As much as I followed through on a training schedule, I really did not know what I was in for with the full 26.2. I would say the best decision was wearing a hat; I get extremely fatigued when it comes to sunshine beating down, and it was a very sunny day. But aside from the sun, we really couldn't have asked for better conditions. It was mid 60s, breezy, and a beautiful day to run along the water. The whole thing was a great learning experience, as I think I overestimated how long I could continue at the pace I used for the first half, meaning I made the classic "went out too fast" mistake. I used a caffeine loaded gel around mile 9 that gave me a great burst of energy and while I did have another pack for around mile 20, it probably would have been more useful to save the first for those long teen miles that I felt would never end. I read beforehand that I shouldn't have any steep expectations for my first marathon as it's impossible to know how you will handle it, though I figured if I did a half in 2 hours and accounted for a slower pace, I could do a whole in about 4:20. So I was a little disappointed with my final result of 4:44 especially after sticking with the 4:15 pace group for the first half, but I think for a first try all I really needed to do was finish. Maybe next year! Also, it was nice doing a smaller race, because I got all of my race photos for free. Most of the other road races I've done have charged exorbitant amounts of money for any full-quality photos. I'm posting a couple below, though sparing you of the ones where I look like I'm on the verge of death (which was most of them.)
Hannah Dunscombe is a painter and portrait artist based in Mansfield, MA.