Gettysburg Marathon- Race Recap

I am a Marathon finisher! I still can 't get over that! I'm going to just keep glowing over that for a few days! We originally picked the Gettysburg Marathon because it was a the end of April, which would give us semi-decent weather, and because it is only 1 hour away from home. I found out about the Marathon from reading Gretch Runs, and to date, I'm grateful to have found it!

Race Details
Cost : $80. Registered before March 31st.
Weather- started at 45 sunny, end 70
Race Website : http://www.gettysburgnorthsouthmarathon.com/
Goodies : Race Tshirt, drawstring bag, Gettysburg Marathon sticker, magnet frame.

This is going to be a long post! But I've added conclusions after each big subject, feel free to glance at the pictures and the conclusions only.

Bib Pick up
We ended up staying in Gettysburg overnight, because Roger was not in the mood to be driving in the morning of the race.

I had a lot of things happening Saturday, and we left 1 hour later than planned. But got to Bib pick up 15 minutes before they closed. The pick up was in the back of the movie theater. There were two vendors at the "Expo" Fleet Feet Mechanicsburg, and the race official gear stand.

We ran into Fred (owner of Fleet Feet) playing with his kids outside. We wanted to take a moment to congratulate him and his wife Shelby on their Boston finish, but we had to rush to find the bathroom. and Shelby was super busy checking out some people at the register.




Flat Ana with the super colorful hotel blanket

The other race essentials... and a bubble Wand, because I'm a mom, and those things are mandatory for mothers.


Conclusion: Bib Pick up was easy and we were rude to running friends.

Race Morning

We got up at 4:45, changed, checked out of the hotel and left to go find breakfast. I was concerned about eating and having some time to digest our food.


The sad and cold homefries. The eggs were really good and so was the toast!
 


We ended up getting food at a local dinner, which was the only place open at 5:00 am. I had eggs, toast, coffee, OJ and half of a pancake. My home fries were cold and I just couldn't swallow them. The pancake was a very sad looking pancake.


We arrived at the race start/finish line at 6:20 am and witnessed an amazing sunrise!

There were about 10 portable toilets, and a line of 50 people for it. We did the National anthem while in line for the bathroom. It was weird, but it got done.

They had a recording of a group of kids singing the national anthem, and it cut out right at the end... so we all sang "For the Land of the free and the home of the brave".

The race was small, I believe about 400 runners. And there was a 10 Miler race 15 minutes after the Marathon took off.

Conclusion: Breakfast was ok. Can a race ever have enough portable toilets?

The Race

We lined up, I thank Roger for the last time for pushing me to train for the marathon. I told him that I would likely be cursing him at mile 20.

 


Mile 1-3
The race took off at exactly 7:30. We knew the course was hilly, as we had driven out to see part of it. I was scared of the mill at the first .50 mile, because it looked the steepest, but I ran up it and kept running.

 

The first of many hills. One and only Battlefield on the left
 

Hill
I kept a 9:40 pace even in the hills, I kept telling myself to slow down, but kept running up the hills.

We ran through one of the battle fields in the first mile. I smiled as I saw the monument my son had jumped around just a week before.

Mile 3-7

Hills, hills with a side of hills. And just for good measure, hills. I continued to run this race as if I was running a hilly half marathon.


The run up to a big hill
 
 

I wore a throw away shirt, and kept trying to ditch it, but we had gotten an email from the race director, asking that we didn't just "dump" our clothes anywhere, as residents did not appreciate finding random clothing items in their yards; and to wait to leave it at an aide station. I'm glad I kept it, because as soon as the race went up to mile 7-10, it got windy and chilly.

One of my headphones stopped working at mile 6. I contemplated texting my sisters to ask them if they would grab me a pair, but I didn't know where they were or if they had any headphones with them. So I just went with one headphone.

I was feeling pretty good, and kept smiling to myself, and thinking how amazing it was to be running my first Marathon, and also kept trying to remind myself to slow down.


Miles 7-10

I stopped to use the bathroom at mile 8, but ran another 4 miles. The views of the farms and the orchards were breath taking!


