We’ve followed Katie’s Gettysburg Marathon experience from the beginning. We started following her journey when her training for the Gettysburg Blue-Grey Marathon began. Now, a few weeks ago, Katie finished her first marathon with a time of 4:40 and 1,500 feet of elevation gain; the Gettysburg Blue-Grey Marathon is not an easy race. It’s a two 13.1-mile loop course that takes runners through scenic but hilly Gettysburg and the history of the area.
The previous four articles are here:
- My Journey To My First Marathon
- Katie’s Journey To Her First Marathon
- Katie’s Journey To Marathon Success
- Final Preparations for the Gettysburg Blue Grey Marathon
In preparation for her first marathon, Katie did several long runs, including a 20 miler with 500 feet of elevation gain, and tried gels so she didn’t have stomach issues during the race.
Why choose the Gettysburg Blue-Grey Marathon?
I chose this race because it was close to home, and I could drive. If I couldn’t make it to the start line due to injury, it was low risk, and I wasn’t spending much money traveling somewhere. Plus, my family could support me if they wanted. I also wanted to find somewhere that would be interesting to my step children.
Race Day Weather:
Race day weather was rainy but cool. The rain didn’t slow me down a lot, my clothes and shoes became heavy, but the rain honestly felt good regarding body temperature. The weather could have been much worse in terms of heat! As someone who doesn’t run well in warmer weather, I was worried about this!
We were also lucky during the winter that there weren’t huge snowstorms. I wanted to avoid getting a gym membership and having to use the treadmill, and the weather cooperated! This winter might have been one of the most ideal “training” winters that PA has ever had.
I had zero stomach issues during the race, which was a miracle! I stopped to pee once, but that was it. My stomach wasn’t happy for a good 24–36 hours afterward: not truly sick, but a bit “off,” and food didn’t sound appealing until the next day.
I fueled with Maurten gels. I had a cup of coffee, two plain mini bagels, and a fruit snack about 90 minutes before the race and took a gel every 3.5–4 miles—two caffeinated and four that weren’t. At times, four miles felt too far between gels, which it shouldn’t have, so I might have needed more fuel before the race started.
I also made the rookie mistake of trying something new on race day and purchased a handheld water bottle to fill with Gatorade. However, it was a great decision. The Gatorade didn’t bother me in the least to carry it, and I could refill it at aid stations because they were offering Gatorade. I also knew that if it was truly bothering me, I could leave it with my husband at the halfway point.
At mile 13.1 (a two-loop course), I looked at my husband and said, “I can’t do this.” I did, but I believe the phrase “never again” played on repeat during that second loop. I didn’t enjoy marathon training and I didn’t enjoy the race much either.
Now that I’m post-race, it’s only entering my mind to do another marathon because I was so unhappy with my performance. I could tell myself all I wanted that my only goal was to finish, but deep down, I wanted to run better than 4:40. That being said, I hate training in the heat, so I might capitalize on my current fitness and aim for a fall half. If that goes well, perhaps I’ll revisit a spring 2024 marathon, but that is VERY TBD.
Katie’s Gettysburg Marathon Experience
If you’ve been to the starting line of a marathon the Katie’s Gettysburg Marathon experience gives you a flood of memories. They say that we will always remember our first. I remember my first and think back on it fondly regardless of how it went. I think about the obstacles I overcame to get there as well as my post-race thoughts. Through it all, I was pushing myself. That is the key to success when it comes to running. Regardless of the number on the internet, you did it. Congrats to you Katie for a job well done. You’ll never forget your first.
If you’re interested in watching / hearing Katie’s own words, her Fireside Chat on Instagram Live with Jason, Aum and myself is below.