My first marathon was the Myrtle Beach Marathon way back in February of 1999. Since I’m returning to “The Beach” on Saturday for my 1/2 marathon, I thought I’d share my #1 tip in marathon running that I learned when I ran that first marathon, 15 longishly short years ago.
It’s amazing how young I was when I ran that marathon. And it’s amazing how dumb I was about training too. Yes, my view on running was different back then, but I so totally wasted my youthfully fast running potential. I think back and wonder what I could have done had I trained and gone for time goals. I was so fresh and injury-free. Sigh. My only goal back then was to finish a marathon. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would become a tried and true marathon addict and end up qualifying for the Boston Marathon. So I didn’t take it too seriously back then, but I did do the work… sort of. My training consisted of running a little bit (I had no way of really measuring since Garmins weren’t around, that I know of anyway) during the week and then running a long run on Thursdays, up to one 20 miler. I didn’t do any tempo or speed work, and although I knew of the word fartlek, I wouldn’t have known what it really was.
I don’t remember a lot of details about that first marathon, but one certainly sticks out. I was with a group that included my husband-to-be and my sister who were doing the marathon relay, and we were hanging out in the parking lot – doing what I do not know. I remember the National Anthem playing and saying something like, “Shouldn’t we get to the start area?” We meandered over there and I knew I needed to pee again before I started running, and while I was IN the port-a-jon, the start gun went off. Oh crap! (No pun intended.) I remember feeling like I missed a pretty big moment and that I was screwed, but I had a chip timer (I think one of those clunky ones on my shoe) so it really wasn’t a terrible deal, but I scurried to the back of the pack. Whew! Made it. It is not good to feel as if you’ve actually missed your race, so here it is, my #1 tip for racing: Don’t be in the bathroom when the race starts. D’oh! And if you’re wondering, I’m still a little scarred from that experience and I will never, NEVER be in a bathroom when a race is close to starting. EVER.
The only other thing that sticks out in my memory is that the course past the half marathon split was boring. BOR-ING. I got sore along the way, which is pretty much a given for any marathon, and I remember the weather was nice. That’s about it.
I don’t know where that picture above was taken along the course, but look at that oversized cotton shirt! What IS that? Does it actually say, “SPRING BREAK” on it?! I’m probably wearing cotton socks too! Wow. But no matter the fashion blunders and location errors when starting the race, I was so proud to finish my first marathon in 4:37. I still am very proud of that.
Just for kicks, look at the picture that was taken a year later when I was running the marathon relay. What the HELL is the race bib doing that high and why didn’t someone make me lower it???
So as I sit here watching icy tree branches fall while I ready my race playlist and make a list of supplies I need to take with me to Myrtle Beach on Friday, all I know for sure is that I will NOT be in the port-a-jon when my race starts on Saturday. Wish me luck, I’m hoping for a PR!
Anyone else make blunders before a race?