IT’S DONE! YAY!
Let me tell you, I am so stinking sore right now. Hurts so good =)
I don’t have an official time (chip time) yet, and I was so excited at the finish, I completely forgot to stop my watch! My gun time was 5:12:16, which is probably pretty close since I didn’t have to wade through thousands of people to get to the start line. There were only about 500 marathon finishers (and I wasn’t last! haha). While I thought I could come in a little closer to 5:00, I’m still really excited about this time (and of course, that I FINISHED!)
So anyways, onto the race! I got up at 0’dark thirty so I could eat breakfast and head downtown in plenty of time to use the bathroom 10 times (or so) before the race start.
I got a lot of compliments on my shorts (because they’re super cute!) from Lululemon, and the top is a Under Armour Coldblack (with UV protection, yay!). I actually had to go back and change after the first time I walked outside because it was way warmer than I was expecting it to be. At least it wasn’t raining.
The start line was a cross the street from Fluor Field, which was convenient, since they have actual bathrooms. The marathon start was at 7:30 and the half started at 8:00 so alot of the half-marathoners were already there (hogging up the bathrooms!). That was fine though, since I had left plenty of time to get ready.
This race was a lot better organized than the last GTC race I ran (Greer Earth Day Half), and we started right on time! Since the crowd was pretty small, I didn’t have to worry about dodging people, so I could focus on running my race. I really wanted to make sure I didn’t take off too fast and die, since it’s really easy to get caught up with everyone at the start. The race started out in downtown Greenville (on a downhill, which would come back to haunt me later) for a few miles before jumping onto the Swamp Rabbit Trail and heading out towards Furman and TR.
The Swamp Rabbit Trail is fairly flat, but it does have a slight uphill heading up to TR (which means downhill on the way back!). They did make a slight detour on the course to avoid a potential railroad crossing issue, but the bridge we crossed over to avoid it was, um, big. Not so bad on the way out, but on the way back…it was painful.
We also did some funny loops around Furman’s campus, where there were some super cheerful students out cheering us on. This had the potential to be really confusing, since you passed through it twice, but the course was really well marked. I really thought the entire course was well marked and I never had to think about where to go next. I guess the half-marathon was a different story because my friend J. who did the half got lost (but she stuck it out and finished awesomely anyway!).
I did end up stopping at the bathroom on campus so I wouldn’t have to risk a porta-potty and I really needed to go. I need to figure out how to not do that! Also, I got *really* hungry around mile 12, but luckily, I had some solid food to eat, which helped. I think I need to go back to oatmeal for breakfast. It seems to be the only thing that keeps me from being hungry all the time!
At the turnaround point in TR, they handed out these wristbands so the volunteers would know that you made it
From there, we headed back to Furman, then all the way down the SRT to Greenville. All downhill =) I started freaking out a little when I passed the 23 mile sign because that was officially past the furthest I’d ever run! So exciting!
So, here’s a funny story. During mile 25, I was running next to a woman (kind of passing her), and this dude behind us starts talking. We turn around, and he was on the phone! He was like, “oh, I’m just on mile 25 on a marathon, but I can talk now, so what do you need?” It was a work call! Who answers a call from work while you’re running a marathon?? The woman and I looked at each other and were like “WTH??” So weird.
Anyways, most of those miles were pretty uneventful, but I’m glad I held back the first half because I was able to pass a lot of people during that time who were looking really tired.
Remember that downhill at the start? The finish? Back up that hill. This was like the last half-mile of the course and, by God, I was gonna finish it!
Still smiling! My friend J. was there at the finish to cheer me on. What a friend! She just finished her second half marathon (awesome girl) and she hung around to cheer for me as I dragged my tired ass up that hill. The actual finish took you around a lap at Fluor Field and there was an announcer at the entrance to read off your name as you headed for the finish line!
Once you finish, you have to climb the stairs out of the field to get to the food. There was plenty of water, but the food was pretty unimpressive, just turkey sandwiches and bananas. I made myself eat half a turkey sandwich, but I really didn’t want eat it because it was pretty warm out and I really only wanted water.
I can say now that I am so glad that I did all those long runs in the summer heat, because I would have really struggled otherwise. While I would have expected it to be nice and cool (seeing how it’s the end of October), it was definitely on the warm side yesterday. I think it had heated up to over 70 degrees by 10 am, which really made it tougher. I’m also glad I decided to carry my Camelback, because I so needed that water. I was taking Gatorade and water cups at the aid stations, plus my entire Camelback and I was still *really* thirsty.
Overall, this was a good race for me! I really feel like I gave it my best effort and I’m so happy to say I’m a marathoner!
So when’s the next one?? =)