My First Marathon

A few days ago I completed my first marathon. I decided to put my thoughts on paper while I still remember how it went.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the preparation was not that great, I started training very late (around two months ago). My biggest distance to date was 32km in one go at a slow pace.

Let me tell you how my race went.

I woke up 2.5h before my start, ate two bananas and started drinking water. I kept drinking it until one hour before the start. Then I just went to WC for a few times, did some stretching exercises and mentally prepared for the start. My wife wished me luck, made me promise to stop if it was getting too hard, and I went to the start line.

The target was to finish marathon in under 4hrs. My plan was to stick to pacers (these are people who are holding a steady pace to finish the event in certain time). In my case, these were the pacers with 4:00 balloons attached to them but I didn’t see them at the start line. When I started, after a few km I noticed that I see pacers with 3:45 balloons ahead of me. I understood that I am going too fast and will not keep up the pace until the end of the race. So I started managing my pace and slowed down a bit. Most of the people were passing me but I managed to keep my ego at bay so I didn’t pay attention to them. I was sticking to my personal plan. My heart rate was manageable and stayed at around 163 beats per minute for the first half. My lactate threshold is 175bpm so I was still in the safe zone.

I saw that the 4:00 pacers are a few hundred meters behind me when I finished the first half (21km). I remembered that this was the place where my race was finished last year. Now I still have the same distance to go and the real race is only starting.

The pacers caught me after 24km. Then I understood that it is going to be hard to keep up with them. My heart rate was going through the roof (above 175 beats per minute). I still had 18km to go and my legs were tired already as well. I passed more and more people walking and was thinking that I will be one of them shortly. I decided to try to keep up with the pacers as long as I can. Maybe I will manage to stick with them till the end after all?

Unfortunately, it didn’t go as planned and I gave up the optimistic 4hrs plan after 36kms. I started walking instead of running for a minute. Then I tried to catch the pacers but stopped again after a few hundred meters. This is when the hardest part started. I simply couldn’t run for more than a few hundred meters without walking. My legs were hurting and after 38kms they started cramping as well. At least there were only a few kilometers left. I managed to run for the last two kilometers or so and cross the finish line. The scoreboard was showing 4:06:59.

Then I saw my wife who congratulated me with a golden chocolate medal and said that I am still the winner for her. Tears started to gather in my eyes and I understood how lucky I am to be able to do this and to be able to share it with the most important person for me in the world.

In general I am still very happy that I managed to finish full marathon distance, even though I couldn’t fit to under 4 hours. I am sure that it is not the last time and I will be able to crush this result in my next marathon.

10 thoughts on “My First Marathon

    1. Thanks a lot!
      Are you planning to do 26.2 some day?
      Congrats on your accomplishment as well! I never had an easy 13.1 so I know that it is a challenge!
      I think I finished 6-7 13.1s before I finally committed to a full marathon so I wouldn’t rush it 😀

  1. Congratulations! Finishing a marathon is a great achievement, regardless of your time. I am sure you will get under four hours if you run another one!

    I have heard it said that preparing for and running a second marathon is tougher than preparing for and running your first, however.

    The thought is that when you run the first marathon, you have tons of support from family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers as you train and prepare for this unique goal. With the second marathon, the novelty to others is gone, and it’s all about you, and how bad you want it, without the same type of broad interest and support you had the first time around.

    First time around, people supported you as you were working hard to achieve a bucket list goal.

    With the second one, you’re just a crazy marathoner.

    But I really wouldn’t know. I ran my first marathon in 1999. Still waiting to run my second!

    Best of luck!

    1. Thanks for your kind words! 🙂
      Regarding second marathon, that’s interesting, I think it makes sense. In my case, I didn’t advertise it much so maybe it will be easier from the psychological part.
      However, marathon is actually only one step to reach my current dream. I plan to finish a full Ironman event where marathon is only a part of the challenge (you need to swim 3.8km and cycle 180km first).
      Are you planning to run your second marathon one day or not thinking about that yet? 🙂

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!! That is awesome. I’ve done a few marathons now and it sounds like you “hit the wall”, which definitely happened to me on my last one as well! 🙂 Ah good times! Congratulations again and thanks for sharing!

    Passive Income Dude

    1. Hi Dan,
      Thanks a lot!
      It’s nice to see that people from FI community are also familiar with terms like “hit the wall” 😀 That was exactly what happened to me, it was a while since I experienced this feeling 🙂

    1. Thank you very much DP!
      Well, you know, there are people who run 100k in the mountains so we have to start somewhere 🙂

  3. Great job, that’s totally impressive and based on what you wrote, it seems like the experience was a positive one even if super tiring. It’ll only get easier from here and I wish you luck on the next one. I’m sure you’ll be below 4hrs then!

  4. Thank you!
    Yes, it was definitely a positive experience and I can’t wait to start planning my next one! I should be able to be below 4hrs if I stick more to my training schedule next time 🙂

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