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Enough time has passed since Nov 3, 2019 that I can be objective about my first marathon experience.
I had no idea what to expect ….
Here’s what I learned:
1.The Marathon is More than a Race.
There are training runs…lots of them and hopefully supported by your friends.
There’s the expo and pre-race activities.
Of course, there’s the race itself which is obvious. 26.2 miles…
Finally, there’s also the post race experience.
I am happy that I chose to go big…
NYC rocked all aspects of the race!!
The finish line was not the only important thing that happened that weekend. Who knew?
2.Preparation and Recovery are Different for Each Runner.
I chose the Hal Higdon plan but quickly realized that I could not do the longish mid-week runs due to long work days and lots of work travel. (I traveled for 8 weeks during peak marathon training.)
So I stuck to my normal short runs 3 times a week and then added a long run on the weekend. However, I did worry that I was not as prepared as I should have been. And I had not run as many miles as other marathoners.
After the race, many runners cautioned me about recovery. One even said that she took off a month after her first marathon.
But I felt great. I ran a 15k race a week later.
Just like pace, preparation and recovery are individual things.
3.Your Mind Really Does Control Your Legs.
During the second 13 miles of the race, I was convinced that I was injured…my lower back, my left quad, my right ankle. They all ached.
As a result, I just could not move my legs fast. I was not tired. I wanted to get to the finish line. But my mind said “Slow Down! Don’t risk your future races.”
But I was not injured. I felt perfectly fine the next day…as if I had not run 26.2 miles.
I do not regret my finish time at all.
I only regret that my mind did not let me enjoy the second half of the race.
4.The Pain is Worth It.
Yes, it hurt. It hurt more than I thought it would.
The pain quickly faded from my mind. I mostly remember the crowds, the excitement, the energy, the music, the sights, etc.
If it weren’t for my darn foot, I may have considered running this marathon again.
5.I am One and Done.
For an millisecond, I thought about registering for NYCM 2020.
It’s not that I think my foot pain was caused by all the miles.
It’s that I feel so grateful that in 2019, I was able to run 6 half marathons, three 15k races and a FULL Marathon…without any foot pain.
What if this pain occurred during my marathon training and even worse, during the race??
Don’t want to take the chance!
Happy Running! If you ran a big race, what did you learn that was unexpected? Please share.