My First Marathon!

I am so happy that I have run a marathon, the whole 42 km. It was Tuusulanjarven maraton and the official time is 4:41:53.

I have been preparing for it for 3 years. In fact, I don’t remember how the idea to run a marathon came to my mind. I was not any kind of athlete in school. But I was interested in long walks in general. But it was not before I was in graduate school on Long Island, NY when I started jogging in the morning regularly. In the beginning the distance was short, I guess a couple of kilometers. At that point I was interested in longer runs but I thought that marathons are for sportsmen only, that is I thought I needed to join a club. But one day I was watching local news channel when I saw Long Island Marathon. I googled it and found out that it is available for everybody.

From that day on I was committed to running a marathon. Initially it was New York City marathon. I was surprised that so many people wanted to participate. Every year there is a lottery during which the lucky winners get a chance to run that marathon. There are 90,000 applicants out of which 30,000 are selected. And I was selected in 2006. But it so happened that I did not participate in that marathon at all. However, I participated in lots of training. On the NYC marathon web site there are training schedules. It is very important to prepare to run a marathon but I want to describe this issue in a different post. I was so interested in running a marathon that I was coming to NYC at midnight only to participate in 7 o’clock training run. There was no early train from Long Island on weekends thus coming at night to Central Park was the only possibility. At that time I was able to run 25 km after which I got very tired and basically walked. This was far from the required distance.

In 2007 and 2008 I was training as well. The distances were shorter, typically only 10 km. Occasionally, I participated in half-marathons with official timing. The result has improved from 2 hours 5 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes. In the end of 2008 I even planned to run a marathon but then I hurt my knee while skating and was unable to run until November.

In Spring 2009 I participated in two half-marathons in March and April. Those were really tough ones! After finishing each of the races I was barely walking. I could not imaging how to run another half-marathon. But I learned an important lesson: after finishing the first half of the marathon you should have enough strength to do the second half. Then using simple math we can find out that I should spend zero effort on the first half because I know that the second half will take all my strength.

Of course, I was scared when I started my marathon because I never ran any distances longer than 25 km. Overheating was another problem. But on the day of marathon the sky was cloudy and it was raining in the beginning for a while.

Tuusulan marathon is comprised of two loops 20 km each. Surprisingly, I ran them in equal time of 2 hours 20 minutes. Initially, I was very careful. After running 10 km a few guys asked me whether I am an experienced marathoner. When I answered that it was the first time they said I was very wise in my pace. Well, they did not know that a couple of months ago I did two very tough half-marathons and that now I discovered the formula of marathon. I was able to save lots of energy during first 20 km. I felt a bit relaxed when I started the second half. Arriving at 30 km was easy. But there is a saying that marathon begins after 30 km, which is indeed the case.

I am proud that I was running the whole distance of the marathon, walking only at water stations. Of course, the last 10 km were extremely tough. The road was going uphill. I thought I would stop especially because I saw lots of people who were unable to run anymore, a few of them were even requesting help from the staff.

Date May 23, 2009
Distance Marathon
Time (hh:mm) 04:41