Tuesday, February 19, 2013

26.2- My first Marathon Story

I ran 26 miles on Sunday.  I keep repeating that to myself in my head and I can hardly believe it.  It feels like it was a dream...an out of body experience...except that my legs are a constant reminder that it really did happen. 

I ran in one of our nation's greatest cities...Austin, Texas.  The Austin Marathon did an amazing job organizing the race.  This event supports the LiveStrong organization.  LiveStrong raises funds to find means of improving the quality of life for those affected by cancer and increasing cancer survivorship.  I could not imagine a better cause to run for, and Sunday I reminded myself this every time my legs begged me to stop.

My average pace was a 9:14 minute mile and I completed the race in 4 hours, 1 minute and 49 seconds.  My training pace averaged an 8:40 minute mile, but did not account for the Austin hills. My fueling strategy was Gu Energy gels at miles 6, 10, 14, 18 and 22.  I carried water and refilled my bottle at miles 12 and 20.    My diet the day before a long run or race consists of drinking 90-100 oz. of water followed by G2 formula Gatorade.  I eat foods high in carbohydrates the entire day and flood my body with protein rich Greek yogurt.  This plan works for me, but one thing I've learned is that this process is trial and error.  Find what works for you and stick with it...consistency is key.

I ran by myself, but my husband and his best friend followed me around the course.  They met me at miles 4, 10, 16, 21 and 26.2.  They took my shed jacket, gloves and head wrap at mile 4.  Matt ran with me at mile 10.  They watched me dance at mile 16.  They watched me cry at mile 21...and gave me the words to get me through the last 5 miles.  They watched me cross the finish at mile 26.2. 

Today, I am proof, that you can do anything you set your mind to do.  It is not "If", it is "When".  Live "Strong" and live each day to its fullest...never knowing if it could be the last.  Challenge yourself to do something you never imagined possible and don't quit.  The reward is AMAZING!