As many of you know, I ran my first marathon this weekend in Buffalo! The big weekend started with the health and fitness expo on Saturday morning. Ashley, Michelle and myself all met up to drive into downtown Buffalo.
At the expo, there were stations selling apparel and shoes as well as other stations that were promoting local races. We did receive some great freebies (a whole pound of pasta each and some organic granola) but we were most distracted by the race day apparel for sale. The shirts that were made for the event were AMAZING! They outlined the biggest landmarks on the course and really captured the feeling of Buffalo.
After we purchased race shirts and stickers for the car, we went to get our bibs. Michelle’s bib included her favorite number (17) so we knew that it would be a good race. We all went home for a while to rest up, hydrate and get our things ready for the next day. Later that night, Ashley had us all over for a delicious pasta meal to carbo load for the big event. After dinner we discussed our meeting destination and plan of attack for the next day. It definitely helped to calm the nerves knowing there was a plan in place.
On race morning, my alarm went off at 5:40 a.m. and I woke up feeling rested. I knew that nearly 5 months of training had prepared me for that day and I took on the mentality that it was just another long run. #TeamLlama met up at about 6:15 and we were all smiles…today was FINALLY the big day! We took our place in the starting corral near the 3:50 pacer and waited for the race to begin.
The starting gun went off right at 7 a.m. We had to really focus on controlling our pace so that we would have enough energy to finish the run strong. My parents, brother and his girlfriend rode their bikes throughout Buffalo so that they could cheer for us at numerous stops along the course. Michelle’s parents caught us at a few stops as did her husband Brendan. Her sister even jumped in and ran the last few miles with Michelle! Ashley brought a cheering squad too, complete with her parents, husband, husbands family and some fabulous friends. It really fueled us when we saw their excited faces.
I would love to come on here and tell you that after a great training program, I came out and had a fabulous race. However, sometimes even the best plans don’t always go accordingly. By mile 8, my feet were beginning to burn and I felt like blisters were forming. By mile 15, my diaphragm and chest had tightened, making my breathing shallow and labored. I was determined to finish though! I told myself that I needed to be mentally strong and continue. It wasn’t until mile 22 though that I had to slow my pace in order to catch my breath.
I would slow down enough to open up my lungs then would get right back to my pace. I refused to let this keep me from finishing. At mile 24, my family and a ton of my brothers friends were there cheering and they even had a huge picture of my face! This fueled me through the next 2 miles, knowing that they all expected me to finish. When I crossed the finish line, my dad called to me immediately and I went over for a hug from my both my mom and dad.
I ultimately finished the marathon in 4 hours and 1 minute! I would have ideally liked to finish in under 4 hours but I truly fought for that time and I couldn’t be more proud of myself for finishing. I would like to send a huge thank you to my training team, Ashley and Michelle, as well as all of our family and friends that were there, in person and spirit, to support us through the entire journey. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Be sure to check out my Playlists tab to see what I listened to during my run!