New Year, New Goals

Well, I did it. I committed to being a Pace Group Leader for this year’s Galloway Marathon Training Class. Class starts on January 27th and I’m really excited. I had such a great experience last year and I really hope I can help others have a great experience this year. I’m especially excited about any first-time marathoners in my pace group. I’m actually really pleased that I kept this blog during my own first attempt at the marathon. I plan to use it to help remember what it’s like that first time through, so I can be a better PGL.

I’ve been running more regularly than not, since my last post. I’ve missed a few runs here and there, but overall, I’m on track. And I know that being in the class will help as well.

As I’ve mentioned previously, my goal races for this year are the Pengelly Double Dip in June and the Missoula Marathon in July. In the mean time, I’m also planning to run the Snow Joke and any other fun races that don’t conflict with marathon training.

And before I forget, I should tell you that I accomplished something today. I actually ran a whole mile without a walk break! I’ve never done that before ever in my life! Now, to be fair, I haven’t actually tried to run without walk breaks in quite some time. I’ve been very faithful to the run/walk/run method because it really works for me. But this weekend I washed my Gymboss timer and I haven’t replaced it yet.

When I went out on my run today I was a little dismayed to be without my trusty “coach”. But rather than allow the situation to depress me, I decided it would be the perfect time to see if I could run a mile without a break. So after my five minute warm-up walk, I pressed start on my GPS watch and started out running nice and slow. As I kept running, I was really surprised and pleased not to feel tuckered out. When my watch beeped for 1 mile I was shocked! I wasn’t struggling at all. Just then a passing runner commented on my calf-sleeves, so we had a nice little chat until he pulled too far ahead. In all, I ran 1.25 miles before I decided that was enough for the day and went back to run/walk/run. I did my best to approximate a 30/30 split using my watch and counting my breaths. All in all, it was a great run.

Running a mile without a walk break may not seem like much to most runners, but for me it’s an accomplishment, and I’m very satisfied. Over the next several months I will probably continue to add distance on until I can run a few miles without a break. To be honest, though, I love run/walk/run and I don’t really plan to attempt any serious distances without it.

And here’s a bit of news that is specifically for the ladies who read my blog. I’ve decided to take the “Instead Softcup Challenge“. I’ve been looking for a better feminine hygiene solution for long runs and came across a blog post about the challenge at Slow is the New Fast. Friends have recommended similar products in the past, but I’ve never actually tried them, partly due to the expense of some of the options. I thought this challenge would be a great way to try out this type of product. I’ve just gotten my supplies in the mail today, so sometime in the next few months, I’ll be posting my review. In the mean time, if any of you ladies are interested in taking the challenge, check out the link. They’ll even reimburse you for your race entrance fees for one upcoming race, as long as you post your product review before the end of June.

I hope to post more regularly once class begins. I’ll actually have things to post about after all. I hope you’re all still running happy!

Blogs I Read

I know there are a ton of running blogs out there, but I thought I’d tell you about a few of those that I read and enjoy.

The Accidental Athlete is a grad student who runs and writes about her training.  She started running for many of the same reasons the rest of us do and found herself going farther than she ever imagined she would. I really relate to that and love reading about the things she’s learning and achieving as she goes.

Running Sunflower is a great writer and inspiring runner. She runs a lot of races, including marathons and always makes it sound like fun.

SisterSoleBlog is unique in two ways. First, it’s about BigSisterSole and LittleSisterSole who live in different states but encourage each other, train together (sometimes literally, sometimes figuratively) and have adventures.  Second, LittleSisterSole is one of my pace group buddies from my Galloway marathon class. She’s super fun to run with, especially if you’re feeling low. She can cheer you up and take your mind off whatever is bugging you like nobody’s business.

The T-Rex Runner is a favorite blog of many runners I know. She’s a Marathon Maniac who travels all over, runs marathons and writes some of the BEST race reports I’ve read. She’s snarky and funny, which I really enjoy, but you can always tell she loves running, even when she’s having a tough time. Check out her recent posts about running two marathons in two days.

Slow is the New Fast is a recent addition to my blog reader, but it’s an idea that’s close to my heart. She has a great attitude and clearly loves what she’s doing. Right now she’s training for the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. She’ll be running a half marathon on Saturday and then a full on Sunday. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?

