My First Marathon!!

I ran my first marathon this weekend!  I ran a marathon!!  It was unlike anything that I have ever experienced.  Just like training was, this race was a roller coaster of emotions.  The good news is that I finished! The beginning was great, the ending was awesome, but the middle part was absolute hell!  This was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I struggled more than I could have ever imagined.  But, I crossed the finish line. 

The beginning was a lot of fun.  We lined up in our corral around 6:00 and listened to all of the announcements, the National Anthem, and there was 168 seconds of silence.  (For the 168 victims.) 

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There were 24,818 people from 48 states and 12 countries that ran.  The atmosphere at the start line was exciting!  Beach balls were bouncing through the air.  There were tons of spectators ready to cheer us on. 

The firemen walk the marathon in all of their gear!
The firemen walk the marathon in all of their gear!

I was ready.  I thought I would be anxious or really nervous, but I wasn’t.  I was excited and just ready to do it!  When the gun went off, it took us 6 minutes to get from our corral to the actual starting line.  I ran past where Jeremy was waiting to take my picture, and he wished me luck, and we were off. 

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We started out strong, set into a good pace, and the first half of the race was great!  The first 12 miles all had a 9:20-9:30 pace.  I wasn’t tired, nothing hurt, and I felt awesome!   I took in the sights and all of the people lining the course.  There is such a huge support from Oklahoma City for the runners.  People were cheering for us, policemen and the course marshalls were thanking us for running.  My adrenaline was pumping!  I loved the music playing from houses, cars, and bands.  I laughed at the signs and costumes.   First we ran past the capital building.  

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Then we ran up Gorilla Hill.  On one side of the road they are handing out bananas, and on the other side of the road, everyone is dressed as bananas.  

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Around Mile 11 was the first time I saw Jeremy and his aunt and uncle.  

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We were having a great time!  ( I don’t know what mile this was, but I’m still smiling!)

I never saw the santa until I was looking at the pic.
I never saw the santa until I was looking at the pic.

And we saw this.  This absolutely blew my mind!  I am amazed at how anyone could run a marathon barefoot.  That is awesome!  

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Right before mile 13 is where the good part ends for while.  A long while!   I think at this mile, I “hit the wall”.  I would assume that’s what you would call this.  All of the sudden, somewhere right before mile 13, something hit me and I got so sick.  I’m talking stomach cramps, nausea, and the big D!  (Sorry people! Probably more than you want to know, but it happens, and it really sucks!!)  We had to make several stops at the lovely port-a-potties.  I was so thankful that they were there!  On top of that, the wind was a holy terror!  Somewhere during mile 15-16, we were down around the lake.  I had really been looking forward to running around the lake before the race. 

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Once we got there though I changed my mind.  We ran for 4-5 miles straight into the wind.  It was literally blowing so hard that it was knocking me over.  I was in one of the port-a-potties down there, and the wind was blowing so hard that one side of it kept lifting off the ground.  I was thinking that would be my luck that the whole thing just blew over with me in it. 

At this point, I was so mad at myself, and at my friend who even suggested doing this marathon…and then backed out on me!  I told her that I was mad at her and she laughed at me.  She said, “you finished didn’t ya?”  I thought that this stomach stuff would pass, and I would get a second wind and feel well enough to finish the race strong.  But, that never happened.  I kept drinking water at every station hoping that would settle my stomach.  It didn’t help, it actually seemed to make it worse, but I was just so thirsty.  I could run for a little while, but it wasn’t long before I would get nauseous again.  Then we would have to walk to let it settle.  Plus, my knee was hurting so, so bad; worse than it ever did in training.  I wondered if the pain wasn’t what was making me so nauseous.  I taped it for the race, but somewhere in the first half the tape fell off.  

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This was somewhere after the lake – Jeremy found me again.

At mile 19, I finally hit rock bottom.  I made it into the bathroom and I threw up.  When I came out, I was seriously ready to quit.  I told my dad and he wouldn’t let me.  We walked down the block, and Jeremy was there and I told him and he wouldn’t let me quit either.  If it wasn’t for them, I really think in that moment I would have quit.  I would have never forgiven myself either.  We continued to walk and try to run the rest of the race.  The second half of the race is the hardest thing I have ever done.  I kept pushing myself to run and try to finish, but my body was fighting me on everything.  During the second half, there wasn’t much to see and there weren’t a lot of spectators on the course either.  It made it kind of boring, but in a way it made me feel better – almost like there weren’t a lot of people there to see me failing.  <– I know that’s not true, but that’s what I felt like at the time. 

