My First Marathon

By Julie Waters

Some friends and I made plans about six months ago to participate in the Rock and Roll Marathon in San Antonio, TX on November 16, 2008. For me and my running partner, it was our first marathon. For our friends Jeff and Traci, marathon veterans, it was a chance to qualify for Boston. There were four of us running, and we had twelve supporters from St. Louis/ Springfield, who came down to watch.

First, San Antonio is amazing…a beautiful city. We arrived on Saturday and the race was on Sunday. We stayed close to the Riverwalk and quickly learned that if you fall into the River, not only do you get wet, but it is a $500 ticket. Yikes! We couldn’t wait to try out the Texas margaritas on Sunday night.

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Race day was colder than normal for the area, or so I am told. We woke up to 30 degree temperatures! Very cold for standing around, but great for running. I lost my running partner at about mile 12, when she stopped to go to the bathroom…but it didn’t seem to matter. I ran the first 22 miles with very little pain or suffering, and I actually enjoyed the run. The race was well-organized and the bands were awesome motivation. Then, I hit the wall. Having never run a full marathon before, I didn’t really understand what “the wall” was, but I believed somehow that “the wall” would not impact me. Yeah, I was wrong about this one. I even had a mental battle with myself about turning around…which really would have been stupid…where would I have gone?? I ended up basically speed walking for about two miles, which really wrecked my time.

All of the sudden at mile 24, I heard someone call out my name—and my friends Jeff and Traci (who had finished the marathon in 3:09 and 3:31 respectively—both qualifying for Boston), came to run with me. Tossing my pride aside, knowing that they had finished and were now going to run EXTRA miles, I knew it was exactly what I needed to finish the race! My adrenaline was pumping again, and I crossed the finish line. By this point it was 70 degrees and sunny…we hung out outside and listened to the finish line band at the Alamodome.

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It took me about 4:50 to finish the marathon. I was disappointed in my time, but I finished my first marathon injury free, and I can work on my time for the next one. In fact, all of us finished—and two people PR’ed and qualified for Boston. It was a great experience, and as an FYI, the margaritas in San Antonio taste great when celebrating at the finish line!

Julie

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