Early on in the marathon I overheard a runner tell her friend in shock that she knew someone who was running their second marathon that year, like it was a completely unreasonable thing to do. I guess I’m unreasonable.
In the last 53 weeks I’ve run three marathons. I think it’s safe to say that I like these things.
We arrived in plenty of time to stop by Panera to use the bathroom before heading down to Bay Street. (Both Mom and I were represented Greenville with our shirts; another Greenville runner recognized us. She was going to run NYC but changed to Savannah.)
I positioned myself at the beginning of the corral so I wouldn’t have to maneuver around slower runners. I realized as I stood at the start line that it would also leave open the opportunity for starting out too fast.
I kept glancing down at my Garmin in those first few miles to make sure that my pace stayed right around 10 minutes. I didn’t want to risk going out too fast. It felt too slow but it was definitely the right choice.
As mile 7 approached and we ran along Oglethorpe I looked along the sidelines to find Mom. I didn’t find her but she saw me. Turns out she was standing up on the stairs of an attorney’s office.
(Ignore the large person standing right in front of me.)
I still felt strong through the following miles. I followed a pattern of fueling eating a Gu gel every 3 miles. I drank Gatorade at the water stops with Gatorade before the half split and then took two cups at every water stop from then on.
Speaking of the half split, that’s probably the loneliest it ever was on the course. We went from running with thousands of half marathoners to a highway overpass devoid of all spectators and bands. Thankfully this didn’t last long.
When we left the overpass we ran past Savannah State University for a few miles before heading back onto the campus.
I don’t know if this part of the course is different or not but I loved it, even though it’s when the race became a mental battle for me. The students were out at many of the intersections cheering. (I could have done without the multiple speed bumps.) The last the we did on the campus was run around their track. (Anyone up for Eugene?)
I think my mental admonitions made me run just a bit too fast through these miles which just happened to be my fastest of the race save the last 1.5.
What got me through those last really tough 8 miles? Two things. 1. A mantra: “I feel good. I feel great. I feel wonderful.” (Bonus points to anyone that recognizes that movie quote.) 2. If I need to I’ll walk when I fuel at mile 21.
I kept going, chanting my mantra as many times as I needed. After grabbing some sort of liquid around mile 20 I powered through mile 21 without walking.
My next goal? Mile 24.
I knew once I got there that I’d be able to finish. I also knew that a PR was easily in reach. The only question was just how much of a PR it would be.
Around mile 23 I remembered my music, a fleeting thought that maybe some tunes would pump me up. I didn’t grab the headphones though. I’d made it 23 miles without the music. I was going to finisht the whole thing. (I still can’t believe I ran a marathon without listening to music. I think I might make this a habit. Who knew I’d turn out to be the kind of runner who doesn’t need music?)
I got to mile 24 and knew that my reach goal was oh, so close. I figured I would at least run fast to try. Mile 25–9:49, Mile 26–9:02. .47–7:53 (where did that come from?)
Did I make my reach goal? No. But I came oh so close and I could not be more happy with my run, especially my spring to the finish. My mind won that battle because my legs were screaming for me to stop.
I wanted to pass her so bad!
Could I have run faster if I’d eaten a little more before the race or if it had been cooler? (The heat was a bit ridiculous for November.) Maybe. Those aren’t things I could control.
I’m so incredibly happy with today’s run. I can’t wait to do it again in June!