My First Marathon! Rock N Roll Las Vegas!

Where to begin…

For the past 30 weeks, I have been preparing for this one very moment.

It was time. Time to pack my things – decide what to take, what shoes to wear, my RACE DAY OUTFIT. Time to print my boarding pass. This was really happening!

I got on my flight from Dallas to Las Vegas, feeling all sorts of feels. Wondering and hoping I packed matching shoes and my favorite socks. I wasn’t nervous yet and kept wondering if I would be.

We arrived in Las Vegas and go straight to the hotel, Treasure Island. It was 12am Saturday morning by the time we landed in Vegas so it was time to rest up. I slept like a baby and woke up excited to go for a short run and to the expo!

I geared up and went for a short 3-miler just outside the hotel. It was amazing. There were people everywhere and so many things to look at. Without realizing it at the time, I didn’t even turn my music on. I was just soaking up the sounds and the sights. My run felt good. I ended with a few strides and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the expo!

THE EXPO! It was amazing! It blew me away. Not only was this my first marathon, it was my first HUGE race (47,000+ runners). So, this wasn’t just a packet pickup at the local run store, this was an event! Of course, you walk in and want to buy everything. I got away with just a T-shirt for my dad and a long sleeve for myself, and lots of freebies. EVERYTHING and EVERYONE was there, from Garmin to SPIBelt to Altra running… and everything in between. We spent all day there. I was on my feet a bit more than I would’ve liked, but it happened.

We then walked to an Italian place nearby called Carmines and ordered a pound of spaghetti, broccoli, chicken, and $30 worth of meatballs. Perfection.


That night I slept GREAT. AGAIN! I remembered a lot of people who mentioned not sleeping well because of nerves… I did not have this problem! I slept a full 10 hours that night, woke up and took TWO naps before the race (it was a nighttime run). I did wake up every once in a while and chug water.

Anyway, the start time was 4:30pm, so we got dressed and ready to take the monorail down to the start line by 2pm. I still wasn’t nervous. I was mostly a little worried because I WASN’T nervous. I thought maybe I should be… I think I honestly just trusted my training and wasn’t worried about it! I knew I could do it.

So, there we were – loading off of the monorail to walk to wards the start line. I see the crowd of runners and get really excited. We make our way to Snoop Dogg (the headliner!) and I was just amazed. The crowd was unbelievable. This was 1000x bigger than any race I have ever done! Just breathtaking.

For some reason, my bib said I was in Corral 1 (at the very top of the Start line) and that my predicted time was 3:00. I made my way up to corral 1, and decided to stop at corral 4, where I saw my ACTUAL pace group (a little over 4 hr pace group). I thought if I started with the speed demons I’d probably get excited, start too fast and burn out. I’m glad I made that decision.

Then there was the countdown… 3… 2… 1…! We were off! My legs felt great! The crowd thinned out fairly quickly (we weren’t shoulder to shoulder), which was great.

About not even a half mile in, BAM! The lady next to me face plants! She was weaving in and out of people and there was gravel off the road. Poor thing. Someone immediately helped her, which I was thankful for. I definitely would have helped, but I had worked so hard for this… it honestly would’ve been a bummer to have to stop (sorry if that makes me a jerk). It did stir me up, though. The adrenaline was already flowing and that really startled me. I collected myself and kept going. Hoping I didn’t face plant.

The first few miles were simply amazing. I just couldn’t even look at everything! There was so much going on – lights, music, crowds, cheering… it was a party! The first 10 miles flew by. About half way in (I remember it was almost exactly two hours in), my phone died. This was quite sad as that was my music source. I wasn’t even taking photos with it (I used the GoPro) and I had it on airplane mode, so I don’t know why it happened but it just plain sucked. I had worked on that playlist for the past, well, 30 weeks! I had my songs I wanted to listen to at the finish! Oh well, I decided it would be nice to just soak in the ambient sounds. I survived.

