On May 2nd, I woke up at 5:45 am with nervous butterflies in my stomach. Today I would finally step up to the start of the Providence Marathon. The marathon would be going off around 7:30 am with a pulse start formation, meaning groups of 10 would be going off every 10 secs (Covid thangs).
My dad and I had planned on starting at a conservative pace, 8:30 per mile but my ultimate goal would be to progressively get faster and finish with an 8:00 min per mile average for the whole marathon. However, things would not go as I had planned!
Around mile 5 I decided to leave Big Kev because I was feeling really good and I wanted to keep on track with my goal. Once I left him, It felt as if I was gliding, the hills felt like bumps when in reality they were pretty long and steep. Weeks earlier it had been hard to run this fast due to my pollen allergies with my very reactive lungs but it didn't seem to be affecting me. At one point I decided to slow the pace down because I was nervous my body wouldn't be able to keep it up since I still had a lot more race left.
Around mile 16 was when the pain and tightness started to creep in, that easy feeling was starting to fade and I knew the real race was about to begin. Around this point, the heat of the day was starting to rise. I don't tend to run well when it's hot out because I lose more salt through my skin due to having Cystic Fibrosis. I made sure to grab the electrolyte drinks that the volunteers were handing out at the water stations but it felt like nothing was making a difference.
One way I helped to stop thinking about the pain was to smile... yes smiling. When you smile during a race it tricks your mind into relaxing and it actually worked for some time. However, my mental and physical shape started to deteriorate around miles 17-18. I took my phone out and texted my boyfriend Phil saying " I don't know if I can finish". He told me to send my location and that he would find me while riding a scooter that he had rented! Imagine Phil scooping me up on a SCOOTER! I said to myself, "I'm going to try and finish to save myself the embarrassment"... Joking.
But I truly didn't want to drop out, I had to at least try and make my way to the finish even if it meant walking at points. If I quit I would have been deeply upset with myself. Quitting would be the easy way out. I have never walked in a race so this was a tough thing to do but it was also the only way I would have been able to finish.
The last 8.2 miles were an emotional battle. At points, I wanted to cry because of the pain in my leg and also the emotional toll I was under. The closer I got to the finish the farther it felt like I still had to go. The last 3 miles were one of the hardest points because I so badly wanted to stop. The only thing that kept me going was looking for Phil. I knew he would be standing somewhere close to the finish with my family but I wasn't sure where. I kept my sights ahead in search of him and the finish.
With .3 to go, I could hear the announcer, I rounded a turn and saw my last obstacle, a HILL. I slowly climbed that hill with tired legs and lungs but with a heart full of determination. At the top, I started to push through the burn and saw the finish line. Somehow I had a turnover and was able to push out some speed, I guess you can find a lot of strength when you're almost done.
As I came around the corner I could hear my name being screamed, I looked to my right and saw Phil and my family. I put on the biggest smile, a smile of happiness and relief. I did it!! I finished my first marathon!!!
It was by far from how I wanted to run my first but it will stick with me forever because of the fight I had to win over myself. I finished in a time of 3:48.28. I am so happy to have finally conquered my first marathon and I am already thinking of how I will train for my next one. I guess you can say I am hooked!!