Tuesday, December 6, 2016

My First Marathon

Early on Sunday morning, December 4th, I was at the start line of my first marathon.  The California International Marathon (CIM) to be exact.  There were a lot of circumstances and miles that led me to this point but I will save that for a future post.  This story is about the experience.

I was running with my brother-in-law, Mike.  Well, in reality I was only starting with him since he would finish an hour faster than me.  We decided to make it a weekend get away so both families headed to Folsom on Friday. 

Mike and I at the Expo
On Saturday, we went down to the Expo in Sacramento.  We checked in, picked up our race packets, and then spent time exploring the booths and getting answers to our questions.  We then walked over the finish line to check it out.  Then it was back to Folsom for family time and to relax before the big day.

On race day, the weather was perfect with sunshine and cool temperatures!  I chose to wear my  long-sleeve Let’s Run Paris shirt.  I’ve had so much fun running with this group when I’m in Paris and I knew their spirit would help me succeed.  

At 5:10 a.m. we walked across to street to catch the bus to the start.  Once our bus was full we were off and you could hear the excited chatter of people on their way to a big adventure.  There was a coffee shop at the start so we grabbed a coffee and waited.  At 6:40 a.m., we took off everything that was keeping us warm, shoved it in a bag, and headed for the official start line.

Since my goal was 4:15, I lined up between the 4:08 and 4:23 pace groups.  However, since this was my first marathon I had decided not to join any pace group.  I wanted to run at my own pace based on how I was feeling at the moment.

Mile 23 (thanks Jasin!)
As start time got closer, we started to edge forward and I found myself in front of the 3:58 pace group.  At exactly 7:00 a.m. we were off.  The road was very wide and I reached the official start and was running within 2-minutes.  I quickly found my pace as I settled in for over 4-hours of running.  At the 1 mile mark, the 3:58 pace group went by and I simply let them go.  At 2.5 miles, the 4:00 pace group also passed me. While I let the 4:00 group go by I noticed they weren’t getting too far ahead of me.  In fact, at the 8 mile mark, they were still in sight.  Finally, around 9 miles I saw them for the last time.  

The course was beautiful with gentle rolling hills and thousands of spectators cheering us along.  I got high fives and touched homemade signs saying they would give me power.  I managed to stay at a relaxed pace that allowed me to enjoy the trip.  All-in-all, I was having a great time and was enjoying the experience.

With my medal!!!
At mile 16, my right leg really tightened up, which never happened in training.  Nothing too serious but it did force me to slow down. Still, I wasn’t caught by the 4:08 pace group until just pass mile 21.  I thought about trying to stay with them to the end but decided against it.  Instead I maintained my relaxed pace and crossed the finish line at 4:12:47.  I was thrilled as I happily received my medal telling the world I had completed a marathon.

Overall, it was a great experience and I may do another marathon in the future.  However, not in 2017.  I miss my bikes so next year will be rededicated to cycling and I can’t wait to see what new adventures will come my way.


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