On November 20th, 2016, my mum and I ran our first marathon! It was a great experience that I’m excited to tell you all about. Make sure to head over to Page 1 of this post so you can hear about the race morning and the first 13.1 miles. Now on to the second half of the race….
Miles 13.1 – 18.6 (30K)
These were my best miles of the race. Back over the Schuylkill River to the Art Museum. We could hear the announcer interviewing the female winner (she was already done!) and there were tons of spectators.
We took another energy gel at mile 14 and I was feeling good. Off towards Manayunk we went as the headwinds (20 mph! no joke) picked up. Though running into the wind was tough, we were pleased we were running against the wind at that point. It would be behind us during the final 6 miles of the race.
We continued to pass other runners and pick up our pace. I felt Mum dropping behind my a little, but I knew she’d stay with me even if she was hurting. She admitted after we finished that she wasn’t feeling great at that point.
Keeping on track with our fueling and hydration plan, we ate another gel at mile 18 and continued to hydrate.
At the 30K mark, our split pace was 9:38.
Miles 18.6 – 26.2
As expected, the final miles of the race were the most difficult for me. Mum, on the other hand, got a second wind!
We ran into Manayunk and enjoyed the great crowd support. Neither of us took the beer than was offered! We made the U-turn just after the 20 mile mark and started back towards Center City.
We were met with more headwinds. It was more than a little disheartening. How were we still running into the wind when we’d made a U-turn!? But we continued to push on.
My legs were hurting and I could feel Mum pulling away from me. I told her to go on without me if she had more left in the tank, but she said no. She tried to encourage me, but I didn’t want to hear it at that point! I was trying so hard not to let my pace slip – speeding up seemed impossible!
I started counting down the miles. 5 more. 4 more. We ate a final energy gel at mile 22, and I hoped it would give me the boost I needed to get to the finish line.
Half an hour left. At 23 miles Mum said something about only a 5K left. She wanted to pick up the pace, but I was afraid to push it too soon and fade again before the finish.
In the end, I only managed to speed up for the final mile. The crowds increased as we got closer to the finish line and gave me the energy for a final kick.
I couldn’t see my family in the crowds but knew they were there somewhere. As we approached the finish line I heard the announcer calling out my name! We’d made it!
the finish line
We got our medals and mylar blankets, then saw our family. They had warm clothes for us which we quickly put on. It was freezing once we stopped running!
Then we looked at our finishing time – 4:13:27!
Though I was hoping our time would be closer to 4 hours, I’m really proud of 4:13:27. It was our first marathon and we ran the whole way. And our pace didn’t slip too much towards the end.
Our overall split pace was 9:40 min/mile. And we actually managed to negative split** the race! I’m so excited that we did this because it’s something a lot of more experienced marathoners struggle with. We ran a smart race.
Now it’s time to recover. Mum and I have both had sore legs since Sunday (it’s Tuesday as I’m writing this). Sitting down and standing up are painful, but once I get moving I feel okay!
I have a few days off work so am going to relax and get ready for Thanksgiving. I might think about an easy run later in the week, but for now I’ll be resting!
Tell me about your first marathon experience! Have you ever run a race in the wind?
**For non-runners reading – a negative split means we ran the second half of the race faster than the first half. This is most runners’ strategy going into a race, and it’s how records are made!