I just ran my first marathon and it was both exactly what I thought it would be like and not at all what I expected at the same time.
Equal parts thrilling and exhausting, I’m finding the whole experience difficult to put into words. So, instead of writing a traditional race recap, I’m giving you a glimpse into the thoughts churning in my head during each mile. Sometimes you’ll see repeats of the same thought, because when you’re running for 3+ hours you get a little bored and come back to the same thoughts.
Mile 1: Holy Crap! I’m running a marathon. I’m going to leave my music off for the first few miles to just enjoy the sights and sounds of the beginning.
This new Flipbelt is bothering me a little bit, it keeps riding up and I have to keep pushing it back down.
Mile 2: I’m going to drink water at this next aid station. .
I suck at drinking water. Just splashed that all over my face and shirt Slow and steady, slow and steady. Only on mile two, you don’t want to die.
I’M ONLY ON MILE TWO.
Mile 3: Screw sights and sounds. All I can hear is hacking and heavy breathing.
FlipBelt (new fuel belt) will NOT. STAY. DOWN.
Mile 4: I think I’ve looked at my watch 80 times in the past 2 minutes…and I’m still on mile 4. I thought I was supposed to see Jordan at this mile. Where is he? I can’t wait to eat my first GU.
Mile 5: YUM. Peanut Butter GU.
Mile 6: Need water stat. GU is stuck in throat.
Why can’t I swallow?
I’m still on mile 6?!
FlipBelt. I hate you.
Mile 7: Quads are starting to tighten up already. That really hurts and I can’t believe I still have 19 miles left, how am I goi..STOP it! Think positive. Pretend like the pain in your quads is like lightning bolts of energy powering you through (I know this is so lame, but it actually helped)
Mile 8: Am I going fast enough?
If I continue at this pace for 5 more miles, I will reach the halfway point at…(I did running math for about 10 minutes because I kept messing up).
Mile 9: I can’t wait to eat my second GU.
Mile 10: YUM. Peanut Butter Chocolate GU.
Where is Jordan? I think I’m supposed to see him at Mile 11.
Almost halfway done!
Mile 11: Hi Jordan!!! (Veer off the course and gave him a kiss that I’m sure was sloppy with Gatorade and salt)
Jordan: You’re on track to hit 3:33 !
Well, BQ qualifying time is 3:35 so I better keep this pace or better if I want to qualify.
Mile 12: If I run at this pace for 14 more miles, what will I finish in? (more running math).
Shove flipbelt down again.
Mile 13: Halfway done! Now is the time to turn it on, Anna.
Mile 14: Repeat: I can do hard things. Be an athlete. It’s a beautiful day and I’m doing what I love.
When can I eat my next GU?
Mile 15: YUM. Caramel Macchiato GU. 40 mg of caffeine straight to the heart.
Mile 16: I feel AMAZING. Jolts of energy running through me. Who said marathons were hard?
Mile 17: Still on a runner’s high. Endorphins are through the roof. Look out Boston, I’m coming for you!
Mile 18: Quads still hurt but I’m more than half way done. I can do hard things. I’m going to finish and I’m going to qualify for Boston. I can’t believe how good I feel. I just wish this FlipBelt would stay put on my hips.
Mile 19: Finally caught up with a lady that I’ve had my eye on for the past few miles. I’m going to run with her for a little while. She’s got a great pace. I haven’t said anything to her yet. Is that weird? I hope she’s not trying to talk to me because Eminem is screaming and I can’t hear anything.
Mile 20: The quads…blazing now. It’s all I can think about. Eating the last of my honey stinger chews because I’m tired of the package sticking out of my flip belt. Still hanging with this lady and still haven’t spoken a word to eachother…Is that weird? Does she think it’s weird that I keep pulling this FlipBelt down over my hips?
Mile 21: I still have 5 more miles. Everything hurts and the breathing is starting to get a little heavier. I finally broke the silence with my new running buddy to gasp a good job. I know, really original. She said it back (I think). My playlist is at the pump up section now and Kanye is telling me that I’m Amazing.
I got this.
Mile 22: I don’t have this. I am falling apart. I don’t know how much longer I can go. My snacks are gone and I just have to rely on Gatorade now. Should I take one of those orange slices?
Too late. I’ll get the next one.
When is the next aid station?
I want to walk. Will I be able to start again if I stop?
I only have 4 miles left. I will turn it on when I have a 5k left and sprint to the finish.
I want to throw this FlipBelt away.
Mile 23: Me: I have to stop at this station to get water.
Stranger Runner Girl: Ok. You are doing AWESOME.
I’m grabbing Gatorade and Water at this aid station. I am SO thirsty. WHY DON’T THEY FILL THESE CUPS MORE? We’re running a marathon for Pete’s Sake!
Slightly irritable at this point.
I just walked through that water station. I can’t believe I did that. It’s okay, I will turn it on at the 2 mile mark and go hard then.
Mile 24: This thirst is insatiable. Think about something else besides your quads. There’s Jordan! He’s jumping on the course to run with me.
Jordan: You’re doing it, babe. You’re going to finish with a BQ
I don’t want to risk anymore breath so I give the thumbs up.
Mile 25: I’ve never hated running more than I do right now. It feels like there is an elephant sitting on my lungs right now. Why did I sign up for this stupid thing? Jordan is still running with me and keeps trying to talk to me. I wonder if he knows I can’t hear him over my music? I am not even going to take the energy to reach into my belt and turn the volume down.
Mile 26: Where is the finish line? Why can’t I see it? I’m trying to turn it on but I can’t. I can’t see the finish.
Mile 26.2…I DID IT.
P.S. After I crossed the finish line, I learned that my FlipBelt was on backwards…Awesome.