My First Full Marathon: Cleveland Marathon 2012

by tinareale on May 21, 2012

How would I describe running my first full marathon?

The hardest thing I have ever done. Hands down. EVER. Even harder than childbirth since they don’t have epidurals for marathons. And my marathon took longer than both my labor and deliveries.

It hurt. I cried. It hurt more. I cried more. Yet, as I type this recap, I have the largest smile on my face. Here we go. Time to recap one of the most brutal, yet loved, experiences I have had in my life.

Peter & I left for Cleveland on Saturday morning with a short flight. We landed by mid-morning and decided to visit the expo center first thing after landing, since it was so close.


I picked up my race packet and information before settling in to tour the expo area. They had a lot of various vendors, but it felt fairly cluttered and hard to maneuver. I quickly found a 26.2 sticker and a cute marathon shirt to keep as souvenirs of my first full marathon.


The rest of the day was pretty basic – hotel check-in, a sandwich for lunch, a nap, and an early bedtime. I did have a fun dinner Saturday night, but I’ll save those details for another day as I recap the trip.

Race Day

Sunday morning started pretty early with a 5 am alarm. I actually slept fairly well, which made me happy. I had a hotel cup of coffee to get things moving and got dressed and all my things situated for the day.


Then, fueled up with my favorite pre-run meal lately of an English muffin with peanut butter. I could hardly believe that the day was here!

The morning seemed to whiz by as we walked to the start. I got to meet up with Amanda from Miss Zippy for a few minutes. She helped give me a few racing pointers and encouragement before my start. Thanks, Amanda!


Then, I found my estimated pace group and got psyched up to run my first full marathon!


From there, you could really break the race down into two halves – the good half (up until mile 13) and the bad half (the rest of the race).

Miles 1-3: These miles passed by in somewhat of a blur. It was very crowded and so I focused on not stepping on anyone and settling into a steady pace.


Miles 4-9: I found a pace that felt very comfortable – a pace that I have easily held on many of my long runs. I thought I was being conservative. I had my handheld water bottle with Nuun tablets to help keep my body hydrated and balanced properly with electrolytes. I was enjoying the sights of going through downtown Cleveland and smiling for all the spectators. I felt confident of a good race ahead.

Miles 10-13: The heat started to creep up a bit more since we were all running on open paved roads without much shade. I almost missed the split off for the marathon. I actually noticed a woman directing someone else to the marathon course and had to turn around to ask. I’m glad I did! Otherwise, I would have ended up at the half finish line so confused. Also, I saw Peter just before the 13 mile mark and it gave me such a perk. I knew it would be my last main chance to see him and I was so worried I wouldn’t. You can see it in my face.


Miles 14-17: Hell. I wish I could put it in a nicer way, but I honestly have no other way to describe it. During this stretch we were running along a straight, boring road. Mentally, I felt so discouraged and that I still had such a long, long, long way to go. The heat was wearing on me badly by now and already had me extremely fatigued. I had to stop and walk a LOT.

The temperatures soared to unexpected highs for the area this time of year. It was already in the 60s at the start and reached 80 during the race. That may not sound too steep, but consider this. When running, it feels 20 degrees warmer. It was HOT. And it effected me greatly. I think I suffered from heat exhaustion, honestly, for most of the race. I also think my electrolytes were really out of whack. Possible TMI alert: I kept having to pee and fairly decent amounts, which showed me I was taking in too much water compared to electrolytes…but I was so hot and thirsty. It was a vicious and, in all honesty, scary cycle.

Mile 18-19: I felt a little better here because we started running through a shaded park. It was off and on, though. I still walked a lot and burst into tears a few times as well. One girl even stopped me to ask if I was okay. I was a wreck and straight up said I would NEVER do a marathon again.

Mile 20-22: I did the opposite of “hitting the wall”. We ran by the lake and something about the 20 mile mark made the finish feel SO much closer. I picked it up and actually ran most of those two miles – which was likely not the smartest thing, considering how awful I had been feeling.

