Friday, November 02, 2007

My First Marathon Experience!!

It's been more than 10 whole days since I completed my 1st marathon, and I am finally getting some time to sit down and write about it!! I still quite don't know how, where to start though.....overall, it was an amazing 1st Marathon experience, one that I will never forget as long as I live, and one that I will definitely look back on for inspiration!! I am not going to get into too much details - it would be quite difficult to do that - but just give some of the key highlights!

For the run-geeks out there, here are the all the final numbers from my race....

Distance Splits:

5 miles: 1:04:00 Pace: 12:48
10 miles: 2:10:08 Pace: 13:13
13.1 miles: 2:40:18 Pace: 12:57
15 miles: 3:18:24 Pace: 14:47
18 miles: 3:58:54 Pace: 13:30
22 miles: 4:55:24 Pace: 14:07
26.2 miles: 5:53:10 Pace: 13:45

These numbers are quite telling!! As you can see - I started off pretty ok, slightly faster than I wanted to....but I couldn't help it!! I was overwhelmed by the crowd, the electrifying atmosphere, the fantastic spectator support, the perfect weather, the CUTE Marines etc etc!! :) I slowed down a little in the 2nd 5 miles, partially due to a much-needed potty break, and then picked it up again during the next 5K....Miles 14-20 were the toughest portion of the race for me...The course itself was through Downtown DC, pretty flat, and of course full of great sights - all the monuments - and large spectator crowds - but I didn't quite get to enjoy all of this due to these horrible cramps that developed in my lower abdomen area...and I had to reduce my pace to a very slow jog, and had to keep taking deep breaths...doing anything other than that made me feel the pain considerably....

My cousin Ash joined me around Mile 14 and ran with me through Mile 22....something that I am extremely grateful for!!!...After mile 16, the spectator crowd thinned considerably, alot of people started walking, it became slightly hot, my cramps were bugging me, but Ash kept chatting with me throughout those miles, distracting me, amusing me, pointing out sights to me, and that kept me going on.....I am quite sure otherwise that I might have started walking with all the other folks around me!!....At mile 19, I saw my mom and ran to her with joy....I guessed she had what I really needed - TYLENOL!!!!! :).....And as I predicted - she did....I took 2 pills and within the next couple of miles, my cramps slowly decreased!! I slowed down a little though, as we crossed over back to Virginia, around miles 19-21....this time primarily due to legs I guess really started TALKING to me and asking me all sortsa questions - the key one being - why I was torturing them the way I was! :) At this juncture, one of the DC Asha Chapter coaches who was standing in the sidelines ran up to me and enquired which Chapter I was from - he told me that he and his wife, also a coach, had been running up and down the course, and running with any Asha runners they met who feel like they need the assistance or company....he ran with me and Ash for about a 1/2 mile or so, and said that the few miles I have left were going to go a long way towards the goal I had for supporting Asha! My cousin also went "Doesn't she look great?"....and at that point, I couldn't help smiling...and well, I guess my legs also got the answers they needed - at the end of that 8 mins or so, I became a lot more relaxed and my spirits went up!

The last 4 miles were around Crystal City, and then around the Pentagon....I picked up my pace slightly after the 22mile point....the remaining course consisted of a few rolling hills, which weren't too much fun, and then a crazy, but short, steep uphill at the end.....As I was struggling on that hill, I heard Anusha, the friend who got me into this marathoning business in the 1st place, yelling, "Go Chandy!!!".....I could see and hear her clearly and was thrilled, although from the weary expression on my face - she would have never realized that :) , BUT I could also at that point see the finish line just ahead and I don't really know what came over me, but my legs suddenly had renewed energy, and I sprinted the last 200m towards the finish line, remembering to lift my hands up and smile at the camera as I crossed the finish line!!

The Finish Line is truly a sight to behold!! There are tons and tons of people there all cheering their guts out for every single person who crosses the line, most of them they don't know personally, but acknowledge as Marathon Finishers!! It was a great feeling to keep walking on after that to receive the Finisher's Medal from the Marines. I saw my mom and cousin and couldn't help grinning as I went up to them! They were my fabulous support team for the day, and helped make my 1st marathon experience a worry-free one, and provided moral support all throughout the race!!

Some crazy MCM race sightings/experiences:

- I PEE'D behind the bushes along the course with some other women while a Marine stood guard outside to prevent men from entering the same bushes! :)
- There was a guy who ran the whole Marathon BACKWARDS!!
- There was a guy who was juggling 4 Tennis Balls throughout the course!!
- Since it was Halloween weekend, a lot of folks were wearing costumes!
- There was a group of ~60-yr old women who wore "I want a kiss from a Marine at every water-stop" T-shirts!! Some got their wishes granted! :)

Overall, I had a very memorable 1st marathon - I wouldn't have traded it for anything else. More than anything, I enjoyed myself thoroughly - I guess for the 1st time, I truly experienced the Runner's High that everyone talks about!! I had an excellent coach, and excellent cause, and excellent family and friends to support and cheer me on throughout the 6 months it took me to get to that Finish Line! The running doesn't stop here....I still have 5 races left for the Austin Distance Challenge, starting this weekend with the EAS 10-miler. It will be my first long run since the marathon, and I am planning to run it super easy , but none the less, I can't wait to get back on the road!!

On a side note, the Asha Austin Fantastic 4 - Santosh, Gaurav, Ganesh and Vinod, completed their first ever 100-miler race this past weekend!! Imagine doing 4 marathons back to back!! It's an amazing feat - and I commend them on this fantastic achievement!! They are truly an inspiration to all the Asha Runners!! Kudos to the 4 of you!!


Mommy G said...

*speechless* I really don't know what to write other than how proud I am of you for doing what you did and you truly are an inspiration to me!!

gk said...

Congratulations on a wonderful race...those are some awesome time-splits you have there

Amit Bhutani said...

Sis- What can I say that hasn't been said about you already ?? You are awesome, you *totally* rock and you know that!!!! Reading your experiences and watching all those pics was truly inspirational and exactly what I needed for motivating me to stay on track for my marathon goals 14 weeks from now.

You did exactly what you told me you were going to do which was "Not Quit" and "Run with your Heart"!! I am so proud to have a "Thangachi" (that's lil' sis for the non-tamilians) like you ;-) I will see you in all of the remaining five Distance Challenge races and hope to draw inspiration from you every time I see you ;-)

comfortably numb said...

Amazing stuff! You did an awesome job and are quite an inspiration for all the other runners in the team!

Looking forward to reading more of your running/tri adventures here.

Improper Bostonian said...

thats fantastic !!!

vishy said...

Hey congrats for completing your first marathon.

The pictures shows it all.. u seem to be in pretty good shape at the finish line... Congrats!!

Charanya said...

Thanks to all of you for your kind words!! :)

woorkeri wittynathan said...

Didn't know you had put this feather in your cap as well. Congratulations Maami!!! :)

Charanya said...

Thanks Archie!! :)