Finally, the last blog in my list for today is Ultrun’s Blog. When Ultrun followed me I went to check out his blog and I will admit I felt absolutely unworthy. In the notification I got about being followed, wordpress included the suggestion that I check out his (then) recent post about the Ring of Fire – 3 Day, 131 Mile race. It’s a rather long post but absolutely worth reading. As with some of the others in my list, Ultrun’s love of running comes through in his words even when he’s writing about a race where he had a rough time. To be honest, reading about the Ring of Fire made me realize that if I want to, I can run a heck of a lot farther than a marathon. I just have to find the right races for me, and then train for them and I can do anything.

I hope you’ll find some of these blogs interesting. They’re not the only running blogs I read, but if I tried to include all of them I’d never get this post finished. I’ll have to do another roundup sometime soon.

Happy running!

Running to Finish vs. a Time Goal, Which is Right for You?

This post is a part of my series, Tips for New Runners. It is based entirely on my own experiences as a new runner and may be missing a lot of information. This series is intended to help my readers find what works for them by sharing what worked or didn’t work for me.

During the Galloway Marathon Training class that I took, we got some very different advice on the “time goal.” Jeff Galloway is adamant that a first time marathoner should run to finish. Our class leaders also adhered to this approach. Several of our expert guest speakers, however, disagreed.

Ultimately you have to decide for yourself whether a time goal is right for you for your first race or any race you run. Some runners and run/walkers find that they gain motivation from the time goal. They are competing against others, or perhaps just against themselves and their own limits. Having a goal keeps them on track in their training and pushes them onward during the race. On the other hand, pushing yourself too much can make you more likely to become injured. So in that regard, it depends on your priority. How important is it to you to make it through your training and finish the race healthy enough to continue running afterwards, vs. how important is it that you run your race in a certain amount of time? Only you can make that determination.

I am not a competitive runner at all. I didn’t even start run/walking until age 37. I’m not fast and I don’t anticipate being fast enough to even win my age group any time soon, if ever. What I do want is to keep run/walking for the rest of my life. So for me, avoiding injury is much more important than any time goal.

In fact, I find that trying to have a time goal causes me stress. Toward the end of our marathon training class a particularly persuasive guest speaker told us how important it was to have a time goal in order to stay motivated during the race. Since I was completely inexperienced at running races, I took her advice to heart and tried to set a time goal for myself based on Jeff Galloway’s Magic Mile prediction formula. Whenever I looked at the difference between my suggested training pace (13:46) and race pace (11:46) it started to freak me out. I couldn’t figure out how I was supposed to run 26.2 miles 2 minutes faster per mile than I was used to. Other runners advised me that races are different and I’d get a boost from the adrenaline and race energy and go faster without even realizing it, but I had my doubts. I actually found myself having bad dreams about it.

As the day of the race approached, much was made about how hot it would be that day, and how we needed to slow down to protect ourselves from the heat. I think that all the concern about the heat saved me from a lot of stress. As I once again let go of the idea of having a time goal, not really knowing what to expect from the heat, I suddenly felt much better about race day. My attitude turned from dread back to excitement.

The morning of the race, my pace group buddies and I chatted about what we wanted and agreed to run a conservative race and focus on having a good time. I am so pleased with that decision. We ended up running  very close to my training pace and the truth is, I had a great race that I will always be able to look back on with pride. It doesn’t matter to me that my finish time is just barely under six hours. What is important to me is that I finished a marathon and I had a great time doing it. It makes me want to run the marathon again next year. If I’d tried to speed it up 2 minutes per mile I probably would have had a very different race, and I suspect that I wouldn’t have come across the finish line as excited and happy as I did. I know myself well enough to know that if I’d hurt myself in the process, it might have discouraged me from running at all after that.

So when you are deciding whether or not to have a time goal, consider what is best for you. Will you be motivated by it? Will it help you get stronger and faster and be a positive force in your training? Or, will it cause you unnecessary stress and take your focus away from finishing and having fun? Your friends, other runners, teachers and experts can tell you what they think, but they can’t see inside your head and know what is best for you. Just do be careful about choosing your time goals at first. Make sure you’re not setting yourself up for disappointment. Be conservative. It’s probably better to set a conservative goal and meet or surpass it. At least, that’s what I think.

Happy Running!

The Sweathouse Half Marathon

The Sweathouse Half Marathon follows a really gorgeous course through the woods and fields outside Victor, MT. It was a hazy day, smoky day thanks to all the forest fire smoke, so the cellphone pictures I took are even a bit worse than they would have otherwise been. I need a decent little camera, I think.  Nevertheless, here is a little peek at the course.

