1. Running part of a course before you run the event is a great advantage, especially when the part you run is towards the end. The familiarity breeds confidence.
2. I commented on "Marathon Finisher Tshirt Guy," but he wasn't the only one. In fact, I was/am one of them. I vividly remember running the Flying Pig marathon (my 2nd marathon ever) and charging up the early hills, talking to everyone, not running the shortest distances...and on and on it goes. There was another runner at Madison, trying to BQ in his first marathon, and he had the highest leg kick I've ever seen in a runner. He almost kicked himself in the butt with each stride. He also started strong and faded back to me around mile 16. There is definitely an art to the marathon...which I'm still learning.
3. My charge down the finishing chute was the proudest moment I've ever had running. It was surreal. The look and smile Ellie and I shared was priceless.
4. Speaking of the finishing chute, Ellie told me more about the ambulance. Apparently, about 10 minutes before I finished, three paramedics drove it into the chute, parked it, got out, and walked away into the specatators area very non-chalantly. Immediately the volunteers at the finish came running up, talking on their walkie talkies, trying to figure out what to do. I have no idea how long it stayed there, but it was certainly odd! I'm still a little puzzled by the entire thing.
5. A lot of comments have mentioned the fact I text while running. I actually used I used to call people while running. In Chicago, I would keep my phone on me so that I could help coordinate my family while they cheered me on at different locations. It has now evolved to simply texting numbers for the mile markers I pass. I keep my phone in a small pocket in the back of my shorts so it doesn't bounce around, and it gives me something to look forward to as the miles pile up. It also gives me the opportunity to receive some great...errr..."motivation" from Ellie. Her texts included the following:
- "You got it!"
- "you can do it you are almost there BQ here you come love you mom" (this one was from Ellie's Mom. She's so high tech!)
- Go get em! Parents in the bleachers left, wife on your right at the finish!"
- The kenyans are already done...YOU LOST" (Ellie would like to thank Nitmos for this one)
- It's in the bag! YOU WILL DO IT!!
6. I can't thank the volunteers enough. It's amazing how they change as the race progresses also. Next time you run, make sure you do a couple things:
- Say THANK YOU over and over again.
- Notice how their demeanor and methods of providing support change as the race does. At the early aid stations, they'll be having a blast, smiling, joking, having fun...much like how the runners feel. But as the miles pile up, I specifically remember their faces and their yells of "Water!" The volunteers' spirit of struggle and pain reflected what they saw on the runners faces. They could see how important the aid stations were, and they wanted very badly to help in any way they could. In this case, it was their cup of water. It was very motivating and just one more part of the marathon that I love.
7. If a child has his hand out and he's looking for a high five, GO GIVE HIM ONE. There was a boy just beyond Mile 18 of the marathon (at the top of the biggest hill) standing with his mother, holding his hand out. I had just crested the hill and was not around any other runners, and was tired, and was on the other side of the road. None of that mattered. I ran over to him and slapped his hand and gave him a smile. The smile reflected to him and his mother, and it was one of the main reasons my 19th and 20th miles were sub 7 minute miles. What a lift.
8. I succeeded in pushing back the "wall" from around mile 18-20 in my first several marathons to mile 25.5 in Madison. I owe much of that to running my planned marathon pace for longer runs. Most training programs will talk about doing your long runs 60-90 seconds slower than your planned marathon pace, for fear of injury if you run faster longer. I've thrown that philosophy out the window. I think it's much more valuable to make sure your body knows what it feels like to run 7:15 at mile 23 after running 7:15 for the previous 22 miles. In my opinion, it's all about training specificity.
9. I'm signed up to run the Milwaukee Marathon in October. While I haven't officially set a goal time (besides another BQ), I am really leaning towards pushing my PR under 3:00...but lets just get through a couple months of training before making that goal official :)