At about mile 18 I felt some pain. A lot of pain. For some reason the top of my right foot had a bruise on top of it prior to running and it was just in agony every step. I kept wondering if there was anything at all I could do to alleviate the pain. I just kept reminding myself that it was just a bruise. Even so, I was surprised at how much it affected my running. I was running weird to try to alleviate the pain. It went away for a few miles, then came back. It was just something I dealt with.

Miles 20-24 seemed like eternity. I’m not going to sugar-coat it. I was in PAIN. My hips hurt, by feet hurt, the top of my one foot hurt. I thought I was going to have a bathroom accident at LEAST 5 times. My stomach was not happy. I don’t even think it was something I ate or the gels (which I was already used to), it was just the physical exertion. I held my stomach at one point. Luckily, it would just come and go. I was fine the majority of the time and at the finish.

Speaking of finish, the last two miles were amazing. PAINFUL, yet unforgettable. I KNEW I was going to make it at this point. With two miles to go… it was for sure, 100% happening. Whether I had to crawl or roll myself there, it was happening. The 25th mile seemed like forever, but that last mile.2 flew by. I thought I had absolutely nothing left to give, yet I pulled it out of me and went for it. I sped up to what I felt and thought was a sprint (though I’m sure it was far from it), and didn’t stop until I crossed that line.

There is no way to express in words that feeling. Crossing the finish line… I was breathless – not from the running – but from the sudden emotion. I think I was crying, but no tears were coming out because I didn’t have the energy to produce them. I was in (dry) tears of joy, pain, amazement, and disbelief. It happened. I ran a marathon.

I slowly made my way to collect my medal and my (super sweet) marathoner’s jacket. My two friends who ran the Half were there to give me hugs. (They also did amazing on their runs!) I was thankful they were there. It was amazing to see a familiar face as an official marathoner and after being in such pain for the past hour. I had just done something only 1% of people do. I just learned a lot about myself. I questioned all of my life choices (like wanting to run a marathon), and I learned that what you CAN do is simply what you are WILLING to do. I can, and will, accomplish my goals. I can do anything.

 


Huge, huge, HUGE thank you to my coach, Andrew Simmons, for providing me with the confidence I had during this amazing race weekend… and for YOU. You all have been SO, so encouraging and supportive. It just blows me away and I genuinely cannot thank you enough. Like I’ve said and always will say, runners are the best! Runners encourage, support, and motivate like no other.

I can’t wait to go for my NEXT goal with you guys and share that experience with you!

And if you’re wondering, YES I WILL definitely be doing another marathon in the future!

This is just the beginning!

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59 thoughts on “My First Marathon! Rock N Roll Las Vegas!

  1. fjnardo says:

    I couldn’t love this more Jenna! What a great write up and I could feel your excitement. I don’t think people who’ve never run a marathon can truly appreciate that feeling of crossing the finish line. So darn proud of you! I can’t wait to see your next goal and hopefully run a race with you sometime! ๐Ÿ™Œ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 50in50marathonquest says:

    Congratulations!! I was looking forward to reading your report to see how you did and it sounded like an incredible experience. Those last 6 miles are something else aren’t they?!! But, once you make it you know you’ve completed an incredible accomplishment. Enjoy the memories and the awesome feeling that goes with completing a marathon!!

    Like

  3. adamhaesler says:

    Hey Hey Jenna,
    So congratulations of course, but I hope you do not mind my inquiring about a few of the race issues you had, or giving you some suggestions to think about. Just ignore if not interested.

    The point here is not to nit pick, or be another person telling you all that you should do, because I am so arrogant I believe I know best.

    Far from it, just a few things you may, or may not want to trial and error for yourself. But as I always say, “you gotta do whatcha gotta do to get the job done”, and “you know YOU best”. So just pick what you think might work for you, based on YOU, and that could be nothing at all.

    1. Try to eat only familiar foods, for at least 24 hours, but more ideally the whole week of the race. If I can, I will bring all my food with me when I travel.

