What I wish I knew BEFORE my first marathon!
I completed the Bass Pro Marathon in 5:30:00 on November 1. Here is a course map.
The best advice I got was at the start line. I was standing next to an older gent and I was nervous as you can imagine. I asked how many marathons he had done up to this point. He replied, “6." Really, “Is this your first?” Yes, my first one. He said these words, “I wish I was you.”
The point he made was to savor the run as much as possible because there is that moment at 20 miles or 22 where you tread new territory that your body has not gone before.
One thing the marathon does is give you plenty of time alone with your thoughts. I stopped to think about my journey from being a couch potato to running in the marathon. I got on to thinking about my inspiration for all this and it all comes back to my beloved wife. None of this would have happened without her gentle unwavering support. I owe her big time.
Now on to the things I learned that no one explicitly told me:
1. Vaseline is your friend.
Use it any place that creates friction (e.g. toes, nipples, arches, stomach, butt, inside legs, etc.)
2. Don't cheat the training.
Find a plan and stick to it. I ran two 18's and one 20 miler. I needed one more 20 miler. In addition, the surface you train on matters. I trained mainly on crushed limestone. The marathon course was almost completely on asphalt.
3. Run easy but stay on pace.
Determine a conservative goal and stick to the pace.
4. Meet new people along the way.
It helps to engage other people in the same boat as you. Plus the encouragement helps pass the time.
5. And last---if both your quads cramp up and feel like someone is pounding nails into both of them at mile 20, walk it off and finish the race. Forget it about the time. Some people race to compete and some race to complete. I completed the race.