On Sunday, I mentioned in my post that a few of my favorite people from Penn State ran their first marathon and rocked it. Annie was amazing, and wrote a recap of their training and a recap of race day! They participated in the Philly Marathon, the Sunday before Thanksgiving…now that’s a way to earn your bird!
Hope that this motivates you to get up off your bum after a very indulgent Thanksgiving feast and set a few fitness goals.
Picture of the Start/Finish Line in the Philly Marathon
So Mel asked me to guest blog about my first marathon.
HOW IT STARTED:
It all started back in April/May when I started to get the urge to train again. I had done the Philly ½ Marathon the past two years and knew that I wanted to do it again, and why not challenge myself for to the whole 26.2?? I googled training schedules and after being 100%, I decided to convince some friends to keep me company!
So, before the end of Spring semester, Steph, Brit, and I were all registered for the Philadelphia Marathon. We followed an 18-week training schedule that started July 18th.
However, the last weekend in July I was on a run and around mile 4, knew something wasn’t right. My foot hurt and it felt just like my previous stress fracture. I hobbled home, took Motrin, kept ice on it all day and prayed it would feel better in the morning. Unfortunately it did not. While the girls went on a 8 mile run, I took over the cycling room, blasted music and rode the bike for 80 minutes. The next week I went on vacation in Maine with my family wearing a boot and icing my foot constantly.
I was determined not to let anything keep me from this marathon. I really stayed off my foot for a good 3 weeks, biking and cycling to keep in shape. When Fall semester began, I felt a little better and wore a brace. I eased back into running and was able to keep up with the schedule.
TRAINING AMONGST A FITNESS CAREER:
Each of us teach quite a few fitness classes each week, so we stuck to the long runs on the training schedule, however we judged how our bodies felt for the weekly shorter runs. My longest run was 21.5 miles at 6 am on the Friday morning of Halloween weekend. Steph and Brit were busy and this is the time that worked best for me, so I went for it. I felt great the whole time and knew when I was done that I could have ran the 26 that morning!
The hardest part was ahead–tapering. Not only was I constantly eating during the next 3 weeks, I wasn’t running as much and it was playing tricks with my head. Honestly, tapering is so mentally challenging. I kept doubting myself that I was losing all the stamina I had worked so hard to gain. All the while, Brittany was dealing with IT band problems and could barely run 3 miles without stopping due to pain, but she was so determined, rested up the week, stretched constantly, and was ready to go on race day!
THE WEEK BEFORE:
The week before the marathon was quite busy for all of us. Steph had a P.A. school interview with Texas Tech, flew out of State College, Wednesday after teaching Step and flew back in at 2 p.m. Friday. I headed home Thursday night feeling sick with all sorts of sinus congestion and fatigue. Friday I woke up feeling even worse with flu-like symptoms. Steph got back to State College around 2 pm and immediately headed to my house (in N.J.) with Brit.
Lots of sleep was had. The day before, we went for a 3 mile run around the neighborhood, showered, and were off to the city to pick up our Race Packets at the Expo. Our friend Marlee joined us in her first race running the Half Marathon!!
From Left to Right: Annie, Marlee, Brit, and Steph
THE NIGHT BEFORE A MARATHON:
Saturday night we had a shrimp and artichoke pasta with garlic bread and a little ice cream later and headed up to bed around 10:30. We were all hyped up so talked a while. Poor Steph was starting to get sick too and had a horrible cough all night. My mom said she heard her and was all worried that we had 2 runners who were sick and another with a bad knee. We were just the ideal Marathon runners J We woke up at 5 am, ate some breakfast (toast and PB, grapes, and a little coffee), Marlee drove over, and we all piled in the car and headed to Philly around 5:40. After some traffic in the city we finally got a parking spot, dropped off our race bags, and lined up with our corral.
The morning of, ready to go!
AND WE’RE OFF!
All of us (Marlee, Brit, Steph, and I) officially crossed the start line at 7:20 and started our Marathon. One of my favorite sayings came from Steph right after we started- “Each step were closer to the finish!” We got very lucky with a beautiful fall day for a race. We all wore running pants/capris and long sleeve tops. I got warm and took off the long sleeve layer around mile 3.
Around mile 6.5/7 Steph and I needed go to the bathroom so stopped to used the wonderful port-a-pottys and Brit needed to stretch. When we started going again, Brit knee was worse than before and she was in a lot of pain. She was a trooper and kept going. Once we hit the zoo at mile 8.5, Brit’s knee was even worse. After mile 13, I got a big burst of energy and was feeling great. As we were starting in our second half of the run, people were finishing the 26!! It is really amazing to see these elite athletes!
Every water station we grabbed a water and Gatorade even if we didn’t think we needed it. We also walked through these stations so we could actually swallow the whole cup of water. Our fuel through the race was the Sport Beans. We each carried a pack and took a few beans at a time. All the support and fans were amazing. Some of the signs were hysterical., “ No more 6 am runs,” “ Marathoners need mental support because you are all insane!” “
We obviously paced ourselves well, because for us there was no such thing as “the wall.” I felt great until the end. Yes, of course my legs were tired, but all the hype and people around us kept us strong till the end. We crossed the finish line with an official time of 4:21:07! I must say, I have caught the marathon bug and am already thinking about another one. After we got our well deserved recovery food and bags we headed to an Irish Pub for some celebratory drinks. My mom’s two cousins ran the race too, so we had a big crowd!
Annie and Steph at Mile 26!
Steph, Brit, and Annie at the finish
On the ride home everyone passed out. We could not move after showering and at 6:30 pm it felt like 10:30 pm. We ordered some subs, watched Elf and were in bed by 9! The next day I really wasn’t very sore at all, just tired. The girls were off to do a little outlet shopping in Lancaster and head home. I really just took it easy and caught up on shows all day. By Tuesday I was feeling as good as new! What a way to start off the Thanksgiving break right?? I may try my first post-marathon run Friday…
Celebrating with their medals