    Many people go so far as saying you must eat the same thing the night before the race that you eat all season the night before your long run, but I find this to be unnecessary. But I do find knowing how my body will react to what I eat is very important, so as I do not risk anything. Thus I try to control all possible the week of the race until finish line.

    On the flipside, post race, I eat whatever the heck I want.

    2. Glad to hear you were not nervous! You worked hard for this moment, and this was your time.

    3. Did you ever figure out how you bruised your foot? Maybe you banged it on something and thought nothing of it at the time? Or you were wearing different shoes up to the race. The thing hear is that it did not need to be all that significant, as you went and did 30,000 steps agrevating it with each step until it hurt at half way, which is going to turn anything minor into severe. The other thing is you said you had been on your feet at the expo for a long time the day before, and if not used to being in that semi-motionless type of movement you do in big crowds, and browsing could have caused something to happen to your foot, like a popped capillary that would not be much of an issue with proper rest.

    One tip, if starting a race with inflammation, buy an anti-imflamatory to have on you. This would have at least reduced the swelling long enough to get to the finish line with a lot less pain then you were in, and maybe no pain.

    I know some people are against using such things, a d if you are then fair enough, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures, if you wish to avoid the pain by easiest method possible.

    4. Sorry to hear about all the pain, not exactly what you would want for your first long distance race, but you will forever be grateful in the long run (pun not intended but still funny ๐Ÿ˜†), I promise, as you now have developed a mental/emotional/physical strength that most who run marathons do not, so congratulations! This will only be to your benefit to run faster through less significant events of pain next time.

    With that said obviously, you still want to be cognizant of what your body is saying, and not ignoring it just because you can, in the interest of not injuring yourself.

    5. The pain in your other muscles I would imagine was likely due to overcompensating, what you called “running weird”. Basically the strain on some muscles was more than normal, ie during training.

    Unfortunately, other than maybe having taken an anti-imflamatory for the foot, and allowing you to not run weird over an extended period of time, not much you can do here, just your body, doing what it does best, and adapting. ๐Ÿ˜„ Silly body tricks are for kids! lol.

    6. As far as the stomach issues, certainly it is possible exhaustion was the cause, and obviously you know best. But two other things do come to mind from personal experience.

    A. Over eating, especially on carbs, the day or night before. This is where it is best to do a more gradual carb load over the week of the race. And then have a light meal the night before.

    Carbs can cause a lot of gas, and cramping, especially fibre (I have a horrific marathon story behind this).

    B. Not emptying yourself out fully pre-race. Suggestion make sure you have had the bowel movement to end all bowel movements say a couple hours or less before race start. Not to say your body could not hold it for four hours under normal circumstances, but the adrenaline, all the shaking from running, mental, and emotional exhaustion, these are not normal circumstances.

    7. I hope you do, or have taken the time to have an emotional moment in regards to crossing the finish line, and all that you did to get yourself to the point you could cross it. I believe doing so, win, loose or draw on your goals, is an important aspect of like a self-debrief, and tribute from the race. The importance is not only celebration, but internalizing, what does it mean to you to have done what you did over the whole 30 weeks, not just race day. As for me it helps to really be solid in what do my goals need to be next time to stretch beyond what i believe to be possible, in balance with the reality of what I have accomplished.

    7. Last point, keep in mind, confidence is an emotion (or something similar to an emotion), and thus only you can derive confidence for you. Thus, I am sure that Andrew is an awesome coach based on your comments on your blog, but what he actually did for you, is give the tools, and guided paths to take to find the confidence you needed inside yourself.

    So major applause to Andrew, but just remember to celebrate that it is you who found confidence to begin, train, and toe the line. It was you who mustered the grit to get through all the pain; and it was you who did all the training, the clothing issues, the laundry, picked shoes to wear, executing on eating your nutrition plan even if every meal had been prepared and placed in front of you, only made the final decision to eat. Also, what clothes/shoes to buy/wear, how much training you did each week, how hard you would push yourself, you made the travel plans, chose the race, worked for the money and paid for everything throughout training and for the race.

