My First Marathon, Part II.

…this is a continuation of the telling of my FIRST marathon experience – part I here

Wiggles, Barry, the race bib and the cute doorhanger that HGI supplied at check-in!

We headed out to the starting area.  The corrals were getting assembled, and there were gate barricades which made it kind of confusing.  Lots of people were actually jumping/climbing over the gates, but since I am very clumsy, I thought it would be a terrible thing to get injured before even starting the race!  Hah!  So, I did the square thing, and walked all around, then tried to work myself up to the front part of Corral 3, which was basically a grouping of expected finish times of 4-4.5 hours.

Hubs snapped this one on his iPhone before I jumped into my Corral.

The temp was low, probably mid to upper-30s by this point, but I knew that I would warm up as soon as we got running.  Besides, being huddled up around my fellow Marathoners, it was hard to be too cold anyway.

Soon enough, the race began – no Disney fireworks, or anything, just quick start!  😉

The beginning of the race was much different than I would have anticipated!  There was already IMMENSE crowd support in that downtown area, along with entertainers (taiko drummers!) and spectators lining the streets!  In fact, as soon as I broke from the masses after a little weaving, I found myself really emotional…I WAS RUNNING A MARATHON.  Me, the person who found it to be a huge achievement just a year ago running a 10K.  It all caught up to me and that fueled me through the first few miles.

Glancing down at my Garmin, I began to realize I was running too fast.  I tried to slow it down a bit, but it proved to be harder than I would have imagined.  Especially when I realized I had totally lost the 4 hour pace group.

The Course.


Around Mile 7, there was a long gradual decline as we headed down River Road.  I was coasting and felt so great.  I posted under 8 minute mile times then told myself that it was okay to slow down after that!

Then, I realized that all that water and those sips of coffee were catching up with me…I needed a portajohn!  Haha…

So, the next stop, I popped in and out quickly, and still posted a 8.5 min/mile.  I was moving along, taking in the wonderful views and was pretty much on pain-free autopilot…


See, I had brought my Sony Walkman wraparound mp3 player, that had taken me through several races in the past.  It’s a pretty solid device, EXCEPT for the fact that you can’t really gauge its power level.  So yup, you guessed it, I lost my carefully crafted playlist at that point.


Running without music really wasn’t too bad, since there were fun bands and DJs abound, and I could hear the spectators yelling my name…but that LEE BRIDGE.  Now, that was THE mental challenge for me!  LONGGGGGGGG and silent.  All I could hear was my breathing.


After that, I kept reminding myself that the worst was over!  Only 10 miles to go…10 miles to go…um, ONLY?  Who was I kidding?

Nevertheless, I went on, still feeling pretty good.  Passing on from mile 18 to 19 was kind of hard, because I knew that we were physically near the finish, but we still had a pretty good loop around before making it back.

Mile 21: pain!  I started experiencing muscle spasms in my left calf.  I slowed it down.  I made sure that each water stop was a walking break.  But the crowd kept me going!  I gave out tons of high 5’s, that made me smile, especially when it was little kids!  I smiled through the pain.  I never STOPPED.

I laughed when we crossed into the Bellevue area and we saw the Hash House Harriers beer stations.  I thought of how good it was going to feel when I got back downtown.

Cramps started hitting my right calf.  I took long walking strides, taking a minute every mile to slow down and assess.  I checked my time.  As long as I was putting in less than 10 minute miles, I’d still sub-4.

Mile 23: A woman, who must have been a coach of some sort really helped me through (thank you) by looking back and smiling, shouting encouragement to everyone around.  I think she was with another runner, as she’d move up, then fall back and smile and cheer.  She kept me going.

Mile 24: No looking back!  I saw that the last mile was over 10 minutes.  I still listened to my body, but amped it up.  My feet no longer hurt, I picked it up…hit 25…yes!  Heard people shouting, “You’re almost there!”

I gritted my teeth…I wasn’t almost there until mile 26…when I had .2 to go, if you ask me, but then I heard something concrete:

“Keep going! Just two turns and it’s DOWNHILL from there!  YOU CAN DO IT!”

Yes, NEWS I could use just about then!  I turned the autopilot back on, could hear the finish line music and announcements…and after those turns…I could see it!  The FINISH!!

Hubs snapped this can see my neon yellow a little...

Finishing STRONG!

As soon as I hit the finish, I threw my arms up!  I imagined how great I was going to feel when I saw that picture (can’t wait to see them!) and walked through the chute, got my medal, shiny blanket and downed a bottle of water.

There were food stations – including bagels, bananas and even pizza but that all sounded not-so-good to me at that point.  I just wanted ice ice ice and then a shower.  I called hubs and we met at the end of the chute and walked the few blocks back to the hotel.

One more time...3:59:13

This experience has taught me that you really CAN do anything you put your mind to.  I am strong!  I am crazy!  AND most importantly…I AM A MARATHONER.

41 thoughts on “My First Marathon, Part II.

  1. Pingback: My First Marathon, part I. « Shiawase Life

  2. congrats congrats congrats! what a great first marathon course, huh? your recap helped me remember a lot that i left out of mine!!

    • Thanks so much! I couldn’t have done it without all of the support of friends, family, twitterverse + blog friends!! 🙂

  3. Congratulations!!! This was also my first marathon (well, not counting the week before in NYC when I DNF) and I love your recap! You are fast!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by to comment, Dori! Glad you were able to have an amazing marathon redemption!!!

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