First Marathon

Today I ran the Boulder Backroads Marathon. It started off very chilly (about 35 degrees) and warmed up to the mid 60’s.  It was sunny and cloudless. Simply beautiful. Compared to the few other races I have run, the support provided to runners at this event was simply incredible. They had multiple CLEAN port-o-lets every 2 miles. This allowed me to drink a normal volume of water for me and I availed myself of these conveniences five times. Many of the support stations had bananas in addition to the usual gels and drinks. The course meandered through a variety of farms: horses, sheep, cows and what looked like buffalo. The course was also very hilly.

It took me about 5 hours and 30 minutes to traverse the 26.2 miles. Twenty six point two miles is a very long way. Running 20 miles is not preparation for running 26.2; it’s preparation for running 20. There is nothing similar about these distances except that they start with the number two. In spite of my frequent rest stops, I hit mile 10 at about 1 hour and 45 minutes. I hit mile 20 by 3 hours and 50 minutes (exactly what my 20 mile race time was). And then, I crashed. It took me the remaining 1 hour and 40 minutes to cover those last 6 miles. My left leg felt pretty good but my right hip started to ache, so my stride became step left, slide/drag right leg forward. My right foot brushed along the ground frequently during this bit. I ran as much of those last 6 miles as I could but there was a lot of walking. I did completely run the last mile but that mile was sheer pride.

On a light note, I had bib # 69. Every time I ran past of group of people who were cheering for the runners they would call out “way to go 69” or something similar and start laughing. I suppose we all stay teens at heart. It made me laugh as well.

So all in all, I was not quite ready for this but did it anyway. Could I train to be ready for one? Perhaps. It’s just not that important to me. The first 13 miles were fun. I like the half-marathon distance. The rest was hard. My husband, who drove me to the race site early this morning (he dropped me off at 6:15AM for a 7AM start),  started waiting at the finish around noon (I was hoping for a 5 hour finish) so he was able to see me hobble across the finish line. Thank you L. When I mentioned that I think I’m more of a half-marathon type of girl, he said he’d run those with me. Sounds like a plan.

Edit: I just go the 0fficial resuls email from the race directors. It read as follows:

Thanks for participating in the GoLite Boulder Backroads Marathon Results for Catherine:

You placed 442nd out of 505 finishers in a time of 5:30:00 for a pace of 12:36 per mile.

Out of 211 women you finished 170th. The winning time for women was 2:43:10.

For 35 to 39 year old women you were 25th out of 31 finishers. The winning time for your age and sex was 2:43:10.