Salt Lake City Marathon 2018 Race Recap| How I Ran My First Marathon

It's been more than 24 hours since I ran and completed my first marathon, and the words still escape me to be able to feel like I can sum up the experience in a cohesive way. Part of me is still unable to really wrap my mind around what I actually did, until I go to stand up and the pain in my legs remind me that it did in fact happen.


Race morning started with my 5am alarm. I woke up, got dressed, grabbed my protein shake, and then was in the car, making the 30 minute drive down to Salt Lake to get to the start line. When I got out of my car, I heard a gun go off and asked some nearby bikers if that was the start to the marathon, they confirmed it was actually the gun for their bike race, and then they sped off to the start line. I followed them over to the start line to wait for the start of my own race.

When I was at one of the crosswalks, I asked a guy standing there if he was running the race, so I could follow him to the start and he said he wasn't but was watching a friend in the bike race. He asked me which race I was doing, I told him the marathon, and then he said, "well you'll have great weather for it!" I joked with him that I'm from New York and would prefer it to be a little colder, and then we found out that we're both from Saratoga Springs, it was such a small world! My senior year of high school I lived with my friend's family and shared a bunk bed with my friend's 12-year-old brother, and this guy played on the same little league team as the kid I shared a bunk bed with! I told him that I'd probably been to about 15 of his little league games growing up. It was such a small world coincidence on a random street corner in Salt Lake!

Once I made it to the starting area, I ran into one of Derek's cousins who was doing the half marathon. We agreed to run the first few miles together until the half marathon split from the full. As the race started I became extremely aware of the fact that I had to go to the bathroom. And I had a pretty decent side stitch starting just a mile into the race. I ran and chatted with Derek's cousin for a couple miles until the first aid station and then she went on with her race and I did my thing.

By mile three I was already eating one of my energy chew packs, which I figured was probably a bad sign for race day, but after eating that, and drinking quite a bit at the next aid station, my side stitch was finally gone. All that was left was for me to go to the bathroom and then I would finally feel better.


There were honey buckets at all of the aid stations but the lines were so long! I didn't want to waste precious running time waiting in line, so I kept passing them thinking the line would finally get shorter at some point. By mile 8 I couldn't hold it any longer. I pulled off course at the aid station to use the honey bucket but the line was three people deep and not moving quickly, so I found a bush next to an apartment building, relieved myself, and then went along my way. There were a lot of cops on the course, so I'm mostly glad that they didn't see me and either arrest me or give me a ticket.

By mile 9 I was getting pretty hot since I was running in my jacket still and I had to just take it off and leave it on the street at one of the aid stations. It was pretty sad since I had that jacket for 5 years now, but I didn't want it around my waist for the rest of the race, and I figured we'd had a long life together. I'll always have a special place in my heart for that bright blue jacket.

Miles 10-14 were probably the lowest points of the race for me. I was hot and tired and the thought that I wasn't even half way through the race was daunting. By mile 15 things were feeling better and I was able to pick up my legs a little more and run with some more purpose. At mile 17 "This is Me", came on my Spotify playlist and I was flying through that mile. It was such a good pick me up.


Around mile 18 I was walking through the aid stations so that I could drink enough water, and then at the end of the aid station I would stop and do some air squats to stretch out my quads, and then did some hamstring stretches because my legs were feeling it. Then I would run to the next aid station, walk through to get water, and then do more squats and hamstring stretches, and then keep going again. I did this for the entire last 8 miles of the race. Those aid stations were like manna from heaven when I got to stop and stretch and squat. I would tell myself, "another mile and a half, then you can stretch again!", that really helped to keep me focused and get me through those miles.

Nutritionally, I ate two packs of these Gatorade energy chews, and two of these Power Bar energy gels in the first half of the race. The second half of the race I had four more GU brand gels that I ate. I also took in about 2-3 cups of Gatorade and water per aid station. I really think that staying on top of my nutrition the way that I did really helped to make sure that I didn't hit the wall. My legs hurt, but there was never a moment where I felt like I couldn't keep going.

The last mile and a half through Liberty Park was so challenging. My legs were on fire and I knew the course was a little longer than 26.2, so I knew when my watch actually said 26 miles, I still had a bit more to go. When I rounded the corner on 200 E to go to Library Square where the finish was, I could see the line and sent Derek a voice text saying that I was coming in. At this point I really put in my kick and went as hard as I could for the last half mile. I passed about six or so people heading into the finish and really gave it my all those last few strides. My official results were 4:41:22, a 10:36 pace, and 26.5 miles. I was off from the mental 4:15:00 goal that I had set for myself, but I didn't realize just how hilly the course was, and I'd never actually done 26.2 miles before. For a first time, I'm definitely proud of my time. It definitely wasn't the best running day of my life, but it also wasn't the worse. It was a great neutral day, and for that I'm grateful. 

As far as recovery is concerned, our Bishop at church had these compression boots that he brought over for me to try. He's really into triathlons, so he had a good idea of the amount of pain that I was in. I've used them about five times so far, and I can tell they've made a huge difference. I'm surprised that I felt better during the race than I thought I would, but I feel a lot worse after than I thought I would. My quads are completely shot which is funny because they're the one part of me that never felt sore during training... (maybe all the squats I did during the race?)

Overall, I'm really pleased with the results of my first marathon. I think I definitely have it in me to push harder and go faster in the future. I'm hoping to do The Huntsville Marathon this fall. I plan on incorporating more strength, core, and speed work in my next training cycle to make up for the things that I lacked this time around. Boston will always be a dream and goal that I shoot for, and I'm hoping to close the gap just a little bit more this fall. 

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