5 Mistakes I Made at my 46th Marathon

14 years ago, I ran my first marathon in Georgia. It took roughly 5 hours and 20 minutes.  After that race, I ran more marathons in different states- neat way to combine a love for travel with my hobby. I set a goal to run one in each of the 50 states, hence this blog.

Along the way, I got faster. Soon, the "stretch goal" became to do each state in under 4 hours. Obviously, the best way to do this is to just run the initial marathon in under 4. That doesn't always go as planned.

While I only have 9 states to go to fulfill my initial goal, I have 24 to do in under 4. The Georgia Fitness Marathon was a "do over" state for me. It was my 46th lifetime marathon, so you'd think I would have made less mistakes. Nope.

Here, in no specific order, are 5 mistakes I made: 
1. Didn't look at the course map
Two 13.1 mile loops- ironically similar to my first marathon at Tybee Island. I don't recommend this- way too mentally draining.

2. Made a wrong turn (twice)

I'm very grateful to the good folks at North Gwinnett High School for providing volunteers. My piece of advice for 2018 is to brief said volunteers on the entire course- not just the single turn they are stationed at. 

 During my second loop back in George Pierce Park, the same thing happened twice: a friendly volunteer said "take a right here!" but then had no clue what I should do at the next immediate fork on the greenway. There were only 35 marathoners total, so "just follow the person in front of you" wasn't a strategy.  I quickly self corrected after wrong turns were made, but estimate I ran about a mile and a half extra because the course wasn't marked appropriately. 

I knew there was a possibility of this in an inaugural race...but didn't seriously think it would happen. I "knew" the possibility about like I "knew" the possibility of having multiples with an IUI.

In speaking with other runners (one who made 3 wrong turns, another who had to jump over a utility vehicle that was blocking the course), I think I got off pretty easy with a 28 mile day. Bonus: I was so angry in the later miles that adrenaline masked the pain I typically feel at mile 24 and beyond.
3 out of 3 runners WILL take a wrong turn on this course

3. Forgot to check the weather

It was 35 at the start. I packed a tank top and shorts to run in.

4. Didn't pack breakfast

What kind of Starbucks doesn't open until 6:30 am?!

5. Forgot to look at the positives
I ran a 3:38:21 and got my sub 4 Georgia marathon. I placed second female overall, less than a minute from the leader. I got to do something I love. It was a great day and those are the things I'm holding on to from this experience. To God be the glory!