Mile 22-25: I hit the wall here. I wanted to be done. I wanted to quit. I think I walked more than I ran, or at least it felt that way. All I could think about was reaching the finish and hugging Peter. I just wanted Peter.

Mile 25-26: Heather was a volunteer at the water stop here and spotted me. She saved me for the end of that race. I griped to her and I’m pretty sure I cried when I saw her, too. She knew just the right things to say and ran with me a short bit. Then, she let me know I had just a block to go before the final turn down to the finish. She wished me luck and I had a renewed energy. I wanted to finish strong.

Mile 26-26.2: I was still shuffling and nowhere near feeling good, but I plastered as much of a smile as I could manage on my face and jogged that final stretch. The cheers from the wonderful spectators kept me going. Seeing Peter’s face again helped give me a jolt to get through that finish line ASAP.


Then, I did it. I blew a kiss to God as I crossed the finish because no doubt He helped carry me there. Then I grabbed some pretzels, a banana, water, and my medal.


I earned that medal. I collapsed into Peter’s arms. Probably cried some more. Then collapsed on the ground. Eventually, after eating (including a Nuun tablet straight – yikes!) and stretching, I began to feel more normal. The misery didn’t fade away. I will never fool myself into thinking those miles felt amazing. They hurt!

BUT…the feeling of accomplishment after pushing through such a challenge made it all worthwhile. I no longer hated the experience. Instead, I found myself loving it. I had pushed my limits and reached my goal.

It took 4 hours, 42 minute, and 55 seconds out of my life. In exchange for the experience of a lifetime.


1 Victoria (District Chocoholic) May 21, 2012 at 7:55 am

So glad to hear that despite the difficulties, you loved it in the end. Great work pushing through in tough conditions!

2 MizFit May 21, 2012 at 7:59 am

You define tenacity. I was sooooo excited when I saw your picture on twitter yesterday.

3 [email protected] May 21, 2012 at 8:02 am

Wow! congratulations! What an achievement, I’d say you just feel elated! Love the outfit btw! :)

4 Janice @ Fitness Cheerleader May 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

Congrats!! I have to agree – running a marathon is one of the hardest things ever, but no one can ever take that accomplishment away from you. Whenever you think you can`t do something rememer – you CAN and you HAVE run a marathon – you can do ANYTHING!! Congrats!

5 Lindsay @ FuelMyFamily May 21, 2012 at 8:04 am

Congratulations on your first full!! And I agree heat makes ALL the difference in the world so good for you for sticking with it!

6 Khushboo May 21, 2012 at 8:06 am

Oh wow- that is perseverance right there, Tina! Firstly a huge congratulations for achieving such a milestone! Can I ask- do you think you’ll ever run one again?

7 tinareale May 21, 2012 at 8:08 am

I know myself…so I know I will. I will probably have the same “I hate this” thoughts during parts, but I still loved the overall experience at the end. Plus, I’m already registered for Chicago. ;)

8 Michelle May 21, 2012 at 8:07 am

A huge, huge, huge congrats!! That mental breakdown is SO HARD and UGH on miles 14-17 being hell. I know exactly how you feel and there is just nothing worse than being so mentally out of it.

Reading this makes me think “Hmm, do I really want to run another marathon” and “Man, I want to run another marathon” – simultaneously. Ha ha. It really is SUCH a great feeling when you finish (and dude, YOU ARE A MARATHONER!) but it’s also such a tough distance.

9 Alicia May 21, 2012 at 8:08 am

Tina!! I am so excited for you. What an accomplishment!! You are such an inspiration, I was thinking of you yesterday during my race! The heat was horrible!

10 lindsay May 21, 2012 at 8:08 am

miles 16-18 to me are always so so hard. You just want to stop, so glad you found that inner strength! Congrats!! Now, sleep like a baby… or try. haha

11 Kara May 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

Great job pushing through and finishing a tough race!

