Less Than 5 Days Until My First Marathon! Holy %^&(*!

HOLY COW marathon day is almost here!

While we were at The Louvre I saw a statue of a tired looking guy and thought to myself, “he looks like he just ran a marathon.” Turns out it was the statue of Mr. Marathon himself.

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I am so thankful that I’ve had a wonderful vacation to distract me from thinking about the Portland Marathon too much because every time I do I am hit with a wave of hardcore nerves.

After I came back to the hotel from my last run through London I started telling Adam about running the hills and bridges in the area. He laughed and said, “I would pay money to hear the commentary going through your mind when you hit the bridge at mile 17 in Portland!” Thanks, honey! : )

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I’m actually not to worried about St. John’s bridge in Portland. I’ve run my local bridge at the end of long runs to prepare for that — in addition to Tower Bridge, Westminster Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge and others in London! But there are plenty of things I AM worried about:

1. I Am Worried About the Gentle Hills of Portland. 

I’m glad I got to run some hills in London so that I sort of know what to expect in Portland. I honestly don’t think there are many hills… but the reviews seem to be mixed. Some people say there are more hills than they expected while others say the course was pretty flat except for the bridge and mile 5 hill. I guess it all depends on what you are used to training on.

2. I Am Worried About Whatever Happens After Mile 20. 

I’ve only run one 20-miler during the course of training, and it went spectacularly well. I honestly could not have asked for a better experience. That being said, what are the odds that I have the same amazing experience on race day? Can that happen twice in a row?

And what the heck happens after mile 20??!?!

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Miles 21-26 are part of The Unknown and they worry me! Six more miles is a long way to go!

3. I Am Worried About Fueling Properly on Race Day. 

Fueling properly is a huge problem for me. I’ve been working on it a lot during this marathon training cycle and I attribute my really good 20-miler to proper fueling. I hope I don’t mess up on race day!

I wish the Portland Marathon had some sort of fuel available at aid stations, but they only offer beverages so I will need to carry everything I am going to eat with me. For my 20-miler I had TWO bags of Honey Stinger chomps which makes me wonder if I should bring THREE bags on race day? That seems excessive but I guess it’s better to be over-prepared!

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While thinking about fuel and hills definitely send butterflies to my stomach, I am most nervous about whatever happens after mile 20. Adding on six more miles to my longest ever long run seems crazy!

Scientifically I know that my body is prepared to handle the additional six miles… despite all the research my mind is going, but but but WHAT IF … 

What if I am different than all the other people in the entire world who have ever run a marathon and my legs just fall off my body at mile 20.1?!

That would just be awful!

I have to keep reminding myself that my legs WILL NOT randomly fall off from soreness/tiredness and that by this time next week I WILL be able to call myself a marathoner!

For those who have run marathons before, what is mile 21 – 26 like? Be honest! I want to be prepared for what’s to come! 

29 comments

  1. Nessa @ Ness Runs

    Blackfriars bridge is one of my favourites to run in London!
    Can’t believe your marathon is so soon! You’ll do amazingly – I think the adrenaline of race day helps to just carry your body over the remaining six miles.
    So exciting that you can call yourself a marathoner in less than a week 🙂
    Nessa @ Ness Runs recently posted…AN ODE TO THE OVERLY COMPETITIVE RUNNERMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      It was one of my favorites too! We stayed at a hotel that was a few steps from St. Pauls Cathedral so I was on it every day! 🙂

  2. Ali @ Hit the Ground Running

    Will Adam be meeting you on he course at all? He could carry extra fuel for you so you don’t have to carry it ALL. For my 20 miler in a couple weeks I’d like to try having some real food, like a teeny bit of PB sandwich, so we’ll see how that goes. I know you’re nervous but your training has been so consistent and you’ve been so determined…I KNOW you’ll get this done and in flying colors!!
    Ali @ Hit the Ground Running recently posted…Relentless Forward ProgressMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Adam will meet me, but I think I’ll feel better if I have the food on me… control issues! haha

      Let me know how it goes with the PB sandwich! I tried to eat a bit of bread once during a long run but I didn’t hydrate properly I don’t think because it parched my mouth!

  3. Amanda @ Slimplify Life

    OMG girl you’re going to be amazing! I always find that the racing atmosphere and being surrounded by other runners always helps me to push through those tough miles. My best advice is to take 1 mile at a time! Don’t think about what’s left, just focus on the mile you’re in =)
    Amanda @ Slimplify Life recently posted…Curried Butternut Squash Soup (Dairy Free)My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Haha, so funny you say that because I’ve totally thought to myself “It’s just 1 mile 26 times!” That makes it sound a lot easier!

