Well, I ran the Green Bay Marathon this morning. I placed sixth with a chip time of 2:35:15. I had a good race, and I am happy to be an official marathoner now, but it was not as I imagined it.
We started off running around town, mostly sheltered from the 27 mph winds. The mile markers consisted of rather small painted numbers on the ground and these flags on tiny stands that were about 70% blown over. So I missed mile one, had a 11:04 split at mile two, slowed down and ran a 5:33, amazed that I was running so fast I relaxed and just went with the flow. My next mile was 6:57. There was no way that I relaxed that much so I basically quit looking at splits and just ran on feel. My five miles was 29:22 which seemed on and I felt good so I just kept rolling. The eventual fourth place runner passed me around there and both of our goals was sub 2:30 so we ran together for a little bit but he pulled away. Around this time I took some Gatorade at a water stop, but it didn't agree with my stomach and made me feel knotted up. A rookie mistake to not train at this pace with Gatorade, admittedly.
At ten miles I was 57:23 which was exciting because it meant that my second five was faster than my first five. At about 11.5 the half marathoners split away and a group of about four that I was close to disappeared. With the half runners also went most of the spectators. We turned and for the next few miles ran rolling hills with the wind I hit half at 1:14:42 as happy as can be. I then took a gel out of my pocket and proceeded to eat it. I have not had problems with gels in the past, but today after probably 20 calories got in my mouth my stomach said no. I forced most of the rest down, but after that I wanted to throw up, I even had a heave although nothing came out. At this point I could still see the guy in fourth, although I had no idea what place we were in.
After a little coughing and spitting and slower running I was back in one piece still going with the wind. I hit 15 at 1:25, extremely excited. About half a mile later the eventual fifth place runner caught me on the bridge crossing the river. We were turning into the wind and he basically just ran away from me. At 16 I was at 1:31 and I knew then that whatever the wind or wall I would hit I would break 2:40. From 16 to 22 was along a bike path, into the 20+ wind. At ground level it probably wasn't 25 mph winds, but imagine it was 15 mph, while I am trying to run 10 mph into that. Plus, there were no spectators. So I just ran, hard, for six miles, alone. There were gusts when I was really putzing along. Just before the bridge around mile 22 I came around a corner and the wind was especially horrific that I was hardly moving faster than a walk.
After crossing the bridge back toward the stadium, there were hardly any spectators and I didn't have the course memorized so I'm running hard into the corners in the middle of the road until I was like 50 meters away and knew which way to turn. The last few miles were really uneventful. No timing mats, I missed a few of the mile markers, few spectators and I couldn't see the guy ahead of me. I just ran hard. The last mile or so joined the half marathoners and when we ran around Lambeau Field the slower half marathoners were supposed to be on the left, but it's always that 1%... One woman didn't want to run on the left so I ended up running into her and like two other people as I reached my way around them. Then I ran into the finish.
I was pretty exhausted, I still am five hours later. I was wobbly on my legs so they took me into the medical tent and I asked for Gatorade then water. They took my blood pressure, 116/80, while asking about my medical history.
"Do you have any medical problems?" - Doctor
"No I'm as healthy as can be I just ran my first marathon." - Me
"Are you light headed or nauseous?" - Doctor
"No, I'm just exhausted. I just ran a marathon." - Me
After that I talked to fifth place Kevin, who was also debuting in the marathon. Consensus: it was windy, and lonely out there. I got my shirt and went to my unlocked car and drank a liter of water and my muscle milk and just sat there. I walked around some and asked them to mail my award to me then I drove back home.
I will of course write more about my first experience in the coming week. I am exhausted right now, kind of like I just ran two half marathons back to back.