I ran the race with an awesome lady who was in my pace group during the Galloway class and who I run with often on Saturdays. Running with a buddy really makes so much difference, especially when you have someone smart and interesting to chat with. Periodically we were also joined by a gentleman who trained for the Missoula Half with our class, as he was working on finding his best pace. Looking at the posts in our Facebook group this morning there appears to be a strong sentiment that running with a buddy is the way to go. I know a lot of folks like to run solo and find it really relaxing and refreshing to do so. But for many of us, running with a friend helps keep us motivated, entertained and gets us through the rough patches. I am still surprised that I prefer running with others to running on my own. In so many other aspects of my life I’m an introvert and often prefer solitude. The lesson there is, don’t assume you will like or dislike running with others based on your attitude towards the rest of life, at least for me.

Prior to the race I’d been told by a few people that there were only two or three hills of significance, of which one was quite steep but also quite short so I was mentally prepared for that as much as I could be without having run the course before. The steep, short hill is right around mile 10 and was exactly as described. It’s a challenging little hill, but thankfully quite short and very satisfying to conquer.

The course was very, very well marked with orange and green spray painted arrows, and little bits of encouragement as well. I wish I’d taken a few pictures in places where they’d painted things like, “1/2 way! Woo hoo!” or “It’s a short hill! You got this!” but I doubt they would have come out.

My goal for the race was to have fun and run happy, and I think I knocked it out of the park in that regard. I don’t have an official time yet, and I managed to forget to stop my watch until I’d been standing around a little bit at the end, but I believe that my time was very close to 2 hours and 45 minutes. It seems that the 12 minute, 45 second pace is where I am most comfortable at the moment. Interestingly, based on my Magic Miles from earlier in the year, that is exactly what my training pace for a half marathon should be. Given that I’m running to have fun and finish rather than running to compete, it’s not surprising that I am sticking to my training pace. My marathon finishing time was less than two minutes short of the predicted finish at my training pace, so it would seem that Galloway’s predictions are quite accurate for me, once I take into account my total lack of competitiveness and focus on the training pace column.

I did have a short rough patch around mile eleven, but it passed quickly. I think I’ve gotten really used to my Saturday morning routine, which includes a coffee break around that point, after the breakfast run, before I run home. I was also quite a bit hungrier after the race than I usually am after a 13ish mile Saturday morning breakfast run. I am wondering how much of that was mental. A local business, Cowboy Troy’s generously provided free pizza and beer after the race, but sadly wheat and I are not friends so I had to pass. We also received a black cotton event t-shirt and a finishers medal.

My Missoula Marathon 2012 medal on the left and my Sweathouse Half Marathon 2012 medal on the right.

As The Accidental Athlete pointed out recently, it’s not really a collection until you have more than one, so I have now officially begun my race medal collection. I hope to get many, many more.

Nearly all the races coming up in my area for the next several months are 5k races. Even though 5ks don’t spark my interest, I may have to run a few just to keep my head in the game, as they say. And if a good opportunity comes up to travel to a not-too-distant half marathon, I still plan to stay ready to do that without having to train up for it.

The next Missoula Marathon is over 307 days away, but I still plan to be there and be ready to have fun and run happy.  I’ll be back to my Tips for New Runners series in the next day or two, so keep an eye out for that. Happy running!

So You Ran a Marathon. Now What?

In the book Galloway Training Programs, Jeff Galloway recommends that we “Select another ‘mission’ before the big day.” In light of this, I decided some time ago that my 2013 goal race would be the Pengelly Double Dip. I think I may have made a bit of a mistake in picking a goal race so far in the future, so now I’m trying to focus on something not quite so far off. I believe that the Sweathouse Half Marathon might be just the goal I need. It is far enough in the future for me to relax and enjoy my summer a bit, but still give me motivation to stay in distance running shape.

Another thing that Jeff mentions, right on the same page of the book is the Post-Race Letdown. And yet, somehow I still wasn’t prepared for it. Last Tuesday it hit me hard. I had a very emotional day, and not in the good way. That afternoon Pam, our wonderful class leader, mentioned the letdown in an email to us. It’s always amazing to me how much of a difference it can make just to know you’re feeling emotional for a reason. That email helped me feel a lot better about feeling the letdown and helped me begin the process of refocusing on new goals and renewing my commitment to my original goals of weight-loss and improved health. I also plan to get back into the habit of doing some cross training. I was doing really well there for a while.