    Lastly although not talked about very much it was you, maybe with help, who picked herself up from the lowest of lows, during training, or the race, which maybe you have never experienced in your life. But YOU got back to training, got back to the nutrition plan, and pushed harder on the next workout, and on race day, to become the next best version of yourself aka Jenna 2.0.

    Thank you for teaching all of us your valuable phrase, which will certainly help me as I push into another season. I have learned so much from watching your progress to your first marathon, and for that there are no enough thank you, as you are correct runners are amazing people, and we can all learn so much from each other.

    Have an amazing day!

    P.S.: Cannot wait to see you rocking that new jacket of yours!๐Ÿ˜†

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennaruns says:

      Adam, thank you so very much for taking the time to share your input and suggestions! Many of these suggestions are things I did know, may or may not have followed, and many of them are things I wish I would have done in hindsight. For example, I really should have taken an anti-inflammatory beforehand due to the bruised foot. I had no idea how big that little thing could have turned into. I agree in that my coach provided me with the TOOLS I needed to be confident. I did the work, I made it to that finish line. As for the stomach issues, I ate familiar foods but did not bring my 3 days worth of food with me, as packing was tight. I could probably plan that out better next time, though. As for the bruise on my foot – I may have bumped it. It was a small nuisance about a week prior. Like you said, after running half the marathon with it – it was no longer a tiny nuisance, but something that was actually affecting my running – not only in that area, but in turn in other areas due to my weird running. Usually if I am running “weird” on a training run, I stop completely because I know the body compensates and you’re just asking for an additional injury by doing that. This is what I am now dealing with. It’s not my right foot (the one with the bruise) that has lingering pain afterwards, but my LEFT foot. The very side of my foot, up into my ankle. Good news is, a few days later, it’s already feeling better. You will also love to know that I got properly fitted for shoes!! (after the marathon, I know I know I should’ve done it BEFORE)… but I am extremely happy that I have already corrected a few things by getting some properly fitted shoes and by resting up for these next two weeks. I’ve also learned so much about what I’d do differently. Comments like yours really, truly do help – but nothing compares to the experience. After crossing that finish line, I knew there were some things I needed to work on, but most importantly, I knew that I could do anything. Thank you again. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • adamhaesler says:

        Glad to hear you got properly fitted, I have not actually done that myself, so there you go, just me enjoying buying my shoes online through a discount wholesaler.

        Catchya later

        Liked by 1 person

      • jennaruns says:

        I do the same! But it helps to have someone who can tell if you pronate or something. Thanks again for all your advise and support. I really appreciate it. Hope all is well with you. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. missfitmartha says:

    Congratulations! You did so great and reading this made me relive the same “feels” from my first only a month ago. It’s almost surreal for a few days after I found, this huge goal crushed and you’re ready for more. Enjoy the rest, the celebration, and the treats you love!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennaruns says:

      Thank you so very much! Yes it has been surreal the few days afterwards. It’s been bitter sweet. I can’t believe the moment has already come and gone and it’s hard not having my daily training. I feel a bit lost, yet I’m happy and proud. I just remind myself of my new goals and that I’m only resting a few weeks! Congratulations on your first marathon a month ago! I hope you are feeling well and enjoyed celebrating and treats as well!

      Like

  5. rhannon says:

    Awesome job! I’ve been thinking about doing the half marathon in Vegas but was concerned about the start time. I really thought it started much later than 4:30 p.m. Now I’m going to have to see if I can fit this in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennaruns says:

      Yes it was nice that it was still daylight when it started but cooled off with the night. I do believe the half marathoners started closer to 5:30, but probably still had a bit of daylight. ๐Ÿ™‚ & thank you!!

