Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Thoughts on my First Marathon

The marathon is over, and to tell you the truth, this is bittersweet. The reason I say this is because it has been something that has been a goal for such a long time, and now it is over. However, I think my body and my schedule will appreciate the training being over.
So, how did it go? It was a great day and I had my family helping me out along the way. The day started at my mom’s house (in West St. Paul, where I had spent the night) with Sunday Mass in the living room at 5:15 with my mother and sisters, Sarah and Annah. Following Mass I had my usual pre-run breakfast of oatmeal and orange juice. Then it was time to leave for the Metrodome, but first we had to pick up my brother-in-law, Jeff, who also was running the marathon.
We arrived at the Metrodome around 7:15 and to say that I was nervous was an understatement, but the nerves left quickly because I was able to joke around with Jeff while we walked around the Metrodome concourse. I also was able to see a couple of people who I recognized before the start of the marathon, which was great!
I would like to say that I was out at the start line with plenty of time to spare but that would be a lie. I was actually still inside the Metrodome until around 7:57 and got to the start line right when the second wave was being dismissed, which was perfect timing. As I was approaching the starting line I said some prayers, including the Memorare. I crossed the starting line at 8:08:14 AM and my first marathon had begun.
The most surprising thing that I experienced on Sunday was how packed the streets were with runners and how hard it was to pass people for the first 11 miles of the race. But it was great to see so many people running and having a good time. I ran the first half of the marathon in 2:09:29 which was a little slower than I had expected, but due to the amount of people on the course I think I was limited on how fast I could run. However, when I passed the halfway mark I thought that it was good that I had run more slowly, because I was hoping that it had saved some of my energy for the second half, which I knew was going to be much harder.
Now if there is one thing I learned from all of my training for the marathon it is that some days are going to be great days where you feel great and your body agrees with you, and there will be other days where it is the complete opposite. Unfortunately for me it was the latter, my body was not having a good day. I think this was because I have had a cold since Tuesday, and that I possibly messed up my pre-marathon taper by a week or so. However, the thing that really got me was that I started to cramp up at mile 17. So, the second half of the marathon was a struggle, but through many prayers (including a rosary) and many supporters (more on this farther down) I was able to cross the finish line at 12:50:31 p.m. My final time was 4:42:17, which made me the 5938 finisher of the Marathon out of 8534 finishers. It also means that Oprah beat my time by about 13 minutes, but I had realized this was going to happen when the cramps showed up at mile 17.
The two main things on my mind while I was running were the school children here at Epiphany and also my dad. As I was running I could not help but think of what I was running for, which was for the school, and how all of the training and the pain that I was going through was all worth it because it was raising money for a good cause – Catholic education. I was also thinking about my dad, Bernie, who I knew would have loved to run the marathon but was not able to due to his cancer. This really hit home when I saw the Cathedral of St. Paul because I knew that I was almost to the finish and that my dad would have been proud of me for running the marathon, so needless to say I got a little emotional at that time, but was able to hold it together and cross the finish line with a smile.

If I had to describe my marathon experience in one word I would say that it was amazing. Although it was one of my worst days running, I still had a great time, and the time seemed to fly by. To see all of those people on the side cheering us runners on, to see other runners who were having a good time, and to have such a beautiful day as it was on Sunday, added up to an amazing day. It was also amazing to see so many people that I knew cheering me on! My family made it down there and were my support team handing me bananas, snickers, and other food, which kept me energized along the way. Also, there were many parishioners who came to cheer me on, which really gave me some extra motivation. I even made some of them run with me for a little bit and pray a Hail Mary with me. Of course I kept on looking for those bright neon green signs that the parish had made for me, and when I saw them I made sure to run over and see who was holding them. So, I owe a HUGE THANK YOU to all who came down and supported me, and for all those who prayed for me on Sunday. I even heard that everyone at Mass was able to follow my progress on the screens, which is awesome.

My main goal in running this marathon was to raise $4,000 for Epiphany School, and I am extremely happy to announce that this goal has been reached and then some! I plan on revealing the total amount received at the school pep fest on Friday, but even then I know that there will be more coming in, because some people who have pledged wanted to make sure that I actually accomplished the marathon. So, look for an update on the total amount on Friday and thank you to all who have helped out the school through a donation, it is going towards a great school, and your donation will make it even better. Once again, thank you to everyone who helped me run the marathon, without you this never would have been possible.

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