My first marathon is complete! My 2016 One City Marathon was not the race I wish it had been but it’s over and that’s music to my ears. I could turn my 26.38 mile journey into quite the saga except we’ve all had bad races and know the routine so I’ll break it up into the important parts. The first half, the second half and some race review points. If you want more on the race itself, check out my BibRave review here!
Race morning kicked off around 5:30 for a 7:00 start. I had gotten a reasonable amount of sleep considering it was the night before my first marathon and the beginning of daylight savings time. I ate a nice big cereal breakfast with two glasses of water, packed three energy gels in my pockets, slid on my shoes and was out the door. It was a beautiful day with temps in the high 50s to low 60s with no rain, a light breeze and some mild humidity. I felt good after a tiny jog and lots of hip mobility then entered the 8 minute corral.
We went off right on time and the first half of my One City Marathon was good. Those first miles were the hillier of the two sections and I might have paid for going out a hair fast to get away from some start traffic. After the first kilometer, I had tons of running room and did a good job of staying hydrated by walking through water stations at 4 and 8 miles after downing my first CarbBoom around Mile 7.5. It was around Mile 11 I started to notice some pain on the balls of my feet. Blisters! I didn’t think much of them beyond ‘that’ll hurt when I take my socks off’ and ran on.
I hit the halfway mark at 1:43+ feeling nervous. I knew I had gone out a tiny bit faster than planned but my legs felt good except for whatever was happening in my socks. At 13.5 I downed my second energy gel then walked through a water station at 14 where I grabbed an extra gel from course support. At some point between Mile 14 and Mile 16, things with my feet went from questionable to horrible. To compensate for the blisters I must have started running on the outside my feet. Something I’ve never done, it had to be the cause of the severe pain I had behind both knees that I’ve also never experienced before for Miles 16-20.
I fought through those miles with walk breaks and race pace running. By Mile 23 I was almost in tears. Muscles that had never talked to me in my groin were screaming. My quads, hamstrings and calves felt like they should. Tired but willing to work. I just couldn’t push through the knee pain. It was scary. I scrapped any goal I had and focused on the fact that things felt OK when I walked. Unfortunately I’m not a walker. I’m a runner. After a few run/walk miles that at least didn’t make me want to cry, I finally settled into a ginger but steady jog that involved misaligned feet and some serious left side heel striking for the final 2 miles.
With possibly one of the most positive splits in One City Marathon’s short history, I set my marathon PR at 3:58.23. Exactly 26.5 minutes slower than I had wished. I got my medal, a Gatorade and plopped to the ground with my gear bag. I was scared to remove my socks but figured it was a good time since I had both flip flops and dry socks in my bag. Off they went and I was actually happy to not see blood. Massive goo filled blisters were popping between my big toe and second toe on both sides (forget the flops), and popped ones graced the balls of both feet. I’d share a picture but you really don’t want to see. Barefoot heel walking out of the finish area I grabbed a light weight race jacket that was exactly what I needed. Better than a heat sheet for sure.
I sat down for a few minutes to give my beat up feet a break, eat a protein bar and drink a bottle of water. Eventually, I did slide on the flops for my awkward, it hurts, flat footed march to the car. One there, I finally remembered to snap a finisher photo. My first marathon was over and that was good news. All in all, my One City Marathon experience was not a bad one. The race itself was well done with a wide open course and good swag. Running 26.38 miles was hard and I absolutely wish I had been able to perform better. I also wish I could pinpoint what exactly went wrong. My very aggressive training plan? A two week taper? Maybe going out too two seconds per mile too fast? Of all the choices, I’m blaming the socks, blisters and funky running knee pain. Will I go back? I’ve changed my mind each day but it’s looking probable. For now, my fall schedule is full and I can’t wait to get back to business on PRing the half marathon.
How do you deal with blisters? Ever had pain behind your knees?