You need salt pills for running that much in the heat (I take one an hour for race effort) like Salt Stick or S-caps in addition to whatever you’re drinking. You can just use a salt packet from a restaurant, but I really prefer the pill. Also, wearing a mesh running hat can really help with the heat!

I’m giving tips because I know you’ll run another and I know you have the capability to blow that time out of the water. :)

12 tinareale May 21, 2012 at 8:19 am

Yep. I thought about the salt, but had the Nuun and thought it would be enough. Not enough with the amount of water I was drinking. And you know me too well. I will undoubtedly run more. ;)

13 Katie May 21, 2012 at 8:09 am

You are amazing! What an awesome race recap — it was SO real. How exciting for you!! You so deserve that medal for all the hard work you have put in…YOU ARE A MARATHONER! Thank you for sharing :-)

14 Emilia May 21, 2012 at 8:10 am

Congratulations! So incredibly impressed that you trained for it, stuck with it and finished it. You’re determination is inspiring. No matter how hard the race, it seems like you had an amazing experience (even if the miles hurt) and so much to be proud of!

15 Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table May 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

Wow, Tina – I am blown away by you. CONGRATS!!! That takes a whole lot of inner strength and determination. And you finished with a smile!

P.S. Your outfit rocked. :)

16 Alicia at Poise in Parma May 21, 2012 at 8:17 am

Tina, you are freakin’ amazing. I am SO SO SO proud of you. Thank you for giving Cleveland the honor as being your first marathon. It’s not the most glamour marathon out there (as you learned by running the second half of that course!) but you showed exactly what this city is all about: tough work, perseverance and making one hell of a comeback! Rock on girl! (p.s. can’t wait to hear ALL about that fabulous dinner of yours on Saturday night…)

17 Heather May 21, 2012 at 8:20 am

I am so proud of you, I knew you could do it! Marathons take so much mental toughness! I am so nervous about doing goofy, but know even if i have a “terrible” time it will in the end be a great experience for me. Congrats and welcome to the club!

18 Amy Lauren May 21, 2012 at 8:22 am

Congratulations girl! I’m really proud of you for sticking it out and loved reading your recap. I also like your marathon outfit :) . I’m surprised you remember all the details of the miles after all that too, but you had a really great finish time!! Definitely an experience to remember forever.

19 CocoL May 21, 2012 at 8:22 am

It sounds like brutal conditions for your first marathon. I love how much you wanted/needed the support/encouragement/presence of your husband. xxooxx

20 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I needed him so badly. It almost surprised me how badly.

21 Lori Lynn May 21, 2012 at 8:24 am

Congratulations! You’re so inspiring, and almost make me want to run a marathon!

22 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete May 21, 2012 at 8:24 am

I love this recap because it is so REAL. I dream of someday doing a full marathon, but I know it will be tough. It will be painful. But it will be worth it. I appreciate you not sugarcoating things. You are absolutely right – you EARNED that medal!

23 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

You know me. I don’t sugar coat. ;)

24 Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb May 21, 2012 at 8:25 am

Woohoo! You rock! Congrats, congrats, congrats!! I totally missed that the marathon you were running was CLE. I live only a short while away. Know now how many people ran I should’ve drove up. Grrrr. Once again, congrats!

PS LOVE your outfit. Too cute!

25 Lindsay @ Lindsay's List May 21, 2012 at 8:35 am

Great recap (loved the layout!)!! I’m so so proud of you. Perhaps this is something I could do. Perhaps.

26 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm

You could so do it.

27 Kaitlin @4loveofcarrots May 21, 2012 at 8:38 am

congratulations!! You should be sooo proud of yourself for accomplishing such a challenging feet! I have done a few half marathons and after them I am always like I do not think I could do a full!

28 Heather (Where's the Beach) May 21, 2012 at 8:43 am

Girl I am so proud of you! Just amazing. And so cool getting to meet Amanda too. I hope you’re doing something super special for yourself today.

