Yesterday, I was very anxious and somewhat nervous. Ate a decent breakfast, a small lunch and a huge pasta dinner around 5 PM. I may have overate, as I felt somewhat bloated, however I knew I had to since big breakfasts and running do not go well for me. I woke up just past 5 AM, having almost overslept (something turned off my alarm clock, well at least I don’t remember turning it off…) and ate a small breakfast. (Coffee and a smoothie) Thankfully my bathroom schedule was in order.
I had to leave my place just past 6 AM since we had to be at the assembly area by 6:30-7:00 for transportation to the start line. I brought along some chocolate almonds to eat just before starting, since they worked well on my last long run. I started very conservatively, but eventually worked my way up and passed the 3:30 pacer.
For the first 20K or so, things were fine. Between 20K and 30K I started to feel the soreness setting in but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t deal with. However things starting getting hard at about the 35K mark. I got passed by the 3:30 pacer at this point. To make matters worse, there was a substantial hill at around the 37K mark that almost killed me. I started cramping up after ascending it and had to briefly stop to stretch and walk for a bit, but by that point I had decided I was not going to give up.
There were few smaller hills after that big one, and each one brought back some feelings of cramping but I pressed on. By this time I was running quite a bit slower than 5 min/KM. The last two kilometers were awful but as you round the final corner and realize that the finish line is in sight, you manage to draw on some reserves that somehow still exist.
I finished with an “unofficial” (i.e. my own watch) time of about 3:32. I’m waiting for the official time from the timer chip that all runners wore. I had to make two stops (i.e. bathroom breaks) since it was so cold early on.
Overall, though it was tough, it was a great experience, especially seeing so many other runners and the great support staff and volunteers of the PEC Marathon. The weather was perfect, the route scenic and there were plenty of people out to cheer you on. I can wholeheartedly recommend the PEC Marathon to anyone who is looking to run their first race, as the organization was phenomenal.