A first marathon is something that can only happen once. Okay, obviously. But it was a significant first for me, a milestone (haha?) that has been at the back of my mind for the past few years.
I usually imagined it like the pictures in the running magazines: roads, crowds, costumes, Gatorade, bagels… What I got yesterday, though, was a simpler and perhaps more pure incarnation of the event. We ran next to trees on a trail that used to be a railroad bed, the view occasionally opening to a small river. There were about 450 people running, and it seemed like even fewer to me, but I’m not a good judge of quantity. It was an out and back course, which was very useful mentally; once you hit the turn-around it feels like counting down the miles rather than adding them on.
I actually found the first half more frustrating than the second half. I was trying to pace myself because I had no idea what to expect for miles 20 through 26.2. My stride didn’t feel totally smooth and I actually started to get a little ache in one of my hip flexors, which has never happened before. But as soon as I turned around and felt like I had license to start moving, the kinks started to work themselves out and the juices started flowing. At that point, I had also just finished my caffeinated gel (chosen for the flavor variety it provided rather than its caffeine content… gel-picking gets complicated), which might have helped with the juice-boost, but it lasted for the 2nd two hours, so I’m thinking it was more runner’s high than caffeine high 🙂 I actually felt absolutely fabulous from mile 14 through 21, and then just a little less than fabulous from 21 to 26, when the quad-pounding came into play. I think the tightness in my quads actually helped me keep the pace up, because it forced me to think about my form and the movement of my legs. If I pictured myself moving efficiently and aligned my body according to that image, my legs hurt less and I ran faster. Or at least, that was what I told myself, which is all that really counts because it kept me pushing! By mile 25 I was ready to be done, but at that point what’s another mile? It really was a rush, and I loved it.
Okay, enough with the runner gushing. I promise this is still mostly a food blog.
I didn’t take any pictures of the food I ate. Bonnie and Chris came and met me at mile 20, then stuck around for the finish, and we went to California Pizza Kitchen with my parents after. It made the day at least 7 times better to have them with me, probably more… Thank you so much for being there! And of course my parents… the most enthusiastic and supportive long-distance-running-event-spectator parents I ever did see 🙂 Chris left after lunch, and the rest of us got gelato. In the restaurant I had been watching some close-by kids eat sundaes and thus developed a need for one of my own. I got a 2 scoop sundae with bacio (chocolate hazelnut: SO good) and tiramisu (which tasted chemically to me; I don’t know if it was due to their attempt to mimic some sort of marsala flavor in there? It didn’t work for me, though…) which totally hit the spot, even after splitting it with my dad.
I have lots of pictures of food from today, including a Butternut Squash, Mushroom, and Sundried Tomato Lasagna my mom and I made… but I’m done in front of the screen. My brain is making a very convincing case for sleep.
To prevent a photoless and minimally fooded post, here’s today’s breakfast:
Pumpkin oats, cranberry sauce, pear, walnuts, Toasted Almond Squares (crushed), and coffee flavor Brown Cow yogurt.
With a simple green smoothie: spinach/banana/pear. I especially like to have green smoothies the day after a long run because I feel like the antioxidants and vitamins are going into my muscles and doing repair work.
And here’s what happened after I finished the first layer of toppings…
Peanut butter and pomegranate seeds.