Sunday, December 20, 2009

First Marathon Race Report

As you know (if you really do keep track of stuff I do), I ran my first marathon in January 2009 (Rock 'n' Roll/Phoenix) after training with Team in Training (or TIT as I like to call it) for four months. Until then I had never been much of a runner (had never run further than a 10K), but decided to train for the 26.2 miles anyway. Secretly, I planned to down grade to the half marathon if need be. But race day came, and I felt ready, so I went with it. I had truly fallen in love with this running thing.

I didn't start this blog until March 2009, so there was no race report on Shutupandrun about my one and only marathon. It's been almost a year (and 3 half marathons, one relay and one injury later) and I'm feeling nostalgic, so I thought I'd post the report I wrote for my family blog (not alot of cussing or poop stories there). Just in case you care. As I'm hopefully healed from injury and getting ready to start training for the Colorado Marathon in May, it's good to remember where I got my start. I still tear up when I read this. In a second I can re-expereince it all.


I got up at 5:45 a.m., put on my carefully laid out outfit. I kissed Ken and the kids goodbye (they would later find me at several points on the course). As I left Sam said, "Run with your heart." This was the last bit of inspiration I needed.

I boarded the school bus shuttle to the start. It was still pitch black and freezing. I had no idea where to go and it was a mass of people. Once I found the start, I noticed people were huddled around a generator that was giving off a bit of heat (and probably lethal carbon monoxide). I positioned myself in the middle of this huddle rubbing bodies with people I didn't know, but I was warm. At 7:30 a.m., I headed to Corral 5, my starting place. The national anthem was sung, the gun sounded, and we were off. Well not really. With all of the people it took me at least two minutes just to get to the start line.

I started out S L O W, which is what we were told to do. For each minute you start too fast, you supposedly lose four minutes later. My slowest miles were miles one and two.

Mile 3: First place I saw Ken and the kids. Emma looked miserable. Cold and tired. I felt great. But of course I did. Only 23 miles to go. I drank some Cytomax and plugged along.

Mile 5: Ate my first gel. Feeling really good. Had to pee, but didn't want to stop.

Mile 8: Next place I was to see Ken and the kids. Couldn't find them any where. Could it be I was running quicker than we thought? We guessed I'd be doing ten minute miles, but I was actually doing nines. Continued to grab water at each mile, but not stopping. Staying hydrated is key. Put in my headphones. Turned the corner heading east. The sun was in my face, Bruce was singing "The Rising," and I was running with my heart. Full on. I knew I could do this.

Mile 10: Can't deny the desire to pee. Found a port-o-potty with no line. Jumped in and and out. Back on the course in 1 minute. Grabbed some Cytomax drink and pretzels. Ate another gel (vanilla).

Mile 13.1: Half way! Two hours in. Saw Ken and the kids. Feeling really good at this point. Start to pick up my pace. More Cytomax. Got to keep hydrated.

Mile 18: Still keeping my pace and feeling strong. Ken and the kids are there again with their posters and cowbells. I am so glad to see them.

Mile 20: Now it is getting hard. I am feeling okay, but my legs are getting fatigued. People are slowing way down. Many are walking. I am keeping up my nine minute pace and passing many people. I remember what Julie said, "When you get tired, try to pass people and get your energy from that." I try to eat another gel, but am having trouble getting it down. I throw it on the ground and keep moving.

Mile 21: There's Ashley on the sidelines - my Team in Training coordinator. She has a huge purple afro on. She hugs me and runs with me. I am too tired to talk, but it's nice to see a familiar face.

Mile 22: Holy cow. Put one foot in front of the other. Don't stop. Don't slow down. Find a song that will keep up your energy. I kept repeating Green Day's "Basket Case," which has always been one of my favorite running songs. It keeps my pace on track. Don't stop moving or you might not be able to start again.