Running by the orchards

I was running with a small group of people, and Middle Eastern man told the group that this was his 65th Marathon! We were all amazed!

The Elevation Map we had seen on the Race Website showed that the biggest hills were between mile 8 and 11, so I was really hoping for the steep hills to just get smaller. They didn't.

 


We saw Alpacas at mile 9!! so of course, running selfie!


 
 


Miles 10-15

I don't know how, but this 5 miles went very fast for me. My sisters were cheering for me around mile 13, and I hugged my sister Maria as I tried to keep moving. Seeing them gave me a huge boost, and I almost broke down crying thinking that they got up and drove the 2.5 hours to come see me! But collected myself and kept moving. She also handed me the half of the trail mix cookie I had given her to have for me. I slowly ate bits of it.



At the aid station on mile 14, there was a small group of kids cheering and handing out water. Got a few high fives from the crowds.... Because High Fives from little kids have super powers! A volunteer that was handing out water told another runner that after mile 16 the hills were mostly gone and it was all flat after that.... ja ja ja !! NEVER TRUST A VOLUNTEER! They mean well, but they LIE! They will say anything you need to hear to get you to keep going! I told myself to not get comfortable, so I started to slow down and walked half of the mile 14 hill.


 
 


Miles 15-20



We had been running mostly by farms for the last 18 miles, and the road were open. But I kept chugging along. Things really started to hurt around mile 18, but that was when I started singing, at first quietly to myself, and as more people started to pass me, louder and louder.


I saw this tulips and thought they were beautiful, so I had to get a picture.
 


I had read this on PreRace Affirmations on Runner's World, and tried to remind myself that at least my elbows didn't hurt. Only they started to hurt 2 minutes later... I knew my mind was playing all sorts of tricks on me.

At mile 18 a volunteer handed me a cup of Gatorade, I don't drink Gatorade. As I kept running, I handed the cup to the next volunteer as I grabbed a cup of water. I'm only mentioning this because I was very impressed with his amazing balancing cups skills! He already had two cups in his hand, and I added one more!

Miles 20-26.2

More things started to hurt, and I got a really weird pain on the outside of my left foot. I got really scared, it didn't feel like a fracture, but more like a cramp or intense soreness. I wanted to take off my shoes and look at my foot, then I remembered that I don't have x-ray vision and I'm not a physical therapist! and that I would likely not be able to put my shoes on and keep moving if I did.

 


A lot of people had passed me and there was about .50 mile that I was completely alone and NOBODY  was around. Not a person in sight! I started to think that I must be the last runner and panicked... I don't remember reading about having crazy insane thoughts after mile 20 anywhere! So I started singing louder! I sang all of Enrique Bunbury's El Club De Los Imposibles, with my very own alone performance.

I stared to remember all the comments all of you made to my posts about the marathon, and they became my affirmations. My head was something like this

-Irene is sending positive vibes now, I can feel it!
- Wendy is running her Big Sur Marathon RIGHT NOW.
-Emily said I am a rock star and I got this.... I think she is right
-Gretchen said that I would rock this, and Here I am.. rocking it. I'm so glad I found this on her blog.
- Meg would say "you are doing it" ... and I am!!
- Holly said to have fun.... look around, could this be any better
- Lacey and /or Meranda said this would be awesome, and it is
- Deborah will be running this next weekend, I bet she will love it!
- Allie said to remember the hardest training and that if I could get through those, I could get through this
- Judy said the course was beautiful, and it is!
-Karen said to enjoy the marathon!


I started to take more and longer walking breaks, because my legs hurt, my shins hurt, my hips were tight, my foot hurt, my elbow hurt... oh wait... no, my elbow didn't hurt, that was in my head.

Then we crossed to a really busy road with really rude drivers. The road were open and some drivers went by the runners really fast and did not even move to the side. There were a couple that went by way too close for comfort, and I am not ashamed to say that I flipped a couple of them off and yelled "Hey! I'm running a marathon here! move your car away from me!" and that felt surprisingly good!


I walked about .35 miles when I knew by the mile markers that we were very close to the end, and I made a deal with myself to run the last half of a mile. But I did better, I ran the last .75 of the Marathon. There was a small incline right before the finish line, but I gave myself permission to sprint it and finish strong.

