26.2 miles. For anyone who doesn’t already know that is a REALLY DAMN FAR way to run. Shock right? Whoever thought that running this far for fun is an absolute lunatic. I mean seriously…. Who would want to pay an exorbitant amount of dollars to run for longer than an hour… experience exhaustion and sometimes unfortunately chafing. But alas…. Here I am on the other side of the finish line, and I’ve gotta say I have become one of those lunatics. I have the t-shirt and sticker to prove it. I struggled through the 26.2 miles and eventually crossed the finish line. I now more than ever understand the crazy people that are long distance runners. I have done plenty of 5ks and 10ks, but I don’t think the craziness clicks till you do the full marathon. From the training to actual race day all I could think about was running as many marathons as possible. The blisters, the exhaustions, and even the injuries were all worth it when I crossed the finish line. Though I thought I was plenty prepared for this feat nothing can truly prepare you for your first marathon race day. So what does it take to become prepared for your very first marathon? Take a look below to find out.
As my friends can attest since I moved to Ireland late this January the marathon game plan was going to go as follows:
- Train my ass off to become marathon ready.
- Convince my dad to come run it with me.
- Finish said marathon.
- See how many times I can write marathon in a single blog post. (So far 7)
I might’ve seemed like a crazy person, but each morning didn’t seem complete without a run even if it was only three miles. It is all I could talk about. I lived and breathed running. I am sorry if that seemed annoying to any of my coworkers or friends. Don’t worry it will be toned down from now on. I would even go home early from nights out because of scheduled long runs the following morning. I cross trained… did yoga… and prepped to the best of my ability.
The marathon seemed like a far off myth when it came to my training. Something that wasn’t actually going to happen. Then one fateful day I receive an email confirmation from dear old dad. You guessed it… he signed us up for the full marathon. My mind started to race and I was definitely panicking so hard. I still had months to train, but I still didn’t feel ready. After the initial panic I took a few deep breaths and went on with my training. I kept up my running and doing yoga (yoga is really good to stretch everything out.) I was nervous, but confident that I would be ready come September 3. Slowly but surely my miles increased and I was truly starting to believe that I could really do this.
Before I knew it… my parents and little brother were on a plane heading to the Emerald Isle. I was lowkey*** highkey freaking out. How the hell did I get myself into running for 26.2 freaking miles. The dream was quickly escalating into a reality and I wasn’t sure I was ready. As soon as I saw my dad outside of my house the first words we said to each other were, “whose stupid idea was this?”
The 26.2 miles started to become very daunting. There was panic in the air. The entire trip down to Dingle was spent stressing about how me and my dad were going to finish our respective marathons. There was no way. Like that is incredibly far. As we went to sleep early in preparation for the big day I had jitters in my stomach. I knew that the next day was probably going to be one of the hardest days of my life thus far.
Sure enough as I woke at the crack of dawn it was lashing rain. The perfect way to run a marathon…. Said no one ever. As my father and I geared up and said for the umpteenth time “well this escalated quickly” the fact that I was about to run my first marathon truly set in. Before I knew it I taped up, tied my sneakers, and filled my water and headed to the starting line. Standing next to my dad we said our good lucks we heard the gun go off. Though it took us a minute to really get moving soon enough I was on my way. I had set off on what would become an almost 6 hour run. The adrenaline was pumping and I was truly feeling confident.
I was feeling amazing up until about mile 8. It was there my knee gave out and I was unable to put pressure on it for the last 16 miles. It truly made for an enjoyable time. Though I could’ve quit at the half marathon mark I knew I would be upset with myself. So I opted to hobble through the rest of the race. Though it was trying and I came in crying a bit, I am so thankful that I crossed the 26.2 finish line.
This has been one of my biggest accomplishments to date…. It might even beat graduating college. I learned so much through the training process and running the actual marathon. I met some amazing people along the road and realized I was not alone. Marathons are hard. They aren’t easy for anyone unless you are a crazy super human. Nothing can truly prepare you for your first one… It is not going to go according to plan. There may be more downs than ups, but hey at least with your first marathon you get a PR. I might’ve finished an hour after my desired time but nothing will trump my first marathon. From the beautiful sites to my family coming all the way from the states to watch it was a perfect day. I cannot wait to start training for my next one!