My First Marathon
I call it my first, because there will certainly be more!
This Sunday I ran the Cape Cod Marathon – I’m a marathoner!
It was too much fun not to Instagram live from my run :-) Overall – before any thoughts on timing goals – I knew this very first marathon was an adventure to celebrate!
Perhaps I was a little too relaxed, because I was barely ready to squeeze myself into the start line gates in time for the cannon! And I took new friends Chris, Stuart and Sarah down with me, ha ha! – but we made it!
Last words to my husband, Gary? Um, that I had compleeetely forgotten to apply any Body Glide *gulp*. Moving on…
Voted one of the top 10 most scenic marathons in the U.S. by Runners World magazine (couldn’t find an actual source or date), the course took us along the harbor, the beach, beautiful woodsy areas, cranberry bogs, out to Woods Hole, back along tons more ocean, Nobska Lighthouse, and a short pond-view stretch back to Main Street in downtown Falmouth.
I saw handfuls of friends, old and new, along the way. One friend was volunteering, and others were part of relay teams. There were 100 lime green shirts from my fellow Mashpee Maddness running club!
I first spotted my parents and Gary around Mile 8 after snapping a photo of the cranberry bogs. For the rest of the day I would hear from friends, runners and other spectators how amazing my support team was – love you guys!
Gary even surprised me with a wooden sign of my very new logo! My parents had different signs for different parts of the course!
A short bit later, Crystal and Joe were screaming from the sidelines with their own fantastic signs! It was so great to start and end the day with big squeezy hugs from my training partner :-) Crystal was the reason I made it to this point, back on the very day I registered.
I will remember the young cop around Mile 9 who was cheering everyone on so excitedly! All the others were their usual stiff and professional selves, while this guy was literally directing traffic and cheering for each of us simultaneously.
I will always smile to think of the woman around Mile 9.5 who was dancing to her headphones – like, really truly dancing! (and running the full marathon)
At 1:57 I reached the half way point of the marathon, but I knew this wasn’t really half way at all… Mentally, I knew it was at least time to head south back to Falmouth from here!
I’m most proud of a few things: (a) high-fiving all the kids, (b) cheering louder than the spectators a lot of the time – c’mon guys!, and (c) not ever stopping to walk. I didn’t plan on not walking, but there was just so much moving me forward!
People always warn about the five miles of “Sippewissett Hills” from Miles 16-21, but screw that! This course was FULL of hills from around Miles 9 to 24. Bonkers!
I texted ahead to my family at Mile 18 for a “left sock”, and Gary had several options laid out for me on the pavement when I got there. I had chosen to run in Injinji socks, which wrap around each individual toe, and something wasn’t feeling great at this point. I ended up putting fresh dry socks on both feet and, after stopping a few times to adjust unfortunately, I lost about a minute and a half but enjoyed the change!
Around Mile 21 I met Erin from Martha’s Vineyard, whose friend had given her an extra couple of Gu packets at this point that she wasn’t gonna carry, so she passed one to me. Crazy enough, she sat down next to me at the bar a couple hours later! So much fun chatting with people among this small field of about 1200 runners.
On that note, I should also mention how incredible it was to run without headphones! I actually feel bad for those who did, because a marathon is about so much more than running… It doesn’t hurt to spend four hours thinking “ohmygod, I’m running a marathon” – it feels amazing!
Friend Dave, manager of Marathon Sports in Mashpee, had offered earlier in the week to run me in for the last few miles. He was on a relay team behind me, but with his crazy 6-something pace, he reached me and kept me moving from Miles 23-26. Perhaps the most beautiful section of the course, along the ocean and the quintessential bluff of Nobska Light, this was also the section I dreaded most. I’ve run it over a dozen times in the Falmouth Road Race and there’s a permanent pit in my stomach with visions of heat, humidity and relentless sunshine across these miles. I’m pretty sure I was ready to walk a bit at this point, but thanks to Dave I made my goal of under 4:10 for the finish!
OFFICIAL TIME: 4:08:52
I didn’t cry or feel any huge emotions crossing the finish, which surprised me (I cried at the start ;-)). I didn’t hoof it for a fast and glamorous finish either. I think I’d very perfectly timed the last of my physical and mental being to be empty at Mile 26.2.
To have someone lift a medal over my head, while another person wrapped a foil blanket around me… well, that felt kinda amazing. I felt like Miss America for a moment. I’ve gotten medals for lesser things, but I think the small act of someone else lifting it over my head was monumental.
I ran a marathon!!!
HUGE thanks to all who called, texted, Tweeted, commented, Instagrammed, stood clapping along the sidelines and cheered from afar! Your support this weekend, as well as over the last few months, has been so much a part of my love for this sport and community! XO
A little review of the Cape Cod Marathon itself is still to come… In the meantime, I’ll be here with my Epsom salts and foam roller, avoiding the stairs.