29 Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers May 21, 2012 at 8:46 am

Great finish! I’m sorry the race had it’s lows, but… 1) that metal rocks 2) you look friggin’ cute (even in race photos!) and 3) you’ll never forget this memory

You deserve to be so proud of yourself!

30 Claire @ Live and Love to Eat May 21, 2012 at 8:50 am

Sounds like such an incredibly challenging race – congrats on overcoming all of the challenges, you deserve to be proud of yourself! :)

31 Sarah @Blonde Bostonian May 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

Congratulations!!! I love your recap. Running a marathon is NOT easy, but you pushed through it and for that you should be psyched! This is making me want to run one!

32 Cherie @ Cherie Runs This May 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

LOVED this recap and the pictures!!! This is a fabulous accomplishment!!!
Hmmm, a Nuun tablet straight?! Haha, well, that’s different! Congratulations!

33 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:14 pm

I knew my body needed electrolytes in a bad way when I just wanted to eat a tablet straight. Haha!

34 Meghann May 21, 2012 at 8:55 am

I heard the temps were AWFUL and that they ended up shutting down the course – that’s scary! Congrats on pushing through and finishing strong! You did so great and I hope you feel like a million bucks today! Soak it all in and enjoy that post- marathon glow. Congrats, Tina!!

35 Angie May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

Great Job! Marathons are so hard… but slightly addicting. ;) . That last picture of you with your medal is soo pretty!

36 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

I already know I will want to do more, despite how miserable it was during that tough heat.

37 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean May 21, 2012 at 8:56 am

amazing!!! so proud of you for pushing through!!! you’re such an inspiration!

38 Ann May 21, 2012 at 8:57 am

Congratulations!! Such an amazing accomplishment! Proud of you!

39 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I can’t even imagine running in that kind of heat, I probably would have fainted! You pushed through and finished and should be so proud!!! It may have been rough, but you’ve really inspired me even more for Chicago this fall! I’m so excited to run my first marathon – no matter how rough those 26.2 miles are!

40 Elisabeth May 21, 2012 at 9:00 am

Congratulations! An amazing accomplishment!

41 Allison @ Running Through Red Lights May 21, 2012 at 9:01 am

Congratulations!!! Finishing a marathon is an amazing accomplishment! You’re such a REAL runner, and your recap was wonderful! I hope to finish one some day!

I found your blog a couple weeks ago–how appropriate, as I’ve been training for a race, too! It was fun to follow along on your journey, and I’ve loved reading back through all of your posts!

42 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Awesome and welcome! I can’t wait to check out your blog. :)

43 Jeannie May 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

Congratulations! Awesome job pushing through & finishing strong!

44 Sam May 21, 2012 at 9:08 am

Congratulations Tina! Such a huge accomplishment! You must be so proud. Your pics are great too! You look pretty fab after running for 26.2 miles!! Good on ya girl!

45 Leah May 21, 2012 at 9:09 am

Way to go Tina! I watched twitter most of the day for your updates and was cheering you on from England. You are such an inspiration to a lot of people, especially other running mamas. I also love how real this recap was. Running a marathon is no joke. Way to go girlie.

46 Heather May 21, 2012 at 9:14 am

You were amazing, Tina. Even though you say you “griped” to me you were still smiling and looking strong that last mile. So so so proud of you for sticking with it and finishing what you started. You’re a marathoner, my Friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
p.s. Hope you’re enjoying Cedar Point today – it’s my fav! :)

47 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:17 pm

You really helped SO much! And I had a blast at Cedar Point. Best theme park.

48 Ali @ Around the VeggieTable May 21, 2012 at 9:19 am

Great recap! Congratulations Tina…I’m so proud of you!!

49 Samantha May 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

I am SO proud of you for persevering like you did, for finishing no matter what, and finishing strong. Congratulations girl, bask in all of the glory that is your first marathon.