What helped me more than anything during this race was having my dad with me.  I tried to tell him to go on and leave me, but he wouldn’t.  He said we started this together, and we’re going to finish it together.  It made me tear up when he wouldn’t go.  After that I was pretty emotional for the rest of the race.  I was mad at myself for not being able to perform how I knew I could, I was upset for wanting to quit, and I felt bad that I was holding my dad back.  Jeremy helped me so much too.  Jeremy and his aunt and uncle were tracking me with my watch.  So, they kept popping up all over the course.  He’s never done that before, and I had no idea that he was going to, so when I would see them, I would get all emotional.  It gave me a boost to see Jeremy waiting there for me and hearing him cheer me on.  It made me so happy that they were there on the course supporting me. 

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My mind was in the right place the entire time, well except for the split second that I thought about quitting, but my body just wouldn’t cooperate at all!  I wanted more than anything to finish this race, and I really wanted to finish with a good time.  I was so disappointed with my time, and to be honest I don’t even know what my official time was.  I haven’t looked it up because I know it’s not good.  My watch said 5 hours and 26 minutes.  I think that was part of why I was so emotional too.  I knew that I wasn’t going to finish how I wanted to. 

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I held myself together until I crossed the finish line, and then the flood gates opened.  I cried and cried and cried!  When I saw my family and some friends all waiting for us at the finish line, that’s when I lost it. 

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crying…and then still crying but trying to smile so I had at least one decent picture made

I could not stop crying!  My dad and I went and got our t-shirts and had our picture taken. 

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Then we went and got my knee iced. 

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When we finally went out of the fence to where everyone was waiting, I lost it again.  And my dad teared up too! 

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I am so glad I did this race, and I’m so glad I finished it!  The months of training were worth it when I crossed that finish line.  Even though I’m disappointed with my time, I am so proud of just doing it!  This was a huge accomplishment, and one that I honestly (even during the training) never thought I would do. 

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After the race, all I wanted to do was shower and take a nap!  I did get to shower, but I didn’t get a nap.  I drank 2 bottles of water on the way back to Norman.  I knew I needed to eat something, but I just couldn’t get anything down.  After my shower, I finally forced down a granola bar.  Then we went to our cousin C’s baseball game.  I drank another bottle of water and ate some French fries.  During the game, I talked to one of the mom’s who ran the half.  She said that she and her running partner both got sick like I did.  She asked me if I drank the water and said that’s what she thinks made her sick.  She said that she watched one station fill up their water with a hose from a fire hydrant.  I don’t know if that’s what it was or not, but that would explain why I felt worse after I drank water.  I also found out that one of my parent’s friends was running the half, and he got sick like that too during the race.  I don’t know what was going on?!

After the game, we went to Louie’s to eat.  I felt a little hungry, but nothing sounded good.  So, Jeremy decided that we would order hot wings for an appetizer and a burger and pizza to share.  I think he was just trying to get me to eat something.    I ate two of the wings, but they were burning my wind burned lips.  I was able to get down two pieces of pizza and a few fries. 

PicMonkey Collage

But, on the way home I got sick again.  At this point, I really started wondering if I had a bug or something.  When we got home, I took some pepto, foam rolled for a minute, and went to bed.  When we got home, I found these tied to my front porch.  They’re from my grandparents, they’re so sweet!  

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And, later that night, this is what my dad wrote on Facebook.  It made me cry…again!  lol

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I was not as sore as I thought I would be when I got up on Monday morning, and that really surprised me.  My knee still hurt bad, and the side of one of my feet was pretty sore.  But, I got around really well.  I had really thought that I wouldn’t be able to walk very well on Monday.  The only thing that hurt was trying to sit down.   I stayed on my feet most of the day to try and walk off some of the soreness, and it seemed to help.   My stomach was still queasy.  Maybe I do have a bug, but I don’t feel bad.  I tried a granola bar for breakfast, and that didn’t sit well.  By lunch time I was feeling a little hungry, so I had a colleague pick me up a turkey sandwich at Subway.  I did eat most of it, but within about 30 minutes, my stomach was hurting again.   Since I was having such a hard time eating anything, I made sure to drink a ton of water and I drank a huge bottle of Gatorade.  I figured that would at least help.   I ate a half of a bowl of cereal for dinner and drank some more Gatorade.  I went to bed early and slept all night!

My dad asked me what I thought about doing another marathon.  If he would have asked me on Sunday, I would have said never again.  But, now I think I would like to do it again!  This will definitely be something we talk about in the future.    

I did it!!  Thank you to all of you for the support throughout this training.  Your encouragement was definitely on my mind during the race.  You all helped me get to that finish line!  

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22 thoughts on “My First Marathon!!

