One week ago I ran a marathon.
It was hard, but it was awesome!
I'm glad that I wrote some thoughts down the day after the race because, honestly, I've forgotten most of the details already. I'd compare it to my wedding - a memorable moment that I don't remember any of.
First thing I loved about this race is the fact that there were so many people I knew! I bumped into my Team Challenge coach, girls from this year's Reach the Beach team, and ladies from my local She Runs This Town/Moms Run This Town group all before the start. I bumped into two more ladies from She Runs This Town right after we started and stuck with one of them for the ENTIRE 26.2 miles, even through bathroom breaks, stretch stops and waiting for family members. And it was awesome to have spectators there for ME! My husband and parents were scattered across the course and I got to see them all multiple times (even though I probably looked unamused when I did pass them, it was SO nice).
The race started downtown on Elm Street and quickly jumped onto some pretty quiet roads. We wound through neighborhoods, where I got to check out some areas I've never been through and I thoroughly enjoyed the Thanksgiving decorations I saw on someone's lawn. (You NEVER see Thanksgiving decorations!) This first leg of the race (I'm referring to the relay leg here) was pretty varied in terrain and views, starting downtown, running through these neighborhoods, cutting through the woods to hop on a section of rail trail, and looping back to downtown.
Right after this photo was taken we passed through Elm Street again, which was AWESOME. There were TONS of people cheering, girls with pom-poms (not sure who they were), relay teams all waiting for their runners, and the first time passing my husband (who took my gloves, as my gear man).
I'd like to take this time to mention that Elm Street is a freaking wind tunnel. It was AWFUL! We ran through Elm a handful of times and each and every pass was just as freaking windy. I was so thankful to have my neck warmer on that I could pull up over my face because it was brutal! Lots of F bombs were yelled at the wind.
The second leg meant continuing on through more neighborhoods I'd never been through (have I mentioned I don't know Manchester that well?) and the start of the hills! Looping through this section was hills on hills and a mental game of Do-I-Run-the-Hills-in-the-First-Half-or-Walk-More-to-Save-Energy? Since this was still during the first half I felt awesome, stopped at all the posters offering power, took videos of the people playing live music on the sidewalk, took candy from every little kid passing out Halloween candy, and ultimately took walk breaks to save energy.
I was still ahead of the pace schedule I had set for myself, that had me starting off slow, conserving energy, and having strength at the end of the race.
I had no idea that there was a section of trail during this part of the race, but it was really cool! I (once again) had never been here and enjoyed the surprise section of trail before hopping back onto the city streets and passing my parents for the first time.
My mom asked me about a hundred times before the race if I needed anything, if she should bring anything, and other motherly questions. I told her just to be there with a cowbell. She and my dad delivered on the cowbells and the yelling :) Each time I passed by I didn't know who it was at first because they were cruising around in a motorhome that I still forget they even own!
Hills, hills, and more hills until the top of Derryfield Park, where I passed the hubby again :)
Down and up more hills, water stops, pass my parents with the cowbells, start taking stretch breaks and near the half mark.
Facebook Live through the halfway point. Pass through the god damn wind tunnel, cross the bridge and over to the West Side onto half #2.
I want to interject here with my disappointment that the full marathon runners didn't get to run through the cheering crowd at this point like I was expecting. I would have enjoyed that boost before heading out into the quiet second 13 miles!
Okay, back to the trek through Manch and Goffstown.
At this point we were hopping back into neighborhoods that I've never seen. We pass a house with a big party outside, passing out beer and water. Water, thank you.
A few minutes later we are around mile 17, where a couple of women have orange slices set out for the runners. THANK YOU!
Stretch stops are becoming more and more frequent. Running up hills is a lost cause.
This is further than I have ever run now. I didn't make it up to as long distance as planned while training.
My left calf is super tight. My right knee and hip started bothering me.
Thanks right leg, for coming to play. I guess I did neglect you when I tapped my entire left leg before the race and left you naked.
Cheer squad from She Runs This Town made me smile around this point! Thank you for spotting me over and over and yelling "JESSIE!" Greatly, greatly appreciated!
Time to hop on the rail trail.
This section of the race was both super weird and kind of nice. Since this part was an out and back, there were runners going both directions in a pretty narrow area. Think one side of a road, with two directions of runners on it. It was tight, but it worked. I was conflicted on liking/disliking this section of race. See reasons below:
Things I liked about the trail:
This I disliked about the trail:
On the way back towards downtown you run much further on the trail, again, sections I've never been on. This was a nice change of pace as well, but I was pretty much toast at this point. I had a little pep in my step after waiting for my running buddy's family. We stopped at the end of the trail before turning around until they arrived, but by the time we reached around mile 21, or 22, or maybe 23 I was toast. I didn't want to run any more at all.
During this section of trail we kept passing and being passed by this same woman, so we eventually started talking to her and learned that she has run a marathon in each state TWICE. WHAT?! Craziness. #lifegoals
Now I'm waiting and waiting for water stop that I KNOW is at mile 22 because it's the Girls on the Run stop. Not there.
Not cool GOTR! You know I love you, but I was highly disappointed by the lack of water stop when I passed by! *sad face*
Crossing this giant foot bridge across the highway and the river were kind of sketchy, but also super cool. The photographer at the end of the bridge caused me to run momentarily for a picture.
Across the bridge we reached a section that we had already run earlier in the race, so we knew exactly where the hills were, where to run (the flat sections) and where to walk (the hilly sections). Only 2 more miles! So close, yet so far!
Up the hill and back to the Elm Street wind tunnel where it was FREEZING and there were about 15 spectators left. I'm so glad my husband was there and I still running with my buddy or it would have been really lonely. The She Runs This Town cheer section spotted me on the way by too, which was AWESOME because I was really expecting sidewalks of cheering people, even though I didn't run the fastest marathon in the world.
The last section of the race was a big mind fuck. You had to run directly next to and right by the finish line. In a wind tunnel.
At this point I just wanted to make it to the finish. I wanted to be DONE! It almost hurt more to walk, but at the same time running sucked. Just have to make it over the bridge, make a u-turn and come back down the effing wind tunnel.
Slowly, we made it!
And I became a MARATHONER!
Official Net Time: 6:06:12
Slower than planned, but I don't even care!
I did it.
And I will return for another one.
Hi, I'm Jessie!
I live in NH with my husband and our pups. My favorite things are coaching Girls on the Run, eating good food that I didn't have to cook, helping other people work on their health, volunteering for and running races, watching tv, doing yoga, and spending too much time on social media. #Balance