P.S. You look ADORABLE! Love the outfit, SO MUCH!

50 Michele @ nycrunningmama May 21, 2012 at 9:25 am

Congrats, Tina!!!! So amazed that you fought through and finished strong!! :)

51 Ericka @ The Sweet Life May 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

Wahoo! Congrats! I like to do my recaps by the miles too. I have had a couple nightmares about those really bad moments and I get so nervous everytime because I know they come but…it is worth it in the end. Awesome job!

52 Jess May 21, 2012 at 9:28 am

Oh my God friend, I am a puddle of tears over here. I am just so proud of you for sticking to it, for pushing yourself to carry on, for BELIEVING in yourself that you could do this, all 26.2 miles of it. And you DID IT. All of it. And all by your doing! I am so inspired by you!!! (and I’m not gonna lie, just a wee bit scared to both train for my first marathon and run my first marathon, ack!! It’s gonna HURT isn’t it?)

53 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I’m praying Chicago will be nice to us with the weather. Yea. It will hurt, but seriously. Within 5 minutes of crossing that finish line, I knew I would still do Chicago and already LOVED the whole experience. Odd with how much I was hating it during. I really think it was a lot to do with the heat though. I was messed up.

54 Leah @ Chocolate and Wild Air May 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

Such an amazing accomplishment – congratulations Tina!! Even with all of the pain and misery, you’ve inspired me to want to train for my first full…

55 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Exciting! As hard as it was, it was SO rewarding and seriously the experience of a lifetime.

56 Brittany (Healthy Slice of Life) May 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

This is quite possibly my favorite marathon recap ever. Your honesty and triumph are so refreshing and you should be DARN proud of yourself! Congratulations on being a marathoner!!!

57 Heather (Heather's Dish) May 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

ok first of all i’m jealous that your labors and deliveries were both shorter than 4 hours, 42 minute, and 55 seconds – lucky woman!

second, i’m so proud of you. it would have been so easy to just stop and be done, but you worked hard and pulled through! way to go mama!

58 StoriesAndSweetPotatoes May 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

Congrats!! I can not even wrap my mind around marathons. You are super human.

59 Gina @ Running to the Kitchen May 21, 2012 at 9:57 am

Congratulations Tina!! While this may not be the best comment ever, it’s actually refreshing to hear such honesty about a marathon. I feel like so many recaps make it to be all butterflies and happiness and I just can’t wrap my head around that. THIS is what I expect a marathon to feel like. That rollercoaster of emotion from crying to smiling (it’s also why I have no desire to do one, ha!). So, it’s nice to read someone’s recap I can feel like I relate to even if I’ve never done it myself.
So happy you got to complete this goal even if it was one of the most difficult experiences in your life :)

60 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Thanks, Gina. I actually love your comment. I appreciate that I can show the more real side and that you all value it as my friends. :)

61 Erica May 21, 2012 at 10:01 am

Way to go, girl!!! Isn’t it the best feeling ever?!?! I’ve done 2 fulls and 5 halfs and the feeling is nothing like anything else I’ve ever experienced. I wanted to wear the medal from my first full every day for a week! I kept looking at it, thinking OMGOSH, I DID IT, I ran a MARATHON!!! It’s the best runner’s high ev-er. I am so proud of you! You earned that medal with every single step. I know you will be floating for quite awhile! I still stand a little taller when I think of mine, and when I will run another…possibly December in Memphis;) I also wanted to share with you how blessed I am by your faith. Your playlist looks a lot like mine, and the Worship Jamz album is another good one! As a breast cancer survivor, wife, and Momma, I thank God for every step and for every breath I take HE alone gets all the praise, honor, and glory for it all and I feel that also from YOUR posts. ((((big hugs))))

62 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Thank you Erica!! That means so much to me. I definitely feel amazingly proud of myself, but want everyone to hopefully know how much I counted on God to get through it all. He really is wonderful, huh? :)

63 Laurie @Love, Laugh, laurie May 21, 2012 at 10:02 am

Congrats, congrats, congrats!! So awesome! I still don’t know if I ever want to do a full, but this post makes me at least consider it! So awesome of you!

