my BRF, Yvonne. She joking told me that in 2016 she was either going to run a marathon or have a baby… well she will have done both within a year of each other as she delivers their second baby girl this month. We ran every mile together. She lived a period of time in Miami and towards the end I had her tell me stories about living there to take her mind off her legs and keep her moving. I surprised her at the expo and ran with her – she had no idea I was going to be there or that I was going to run! Such a blessing to be apart of that marathon with her!
Disney 2017 with Mike. He was my first unofficial running coach client. I wrote his training plan and ran a few of the long runs with him. I stayed with him every mile and it was such an overwhelming experience to cross with him. The last mile I got rather emotional and I am so proud of him! Probably one of my favorite moments below… I took the medal from the volunteer and put the medal on his neck!
With that being said, after running with each of these folks, I listened to their revelations and mixed a few of my own in this list. Moving past my long introduction to…
5 Thoughts from a First Time Marathoner
1. That was hard. Yes, you have traversed 26.2 miles on your feet. Regardless of how well you train, 26.2 miles on your feet hurts.
2. I don’t want to do that again. Generally this comes at about mile 22-23 when they want to quit. For some it comes right after they finish as well. The numbness has worn off of their legs and they are feeling the pain.
3. I might do that again. This tends to come about 4-5 days after they have finished. They consider running another one for various reasons. They didn’t meet a time they wanted to or they are high off the fumes of being a “marathoner”!
4. You find out what you are really made of. This is the biggest one for most people. When you train for a marathon, most coaches will recommend at minimum one 20-mile run, at least when training for your first marathon. So the last six miles are completely uncharted territory. It’s within these miles that you find what it means to dig deep. For me, I find it helpful to remember those that can’t run, or those that helped me get to this point in my running career, or remember that I have less mileage left to the finish than I have already completed.
5. Having someone along for the journey helps. I remember running my first marathon. I ran the first half too fast and paid for it on the second half. I walked the majority of miles 21-24. My mom did come out on the course to join me and help me finish and handing someone to tell me I could do it helped more than she will ever know. The folks listed above will tell you that when you reach miles twenty and above, it’s nice to have someone tell you what to do – “We are going to run to that tree, then walk 30 seconds” – makes it easier to finish, your brain doesn’t have to do the hard work.
What about you? Have you run a marathon and had any or all of these thoughts?