My sisters were there and as I got closer the tears started rolling. I finished and the clock said 4:50.01. My sister Nina was at the end of the finish line and she caught me at the end as I was catching my breath and let the tears roll! I hugged her for a long time and she just kept saying congratulations. Then I hugged Maria, and wiped my tears.

I was done! I had finished a marathon! all the training, all the work! I HAD FINISHED A MARATHON!



I am not ashamed of my time, not even a little bit. I questioned my training during the last 6 miles, but there was nothing else to be done, but to finish the race and keep running to the end! I never, not a single time questioned "Why I was doing this" or "Why do I run". Not once.



I was sure Roger was 3 miles behind me, so when he wasn't done 35 minutest later, I started to get worried. During training He had had issues with his calf, his piriformis, with his knees, what if something happened to him and there was nobody around to help him? What if a car hit him? What if he tripped and fell? So I started walking the course back.

I kept walking the .20 back and forth, and when he still wasn't back 50 minutes later, when I walked further. I made it .45 miles back and walked back to the finish, because I was hungry and cold. I was going to ask my sisters for one of their jackets and then walk further. But when I was at the corner, I saw him coming I turned around and walked, than ran to meet him. I yelled at him that he was doing it, and that he was almost done. I ran a tiny bit with him to the corner, then I decided to stop because this was Roger's finish and he needed to cross that finish line. and My goal was to see him cross the finish line.



Race Conclusions :

*The course was rough! Lots and lots of hills, high hills, little hills, rolling hills, steep hills, sideway hills... take your pick! there were hills!
 
*90% of the course was just me and my 400 running friends. Very few, spectators.

*Race Volunteers Lie.

*Your Elbows don't hurt until the next day, and chances are, they still don't hurt... or they don't hurt from the marathon.

*There were more cars in the course than I cared for.

*I flipped off and yelled at a couple of drivers.

*Alpacas make great race spectators!

* Always high five kids on races, they have super powers!



Roger when we asked him to jump for his picture.


Holding our Race sign


 
Post Race

My sisters told me that there were Sandwiches, I went to get one, but there were none. I grabbed a bagel, three bags of chips and a banana. Honestly, the food spread was lame. I've been at small local 5Ks with four times the amount of food and variety.

As we were waiting for Roger, they stared taking down everything. It was very disheartening ! They knew the course was tough, and that there were another 150 runners coming in, but they kept taking things down!

By the time Roger crossed the finish line, there were no bananas, no chocolate milk, and no bagels. I force fed him pretzels, water, chips and Gatorade, because he tends to cramp after a big race. By the time he finished, there were still about 50 runners in the course.

We started to make our way to the car, and saw the last few finishers. We cheered them on and congratulated them on our way out.


I was relieved that the medal did not include a confederate flag, like the website showed. My son loved the cannon and the spinning wheel. He put the medal next to his Color Run medal from last year.

The race was a North v South competition, I got to pick which side I was running for at registration, both Roger and I ran for the North. For the winner side (I think based on cumulative times) We would get an extra gift. The North won, and we got an extra Gettysburg Marathon glass.

I would post it, but it was the confederate flag... and as a Mexican woman who immigrated to this country, that flag scares me as much as the Nazi symbol.

**********************************************************************
Afterthoughts

We looked at the map, the elevations and the descriptions on the Gettysburg Marathon Website. This is the description of the course, directly from the Website :
The course consists of picturesque rolling hills, with most of the climbs in the first 11 miles before the last 15 miles that are flatter and complete the race loop.
This course has a few small inclines, but is generally flat and fast.
Ja ja ja!! please pick me off the floor while I'm laughing... Seriously, help me get up, my legs are still very sore... First let me say that I appreciated the entire course, the views were magnificent! But the only "flat" was about 1/2 mile at the end, right before it went up to a small hill before crossing the finish line.



We trained for hills, and we trained for hard hills. We did hills twice a week! Still. I'll admit that I took the first half of the marathon too fast, as if I was running a half marathon. But still not sorry! But We didn't have enough hill training to finish faster.