  4. Megan @ Meg Go Run

    Honest: I have run marathons where during miles 21-26 I wondered WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING THIS FOR?? WHY?? CAN I QUIT RIGHT NOW??? I have also run marathons where I was waving at people and smiling right up until the finish line. No two races were the same for me and I have been unable to predict how I will feel at the end other than making sure I don’t go out too fast and stick to my planned pace. That being said, even if those last miles hurt like hell, it does not diminish the marathon experience AT ALL. The pain DOES stop. And as you know, the harder something is, the more AMAZING you feel when you have conquered it. One tip I have is to just remind yourself you will get to that finish line and that you can do ANYTHING for “x more number of minutes”. If I have 2 miles to go, I sometimes think to myself, “I can do ANYTHING for 20 more minutes,” It just puts things into perspective, even though it is sometimes really hard to find perspective and the end of a marathon.

    You are SO PREPARED Kristina and I am so freaking excited for you. Is there an athlete tracker that I can track you on Sunday? What is the best way to be sure we can stay in touch with you that day?

    I am really happy you have this fabulous vacation pre marathon to keep you sane, and I think the fact that you saw the marathon statue is a really good luck charm!
    Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Insomnia – How to feel sick tired the next day.My Profile

    1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

      Also, can I lift a picture of YOU from your blog to use on my blog… I can’t tell you what it is for, you will just have to trust me. Let me know!
      Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Insomnia – How to feel sick tired the next day.My Profile

      1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

        Yes, I think there is an athlete tracker! I will get the info and post it on the blog so you can follow along if you’d like!

        I’m glad you mentioned that the hurt doesn’t diminish the experience. I think if I can just accept that the hurt is PART of the experience it will be a lot easier. During my 20-miler I got this ridiculous runner’s high at mile 17 and that really helped carry me to the end. I hope something similar happens on Sunday!

        Yes, you can use a picture 🙂

        1. Megan @ Meg Go Run

          Rock on! I will look for the tracking info. Omg if you got a runners high like that, just imagine at the race when there are people cheering and just all that excitement… Soak it all in, it will carry you through!
          Megan @ Meg Go Run recently posted…Insomnia – How to feel sick tired the next day.My Profile

  5. Lou @ Running Through China

    You’re going to ace this race!!! You are so prepared, and I know you’re going to do GREAT! take as much fuel as you think you’ll need, if only to make you feel more at ease and reduce the nerves. And between mile 21-26? Well, that’s only really 3x little 2 milers! Break it up into little parts, and distractions, distractions, distractions! Take your mind elsewhere – back to the Louvre, back to London and the bridges there, then when it starts to get too much, tell yourself, ‘Come on Kristina, just a few more steps and you’re done’ / ‘You’ve come this far, you’re almost DONE’! etc. I love that picture too – nothing wrong with a bit of Runners’ Tourettes, if only in your head. Ooh yeah – picture the medal, the finish line, Adam, and Cecil. I CAN’T WAIT TO READ THE RECAP!!!! Go Kristina, woo woo!!! 🙂

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      You’re right!! I need to break it up like I broke up the 20-miler. When I did twenty I mentally broke it up into “just five miles 4X” I need to figure out what will work for the marathon because “just 5 miles X 5 + 1.2 mile” is too complicated of a math problem! 🙂 It looks like Algebra!

  6. Lou @ Running Through China

    Obvs meant between mile 20 and 26, I know, I know, my maths is awesome…. :0

  7. Kristin @ A Mom on the Run

    You’re going to do great!! I’m so excited for you!!

    I feel like I shouldn’t answer your question about miles 21-26 – they were not good to me! Hopefully that’s different for you though <3

    Good luck and ENJOY!!!

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Ahhh I remember your marathon recap! You did great though despite the tough last few miles!

      I need some of your strength!

  8. cheryl

    You have done the hard work, you will rock it! I haven’t done a marathon before, but I have gone further…
    mile 20-26 is what you have been training for…It’s all those midweek runs on tired legs.
    I am going to break up my marathon in segments. Those last six miles–focus on one mile at a time.
    We’ve got your back…
    I will be thinking of you. HAVE FUN! THIS IS WHAT YOU WORKED FOR!!! 🙂
    cheryl recently posted…Fall, and the “Run That Would Not End”My Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      You’re right! I keep trying to remind myself of that quote about the race being the celebration after finishing all the training! I really need to break up the marathon into chunks too, that really worked for me on the 20-miler!

  9. Karen

    You are really well prepared! You can do it, just keep thinking to yourself (after mile 20), – I ran 20 Freakin’ miles over and over 🙂 I am freakin’ awesome! Maybe it will distract you during the last 6. It is really nice you got to run in a new place right before Portland!! It won’t seem so strange now.
    Karen recently posted…Long Runs and RecoveryMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      Haha for some reason I don’t think the words running through my mind at mile 21 will be “I am freaking awesome” I think it will be more like, “I am freaking tired” or “I am freaking crazy for doing this” 😀

  10. Kristen @ Glitter and Dust

    It’s SOO exciting that the race is right around the corner. I can definitely feel the nerves and excitement brewing. When do you actually fly into Portland? By the way, the weather is supposed to be pretty spectacular on race day… 50s/60s to begin. This will probably feel much cooler to you.

