My First Marathon: Preparing for the Big Race

After months of anticipation, hundreds of miles run, many bathroom stops, doctor's visits (thanks to exercise-induced asthma and exercise-induced IBS), a couple different pairs of potential marathon shoes, many family dinners and kids' bedtimes missed, and texts with my friends for support and advice, it was finally time for my first marathon.

Thursday night, after I got my race henna, I got in some cuddle time with my 2 youngest supporters. Then Friday morning, I drove them to school. They both gave me a kissing hand, and I was a bit emotional knowing that next time I saw them in person I would be running my first marathon. The plan was for me to go up with my running partner Jennifer to do the race expo and packet pickup and then to get a good night's sleep by myself in the hotel. The next morning, Jon and the kids would come up to cheer me on, and we'd all spend Saturday night together in Indy.

kids

Jennifer and I, dressed in our Indy Half Marathon at Fort Ben (the first leg of the Indython, with Indy Monumental being the second leg), drove up to Indy with her mom and stepdad. We dropped our stuff at our hotels, and we headed together to the race expo.

expo

At the expo, we looked for blister powder for Jennifer, picked up our packets, and did some shopping. I had ordered the special anniversary half-zip and picked that up. I also bought a finisher's half-zip and a 26.2 long-sleeve shirt. You only run your first marathon once!

While at the expo, there was a space for making signs to be displayed during the marathon. Jennifer and I stopped to make a sign for all our Fleet Feet Family who were running the marathon with us.

sign

Back at the hotel, I ate my dinner. I ended up eating at my hotel because I wanted an early night and because I wanted to control what food I had (thanks to the exercise-induced IBS). I realized I had grabbed the wrong bowl of rice, and I was still hungry. Luckily, the hotel restaurant made a special order for me to go with the chicken and rice I had packed. Next, I set out my marathon gear. I wore my Fleet Feet LDP shirt, my 2XU running compression pants with a back pocket for my phone, my awesome custom bamboo Ponya Band, and my Nathan hydration vest. Although there were plenty of water stops on the course, I wanted to run like I had trained. I also don't like to have to slow down through water stops, deal with the crowds at water stops, or drink from a cup while running. Plus, with the IBS, I found that having water and electrolytes at every mile was helpful. I also had my Goodrs from Jennifer in case the sun should decide to peek out.

gear

There was one thing left to do before going to bed - Facetime with my kiddos. I got a couple last kisses to hold me over and give me luck.

facetime

The next morning, I woke up and had my almond butter and banana and got ready for the race. I went to the lobby and realized I forgot my prerace drink and ran back to my room for it. Then, I headed to drop off my bag at gear check and to meet the Fleet Feet family for a photo on the steps of the Capitol.

FFfam

We had a good size crew there not only for the marathon but also for the half marathon - and also there to support all the runners. The coach from my first couple seasons of LDP, Solomon, was there representing the Fleet Feet staff, and it was nice to get a hug from him before the race. Being surrounded by the people who were there for all those miles of training was a great way to prepare for the hours of running to come.

One of my training partners realized she didn't have her contacts in, so a group of us headed back to the hotel, where we also made one last bathroom stop. Then it was time to head to the corrals in preparation of the race start. It was awesome being there with my training group! We had a lot of fun in the corral getting a photo as we entered it, while we all still had on our toss-away sweatshirts, garbage bags, and mylar blankets to keep us warm in the chilly early morning -

corral

and getting many photos as we made our way towards the start line after the official start and until our wave started -

wave pic

That's right - there were 9 of us ready to run the marathon, and all starting together! For 8 of us, it was our first marathon. I can honestly say I had very little nerves during that early morning corral time. I was ready to start! I trusted my training, and I was with my family. I knew I had friends and family along the course to cheer me on and even to run with me. I was excited, I was prepared, and I was about to do it!

Next up...running the marathon!