Wow! Well I wish I had blogged more frequently leading up to this event because there is a whole load of stuff that happened that I could have shared about.
Anyway more excitingly – Sunday the 11th December 2016, I ran my first FULL MARATHON!
(I was letting it sink in for a minute).
I ran BCS marathon at College Station in Texas which is Aggieland (Texas A&M for the non Texans amongst us). What a race! The volunteers were amazing and everything was well organized with clear, frequent communications from the organizers. It was a much smaller race than I realized and I think I loved it more for this reason! It was so much more personal and every single person out on the course was happy and friendly.
I ran with my friend and I am so grateful that I had someone to run with; it would definitely have been a different experience solo. If you are planning on running with someone, make sure you know them fairly well and get on enough that you can zone out or tell them to shush if you need to (I didn’t need to shush my buddy but I was pretty quiet the whole race – just taking it all in and mentally keeping myself on track).
In my racing/training strategies for my longer runs I like to count down the miles which I know some people hate but it keeps my mind focused and doesn’t let me quit until I reach 0. I was surprised how quickly the miles went down on this race – way quicker than in my ‘training’. I’ll be honest – I wasn’t trained for the race and I wouldn’t recommend it to people as a healthy approach to racing but weather conditions and the course were in my favour. The longest training run we did was 13.1 miles at Thanksgiving (see photos for the beautiful trace we ran in Louisiana)
The weeks when I had planned 15 and 18 mile training runs I was so ill with flu that I couldn’t even get out of bed and then my asthma flared up big time – to the point where I couldn’t even speak more than a word or 2 before dissolving into coughing fits and being unable to breathe. (Ironically I can run perfectly with asthma as long as it’s not too cold!). I just can’t go anywhere without my inhaler in the winter.
Anyway.. side tracked (obviously still in that post race daze/high stage).. so the race was amazing. My friend got a huge blood blister just after we passed 13.1 (high five for making it beyond our longest training distance) so we switched to walking through the water stops at each mile marker after that point. At about 18/19 he started to feel unwell (I’ll admit around mile 10 my stomach started to feel rough for a few minutes and then luckily I was fine without any issues for the rest of the race). By mile 23 my knee felt like it was about to give out and I was experiencing quite a bit of pain and my buddy was feeling like he was about to hurl so we walked until 24. We rallied and kept going, looking at the photos of the child slaves freed this year because of this race (WOW!!!) as we ran towards the finish. My buddy had said to me that he wasn’t going to sprint finish as we usually push to do.. but then he picked up his speed so I said ok.. if we’re going to do this, let’s do this properly! We flew into the finish at top sprint and everyone was cheering and screaming (and I later found out our friends were watching us finish!!). It was an amazing end to the race and I didn’t even cry! Yay me!
As soon as I crossed the finish line my feet felt soggy and I could feel some intense pressure points and potential blisters on my feet which I guess I had blocked during the race. Other than this and the knee pain at 23/24 (and maybe some ankle/inner foot aches from the pounding) I felt pretty good the whole race and mentally I was clear and with it throughout. I didn’t hit a wall but I’m pretty sure this was because I had someone with me to push me and keep me going.
There were way too many people milling around in the finish enclosure and when my legs were buckling I was worried about falling into people or things but hey ho.. I made it out upright, with my super duper medal and off we went to have pictures taken!
Would I recommend this race to others? Yes! It was awesome!
Cheap sign up if you join early
Marathon only $5 more expensive than half marathon
Fantastic communication and social media support
SWEET medal and finisher jacket (plus a tech shirt)
Great volunteer support
Yummy food at finish
Benefitting a fantastic cause
There weren’t really any – we decided not to stay in College Station over the weekend and drove up for the race, if I did it again I would stay overnight probably. I would have liked maybe a portapotty or two more dotted around the course just in case!
On a side note, if you’re in College Station and you’re looking for great food – head to Mad Taco near Northgate – best tacos I have EVER eaten!