My First Marathon: Wisconsin Marathon 2012

14 May

That’s right: I DID IT! I completed my first marathon! I finished in 4:17:13, which is faster than my ‘non-goal’ – to finish (in 4:30).

We did it! 26.2, done!

Amanda gave a good rundown of what the race was like; the marathon followed the same out and back loop as the half marathon, then added on another out-and-back loop. I’ll have to agree with Amanda – even though it was a small race with sparse crowd support, it was so nice to be able to pass racing friends. I knew quite a few volunteers, as well. They did a really great job cheering us on!

Thank goodness Sarah Stanley was with me for the race; she wasn’t kidding when she said I’d really need her at the end. I felt great for the first 16 or so; we had a great time chatting, laughing, and high fiving people. The nice thing about having Sarah there was that I just didn’t worry about my time – I let her look at her watch and make sure we weren’t going too fast. My Nike+ tracking was off (clocked in 28 miles rather than 26.2), so I’m not 100% sure on timing, but I probably did the first half in 2 hours or so.

We did a lot of smiling, waving, and high fiving during the first half

Giving my husband, Mike (running photographer extraordinaire) the thumbs up!

Between miles 16-20 was when I started to mentally break down. I just wanted to be done, and knew I still had 8-10 miles left. I started to get some strange shooting pains, and my body started aching. My mile 19 chip time was 2:59:18. I stopped to walk a little at 21 or 22, and then started back up again. I was fine to run through the pain. Mile 23 was when you took the turn to the ‘home stretch’, heading back towards the finish line. Trust me, “only a 5k left” wasn’t much consolation at that point;)

I stopped in that last stretch once – was losing my breath as we headed directly into the wind coming off of Lake Michigan. Yuck! I’m assuming in those last 8 miles I probably ran over 10 minute miles, especially with the walking.

The finish was great – felt a lot of emotions – only felt like crying for a brief moment. I was so happy to be done! You know I gave it my all since I couldn’t even bring myself to have a post-race beer. ;) I could barely walk once I stopped, but after a warm shower and a long nap, I felt pretty decent on that night.

It was harder than I expected, and I’m glad I’m already registered for the Chicago Marathon. No way out; no excuses!

My ‘recovery’ has been quick. The morning after the race, we left for Napa, CA vacation. We did a lot of walking during the trip (and I did a lot of stretching), so that may have helped my recovery, but I was really only sore for 2-3 days after the race, which surprised me. I haven’t run (or worked out for that matter) all week; I am meeting a friend for a light run this week and I’m going to start doing some cross training, but I’m trying to keep the running to the minimum this week as well, then try to start up on some shorter runs next week. I really want to give my body some time to recover and give myself a mental break from training!

Any other post-marathon recovery tips out there?

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5 Responses to “My First Marathon: Wisconsin Marathon 2012”

  1. Mark Moran May 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Congrats Brandi! You rocked; most people run running their first have a lot more trouble than you did. I’ve pasted below the recovery portion from my book(let).

    Only once did I run two marathons as close as you’re planning to; I did Philly in Nov ’08 and Boston in Apr ’09. I planned to give myself a month of full rest, which ended up being two! And that was too much, starting to run again 12 weeks before was not quite enough.

    On the other hand, I ran three half marathons in three weeks starting about 5 weeks after Boston, and took a long time to recover from that idiocy.

    In retrospect, my original plan was spot on – casual, non-running workouts for a month, followed by a month of moderate running – no races, not really hard training, just 5x a week of running at a decent clip – as you suggest, your mind still needs a “break” from really pushing yourself – then fully engage with the marathon training calendar about 12 weeks before the race. So start running again June 7, and hardcore training again on July 7, and you should be in perfect condition on race day.

    Good luck!


    For the first ten days after the marathon, actively rest with lower impact activities like swimming, cycling and yoga. After a week, begin muscle activation exercises with a trainer, or isometric exercises on your own. Don’t even think about running – your body and mind both need a break from it, and coming back too soon is asking for trouble.

    Much of this plan should be followed for weeks. You’ve been pushing your body to its limits for months, and you can’t repair it in a day or two. Continue the bath soaks, massages, diet rich in potassium, sodium and protein, and easy activity for 3-5 weeks. Don’t enter a competitive race for two months or more. With this approach, you should be fully recovered after six weeks, with a sound body and mind.

    • Brandi Heinz Brown May 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm #

      Thanks Mark! This sounds about right to me. Did my first non-running workout this morning before work, so I’m already on track:) And thanks again for all your advice, support, and encouragement throughout the process – one of the best things about the experience was all of the emails, Facebook posts, and tweets wishing me luck or congratulating me!


  1. Time To Trust the Training | Chicago Marathon #CM12 « Run Sisters Run - September 26, 2012

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