Where to begin with this race report. Well, I ran my first marathon.
It was awesome. It was hard. It was HOT.
The Adrenaline Marathon on the Eisenbahn starts in Eden, WI and ends in West Bend, WI. After the Madison Marathon was cancelled, my running buddy Angie found this marathon to replace Madison. It's near where my parents live, so we figured logistics would be easy. After seeing the 10 day forecast, we signed up. Unfortuantely, the 10-day forecast changed, and they were predicting another 90 degree day. So the race director moved the start time to 5:30am.
Saturday, we had a pre-race dinner of the usual: pasta and ground turkey in pasta sauce and garlic bread (shout out to my mum who made an amazing meal). And we went to bed at 8:45pm. Yep, you read that right. 8:45pm. It was still light out.
Alarms went off at 3:45am. We quickly all got our gear on, and got our breakfast to eat in the car. My mum drove us to the start of the Eisenbahn Trail in Eden, took some pictures and saw us off. Only 116 people ran the marathon, so it was a very small and intimate affair. No microphones, no music, no fuss. It was beautiful this morning, quiet, calm and cool.
The trail was gravel packed with trees and fields on either side. Tim ran ahead pretty early, so it was just me and Angie, and the crowd spread out pretty quicky.
My mum was meeting us at almost every stop and had Louie. He was so funny, because he would follow me as we ran by. He even ran with us for a while when my mum ran with us.
We had two detours off the trail and onto country roads, which were HILLY. So hilly. And we saw two deer. And a manure truck passed us and I almost puked. We liked the trail way better.
It started getting hot around mile 9 - and only got worse. Angie snapped a shot of us right after we hit mile 9. We both were feeling pretty good.
The run itself was pretty uneventful - not a lot of people, just mostly trees and fields. BUT the volunteers at this race were amazing. They were so helpful and nice and gave so much personal attention. They definitely made this race awesome.
At mile 19, I think Angie and I were both starting to feel the heat. In a bad way. We took a long walking break, and then started up again. But Angie was feeling so good, so she told me to go on without her. I really didn't want to leave her, but relectanly took off.
As I put my headphones in, a great Coldplay song came on, filled my ears, and I got runner's high. It was amazing. I truly appreciated the moment I was in, and the space around me. I was happy, and smiling from ear to ear.
I still felt good through mile 21, although feeling the heat a lot. My mile pace dropped to 11 minutes at some points, and my legs started to feel very achy. And then I hit my wall at mile 22. Bad.
Not only did I hit the wall, but the last 6 miles were blazing hot. There was no shade, no relief from the sun. And I was alone. I think that was the hardest part. I remember looking up at one point, and all I saw was the trail in full sun, with no one in front or behind me. Just brutal.
At the last three water stations, I took long walks. At one point, when I looked at my watch, it said I was doing a 12:44 pace. And at one point, I thought to myself, I'm not sure I can do this.
But some ounce of something in me trecked on. I knew I had people waiting for me at the finish line, and I wanted this SO bad. So I put one painful foot in front of the other and keep moving.
At mile 25 was the last water station. I walked for a minute or so, and then when I started up again, my left knee was locked and hurt so bad that I limp-ran for a while. Once it warmed up again, it felt a little better, but really hurt.
Finally, I could see the building where we finish. And it was surreal. I had so many friends and family there, all screaming, it was amazing. All my close girlfriends from high school were there, and my mum and Tim's dad (my Dad was on a plane for work and Tim's mum had a prior commitment). Angie's husband, Brody, was there taking pictures.
I finished the line at 4:45 on my watch, later to find out that my actual time was 4:48. My goal was 4:30, but with the temps so high, I knew that probably wasn't attainable for my first marathon, so I just worked hard to finish strong. And I felt I did.
After finishing, my first thought was, did that just happen? Did I just do that?
And next thought was: shade and chocolate milk!
My mum was the first to hug me and told me how proud she was. And then I found Tim and he told me how proud he was of me. A text from my dad said the same. And then I had four of my best friends tell me again how proud they were. It was pretty amazing.
It was great to have everyone there, and to actually talk to Tim and see how he did. He finished 10 minutes before me, and was feeling ok. One of the first questions all the girls asked me was, "Would you do another?" In a heartbeat, yes. I think that with normal weather or even cooler weather, I could do really well.
Angie crossed the line looking strong - and happy. We had some celebratory pictures, and then headed out.
Tim's parents invited us over for a swim in the pool and some food. It was a perfect ending to marathon day. As I type this, I am so tired and my knees are killing me. Like I'm not looking forward to walking up the stairs to go to bed.
The funny thing is, this is how I remember feeling after my first half marathon - knees so sore that stairs were the devil. So it gives me hope that my next marathon will be easier.
Now if you excuse me, I'm going to go buy my 26.2 bumper sticker.
- only 98 marathoners finished today out of 116.
- it was 84 degrees when we finished (but it felt like 90)
- my official time is 4:48:46
Thank you to all my family, friends and running community (dailymile!) for your support and encouragement during this journey. Shout out to my mum who was a trooper this weekend - she met us at almost every point she could and gave us water and ice. She was awesome! Thanks Mum!
They say that the it's not the destination, but the journey. This marathon journey has been pretty amazing in many ways. I'm going to miss our weekly Saturday morning runs and talking about our weeks. Early morning runs, getting the miles in before work. Friday night routine of pasta and early nights. But all journeys come to an end, and I'm looking forward to the relaxing week ahead.
First marathon journey complete. Onward to the next.
To read Angie's blog post on this marathon, click here.