My First Marathon Race Report

Hello everyone! How’s it going? I’m doing alright. Obviously with my disappearance from my own blog let alone yours I’m off my game to say the least. I’ll leave that for another post in the near future. In all honesty I’m just putting this up here because you all followed my training leading up to this race and I owe you a report. I have a feeling it will be shorter than normal.


I first heard of this marathon 3 years ago when I last lost a lot of weight. I even started training for it back then but bailed after a painful 17 mile training run. Almost crying from pain on the cool down walk home I just couldn’t see the point in trying to run a marathon. This year I actually looked into a number of other marathons to do instead of this one but timing and money led me to choosing this one again. Why was I looking to avoid this race? Well I kept being told it’s hilly and not a great one for your first race. Having met most of my other challenges this year I didn’t fear the race that much. Well a little but not as much as 3 years ago.

Saturday night I went to bed at 10:15pm trying to get a good night’s sleep for a change. I usually end up waking up before my alarm for each race but thankfully didn’t this time. I got a solid 8 hours of sleep and felt good when I woke up. I don’t normally shower before a race but it was a cold morning so I took one to warm up faster. By the time I was ready and had the car fueled up it was 7am when I left town. The race was roughly 80 minutes away so I ended up there with a ton of time to spare. The race wasn’t till 10:00am but the pre-race e-mail said to get there early for race kit pick up and that parking was limited so early I was!

The extra time gave me a chance to adjust to the weather and decide on my race attire. I had dressed in shorts and a shirt which I wore under a sweatshirt and jogging pants which I’d discard before the race started. However about 1/2 hour before the race started I decided it wasn’t going to warm up enough so changed into shell pants and the long sleeve race shirt I just picked up as well as the sweat shirt. After my first 20 mile run left me cramping when I ran in shorts on a cool day I wasn’t taking a chance on race day.

We started on time at 10am like we were suppose to. The race course was mainly a loop and an out and back. However they did add in a few loops around the Cumberland Heritage Museum that the race was based out of. We had to do one of these loops before heading out for the main loop. Yours truly was DEAD LAST when we finally hit the roads. I was thinking at this moment that my race report title would be “DEAD LAST but I’m a MARATHONER!” Assuming of course that I completed it πŸ™‚ In my short running career I’ve never finished last but was more than willing to this time as long as I finished.

When we finally got out on the roads it wasn’t long before we started seeing the hills. It was just hill after hill with what seemed like very little flat running for the first 10 miles. I just tried to take the uphills at an easy pace and then use that saved energy to run faster on the downhills and flat sections. As hilly as it was I was running faster than I figured I’d be able to as my Garmin read 9:30/mile quite a lot on the first 1/2 of the marathon. This worried me as I wasn’t sure I could keep up that pace for 26.2 miles! In the end I decided to just run at whatever pace that came my way but if the pace dropped a lot in the second half I’d know why and not get to upset.

I felt pretty good on the first loop but failed to remain running for the whole thing. 12.76 miles in I walked for the first time.
I thought I was fine but for whatever reason my body just wanted to walk and my mind let it. I don’t remember how long I walked but I managed to get running again and when I hit 13.1 on my Garmin it read 2:10:00. For a very hilly 1/2 marathon I thought that was a pretty good time especially since I wasn’t trying to break a PR as I knew I had another 13.1 miles to go.

Roughly 14 miles in I hit the first big hill I climbed on the first loop. I tried to run up it but mentally I just couldn’t do it. I don’t think I even ran more than 1/3 of the hill. Normally in training I can fight through most mental collapses but today wasn’t going to be one of them I’d soon learn. I finally got going again near the top of the hill and figured that’d be all I need to walk. That was NOT the case. I soon had a new mantra that WES and some others have always told me “there’s no shame in walking!”. I can’t tell you how much I walked as I didn’t measure it in time or miles but needless to say it was a lot! My new goal was to run/walk as much as I needed to on the “out” part of the “out and back” and then RUN the “back”.