What I liked about the race

* The Course was amazing. The views of the farms were amazing.
* The volunteers were helpful, and friendly.
* I'm glad and proud of say that this was my first Marathon!
* The color, cut and fabric of the shirt were perfect... except for...

What I didn't like

* I got a Woman's large Shirt. I registered in March, and wanted a Small shirt. I don't want to donate it, but I'm not sure I'll wear it.  
* If the race has 400 Marathon runners, plus the 10 Milers, Why was there NO sandwiches for the last 150 Marathon runners? Come on!! Organizers can have more food, at least order 10 pizzas when they see the sandwiches are gone.
* The cars speeding by me as I'm trying to run the last 3 miles of the marathon!
* The race was advertised as running through the Gettysburg Battle Fields, that needs adjusted to "You will run through ONE marked battle field, the rest is all farm land". There is lots and lots of battle fields that have very little traffic, I don't know why we couldn't run though more battle fields and monuments.

Crazy thought I had :
* Why does my elbow hurt?
* I wonder if  I can have a Quarter pounder after the race
* Should I get a tattoo?
* Can I add one of those 26.2 magnets to my car now?
* Man! where did that pain come from?
* I'm totally doing this
* I bet Bunbury never ran a Marathon
* I wish for a giant Java Chip Frappuccino!

Injuries: despite putting on sunblock, I was terribly sunburned. I kept telling Roger that I felt really hot, like if I was on fire, he was *slowly* getting ready to drive me to the hospital, when I noticed all the sunburn on my shoulders.



Will I do this race again? Yes, absolutely. After harder hill training. I might even come back later this year to do the Half Marathon.

I'm linking up with  Marcia, Erika and Patty on their Tuesdays On The Run Link up, the subject, Swag! More glasses, less confederate flags!




Comments

  1. Also from Central PA! You need to do the Steamtown Marathon!! It's the best! Great course and very well organized!

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    1. Thank you Holly! I'll check it out !

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  2. Congratulations!! It's such an accomplishment to run a marathon, and I am so glad you enjoyed the experience! Those hills look like they were no joke. I hate when the website description doesn't match up to the actual elevation of the course!

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    1. Thank you Lisa! Those were very serious hills !!

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  3. So many congrats!!! This course looks beautiful!!! And you finished a marathon!!! :) Yeah yeah, girl!!!

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    1. Thank you Rachel! It was a beautiful course ! I'm so glad I did it !

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  4. This recap is awesome! I thought this would be a bigger race. That is a nice medal though. Congrats for conquering the hills during your first marathon. Awesome job!

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    1. Thank you Holly! I think the race was bigger last year, but I read on fb that people didn't like the course and the lack of spectators. I really enjoyed it and I'm happy to say I'm a marathoner now !

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  5. Congratulations on your finish! That is a great deal for a half marathon. Looks like it was a beautiful day for the race.

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    1. Thank you ! It wa a beautiful day to run for that long!

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  6. HUGE CONGRATULATIONS AND ENORMOUS HUGS!!! I AM SO HAPPY FOR YOU!!! Way to push through! I really love your recap format of sharing all the details, followed by a conclusion. Thank you also for the personalized shoutouts to all of us who gave you prerace encouragement - that makes ME feel like a rockstar, too. =) I completely agree with you on how volunteers lie, btw. Indeed they will say anything just to keep you going - I have learned that the hard way several times!!! In any event, I may have to borrow your format on a future post of my own. =)

    Seriously, to finish your first marathon under 5 hours on a course that hilly is SPECTACULAR.
    YOU DID IT ANA!!! TIME TO CELEBRATE!!!

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    1. Thank you Emily! I'm celebrating with tiramisu! I probably should stop eating so much of it !

      Yes, please borrow the format! I figured it was long and I needed a way to shorten it.

      Thank you! I have really appreciated the cyber support !!

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  7. Congrats on becoming a marathoner! A hilly course + a sub-5 hour finish is proof that hard work and determination pays off. Way to go!

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    1. Thank you Kathryn!! Yes, the hardwork paid off! And I'm sure your hard work will also pay off on your 5k this weekend !