Right now though, the biggest struggle I’m having is figuring out when to get my runs in during the hot part of the summer. I don’t deal well with heat so mornings are best, but I work at 8am and don’t own a car so I haven’t quite figured out what my plan is going to be. Perhaps a “commute run” is in my future. However I manage to work it out, I want to keep my mileage up. I’m setting a target goal of 20+ miles per week for the time being.

In any event, I plan to keep run/walk/running and keep blogging. Going out with the Back of the Pack group that night in November is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. And while I may feel at loose ends just now, I really do plan to keep right on running before I walk.

Best Marathon I’ve Ever Run, Part Two!

Continued from my previous post, Best Marathon I’ve Ever Run, Part One!

As the marathon course wound towards Big Flat Road, the scenery became more and more beautiful. The only other time I’d run that portion of the course was our miserably cold, wet training run, during which I’d had much more pressing concerns than the scenery.

By the time we turned onto Kona Ranch Road we were being passed by runners at very regular intervals. I found it increasingly enjoyable to cheer them on as they passed. A few ran on without seeming to hear us. Some folks are very focused that way. But most of them returned the cheers and encouragement. My pace group buddies and I found ourselves noticing their shoes, their form and sometimes their awesome outfits. We also noticed a few people who didn’t seem to be dressed for the weather, wearing long running tights or track pants. Hopefully they were fast enough to get through ahead of the heat.

As we started up the marathon’s one significant hill, we were mentally ready to tackle it. We knew that it was a deceptive hill that starts gently, goes up and flattens out for a while, and then provides a much steeper, but fairly short climb to the actual crest, before coming back down. I can’t speak for my pace group buddies, but the honest truth is, I was having so much fun chatting and cheering that I hardly noticed the hill.

Prior to the race I had compared my projected race time to that of a friend from the traditional running class and anticipated that he would pass me somewhere on the downward slope of the mountain. However, it turns out that he was going a bit faster than usual and passed me not long after we started up the hill. It was great to see him and chat for a second before watching him charge on up and out of sight.

As we moved along up the hill we saw quite a few spectators, including a gentleman on a horse dressed in full cowboy gear, and a wonderful woman playing her drum for us. This was also the time when we began to experience the heat, finally. Something happened that I hadn’t known to expect, though. All along the course, people put out their sprinklers for us. Some folks even stood along the course, holding their spray nozzles out, offering to wet us down as we passed.

After we came down the hill and joined up with the half marathon course, more and more spectators came out to cheer us on and more sprinklers appeared in our path. Some folks even set out coolers full of ice! How amazing is that?  I had no idea that people along the course were so interested and kind. One lovely gentleman even sat playing a grand piano for us as we ran past!

Slowly we wound our way along the course and into town, running through sprinklers, cheering on runners and playing a kind of leapfrog with other run/walkers. When it comes right down to it, I probably could have picked up the pace and run a touch faster, but I was having a great time and feeling good at the pace I was going, so I’m actually glad I didn’t push it. By the time I was over the hill I’d finished two of my honey waters, so I made myself a fourth at a convenient aid station, topped off my plain water, and forged on.

Going through the tunnel under Reserve St, right around mile 20, was a mentally significant milestone to me. At that point I felt that I was “in town” and the end was near. The course through town winds quite a bit, but there were plenty of sprinklers and more than a few spectators to cheer us on. We plugged on, cheering on the other runners & run/walkers and enjoying every sprinkler we ran through.

Around mile 23, the crowd really started to thicken. This is also where the Cafe Dolce aid station is. In addition to water and sports drink, there were orange slices and gummy bears! Honestly, little things like this make me love this town.

After Cafe Dolce we started towards Bonner Park and the spot I call the Loop of Sadness. My sense of humor is such that making silly, dramatic names for things actually helps me stay positive about them, just to be clear. As we approached Bonner Park we passed another set of drummers, more sprinklers and even more people standing with their spray hoses out, happily spraying down anyone who wanted it. Bonner Park itself had quite a positive, party atmosphere, which almost made up for having to turn south, away from the finish line, to South Avenue, before finally turning onto the “home stretch” for the last (roughly) 3 miles.

I started to get really excited at this point, but I kept my pace slow and easy. I didn’t want to push myself too hard and putter out this close to the finish! I also wanted to stay with my pace group buddies. We’d come this far together after all.

