I decided to run a marathon at the beginning of 2007 for a number of reasons, including the fact that my life is perhaps as busy as it's ever been. Between growing law firm (and a family) the long days tend to blur together. This is dangerous in that you can get so caught up in "doing, doing, doing" that you fail to reflect on whether you are "doing" the right things or merely running like a hamster on its wheel. Training for a marathon has allowed me to regularly "check out" from the grind to both gain perspective and recharge.
I ran the Deseret News Marathon in Salt Lake City, Utah. It's a smaller marathon with just over 500 runners. The course is mostly downhill beginning at about 7,500' above sea level and ends about 4,250', which I thought would be great for a first marathon.
I felt great for the first 18 miles, running at just over a 9:00/mile pace, but from then on each subsequent mile seemed to increase geometrically in difficulty. I guess I should have expected the last few miles to be tough, but frankly I was a bit surprised at how quickly my body went from "feeling good" to "what are doing?! stop now!" The last mile seemed to go on forever, but finally I made the final turn and somehow found the energy to pick up the pace crossing the finish line in 4:29.
My first thoughts after finishing were, "Wow, that was LONG; I am so glad it's over." (Profound, I know). But after 6 cups of Gatorade, a bagel, and a Fat Boy, the runner's high kicked in and it was amazing.
After spending some time with my fans (you know who you are--THANKS!!!), I took a seat along side the finish line and watched some of the other runners come in. There were runners from all walks of life--moms, retirees, soldiers, cancer survivors, couples, teens. It was very inspiring and I couldn't help but to wonder about their stories. (I shoud've setup a Facebook group).
I was wholly unprepared for how sore I would be. I'm not sure if it was because this marathon had some serious downhill action or if this is just how it is. The day after the race, I hobbled around all day somewhat amused at my uselessness.
There are certainly many things I will do differently next time, including eating and drinking more during the race, getting a hotel room the night before without the kids (I slept 2.5 hours), getting a hotel room with working air conditioning, choosing a marathon that doesn't occur during the hottest month of the year, avoiding chaffage, not eating a large meal the night before, meeting more of the other runners, and running a negative split.
Despite all of this, I had a GREAT experience and look forward to running another 26.2.