Thursday, April 30, 2015

Experience Your First Marathon

First Marathon Run
Wichita Ks Prairie Fire
    Are you considering your first full marathon? The first full marathon is the run you will remember more of than all runs that follow. For me it was and unusual time in my life; aging parents, kids leaving the nest, and grand kids coming into the picture. Around every corner of life I felt the challenge of aging coming on and it was kicking my butt. At 56 I lined up for my first marathon, come on in and let me share my triumph and do my best to get you registered for yours.


    My First Marathon Run was the 2011 Wichita, Ks Prairie Fire. I knew it would be a little smaller than most, but big enough to make it a major experience. I spent the night before staying with my older son. It’s always great to collect on the years you spent bringing them up; besides he’s an awesome host. Check him out at www.SaltyWanderer.com. We got an early start that morning as I made my way to parking.
    The biggest challenge I was facing was calming the monster within. It’s amazing how you challenge your own abilities as you look at something like a marathon run. Are you really as crazy as everyone tells you? What is the right gear? What about bathroom stops? Am I really ready for this? What is it going to do to my body? What happens if I drop dead out there? The kids got me an ID bracelet, so we knew they could at lest identify the body when I dropped.
    Once, I crossed that mental barrier and got registered, some concerns started to fall away. By the way, my registration number was 26. I knew I needed plenty of time and focus for this. One of the biggest confidence builders was going out and doing some research on how to run a marathon. What training is required for a beginner and what else should I know before hand. With the research and the training came some confidence. But this only addressed the technical aspect of my first marathon run.
    The real challenge that you can’t find solutions on-line or in a book is how to address the emotional aspect of a marathon run. I know this is getting kind of weird for you guys out there, but when you are lined up, waiting for the gun at your first marathon run, it will all start to make sense.
    Your first emotional challenge will come with pacing yourself for the first 6 to 8 miles. More than a handful of runners have run themselves into the ground during their first few miles by following emotion and not logic. Know your pace and don’t get caught up with other runners. Most of the runners around you are only doing the half, don’t try to beat them.  In this case hold the monster back.
    The next emotional challenge comes someplace in the middle of your run. The monster within will start to give you excuses about why this was a bad idea. Key at this point, is turning the monster around to run for you and not against you. I remember two things that I used to have my monster run for me.
    First, I had been doing a lot of genealogy work on the family tree. I came across several awesome members that I had no idea how strong they must have been. The one that came to my aid the most was Great, Great, Great Grandma Basgall (Fisher). In 1796, just 3 month, after her husband died she when forward with plans to pack up the family of 5 kids and emigrate from Russia to the USA. Imagine how much grit that lady had. I realized then, these 26.2 miles of marathon where nothing compared to her journey. You can check out the whole story at www.VolgaGermanHeritage.com.
Encouragement for
first Marathon Run
    I also planned ahead by bringing something of my mothers along. She passed away just a couple of years earlier and in part I was running my marathon for her. As I hit the runners wall around 20 miles and watched the 4 hour pacer blow by me, I reached down and grabbed a ribbon my mother had won in the Rush County Fair for some of her handiwork. For most of us the one person you can’t let down is your mother. With this to focus on I was able to walk / run on to a finish of about 4:25.
    There is one emotional aspect you will never forget. This one overshadows all the earlier ones. It’s the last mile or two as you here the crowd and you pick up your pace. Once you see the Finish line you feeling like your flying, even though your pace really sucks at this point. But the emotion you experience as you cross the finish line is worth everything you put into getting to that line.

    So, now it your turn, get registered, and train for the most emotional running event you will ever experience.

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