    I have heard mixed reviews on whether Portland is considered a “hilly” course. I do know that the hill at mile 17 is long and demanding on the body. The good news for those last 5 miles is that we get to enjoy gradual downhill and then a lot of flat. As for trying to explain the feeling of those last miles… probably one of the only times in my life when I have experienced several different emotions in such a strong, powerful way, all at the same time. You will have highs and lows. It will hurt. But it will be worth it when you see that finish line. The pain goes away and a rush of adrenaline and joy will overwhelm you. Plus, the last six miles are supposedly in a really cool location and there will be hundreds of spectators fueling the runners with their cheers.

    You got this!!!
    Kristen @ Glitter and Dust recently posted…Trail Running At Smith Rock State ParkMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      We fly in on Friday afternoon! When do you get into town?

      I am really excited about the weather. In London I was able to run almost a full minute per mile faster on my easy runs thanks to the nice mid 60s weather!

      I am looking forward to that long gradual downhill. I had not heard about the location for the finish, that is really exciting! I can definitely believe that the emotions will be strong … I know during the 20-miler I started tearing up a little bit towards the end just because I was so happy about the accomplishment!

  11. Jennifer

    I love that you saw Mr. Marathon himself!! You are going to have an amazing race, you are so prepared Kristina! Someone may have suggested this, perhaps have Adam carry extra “just in case stuff” for when you see him?
    Jennifer recently posted…NYC Marathon Countdown – MotivationMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      I will probably ask him to do that, but I would feel better if I had everything I need on me…. #ControlIssues 😀

  12. Amy

    Mr. Marathon himself! Cracked me up. You won’t even notice the hills, you will be so excited and ready to go, I promise. Don’t think about the bridges too much,
    Amy recently posted…Our New Front YardMy Profile

  13. Brooke @ wreckingroutine

    You are going to be ok. I’m not saying miles 21-26 won’t hurt, but you are going to be ok. Just start slow and slow down. My two past marathons were different in that I did not fuel properly and went out too fast, so I lost my stomach and was dehydrated from mile 16-26. But if you’ve figured out your nutrition, then you’re good. I would definitely bring three packs! Most marathoners burn close to 3,000+ calories, which is almost a full pound!
    Brooke @ wreckingroutine recently posted…Tall Tales Tuesday: Storm All The CastlesMy Profile

    1. Kristina @ Blog About Running

      WOW 3,000 calories, I didn’t realize we burned through so much during the marathon!

      I will most definitely be running at a comfortable pace all day long. I have one tiny goal that I am pretty sure I can make without killing myself! We’ll see 🙂

  14. Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine

    I remember the first marathon I ran I thought the last 6 miles were the best part! I know you are going to think I am crazy, but for my first marathon I was SO excited to be out there doing a marathon and I paced really well so didn’t hit the wall (my motto was just to stay comfortable, which I did, and then pushed just a little bit at the end). I remember seeing my friend who was spectating at like mile 22 and she said I looked SO happy. Just remember how amazing it is that you are experiencing a full marathon and not many people can say that! You will be able to start counting down the miles until you are done, too! It’s really mostly mental I think- stay positive and you will do great!!!
    Lisa @ Running Out Of Wine recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #19My Profile

  15. Jennifer @ The Final Forty

    Aw, man, I take a two-week blogging hiatus and have missed so much! First of all, I am SO jealous of all your travels, and I can’t wait to stalk back and check out some more pictures. Secondly, it’s totally normal to have all these feelings right before the big day, but I have to tell you, you are READY, GIRL! You’ve done everything you can do, you’ve put in all the months of hard training, and running that marathon is your victory lap — ENJOY IT! I’m not gonna lie to you and say the last 10K is easy, but you CAN and WILL do it, and the experience of finally crossing that finish line is going to be that much sweeter because it’s something you’ve never done before. You’ve got this! SO EXCITED FOR YOU. Also? Love that you got to see “Mr. Marathon!” 🙂 That’s awesome.
    Jennifer @ The Final Forty recently posted…NYCM: One Month to Go!My Profile

  16. Lizzy

    I’ll be honest: those last 6 miles will be hard. But trust your training, you’ll be fine.
    I’ve only done one full marathon before. I started to struggle around mile 20, even though I’d been fine in training. It was getting really hot at that point which didn’t help. I just kept telling myself that it was only another 10k, only another 5 miles, only a 5k, only one more mile, etc. I’d even try to imagine where those distances were on my normal running route to try to help remind myself that it was something I’ve done many times. I tried not to think about how far I’d already run. I’m scared of heights, and if I have to climb something I try to focus on what’s above me, not below. I sort of thought of it in the same way – don’t stress about what’s done, just what’s next.
    You’ll be great!

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