I finished my first marathon … I still can’t believe it! The GE Irving Marathon was a fantastic experience. It was really challenging but the feeling of accomplishment was amazing!

What Worked Well

*Fueling – I did a pretty good job staying on top of my fueling during this race. I developed a good routine for fueling every 30-40 minutes during training runs and kept this up during the marathon. My favorite sources of fuel are baby food packets of pureed fruit/vegetables.

(please excuse the flash)

My stomach doesn’t handle gels very well and seems to do much better with real food. The packets are larger than GU gels but still attached pretty easily to my fuel belt. I also love that the packets have a resealable top. My favorite flavors are fruit blends with coconut and a blend of blueberries, bananas and oatmeal. If you want to try the baby food packets, look in the baby food section of your favorite grocery store. I can usually find packets for around a dollar each (even less when there’s a good sale)

*Race organization – I really liked this course and thought the race was well organized. Routes were well-marked and the course was mostly flat. Since the race started near the convention center, I got to use a real restroom rather than a port-a-potty before the race started (it’s the little things!). Also, I LOVED that the course included a couple of parks. I don’t know if I’m ready for another marathon but I’d definitely do the GE Irving Half Marathon if I have the opportunity in the future.

*Course support – I loved the volunteers on the course! The aid stations had plenty of fluids and many of the aid stations had Baylor medical support as well. One of the aid stations also had bananas and oranges. Marathon runners passed by this aid station twice. When I passed by the second time, the aid station had run out of bananas and oranges (I am pretty slow so by the time I passed by the aid station the second time, many of the other runners had already passed by).
*Family support – My husband met me on the course after I’d passed mile 21, brought a bottle of water and stayed with me for about a mile. His support was so helpful. By that point I felt pretty tired and seeing his face made me feel like I could keep going!

What I’d Do Differently

*My shoes – I did most of my marathon training in one pair of running shoes. By the time I was about a month away from the marathon, the shoes were pretty worn out. My feet hurt a lot after my 18 miler so I broke in a new pair of shoes a couple weeks before the marathon. By that time I’d started my taper and although my shoes did fine, I worried a lot about the shoes prior to the marathon. Next time I’d make sure I run one of my longer long runs in the shoes that I’d use for the marathon.

What’s Next?

I haven’t decided whether I’ll do another marathon in the future but definitely haven’t ruled it out. For the next few months I’m concentrating on a weight training program. I’ll be sharing more about the weight training program over the coming weeks. I also have a goal to get better about posting about my weight training on Instagram so feel free to follow along with my journey there (EmilyWFYO). I’ve picked out a half marathon for the fall (and one for next spring) – I’m excited about training again. I’m also working hard on my 100 day sleep challenge. It’s helped with my marathon training, weight training, mood and overall well-being.

Thanks for following along with my marathon journey. I can’t express the wonderful feeling of accomplishment I felt as I crossed the finish line. I’m still amazed at what our bodies are capable of doing. While growing up I never thought I could be an athlete. Now, I love feeling like I am an athlete! Exercise has become an important part of my life – it truly helps me physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Training for and completing this marathon has given me a greater feeling of confidence in my abilities. I look forward to seeing what I can accomplish this summer with my weight training program!

Also, I wanted to thank all of you who entered the Shine Athletica tank top giveaway! The winner will be announced soon.

Are you training for any upcoming races? Any tips on weight training?

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2 Responses to 26.2

  1. Kristy @runawaybridalplanner says:

    Congrats on your marathon, so happy for you! Sounds like it was a pretty good experience, who knows maybe you will do more in the future???
    Glad your shoes didn’t bother you, always a worry with new ones, but sounds like you gave yourself plenty of time:)
    Woot Woot Congrats girl!!!

    • Em says:

      Thanks, Kristy! I really appreciate all of the great running tips you have on your blog – they definitely helped me during my training and race!!

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