I woke up race morning with the following thoughts in my mind:
– “Pace smartly”, “Enjoy and have fun”, “Don’t worry about the time, just finish”
Before Race Start
I arrived at the starting line at 5:20AM. Bananas, bagels, water and Cytomax greeted the runners. Skies were clear but it was very cold! I did not checked in my sweater and my extra shirt until 6:30AM.
The 25000 runners were grouped in corrals with both half marathon and marathon runners are combined. The first corral was sent off at exactly 7AM and other corrals were released in 1:30 minute intervals.
Mile 1 – 6
Most of the time, I suffer from running too hard at the start of a race. I get so eager and get carried away by other runners. This time, I resisted the temptation. I ran a very relaxed pace. Pace smartly, pace smartly. Nearing Seward Park, my cellphone rang (I was carry it in my hydration belt!). My friend asked if where I was as they are about to park their car near Seward. I finally have my own cheering squad :D! A few steps before the water station, I saw my friend with husband and their baby. After a quick picture taking session, I set my sights to the floating bridge from afar.
Mile 7 – 13
This is the start of the scenic route. Half marathon and marathon runners ran 2 miles on the edge of Lake Washington before splitting on the 9th mile. US full marathon runners have the privilege of running on the express lanes of I-90/Lake Washington floating bridge. Running on the floating bridge felt like running on water. As it was a clear day, the snow capped Mt. Rainier was in view.
My heel started to hurt a just a little after the turnaround on the floating bridge. The incline on the I-90 turns also did not helped my knees. Despite this, I was still feeling okay and ready for the next 13 miles.
Mile 14 – 21
There was a good size crowd when I got to downtown Seattle. The race gets exciting starting this point. I was taken for a roller coaster ride. For one the temperature is now either hot or cold. It was cold under the shade or hot when not.
As Seattle is known for being hilly, one minute you are running uphill and before you knew it there is a steep downhill on the next turn (which hurts on the knees). The killer is the long uphill towards Aurora Bridge which reminded of the the uphill of the NB race in Clark (where I nearly gave up!). This time I was prepared. I would walk a few steps before the water station and resume my (slow) run after I finished drinking. I made it to the bridge and back but my knees and feet hurt more now.
Mile 22 – 26.2
So near yet so far. Knees and feet are hurting. Only 5 more miles – flat-downhill-flat-uphill-flat-downhill. I continued my “walk at the water station and resume slow run” strategy. But on the last mile, I suddenly had renewed energy. The nearer I am to the finish line the faster I ran. Knees and feet still hurt but I didn’t care anymore. I sprinted the last 400 meters.
I finished my first full marathon in 5 hours and 28 minutes. Like I said before, I’m not particular about my finish time. I was there for the experience, to enjoy and have fun. I’ve shared stories with other runners along the way. I got high fives, congratulations and good job. I know not everybody can run a marathon and I am proud of myself finishing one. I did not hit the dreaded wall, did not have any injury, blisters nor dead toe nails :D. I truly rocked! I’d like to thank my friends and family for being an inspiration.
Will I do it again? Hell yeah!!! Next goal is the Amica Seattle Marathon in November.
My knees and feet are now okay and ready to run again. 😀