  1. Heather @ Polyglot Jot

    Congratulations!!! It takes such a strong person to finish a marathon and especially with all of those other obstacles you were dealing with! I just cried when i read that post from your dad–what a great support system! 🙂

    1. Profile photo of Tara


      Thank you!! I can’t believe I did it! My dad is great! I thought it was so sweet of him to write that!!

  2. Rhoda

    Congratulations Tara! Nothing like that feeling of finishing your first marathon. You definitely worked for it and earned that finish line! It is so sweet to have your dad to go through this journey with you. Reading your post made me very emotional. There is just something about running!!

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      You are so right! There is something about running. It’s a different kind of bond or understanding….it’s great! I am so glad my dad and I did this together, it made it so much better!

  3. HoHo Runs

    Congratulations, Tara! YOU ARE A MARATHONER. Whoop! I’m sorry to hear about your tummy issues! You are one strong chick to finish with that going on. Was it warm at this race? They may have been a factor too. Your Dad staying by your side will be a memory you can cherish for a lifetime!

    1. Profile photo of Tara


      It was warm at the race. I thought about that too. I will never forget those miles with him! It will be a great memory! Thank you for all the words of encouragement and advice throughout my training!

  4. Debra @HappyRunningSole

    Congrats, you’re a marathoner! Sounds like a tough race, but way to push through to the finish.

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      Thats so crazy to me that I’m a marathoner!! I never dreamed I would be! It was tough but it was so worth it!!

  5. Sarah @ BucketListTummy

    Oh my gosh – huge congrats! I got emotional just reading this. I have never done a marathon so I have SO MUCH RESPECT for you – what an accomplishment! I’m so glad your dad didn’t let you quit 🙂 Thanks for sharing your first marathon experience – I’m thinking about doing one this fall!

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      Thank you! It was so much fun! It was hard, but so worth it! You should do it!!

  6. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    Glad to hear you pushed through your GI issues and finished. I hope that what happened to you was just a weird fluke. Congrats on your finish and welcome to the marathoner club!

    1. Profile photo of Tara


      Thank you!! I still can’t believe I did it! I read your recap and am thinking that the next one I may carry some medicine with me just in case! I would have never thought about that!

  7. Tricia Vaughn

    Wow what a difficult time for you. I am so very glad you did not give up! Because……. YOU ARE A MARATHONER! If you never ever do another one, you still are a MARATHONER!
    I so hate you had sickness but you pushed through it! You will never be able to take that away either!


    1. Profile photo of Tara


      I KNOW!!!! I can’t believe it! My dad kept telling me that the whole time. It did help to push me to finish! Thank you! 🙂

  8. Ana

    Congratulations on your Marathon!! It is so amazing that you persevered during such difficult conditions, just shows how strong you are!

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      Thank you! I really appreciate that. I hadn’t thought of it like that yet!

  9. Meagan

    Congratulations!!!! Running your first marathon is SO tough, but doing it on top of all of those issues you had is incredible. It can be so hard when your brain is with it but your body is not, or vice versa. You have definitely got some major mental toughness and a great support crew. The sight of a porta potty when you’re having stomach issues is literally the best thing in the world, isn’t it?

    You dad is so awesome! I love how he is already asking you about doing another one. Was it his first marathon as well? Your finish line photos are so cute! It’s such a relief to cross that finish line after all of that training and all of that running, and then all of the adversity you faced on top of it all. There may be days where you’re not sure you could run a marathon, but there will be a lifetime of knowing you have.

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      Lol for the first time in my life I was thrilled to see the porta potties! It was my dads first too! Now he’s hooked!

  10. Kimberly Hatting

    I’m (very) late to the party on seeing this, but you tell such an amazing story of perseverance & survival. I ran Grandma’s Marathon (last June), and had similar tummy probs for about 6-8 miles in the middle of the race. Thankfully, no nausea/vomiting, but I had to make several portapot stops (YUCK). I think I was drinking too much Gatorade and eating fruit snacks (for fuel) and the combination didn’t work for me. None of us want a tough race, but the tough races really enforce the victory at the finish line 😉 And, despite the frustration you may have with your finish time…you FINISHED a marathon! Congrats!!!

    1. Profile photo of Tara


      Thank you!! I don’t know what it was that hit me. I’ve tried to figure it out…too much water, not enough mid race fuel….but I don’t know. It took me a little while to wrap my head around finishing! Now I want to try again for a better time!

  11. Diana @ Live Lean Eat Green

    I just did my first marathon too and WOAH such a roller coaster of emotions isn’t it. I almost burst into tears before I even started running. But I loved reading this race recap- it’s incredible how you were able to push through and finish despite everything going against you.

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      Congrats on your first!! It is such a huge emotional roller coaster. But it’s so awesome!!

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