I am a #Marathoner 🙌🏽
On June 18th, 2017 I ran my first Marathon. Those 26.2 miles were incredibly challenging – both physically and mentally.
In March I was listening to the Power 93 on the radio on my way to work. It’d been awhile since I tuned into this station, but when I heard that they were giving away race registrations for the Rock N Roll Seattle Full & Half Marathons I had to call in. To my surprise, I WON! I’ve never been on the radio, let alone won anything – so let’s just say I freaked out. When I realized that I had the choice of registering for the half or the full, I knew I had to go for the full. I felt like it was meant to be.
Life is busy, and my life had gotten particularly busy this year. I set a loose training schedule, mainly focusing on pushing my mileage out for the long runs and making better decisions with diet. My goal was to run one 20 mile run and to stay away from sweets, caffeine and alcohol.
By Race Day my mileage was not were I had wanted it to be – I hadn’t gotten in as many runs as I anticipated, my longest run was 16 miles. I had accepted this and didn’t dwell on it. From running half marathons, I knew that this was not only going to be a physical challenge, but that my mentality was just as important. As a result, I didn’t have a goal time. My goal was to finish healthy, even if that meant I had to walk.
On Race Day I met up with the CSRD runners and a group of us hit the start line together. I fed off their positive energy and really feel that this had a great impact on me mentally. Being surrounded by friends that I was accustomed to running with, who had also stepped up to face the same challenge and who were all encouraging me really lifted me up.
The race started and we were off! I ran with my sole sister Tiffany Hom from the start. She was also running the Full and had the goal of averaging 10 minutes miles. From the start to where the Half and Full split was packed with runners. We weaved through the crowd and managed to stay together. At the split, there was no going back! We stayed left and it felt like a breath of fresh air. We went from running in a crowd to having the path almost to ourselves. I was able to keep up with Tiffany for the first half, and around mile 13 I slowed down and watched her take off. Looking back, I know that this strong start was critical. Thanks Tiff!!
The Full and Half routes rejoined, but it wasn’t as packed as those first miles. There were plenty of groups cheering along the route and also the live music was amazing. I ran by friends cheering and running and that brought my spirits up each time.
Now on my own, I focused on my body and my rhythm and turned the music up. I remember when I passed the 16 mile mark, I felt proud because each step further was another step farther then I’d ever run before. The last 8 miles were tough. We were so close to the finish, but the route had us doing an out and back on Highway 99. For these last 8 miles, I walked through every hydration station and also took a handful of 30 second walk breaks. My body wanted to stop, but my mind wouldn’t let me. I found that even during those short walk breaks, as I slowed the soreness would feel even heavier. So I pushed myself to keep running, even if it was a slow jog, it felt much better then actually walking.
At one point toward the end there was a tall man walking and I laughed because he was walking at the same speed I was “running”.
Oh, those last miles were so hard. At mile 22 we turned back around and were now heading toward the finish, this time to actually FINISH! Once I got out of the tunnel leading to the viaduct, it was such a beautiful view of Seattle. I just soaked it all in.
I was able to pick it up as I approached the finish, mentally yelling at myself to “FINISH STRONG”! and I did! I DID IT!! I was so glad when I saw Tony at the end, holding beautiful flowers. It was a great day.
Looking back now, I think I lucked out on my first marathon experience. Running with friends in our city under perfect weather – and most importantly I finished healthy and strong with no injuries.
The big question – will I do it again? I’m hesitant to say it, but yes – I would definitely do it again. Preferably when I am able to really dedicate the time for a proper training schedule.
A few notes to self:
- Train physically + mentally
- Hydration – I started living with my water bottle over a month before race day.
- Dress – Make sure to wear clothes and shoes that can stand up to the challenge and layer up! (I ended up taking off my shirt because my arms were getting irritated and on the verge of chaffing)
A little of my running background:
When I signed up for this Marathon, I’d been running for about 3.5 years, finished five half marathons and numerous short distance races. My first year of running was very independent, I would run my neighborhood with my first distance goal being one mile. In 2015 I started running with a local run club. Being surrounded by fellow runners and led by an awesome Coach really helped me grow. My ambition and confidence grew and I began entering races. Thank you to Coach Kal and the Nike Run Club Seattle/CSRD Family! By race day I had numerous short distance races and 5 half marathons under my belt.