I can’t remember a lot of the details as they happened as 26.2 miles is a lot of happening to remember. I believe I hit 20 miles about 3:26:00-3:29:00. Once I hit this I KNEW I’d finish my first marathon. Now though it’d just be a matter of what time I’d finish it. Before the race my goal was to break 4.5 hours. So that meant I’d have to run the last 10K in roughly 1 hour. Part of me thought it was possible but a bigger part figured it wasn’t. I did try as the last 10k was “downhill” but it didn’t last long. I just didn’t have the mental discipline to keep my body running. When 4 hours came on my Garmin I was 22.75 miles in meaning I wouldn’t finish under 4.5hrs.

I was amazingly fine with this fact and continued to run and walk while trying to find it in me to just run. I guess it’s the competitiveness in me even if it’s just me competing against myself but my new goal was to break 4:35:00 which turned into 4:40:00. Unfortunately neither of these happened either. I finally hit the finish line at 4:41:15.

Normally I’d be at least a little upset not hitting my goal and being that far off it but I’m not this time. This course like I had been warned was tough! It was hilly the whole way and not just the first 5k like some had told me. It was also my first marathon and my first time running more than 20 miles! So overall I’m pleased with my first marathon and look forward to the next one on hopefully an easier course πŸ™‚

Below are photos of the buildings at the Cumberland Village Museum. Some of the buildings are replica but most have been moved to the site and are original. The last pic is of my most serious marathon injury..beware it’s not pretty πŸ™‚

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13 Responses to My First Marathon Race Report

  1. Amanda says:

    That is really amazing! Congratulations. And your time was excellent!

    I’m in Chicago and the Chicago Marathon was yesterday. I’m deciding on doing it next year…possibly!

  2. Astrid says:

    Congrats!! You did it! How amazing do you feel knowing you did that? I am impressed that you were okay with tackling the hills. I hate hills, and running, so I would not have been okay. You are seriously a rockstar.

  3. nice job! even if you were a minute or 2 past your goal. you should be really proud!

  4. Wow – a marathon! Way to go!

    And ow on that last pic…

  5. Hey John!!! It is good to hear from you!! Congrats on a great race!! Sorry to hear about/ see that injury – OUCH!

  6. Pingback: Tweets that mention My First Marathon Race Report Β« 2010: Time to Challenge Myself --

  7. Wes says:

    Sweet sweet race… YES! Keep moving forward, especially in your first marathon. Now, you know what it takes, and if ou choose to do another one, you’ll be better prepared. Congratulations!! You just keep kicking ass. Keep up the great work!!

  8. You did an amazing job! You are so inspirational, honestly.

  9. biz319 says:

    Wow, is that last picture from your shirt chaffing against your skin – ouch!!

    Glad you are alive and well! I always worry when people don’t post for a while.

    You should be very proud of your time, even if it wasn’t your original goal.

    You are in an elite group – only 1% of the world’s population has run a marathon – go John!

  10. CONGRATULATIONS!! Great job – and your time is amazing! You should be very, very proud. Those hills sound crazy! I totally have weather envy…I did the Chicago marathon on Sunday (my first too) and it was HOT – got up to 85 degrees. I walked a good portion of the last 5 miles – but I was still passing people πŸ™‚

  11. Yeah John!!!! That’s an awesome time for your first marathon, if I could run that fast I would run one every year….my times have been close to 7 hours!!! Now that’s slow!

    Both times I did great up until mile 20, then pretty much my knees started killing and I had to walk the last 6 miles…


  12. Nicole says:

    Your recap gave me goosebumps! You are so realistic in your goals, and you should be so proud! You worked within paramaters and kicked butt!!! WOOO!

  13. listedmal says:

    Ahhh! Nipple chafe freaks me out! I hope you’re healing well.

    Congrats on your first marathon!!

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