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After almost two years of hard work my husband Trevor has been transformed from a desk potato to a successful marathon finisher.
He ran his first full marathon on October 23rd in St. Louis, Missouri. His official time was 4:31:40.
In this episode I talk with Trevor about the agony and joy of running his first marathon. What you are about to read is the brutally honest battlefield report of a first time marathoner and former “non-runner”.
How did you feel in the week before your marathon?
I felt like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I was just dumb and naive. The reality of the race didn’t really sink in until I was at the starting line. Plus, the week before the marathon was very hectic, not a good way to go into a race. Thankfully, I was able to get a good night sleep before the big day.
What was your race strategy?
My strategy was to finish in under 5 hours (4 and 1/2 would be cool). I had you there to pace me and keep me going when I wanted to walk. We planned on taking a 45 second walk break at each water stop. This worked good but in the later miles it was really hard to get going again. Without you there the 45 second walk break would have morphed into a 4-5 minute walk break. I stopped thinking rationally as the discomfort intensified.
What was the experience like to stand at the starting line?
I actually looked for a good place to sit down. I didn’t want to be on my feet any longer than necessary. The energy there was definitely palpable. The race directors did a good job of pumping us up. I tried to live in the moment and not dwell too much on what lay ahead.
How did you feel in the early miles?
The early miles are great. I felt invincible. But I knew I was only kidding myself. I tried to save my energy as much as possible and start fueling for the future miles.
What was your fueling strategy? Is there anything you would have done differently?
Our interview with Steve Born really cleared things up for me. The morning of the race I drank a cup of coffee (no food). I took a gel a couple minutes before the start. Then I fueled with Perpetuem (strawberry flavor) every 3 miles. I had good energy the whole time but struggled with cramping in my legs after mile 18. I should have brought more electrolyte tabs.
Was there any point in the marathon where you started to struggle?
My legs started screaming at me after mile 20. I had muscles sore that I didn’t even know were part of my anatomy. My mind was constantly flooded with thoughts of stopping to rest. It was the hardest physical and mental challenge I have ever faced.
Did you ever want to give up or doubt that you could finish?
No, I knew I would finish. But as the pain intensified I stopped caring about how fast I would finish. Without you there I probably would have run a 6 hour marathon.
What were some highlights of the race?
At mile 21 we had to run up a merciless hill. Suddenly the 4:30 pacing group came up behind us. I was in too much pain to talk to any of them but we ran up the hill together like rough riders charging up San Juan. Guts and glory.
Did you use any mantras? What was running through your head?
I know I’m the funny mantra man but I didn’t have anything too witty. All the krakens must have been on vacation. The only recurring theme running through my mind was, “Don’t let your wife think you’re a wimp!” That might look good on a T-shirt.
How did it feel to cross the finish line? Physically, mentally, emotionally . . .
The problem with marathons is that the finish lines are too far away. When I saw the big digital clock I smiled for the first time in over an hour. It feels great to accomplish something so epic. After the medal was placed around my neck I looked for a good place to sit down.
What were your thoughts about the marathon one week later?
I think a bit of amnesia is setting in. I’m actually entertaining the idea of doing another full marathon. Next time I will be more intentional about cross-training and core conditioning. As a side benefit, half marathons seem really easy now. I can gobble those up like candy.
Training for this marathon has been life changing and I know the victory will stay with me forever. If you are training for your first race let me encourage you -YOU DO HAVE WHAT IT TAKES!
Also Mentioned in This Episode . . .
Yurbuds are earbuds that actually stay in your ears while you run. After my Yurbuds arrived I immediately went out for a 10 mile run and didn’t have to adjust them or even touch them one time. Thank you Marty for recommending these.
MTA Meetup in St. Louis
From left to right: Taliah, Glynda, Jody, Angie, Trevor, and Ambra