Well, I did it. I am officially a marathoner! I could not have asked for a more amazing experience.
The weather was absolutely perfect, cool enough for a sweatshirt in the morning, but warm enough to take it off before the race even started. It warmed up as the day went on, but not too much. The course was a little crowded in the beginning, but eventually the half-marathon and marathon routes split, so it was not too crowded at all on the trails.
The crowd along the course was spectacular, cheering for everyone as they ran by. Their signs were great. Even the chalk writings on the sidewalk were fun to read. There was everything from “You Rock, Runner!!” to “Don’t Stop Now!”, followed almost immediately by “That’s what she said!” My favorite signs were “Run faster… I just farted!” and “Marathon runners never die, they just smell like it!”
The course, as promised, was relatively flat, scenic and shady. I took pictures along the way, determined to remember as much about this day as possible.
I didn’t really have a time goal in mind, but I knew what I could expect to finish in. 5 hours was realistic, so I lined up behind the 4:45 goal pacer. Eventually, though, I lost contact with the pacer and was running my own race. I had read too many stories about people who forgot to enjoy the experience because they were so focused on time, and I was not going to allow myself to be in that group. Especially not in my first marathon. So, I just ran. And looked around. Read signs. Took pictures. And I loved it. Every. Single. Minute. Of course, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t envious of the half-marathoners at the 13.1 mile mark…
In the end, it took me 5 hours, 8 minutes and 50 seconds to cross the finish line. I wasn’t fast at all, but I finished. And, since this was my first official marathon, I set a Personal Best. How could I possibly complain about that?