On Saturday, I ran the Chosen Marathon. My alarm went off at 4:50am race morning. I had my race outfit ready, tried eating breakfast (only 1/2 a banana and eggs) then it was time to leave the house. My family and I headed to the race which was about a 50 minute drive. It was around 60 degrees which is perfect race weather!
When we got there we had about 40 minutes to wait. They had a bunch of booths set up including a massage table that I wanted to do after the race but the line was too long. There were people leading this jazzercise warm-up. I opted out of that and stretched instead (aka stood in a group of people not knowing what to do with myself).
I ended up wearing my fuelbelt since I noticed the race map only had water stations written on it. I emailed the race directors and they said they had a different electrolyte drink at each mile but since I have only trained with Gatorade I didn't want to try anything new.
Miles 1-10: 8:00 pace
Coach Jenny sent me my race strategy which split the race into three chunks. The first few miles were all about staying "easy" and comfortable. Everyone started off at a much faster pace than I wanted to run but I didn't want to fall off the back so I stayed with them. Plus, it didn't feel hard so I ran based on effort just like Coach Jenny has been teaching me.
The course was an out and back race. It was also a lot hillier than I was expecting! There were a bunch of rolling hills and a few climbs. I kept the pace easy uphill and then lengthened my stride downhill.
Miles 11-22: 7:50 pace
I ran on and off with another girl from miles 8-12. She told me this was her 15th marathon! I would pass her, she would pass me, etc. She was really encouraging and I gave her encouragement too.
I hit the half marathon/turn around in 1:46 and did a body check- feeling strong but probably should drink more Gatorade. My family was waiting to meet me there to exchange my fuelbelt bottles. I have trouble when I fuel too much so I didn't want to eat/drink a lot. I took a Clif blok at miles 5, 10, 15, 19, and 21 but I had only finished one bottle of Gatorade. That was when I realized I had taken in 7oz in 13.1 miles when I should have had about 16 to 30oz. Oops! I was so focused on how I felt (which was great) that I didn't think too much on hydrating.
Mile fourteen to mile twenty were tough as I ran alone. By this time in the race it started to warm up and there was little to no shade but I was going along strong, cruising through the miles. Then mile 23.
Miles 23-26.2: 8:40 pace
At mile 23, my calves cramped up BAD. I have never felt so much pain. My pace went from 7:30s to 9:40. With only three miles left I wasn't about to start walking. They say running is mental so I kept telling myself "I feel good, I feel strong." I quickly stopped to stretch then ignored the pain and within the mile I got my pace back down to around 8 mins/mile.
Lesson: always drink Gatorade or some electrolyte drink in the beginning miles even if the weather deceives you because it's much cooler than you trained in.
Since the course was out and back, I ran into a few half marathoners completing their race. I focused on getting to the next group of people. I made my way back through where we first started and kept pushing through to the end. I saw my dad on the corner near the finish line yelling for me to go. Then I saw the rest of my family cheering me on. Finally I made it to the finisher's chute.
The announcers said, "Sara just finished the full marathon in 3:36!" I was a short 90 seconds from Boston qualifying... but I also broke my previous marathon record by thirty minutes (29:30 to be exact). To me, that is so much more and I can't help but feel proud of myself.
3rd in age group (18-29)
13 out of 171 full marathon runners
The awesome thing about this race is that all race money goes to helping adoptive families and orphans. It was a really great race with a great cause and I am looking forward to racing it again next year!
Thank you to Coach Jenny for coaching me this past year! Thank you to my family for coming to my race, to the race volunteers and directors who all worked so hard, to Instagram and blog friends who encourage me, and to Clif bar for the training fuel!