After months of anticipation, I completed my first marathon last weekend. For weeks I had been agonizing over what pace group to join, which socks would be most likely to keep my feet blister free, how many Gu’s to eat and when, and many other seemingly trivial race-day details. On February 7th at 6:30 AM, I started my race and a big new learning experience.
My typical MO is to ignore advice, instructions, and most words of warning and try things out for myself. I went about my first marathon endeavor as usual. Big mistake. Partway through running 26.2 miles is not the time to be thinking about what great advice you were given and have chosen not to follow.
Most of my try-by-doing strategies worked. I alternated between Vitalyte and water to balance my fluids and electrolytes. (Who gives Vitalyte at a race instead of Gatorade anyway?) I ate my Gu’s every 5 miles eating the last one at Mile 20. My favorite purple Mountain Hardwear shirt and my Mountain Hardwear Pacer Advance running shorts kept me comfortable, cool, and dry-ish, if not a little bit salty for the whole race! I even made a good sock choice; I finished the race with only two blisters.
The most problematic decision that I made was to start the race too quickly. If I had slowed my pace by a minute or so per mile at the beginning, I probably would have finished many, many minutes earlier. This advice was given to me many times, but of course I did not listen. Next time I will pace myself better. Yes, there will be a next time. While 4:38:53 is an okay time for a first-time marathoner, I hope to better that sometime soon!