      Like

  6. Elizabeth C. says:

    Congratulations! That’s so exciting. This is the second blog I’ve read in two weeks where someone fell down and the writer of the blog kept going. I had that exact same experience myself two years ago during a half marathon. It happens, and it sucks, but there isn’t anything you can do about it, even though it makes you feel bad to keep going. So, I feel you on that one. But anyway, it’s great that you weren’t at all nervous and you savored the entire experience. I love hearing that you plan to do more of these. I have enjoyed reading about your training.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jennaruns says:

      Thank you so much! And you’re so right about the fall. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything. It’s just one of those things. I’m glad you have enjoyed reading, I have truly enjoyed all of your support!

      Like

    • jennaruns says:

      By the way, I’m happy to hear you are doing well! Amazing pace on your last 5K! Your blog won’t allow me to comment – maybe because I’m on my phone(?), but I wanted to say congrats to you too!

      Like

    • htt573 says:

      We have all pretty much jumped over people that have fallen in a race.You guy’s are nice, I was actually annoyed that they took me off pace LOL.Kidding,it does suck.If they were really hurt I think we would stop.

      Liked by 1 person

      • htt573Jo says:

        Yea sure like a girl would really be running my pace -yep I said that LOL. OK NO MORE JOKES – Do u understand that I’m taking the LSAT’S December 3rd ! Those of us that are not from a top100 even with a Doctorate tend to stress about these things. Talk to you next month – And u better not get to mature on us now that the training is over. Stay cool!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. htt573 says:

    Hey Ms Texas – You get to give thanks like u did win the oscar.Great job! I always down 4 Advil before my long runs and races. I don’t advise this to people – It can hurt the stomach. Hey, u will easily knock off 40 minutes on the next one Just upgrade to the Gold training program LOL..”The marathon can humble you”-Bill Rodgers. IT DID AND YOU BEAT IT DOWN! Go have some Texas Bullet beers and enjoy! I think my running is over:(. Congrats to your friends on their half as well. BTW – I’m happy the phone went dead- It made you take in more of the race. Trade you a foot for a back LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jennaruns says:

      Lol thanks, Joey! I really should’ve taken some ibuprofen before or during… maybe the bruised foot wouldn’t have bothered me as much. Bad news for you, foot is feeling better so no trades! ๐Ÿ˜„ and I got some proper fitting shoes recently so that should help (apparently I need a 2A width) and yeah maybe next time I won’t be in such pain the last quarter of the race! Thanks again and hope you’re feeling well!

      Like

      • htt573 says:

        LOL So now you’re the Cinderella gal of the running community by getting fitted with the golden shoe HA HA ! 2A REALLY, do u shop for shoes with Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey LOL. Ok relax that is a pretty PC JOKE for me LOL.I think u better do more adulting and eat more chocolate coco puffs to get that shoe size up :).How about that trade if I throw in the back brace :(. Yes I’m on the mend) – the pain level is now 6 lol.I have my first post op appt next week.Not going on twitter so I can study!!! I have been walking, and will run the 2018 New York City Marathon – I won’t even need that used up foot of your’s :). I”m between 128 and 135 pounds and wear a 10.5 6 E shoe (New Balance ).2A are u sure the foot guy measured correctly.I’m pretty sure feet don’t come in that size. It might be easier to get proper fitting feet LOL :). Good luck in the next race – Now u will really see some PR’S.Post marathon race are the best.I know peeps say rest- I say ride the wave of all that training. I might also need a wheel chair soon :). I will really miss the weekly antics you posted. I went sky diving subsequent to my first marathon – Try it!

        Take care for now Ms Texas
        Joey

        Liked by 1 person

      • jennaruns says:

        Lol yes I’m sure!!! When I was in school I was a 4a. I have stick feet. These narrow shoes feel great! And I can’t wait to get back at it… very soon. So glad you’re on the mend… don’t you worry, I will find something else to update about! ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll be doing a 15K soon, then a half marathon, then next full marathon is TBA. Thanks, you take care too Joey!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Go Jessie Go says:

    Congratulations!! Holy smokes it must have felt so so amazing to cross that finish line! Super proud of you and following through with this journey, it’s been great and incredibly inspiriting to read about your progress every week. I can’t wait to hear about your next big race ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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