Sunday, October 31
My First Marathon
Race Start - 9:00 am
Weather - 58 degrees at start, sunny with no clouds
From the second I heard about this race, I wanted to do it. As a runner, who wouldn't??? The 2500th anniversary of the first marathon. In Greece. The only "original" marathon course. So yeah. The race was already sold out by the time I heard about it back in May. The only way in was the charity option. The main charity was AHEPA and I had until September to raise the required $5100 for entry into the race and travel/accommodations. Done. With all the excitement of my other trips and the travel leading up to it, busy schedules, etc, I really didn't have that much time to get super excited/nervous.
However. The night before the race was daylight savings. I was nervous about getting up on time, so I set more than one alarm, plus asked for a wake up call from the front desk. Last thing in the world I wanted was to oversleep and miss the race!! Even though the race wasn't starting until 9:00 am, the bus was leaving at 6:30. I was fine with that since I would ALWAYS rather get to a race early than be panicked and rushed.
I didn't sleep that well, I woke up a few times checking the time and I just got up for good around 5:15. Probably a good thing, it gave me some time to get everything ready without feeling rushed. Had my bagel and peanut butter in the room. Last minute check of the weather before heading downstairs to meet the group and catch the bus.
|About as ideal as race conditions can be|
|Victoria, Me, Jennifer - First marathon for all of us!|
|View of the starting area - insanely crowded! 12,000 runners!|
|Bill, Me, Greg|
First - 10K - flat
Middle - half marathon - uphill
End - 10K - downhill
As Jeff Galloway said, "the good news is that this course only has one hill. The bad news is that it lasts for thirteen miles." Later in this post I'll post the elevation profile and you can see for yourself. Oy.
So my plan was to start out slow to conserve energy for the 13 miles of hills, and then run as fast as I could the last 10K of "downhill." I must have been the only one with that plan because I must have gotten passed by EVERYONE those first few kilometers. I saw Alex at the 2k marker (he had been having some pain in his quads and thought he might just walk the beginning).
|The sign says "Athens Classic Marathon Course" - a few of these along the course|
|Just before the 6k mile marker|
|Heading up one of the first hills, just past 10k?|
|I was pretty impressed with the crowd support, virtually along the entire course|
Got to the aid station at 20k and stocked up on GU, although I wasn't impressed that one of the only flavors was Mandarin. Had to take what I could get, but I was sad about the loss of my chocolate and espresso ones :(
Passed the mat at the half marathon mark, and I was pretty much where I wanted to be, right around 2:21 (my slowest half marathon finish time). And STILL feeling good. I think it's because I was just RUNNING, not RACING. With a course profile like this I didn't really know HOW to race, so I just kept going. Probably easier than I had to, but I felt GOOD.
|I look good, right??|
Aid station at 25k, and NO line at the potty! Got in and almost turned around and left. I won't go into detail, but it was VILE. People are revolting. Went pee as fast as possible and got out, cursing the lack of hand sanitizer.
|Heading into "downtown" past the 25k marker|
|Somewhere past 30k - the Mini Cooper dealership!|
At 40km, I finally caught up to Greg and Bill. I tapped Bill on the shoulder and ran right past, thinking maybe they would run with me, but I never saw them again until they crossed the line. The last 2k were pretty much all downhill. I ran the fastest pace of the race and I absolutely know I had a huge smile on my face. I was doing it. I was going to finish the race. And I was going to do it WITHOUT WALKING.
Before the race, I set a tentative goal of five hours. Looking at my watch, I had every chance of beating 4:45. Everyone who knew this course said to estimate 20 minutes slower than the average marathon finish due the profile. I WAS FREAKIN PSYCHED. When I saw the marble stadium I pushed and bolted through. Playing over the intercom? "Chariots of Fire" - no joke. Crossed the line and hit my watch.
Within seconds I saw John and he gave me a huge hug. Just a few minutes later I saw Greg and Bill cross the line. We were the first finishers in our group.
|Olympic rings in the marble stadium|
|Course map and elevation profile|
Official time: 4:42:14
Official timing mat splits:
5k - 32:07
10k - 1:05:48
21.1k - 2:21:04
30k - 3:22:01
Finish - 4:42:14
Almost identical splits for first and second half, only a few seconds off
Pace per km per Garmin:
1k - 10:05
2k - 9:58
3k - 10:16
4k - 10:20
5k - 10:42
6k - 10:44
7k - 10:40
8k - 10:57
9k - 10:46
10k - 10:51
11k - 11:07
12k - 11:03
13k - 11:02
14k - 10:34
15k, 16k - 11:04 (missed a marker)
17k - 10:05
18k - 10:21
19k - 10:31
20k - 10:48
21k - 11:31 (GU station)
22K - 10:42
23k - 10:56
24k - 10:45
25k - 12:06 (bathroom stop)
26k - 10:47
27k - 10:37
28k - 10:56
29k - 10:39
30k - 11:12
31k - 11:07
32k - 10:33
33k - 10:55
34k - 11:10
35k - 11:12
36k - 10:15
37k - 10:35
38k - 10:05
39k - 10:18
40k, 41k - 9:51 (missed a marker)
42k - 8:47
|TEAM AWESOME!! Will, Alex, Greg, Jennifer, Me, Mary Alice, John, Bill|
Got to the hotel and took a quick shower. I was going to take an ice bath, but there with no ice machines in the hotel, I had to settle for a super cold bath. Then down to the bar to hang out a bit before dinner. Now that we were done with the race? Drinks. Beers and Ouzo.
|Kathy, Alex, Dmitri|
|Finisher Medal - Athens Classic Marathon|