Inaugural Youngstown Marathon Recap 2017

Marathon #7. When you tell people that you are running your seventh marathon they seem to think it will be easier for you. They don’t get easier. Running marathon #7 means I know the pain that awaits after mile 18, the grit it takes to get from mile 22 to mile 25, and the balance of nutrition and moving to keep your stomach in check.

Training for the inaugural Youngstown Marathon was going well and my wonderful friend, Maria, helped me get through the last several long runs during training. I cannot thank her enough for logging those miles with me.

Seven days before the marathon I got food poisoning or a stomach bug, the jury is still out. I wasn’t able to eat for two days and then I slowly introduced bread, crackers, and soup back into the regimen. On Friday, I weighed in at Complete Nutrition and the food poisoning left its mark, I had lost two pounds of muscle in the past week.

On Saturday, I flew from Tallahassee, Florida to Buffalo, New York (the day before the marathon). My stomach was still uneasy and I was nauseous on both flights. From Buffalo, I drove 180 miles to Youngstown, Ohio and just barely made packet pickup.

Marathon morning. Getting to the starting line was actually pretty easy and parking was not an issue. The marathon included a 5k, half marathon, and a full marathon making for an energetic crowd in the morning. The marathon and half marathon started at 7:00 am. The course was hilly, winding, and beautiful. The half marathon split off from the full marathon at the seven-mile mark and things got a little lonely after that. There was definitely more energy in those first seven miles. I have learned to enjoy the first miles of a marathon when you are surrounded by runners and can match their pace, and soak up the energy. I have also learned to embrace those lonely miles late into a marathon when you feel depleted, your pace slows, and everything hurts.

Much of the course includes canopied roads with breathtaking views of the lakes, bridges, and wildlife. The middle miles of the course loop through downtown Youngstown. Seeing old historic buildings and running through downtown Youngstown was no doubt my favorite. Throughout the full marathon, the course loops back and forth so you see other runners who are a few miles ahead and a few miles behind. This was very refreshing as I have not been on other marathon courses that have done this.

Since my stomach was still uneasy, I felt pretty nauseated by the third mile into the race. I was only able to eat a hand full of jelly beans over 26.2 miles and was only able to sip water every two to three miles. This race tested my ability to run 26.2 miles while feeling depleted. I knew it was better to finish depleted than to attempt nutrition that could cause gastrointestinal issues. Luckily, the weather stayed cool, reaching the high 60s with a breeze and the rain came around mile 22. I heard thunder at mile 24 and prayed I would not get pulled from the course. The finish line crowd was small, but their energy was big. No personal records were set by me today, but I am truly grateful for the work I put out on the course today and am thankful to have participated in Youngstown’s first marathon!

The volunteers and cheering squads were awesome. My thanks and gratitude to the awesome cheering squads that made me smile and pick up the pace late in the race. The organization on the race course was phenomenal and the law enforcement presence was amazing. Thank you to all the law enforcement and first responders on the course that kept everyone safe!


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