I crossed the finish line in 5 hours and 3 minutes on a gorgeous day in Ogden, UT. I will recap the pain that was my inaugural marathon experience.
I spent the past 6 months in as much preparation as I could amidst building a company, raising a family, and my various religious responsibilities to fit in the training necessary to complete my first ever marathon. It helped me learn balance and organization, but I still don’t know how some people do it. Nevertheless, the training was accomplished and I was ready for race day.
As I finished preparations and arrived at the starting field I had all of the nerves of anxiety.
I waiting in the eternal line for the ports johns and finally got in about 2 minutes before the gun went off. I was still there when the gun sounded. As I finished up I headed out for what became an adventure. I was about 5 minutes after gun time when I crossed the line.
I started down towards Huntsville feeling really good. Things seemed to come together well. All the issues I was worried about prior to the race disappeared. I kept my pace around 9:30 min/mile to avoid going out too hard and burning out.
As I cam around the corner in Huntsville toward the North side of the lake I saw Les and Kaitlyn there cheering me on. It felt great to see them and have the support of my family. I was feeling really good at that time and reeled off the next 3 miles in a decent time.
Once I got to about mile 11 I was feeling a little slow down and was slightly off pace. As I came into the halfway point I was a little off pace with a time of 2:03 for the first half. I was hopeful that coming down Ogden Canyon would help to make up some of that time. As I came to find out that would not be the case. I kept smooth for the next mile until I got to the hill climb towards the dam. The next 2.5 miles were a real challenge. As I climbed the hill it took everything for me to keep running. My hips started to lock up and I could really feel it in my legs. I didn’t have a lot going for me at the time.
I crossed the dam and again there was the family. They were all there waiting for me and cheering me on. It was a great lift to have them there. I pushed around the turn after expressing my discomfort and then headed down the canyon. I kept it going for nearly a mile but then had to start run/walking. My body was not wanting to go. I would run some then walk a little. This hurt my pace, but now it was becoming more about getting to the finish. I was really struggling as I got to the base of the canyon. At the mouth of the canyon there is a tunnel under the road to get onto the river trail that we go on. As I came out of the tunnel there was a large group of people standing there cheering and I nearly broke down crying. It was so emotional to have all those there offering support!
Coming down the river trail I tried to focus on keeping with a pace group and the scenery. It took all that I could to keep on going. My body was struggling to keep going. I pushed on and then made that final turn into downtown with a mile to go. I pushed through that emotional final mile. I felt everything from the desire to break down balling on the roadside to elation as I drew closer to finish line. It was an emotional day but very rewarding as I crossed the finish line. I didn’t get to my goal, but I finished my first ever marathon. It was a great learning experience and I hope to be back!