If you have considered running a marathon, or are a runner considering the Kansas City Marathon, I am here to tell you to do it! Let me share my first marathon experience, and what I learned along the way.
I had been training for six months, and of course reading all the what-to and what-not-to-do’s. By the time race day came, I felt 100% prepared. Feeling mentally prepared and having a positive outlook is the first part of running a successful marathon. I approached the start line imagining the finish line, and the feeling I would have as I ran across it. That was enough excitement to get my feet off the ground in a sprint, but I knew from my reading that starting at a nice, slow pace was the ticket to conserving my energy for the remaining 26 miles.
I had two friends drive down from Iowa to run the marathon with me (it was also their first). This meant they had different running paces and techniques. I learned the importance of listening to one’s own body while running with friends. For example, my friend with weak knees prefers to run fast up hills. I have learned that running slow up hill and powering fast downhill will help conserve energy and improve your race time. I stuck with this technique as it is what works for me. Your friends should understand that you will probably not be able to run the entire marathon by their side. However, there will be thousands of other runners for continued support.
Now for some advice I am happy I received, and believe I should share with all other first time marathoners. Once you have your positive attitude and mental focus in check, make certain you have emptied everything from your system that could shift your mental focus to your stomach. Drink your water and eat your pre-race food far in advance (at least an hour prior to the run) so you have time to rid of any excess prior to running. Stop drinking water 30 minutes before the run. I ran the first 16 miles praying for a port-a -potty without a mile long line.
You will not dehydrate during the marathon if you follow the following VERY important rule. Take water at every single aid station in the beginning of the run regardless if you are thirsty or need to use the restroom. If you do this you will feel great. Your body will use this water throughout the race, and do not worry, you should sweat it all out.
Finally, treat yourself to a massage following the race. You will not be able to run for a few days after the run as your muscles need recovery time, but a massage will help you to at least walk without wanting to cry. Remember though, your muscles are made from water so as important as it is to rehydrate after a run, it is just as important to rehydrate after a massage, therefore you will need double hydration after the combination of both. Drink twice the amount of water as you typically would for the two to three days following your marathon and massage.
I am very happy I chose Kansas City for my first marathon. There was so much support, food and water. I will definitely run this marathon annually. Remember, running is a healthy addiction if you do it right.