23 June 2011

I'm a marathoner!!

Last weekend was quite the weekend! It was finally time for the Mayor's Marathon in Anchorage Alaska!! Way back in February I joined Deloitte's Team in Training team and signed up to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society while training to run my very first marathon!! Well, after four and a half months of training, including training runs in Central Park, Iceland, the basement of my hotel in Mexico (apparently it's not safe to be running about the city?), North Carolina, and the bridges of NYC, all of my hard work paid off!

I flew up to Alaska on Thursday 16 June and met up with the rest of the NYC TNT group. We spent Thursday and Friday exploring the city (more like small town) of Anchorage Alaska. Some highlights included a trolley tour of the city, crazy Alaskans all over the place, eating delicious halibut, salmon, and reindeer sausage (not that wonderful...poor Rudolph), sunshine all day and well into the night, and a love affair with an incredible black mink fur coat (seriously LOVED the coat and it fit like a dream! obviously it was made for me!).
(the Anchorage city skyline behind the trees)

(me and a reindeer sausage...mehr. not that fabulous, despite my excited face)

(THE COAT. my one true Alaskan love!)

Obviously the main event of the weekend was the race. I had laid out my race outfit, fuel, shoes, etc the night before and woke up excited and surprisingly not nervous at all! There were buses at the hotel to take us to the marathon start line. We got there a few hours early so we had time to hang out, eat breakfast, get our last bits of rest in. It was a very small race-all of us fit into a little section of a high school parking lot. Quite a change from the NY road runners races of 10,000+ people! Around 7:30 we finally lined up in the starting coral and by 8am we were on our way! It was almost surreal that I was actually running the marathon!

(Amanda, Me, Jenny, and Nick at the starting line!)

The course was really beautiful. For the first part we ran along the highway, which sounds terrible, but it was not busy at all and the surroundings were really pretty. We ran past a cool river and a really green foresty area. I ran the first 10 miles without music which is a little bit unusual. I usually have to have my music but the energy of the people around me and the beautiful scenery kept me entertained. Around mile 7 we left the nice paved road for a wide, rocky, gravely road called the Tank Trail. I think it's called the Tank Trail because actual army tranks train on it? Not quite sure. The tank trail was not my favorite but not the horror situation I had imagined it to be. We ran on that trail for 5 or 6 miles then turned into an actual wooded trail-as in a hiking, one lane trail. Again, I was super nervous about the trail but it actually turned out to be better than the tank trail because it was not rocky. Finalemente around mile 16 we were done with the trails and back on paved ground! I had a tiny moment around mile 17 at the bottom of a large hill but I told myself to suck it up and keep going-I still had 9 miles to go!

(me and the river-about 4 miles in)

(the tank trail)
(the hiking path)

I make my race playlists according to the mileage. Everyone had said that miles 18-24ish are the worst so I saved all my best songs for that playlist. It was seriously a lifesave and got me through those miles! Around mile 20 I started to actually feel really good and kept a pretty good pace. I still haven't loaded my garmin stats so I'm interested to see all of my splits! The course after mile 20 was nice-we ran through some parks and on paved trails through the woods. We ran around this really pretty lake. Around mile 25 my ipod died! AH! I was so glad that I went without it the first 10ish miles because that would've been so terrible if it had died around mile 16. Also, around mile 25.5 there was an enormous hill. Rude and rude. I think I literally stopped and said out loud "are you kidding me?!?" Our TNT coaches were there and got me up and over the hill. And then just like that, the finish line was right there! I ran strong to the finish and ended with a smile on my face!

(me shortly after finishing! 26.2 miles!!)

All in all I had a really great time. The course was beautiful. The weather was great. And I had fun running!! It was fun being there with TNT and a group of friends, all running for the same cause. A HUGE thank you to all who donated to LLS in support of my race!! Seriously, you are so great. And if you didn't donate and still want do-good news! You still can!!

(me at the finish backdrop with my medal!)

Now that the race is over, it's time to start thinking about my next one...Rome 2012...Here I come!!!