Well, about a year ago, my sister encouraged me to start on a training schedule to work up to a marathon. We aimed for the Portland Marathon and cleared our calendars for the big date. I consulted with my doctors and got the green light. For 4 months this summer, I diligently logged my progress, putting in anywhere from 20-35 miles per week. I ran my first half-marathon in August, and then, a few weeks later, got injured. Weeks of physical therapy (plus 2 weeks' rest) helped get me "back on track." I was ready and raring to go last weekend.
The marathon started at 7:00 in the morning (we actually started a bit after the hour because the race had a wave start) and we finished before noon. The rain set in about 5 miles into the run, but that didn't dampen our spirits. I heard about "hitting the wall" around 18-20 miles, but I was fortunate to make it all the way to 23 miles before I started breaking down. The last 3 miles of the marathon were among the toughest I've ever run. Hearing the announcer cry out my name as I crossed the finish line nearly brought me to tears.
My sister and I hobbled back to our hotel, showered and then slept for hours! We were pretty sore the first two days afterwards, but today (Day 3), we feel nearly 100%.
The Portland Marathon is one of the best first marathons in the country. It is popular among walkers, as well. Portland is famous for being extremely well-organized, which sure makes it nice for nervous participants. Perhaps most notably is the fact that the Portland Marathon is a "green" event. Among other things, the race donates discarded clothing to shelters, uses cups made of biodegradable materials, hands out canvas shopping bags, and each runner gets a tree seedling to plant - to create a virtual Portland Marathon forest!
I'm planning to run the Portland Marathon again next year. Let me know if I'll see you there!