You better run girl

So, as some of you might remember, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to run (and finish) a marathon. You can read about that here. Well, the marathon was this past weekend (on my 30th birthday, no less!) and I can happily say that I finished in 4:59:30.

Me, being the slight perfectionist that I am, always has the knee-jerk reaction of saying, "I could have done better. I think I could have run a 4:45, instead of being just under 5:00." While this is a true statement, I was actually running ahead of the 4:45 pacer for most of the race (Until around mile 20, when I really needed to walk some of the hills), it doesn't negate the fact that, HEY! YOU RAN YOUR FIRST MARATHON GIRL! It wasn't a complete surprise to me that that was my first reaction to people asking how my marathon went, so I'm working on just saying (and thinking), "It went fine, thanks for asking!"

Here are some things I learned, found interesting, or just plain wanted to share with you all.

1) OMG Pollen! I've been allergic to pollen for as long as I can remember, so normally, I'm reallllyyy good about safeguarding myself against the attacks--allergy medicine, saline nose spray, repeat. However, as I've gotten older and more acclimated to the pollen in DC, my allergy attacks have become fewer. So, IMAGINE MY SURPRISE, when I literally landed in Charlotte and BAM! Sneeze, sniffle, sniffle, sneeze. Miserable. Basically, it was like that the entire weekend.

2) Sleep is necessary. I say that because I got NONE. See #1.

3) Pre-race routines come in handy. Testing out breakfasts and knowing what works (and wasn't), is INCREDIBLY helpful. Especially when you're blurry-eyed and stuffed up and just want to go on auto-pilot.

4) Listening to books on tape (Audible) during long runs. I started Gone Girl during my first long run and was disciplined enough to ONLY listen to it when I was running. It helped that I consistently have a lot of reading for grad school that I can't justify reading for pleasure in my down time. It kept my mind active, without over-thinking other things in my life, but also loose. It also helped on city streets, since there's only so loud that you can blare a narrator's voice (these particular narrators' voices annoyed me, but that's another post.). However, this is clearly preference, as I know that there are a lot of people out there that don't listen to anything at all.

5) Chafing. It's real. I thought it couldn't happen to me, since it hadn't happened to me during my long runs, but owwieeee. I got some very interesting chafing situations after that marathon and I'll leave it at that.

Gear: 

I ended up wearing a great hoodie, tank top, running tights, hydration belt, and my ever present Jawbone. I'm normally not a fan of gels, since I prefer the blocks and had used those during training, but ended caving and taking one of the Salted Watermelon gels that one of the volunteers handed out. Apparently, it's the official GU of the Rock N' Roll Marathon series. Anyway, great decision! Didn't have my normal hunger pains during my run (might also be because of the stuffed up nose, but I digress) and it propelled me through at least another couple of miles. Salted Watermelon is a great flavor since it kind of tastes like a melted Jolly Rancher.

Fashion: 

When it comes to working out during the week, I normally wear an old t-shirt and spandex. Sometimes, I'll get slightly fancy and wear a technical tee, but, point being, I'm incredibly basic. However, since this was my first marathon (and, most likely, last) and I knew that I had people that would be trying to find me, I stepped it up a notch. Meaning, most of my wears were technicolor. The only place I tend to go a little crazy with are my bottoms (stripes, florals, kaleidoscope), but this time, I wore a mesh looking tank with a highlighter pink hoodie. Let's just say, I definitely got more pictures taken my the official race photographers than in past events.

I will say though, that one of the great things about the Rock N' Roll Marathon series is that people tend to get really dressed up and festive for it. Before I started to move forward and try to go after a good time, I was able to run alongside some pretty cool costumes. There were women that were matching, people in tutus, a guy in a gumby costume, and I think I saw a superhero or two. So, that certainly adds to the atmosphere and gets people excited to watch the race.

Recovery: 

This has been a harder season for me than most--one injury, one almost injury (running a long distance on dead shoes that gave me quite a scare with my knees), so to say that I was serious about figuring out a good recovery plan for afterwards, would be an understatement. I have been ALL about the foam roller since my knees scared me and love one that looks similar to this. I also found a great video that shows you how to roll out your entire body here. Also, the RICE method--Rest, Ice, Compress (though, this wasn't necessary for me), and Elevation really helped.

All in all, things went really well. I think that if I do run another marathon, I'll try to beat my first-timer's time and pay greater attention to my pace. Right now, just trying to relish in the fact that I've crossed something off my bucket list! Woohoo!

Until next time,


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