I think I kept my composure pretty well, but my mind was racing on ahead, visualizing all the turns we had left and thinking about the bridge and the finish line. I am so glad we chose to run the full course on our 26 mile training run. Thanks to that run, I didn’t have any moments of disappointment that came from thinking I was closer to the finish than I actually was.

On we went, winding through those last few miles, through a part of town that is very familiar to me. The final aid station was on Gerald St. at Hellgate High School, which I graduated from 20 years ago. As we passed, I had a momentary connection with memories of my younger self. That girl never would have imagined running a marathon. It never would have occurred to her that it was something within her ability to do. I’m thrilled to have proven her wrong.

As we crossed 5th street we decided to take an extended walk break and prepare for our run across the bridge. I think a lot of run/walkers felt strongly about making sure they would run across that bridge and across the finish line. We turned off our timers and rounded the corner onto Fourth St. at a comfortable walking pace.

As we came to our final turn onto the bridge the volunteer stationed there informed us that we had 2 or 3 minutes to make it in under the 6 (he said 5, but was assuming we started at 6am) hour mark. That was all I needed to hear. I came around that corner and took off. I have no idea how many of the cheers of, “Yeah! Way to finish strong!” were meant for me, but I felt strong and happy and excited as I ran across that bridge and toward the big, blue arch at the finish. I did hear one friend call out my name, and hopefully I managed to acknowledge her adequately, but to be honest I was focused on that blue arch.

I ran across that pad as fast as my little legs were willing to carry me at that point, and slowed to a stop in front of a happy volunteer who put a medal around my neck. The next person I saw was none other than our super hero of a pace group leader, Kevin! He gave me a big hug and congratulations and took my timing chip off my shoe.

After that I wandered, in a bit of a daze until I found my pace group buddies and some other classmates and class leaders. Then I heard my name again, and my friend who had cheered me on earlier called me over to the fence for hugs, congratulations and chocolate milk! Best. Chocolate milk. EVAR.

There are more details and stories in my head that I’d like to share with you, but I think they’ll keep for now. My chip time was 5 hours, 58 minutes and 9 seconds. That’s a pretty darned slow time, but considering that it was not just my first marathon but my very first race, I’m perfectly happy with it. Besides, what I wanted more than anything was to have fun and finish healthy and strong, and I succeeded at that! I achieved my goal and I’m more than a little proud of myself.

Here I am, about to cross the finish line. I really was that excited.

 

I have no intention of stopping at this point, either. I’m going to keep running half marathons and marathons, though I’m likely to stick to the ones close to home for now. Maybe I’ll get faster. Maybe I won’t. As long as I keep having fun, I’m going to keep right on running before I walk.

Best Marathon I’ve Ever Run, Part One!

It was my first marathon, so that title might only be funny to me. But it was actually a great experience. Saturday night I went to bed as early as I could make myself. I set two alarms for 3:00am and read for a bit in an attempt to calm my mind and fell asleep around 9:30pm. I did not sleep soundly, though. My mind was too active. I was nervous and excited and a bit concerned about the heat. At about 2:30am I gave up trying to sleep and got up. I fussed around for a while, ate my breakfast of two eggs and a banana with peanut butter on it and headed out the door a few minutes later than I meant to.

I arrived at the shuttle buses right on time, thankfully, and hopped right on the lead bus in the line for the full marathon and off we went. I wasn’t with anyone I knew so I listened to the commentary around me. It was really nice to hear the people from out of town express their appreciation for Missoula and for the marathon organizers. Many of them were experiencing our area for the first time so I heard a lot of comments about how gorgeous it is here. I was really excited for them to get out on the course and see how gorgeous most of it is.

We arrived at the starting area and a volunteer hopped onto our bus to give us a rundown of helpful information. Once we all piled off the bus we were greeted by more volunteers, music and an announcer giving us more instruction. The atmosphere was very festive. Having never run a race before, I was mentally prepared for some confusion but honestly, things were so well laid out and organized that I had no trouble at all.

While wandering around the starting area, I came across one of the ladies from my Galloway class pace group. While we were chatting and asking each other if we’d seen any other classmates, an older gentleman (in his 60s maybe?) gave us quite a chuckle when he began to sing along with the song playing over the PA while he rushed frantically about. The song was “Call me Maybe.” After I put my gear bag away, got myself situated and used one of the many porta-potties, we got into the chute together with another lady from our pace group (yay!) and waited for the race to begin.

