This is a very specific post, written with my heart pointedly directed at the thousands of runners that are embarking on their very first marathon this weekend, either as “just” the marathon (which, btw, we only say about Disney Marathon Weekend . . .;), or as part of the Goofy or Dopey Challenge. It’s the 25th anniversary of this particular race, and I last ran it 3 years ago, but it was my 4th time, and it was my first marathon, so I feel somewhat qualified to speak to how you’ll feel:). Oh, and it you’re really scared and need some more gentle encouragement, please go read this post first. Trust me.
You will be cold and it will be dark and you will scared. It takes a while to warm up, and although I have heard from some that they are euphoric and feel like their flying, the first mile is ALWAYS super hard for me mentally and physically.
This one is hard because you suddenly realize that if you had only done the half marathon you’d be done now. So that will sort of suck. And also you realize you have another WHOLE HALF MARATHON to go and, as you should know by now, the second half is significantly more challenging than the first. When you get to this mile I want you to just go “huh, OK, yeah, this sucks, what’s next?”
Or, maybe mile 18. This is, classically, when I lose the ability to think, or reason, or do math.People around you will kind of stink at this point, somebody will puke, and a few people will drop out all together. Run past the casualties, check your pace, increase your walk breaks if you need to, make sure our hydration and nutrition needs are on track (you’ve been drinking and hopefully eating some up until now but this is the time to make sure everything is where it should be.)
OK, I realize you might think, why is mile 24 hard? I mean, I’m almost done! 3 more miles is nothing! It’s just a 5K – I do that almost every day in my neighborhood!
After you run your race, you will never think this way ever again. Mile 24 is tough. It’s long. It’s the longest mile you’ve ever run. You will most likely be in some amount of pain or at least discomfort. And you will be really, really, really ready to not be running anymore.
And then you’ll finish and you’ll say, huh, that wasn’t so bad I should do that again! Or not. But either way, you’ll finish and you’ll be spectacular. Oh, and you’re gonna cry when you finish. You think you’re not going to, but you totally are. And then you’ll be amazing and happy and it’s time to celebrate! Because dang, Friend, you did it. You’re a marathoner.
Take your time, take in the moment, and enjoy all the miles even the really hard ones. Because you are freaking amazing.