Mile 23: I am searching for the mile markers now. Breathing a sigh of relief each time I pass one. Only 3.2 miles to go. That's just one lap around Macintosh Lake. That's just one short run. I'm listening to Bruce's "Born to Run." I'm trying to find inspiration around me to keep going. I keep drinking water and putting one foot in front of the other. A surprise: there's Ken and the kids. The kids run with me for a block, but I am so focused it's hard to converse. Here's me at mile 23 (yeah, hurtin' just a tad):
Mile 24: If I just pick it up a bit I might be able to get in under four hours. No, I can't do it. I don't have it in me.

Mile 25: I might just finish this thing. I really might. Oh no, there is someone on the ground with the medics. Heartbreaking to get this far and to not be able to finish.

Mile 26: People are yelling "Go Beth!!" I can't see the finish yet, but I know it is soon. I am trying to smile.

Mile 26.2: I run across the finish being careful not to look at my watch since I want my finish photo to be a good one. I throw my arms in the air and yell, "YES!" with tears in my eyes.

I.stop.running after 4:03. I did an average of a 9.1 minute mile which is truly the best I could have hoped for on my first marathon.

After four hours, my body has taken a beating. Immediately my stomach cramps up. A medal is put around my neck and I am given a blanket and a popsicle. I grab two more popsicles for the kids and start looking for them. We reunite at the Team in Training tent. I sit down and take off my shoes. Blisters, black and blue toenails. I put on flip flops. I am done!

At the hotel we order room service then head to the pool. I sit in the hot tub and cool my muscles in the pool. I take a hot shower and make some calls. We dress for the victory party and head to the Sheraton where we eat a lot and dance and do the limbo. It truly felt like a celebration.

And today, two days later, I am stiff and sore. But it was worth every mile. One of the greatest feelings has to be working towards something, giving it your all, feeling the pain of the journey, but persevering and reaching your goal.

Tons more pictures at:


  1. YEA! Congratulations! Now that is a sweet race time. Very nice!

    I loved this line:
    "Holy cow. Put one foot in front of the other. Don't stop. Don't slow down."

    Rest up. You done good. :)

  2. What a great trip down memory lane! I call Team in Training the same thing! :0

  3. Awww I seriously LOVE first marathon recaps more than anything because there is so much emotion involved in the unknown. Thanks for sharing with us! Congrats girl! You are going to rock Colorado!!

  4. What a great re-telling of your day! I can only imagine how excited you are to be back at it. Congrats on your first.

  5. congrats on your full mary! like a year late, but better late than never right...

  6. You'll never forget the first one!! Love that medal!

  7. I loved the race report! So cool to read! Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to read #2!!! :)

  8. Wow I didn't realize you started with TNT! my first TNT half is coming up in Disney January 9th and I'm getting so nervous but excited. It's amazing how many people begin their running journey with Team In Training...thank you for posting this! It really inspired me!

  9. :) (can't add anything to what's already been said)

  10. "Run with your heart!"

    I love it! Such a wonderful and inspiring thing for me to remember as I start out on my running journey!

    You are such a great writer, I love reading what you have to say.

    Well done on the marathon, can't wait to hear about your next one.

  11. Awesome - thanks for sharing!

    I love the "run with you heart." So very sweet!

  12. I enjoyed reading this again! Like childbirth stories, I never tire of race reports. Boy, you've been through a lot since last January. I can't wait for the next one. Was Emma giving you a massage or just worshipping you back in the hotel? I worship you everyday!

  13. Isn't Ashley great! She wore the big purple fro at my marathon too.

  14. Hi Beth,

    I really enjoyed reading your recap of your first marathon. I love the fact that you included memories from every single mile. When I am finished with my first marathon and go through the whole experience I hope that I will feel the same. Feeling that all of the hard work outs and training will be well worth every single mile:)

  15. I loved reading your report - so cool. You've accomplished a lot in the last year!

  16. You have done so well. What an accomplishment and so fast!
    I love that you had your sweetie and kids along. Such proof of love. Such proof of strength. Your a testament to both.

  17. Thanks for recapping your marathon - what an awsome experience for you! beautiful pictures! I can't wait to read your story leading up to May's marathon and most likely, I'll see you there, Chica... one way or the other (cheer or running1!!)