I was a little bit shocked when the fireworks started to go off, as we charged over the mat and out of the chute. Nobody had told me about that. But it was really cool and it was the first of many things that day that made me feel a little bit emotional.

The group starting at 5:00am was technically the walkers group, with a 6:00am start for runners. But as we started on our journey it was very clear that many of the people in our group were run/walkers (not necessarily Galloway style) and shufflers.

The night before the marathon, our class had been invited to a special pep-talk with Jeff Galloway. In addition to encouraging us and building us up, he cautioned us about the heat. Particularly, he advised us not to push harder in the beginning, even though it might seem like the thing to do, to get out in front of the heat. He strongly recommended starting out at a slow, easy pace and conserving our resources for the latter portion of the marathon when we would need them most. Given this advice, the three of us decided to use our training interval of 30 seconds running and 45 seconds walking.

Along the way we got to watch the sun rise over the mountains in the east and it was gorgeous. Before long, we started to pass a few folks out to cheer on their family members as well as the rest of us. In particular I was struck by a mom and her toddler son, waiting for someone special to run by. The little boy was adorable and had a little cowbell that he clearly loved ringing. I’m also fairly sure that the person they were cheering on was behind us or not very far in front of us for the first 2/3 of the race, as we saw them again a few times along the course.

We heard the fireworks go off again when we were a couple of miles down the road and checked our watches in confusion. It was only 5:30. I wasn’t sure how long it would take the runners to start overtaking us after their 6:00am start, but I was actually pretty excited about it.

Along the way, we chatted with the walkers and run/walkers that we passed or were passed by. That is, until Negative Ned (not his real name) came along. At our pep-talk the night before, Jeff had mentioned that some people approach marathons with a positive attitude and other folks are negative and whine. I’m not sure he had anybody like Negative Ned in mind, but it felt a bit like a prophecy coming true. See, Negative Ned is a run/walker as well and has been for quite some time. But he disagrees very strongly with Mr. Galloway’s approach and was happy to tell us all about how wrong Mr. Galloway is and why.

Now, I believe I have a healthy amount of skepticism and I don’t take every word Jeff Galloway says as gospel or anything like that. But here we are, three ladies who are really only able to participate in this marathon because of the Galloway method and Ned wants to tell us all about how it’s wrong? It was quite negative and unwelcome, but we were polite and nice and tried to chat with him in spite of our frustrations. But he just kept right on explaining and it didn’t seem like he would be open to changing the subject any time soon. So when Ned stopped off to make a pit stop at an aid station, we sped up in the hopes of gaining enough distance that he wouldn’t find us in the crowd, and began to joke and laugh and regain our positive attitudes.

It will be no surprise to anyone who knows me to learn that I drastically over-prepared for my nutritional needs during the marathon. My belt holds 4 water bottles. I filled one bottle with plain water and into the other three I mixed two gels each. I also packed 5 extra gels and 5 packs of gummies, in addition to my sunscreen, phone, blister tape and leatherman micra. This is especially hilarious considering that there were aid stations with water and sports drink about every two miles along the course. I’m just one of those people who would much rather have a bunch of things I don’t need than to be missing one thing I do need. But in my defense, I was concerned with the heat and how I was going to deal with it.

I began taking in nutrition early in the race, switching between gummies and honey-waters, with some plain water thrown in for good measure. At each of the many aid stations we came to, we were offered sports drink and plain water by a host of helpful, happy volunteers. After a while, I began taking the water, even if I didn’t strictly need it, out of a desire to keep from disappointing too many volunteers.

Somewhere between 6 and 8 miles into the race, the lead runner overtook us. Keep in mind that he also started an hour later. As he passed, we cheered him on. He went on to win the marathon with a time of 2:32:39. That just blows me away. Not too long after him, the ladies leader passed us as well. She went on to set a ladies course record of 2:57:44. Compared to my 5:58:09, that is smoking fast! And it seems funny, in a way, but it was exciting to be passed by the lead runners. I think starting at 5:00am was a great choice. I got to see both of the lead runners as well as lots of other runners, including friends. Granted, they were passing me, but that’s okay. I wasn’t in the race to achieve any sort of competitive time. I was in it to have fun doing something that most people never do, and I did.

I have much more to say about my fantastic marathon experience, but this blog post is getting quite long and it’s late. Come back soon for the rest of the Tale of the Nerd Girl Who Ran the Marathon!