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  8. Oh my goodness, what a race! I am so impressed at all those hills and more hills that you ran for twenty-six-point-two MILES! WOWOW! I love that the race took you through battlefield(s), even though you only saw 1...still you got to run for the North. Amazing.

    GREAT recap! Now I totally want to run in PA. But somewhere that's not hilly!

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    1. Gettysburg has so many awesome battlefields, it was a shame we only saw one. But if I really think about it, all of Gettysburg was a battle field all those 150
      Years ago!

      Thank you so much for the kind words and the encouragement !

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  9. Yes to more glasses as race swag!

    And holy hills. That makes the Pittsburgh Marathon look like it actually is flat. Haha.

    Ooh man, you better believe the RD & everyone that would listen would be getting an email about the lack of food & the tear down of the course when so many runners were still out! Especially when they know it's a tough course.

    But congrats! And welcome to the marathon finishers club! It's kind of a weird club & we're all a little crazy!

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    1. Thank you Jessie! I'm happy to be a member of the marathon finisher club!
      Maybe one day I'll try the Pittsburgh Marathon, it sounds really cool!

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  10. Great recap ! and sounds like a great first experience. I admire you because running that far, on stretches where you are alone ? Kudos to you ! I would have been worried I veered off track. I would have been pissed at the race organizers that people just ran 26 fricken miles and there was no food ? And they are taking down the equipment ? That is just not fair.

    So when is the next one ?

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  11. Thank you Karen! It was an interesting experience to be running alone for long stretches, but the singing helped !

    I'm considering the Philadelphia Marathon, if I can figure out a training schedule.

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  12. This was a great recap! You had an awesome first marathon! I love how your solo rendition and thinking about positive blog comments got you past hitting the wall. Even though I've run marathons before, I'm always terrified of that last 6-8 miles when my mind just shuts down or spins out. Way to stay focused and strong!

    I love the alpaca selfie! My students in my colonial Latin America class this semester have been obsessed with the idea of war llamas so they are always finding pictures and cartoons and sending them to each other and to me.

    I grew up in the south, but seeing the Confederate flag has pretty much always made my skin crawl since I was old enough to comprehend a lot of what it symbolizes.

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    1. Thank you Raquelita! It really was an amazing experience !

      The way I thought about it, I sing most of the time, not well, but it makes me feel better, so anything that makes those last miles better.

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  13. Que Bueno!

    Don't ever be ashamed about your finish time. You ran a FREAKING marathon! And that in itself is an accomplishment.

    Give yourself plenty of time to soak in and bask in your accomplishment.

    And yes, you can put a 26.2 sticker on your car. I just got my back bumper fixed, so I need to buy a new sticker!

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    1. Thank you Wendy!! It is pretty awesome to say I finished a marathon!! And already ordered the magnet !

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  14. What an awesome post :) I didn't realize you had a blog my running friend!! So happy to be able to read your race recap since we haven't been able to run together yet. Sounds like a decent marathon and maybe this will need to go on my list. I do like a little more crowd support though, honestly. Hope to see you soon!

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    1. Jodi!! I have been so sad to miss the fleet feet runs! But my son has baseball practice at those times, and we are busy with that until June!

      Thank you for stopping by! I've only been doing this blog thing for a little bit, helps me remember races and training. Plus the support from such other amazing runners is awesome !

      I hope to make it to fleet feet, or a river runners run soon!

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  15. Congratulations marathoner!! I loved all of this :)
    The course really looked really hilly, and super pretty, but good grief, that is a tough run!
    The last few miles are not when you want to deal with crazy traffic. I am glad Roger finished! His "jump" cracked me up!

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    1. Thank you Karen! It was a beautiful day for an awesome race !

      Roger said that we were crazy for asking him to do a jump after the marathon, but really liked the picture too!

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  16. I am late to see this recap, but congratulations! I love that you sang out loud, and I love the idea of thinking through all those affirmations at the end. All the hills sounds tough, but it sounds like you did amazing for your first marathon!

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    1. Thank you Jennifer !! It was an amazing experience !

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