64 keyalus May 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

Your first marathon experience sounds a lot like mine years ago. It was so randomly hot (in November!) and I just couldn’t hold it together like I wanted to. Good job sticking it out! I think not having that perfect race experience the first time out, makes you a stronger marathoner in the end. When you do have your perfect marathon, it will be that much sweeter.

65 Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries May 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

you go girl! ;) congratulations tina. the hardest things in life make you all the more proud that you pushed through them. woo hoo!

66 Amy May 21, 2012 at 10:11 am

You are so AMAZING for completing that marathon! Especially when you felt so awful and just wanted to quit….you did it and should be so proud of that accomplishment! You are my inspiration for that day as I tackle my workout this morning:)

67 Alex @ therunwithin May 21, 2012 at 10:14 am

congrats on your first full half! I still haven’t done a full so I give you so much credit.

68 Alyssa @ Life of bLyss May 21, 2012 at 10:18 am


1. the outfit came together beautifully. I remember our talking about it during the hike, and I like what you put together. :)

2. YOU’RE A CHAMP. slap that sticker on your car.. it’s (one of the) best part(s). ;)

69 [email protected] May 21, 2012 at 10:18 am

Congratulations! You totally earned that medal. You are a rockstar!!

70 Bethany @ Accidental Intentions May 21, 2012 at 10:19 am

You are SO awesome! Congratulations, Tina!! I’m so proud of you for fighting through even when you wanted to quit. There’s no way that’s at all easy. Way to DEFINE hardcore :) You rock!

71 Whitney @LiveRunLoveYoga May 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

Congrats! You should be so proud! Marathons in 80 degree heat are no easy feat!

72 Alayna @ Thyme Bombe May 21, 2012 at 10:35 am

Congrats Tina! You did great! It’d probably take me twice that time to do a marathon. I love your fun outfit too. How could you not feel good wearing that?! :)

73 misszippy May 21, 2012 at 10:40 am

SO happy for your Tina!! You toughed it out in really hard conditions. You are a rock star!

Love all the pictures throughout the race report too–they really enhanced the whole read. My favorite is the grumpy/happy set.

Enjoy your big moment! I hope walking around Cedar Point goes well for you! So great to meet you.

74 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm

It wasn’t too bad going around CP – besides going down stairs. That hurt.

I read (or should I say listened) to your recap too. It was just a rough day, huh? Hope you’re feeling better. Loved meeting you!

75 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile May 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

Congrats on getting through that marathon!!!! I know it was definitely hard, but you did AMAZING.

76 Carol @ Lucky Zucca May 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

WAY TO GO TINA!!!!!!!!! You are a marathoner!!! I am so incredibly proud of you for pushing through. You are one of the strongest people I know (both mentally and physically!) This is incredible! I agree with the person above- you totally rock!

77 Jen May 21, 2012 at 10:45 am

Congrats Tina! I am so proud of you for finishing despite the heat. I haven’t learned how to fuel correctly for marathons, so I’m not a huge fan of running 26.2 miles either. I feel like halves- and childbirth!- are so much easier.

78 Leah May 21, 2012 at 10:49 am

Oh and one more thing Tina, is that the “wide” type of Sparkly Soul headband? I’ve been debating on a thin or wide one, do you like it??

79 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Mine is actually a Bani Band that I picked up at the ZOOMA race expo. The orange sparkles drew me in. I usually like the wide bands for workouts, but the thin sparkly bands are a bit more versatile.

80 Amanda @RunToTheFinish May 21, 2012 at 10:55 am

WOHOOOOO way to go!!! no one ever claimed it would be easy, but once again you’ve shown what you’re made of.

the heat certainly exacts a toll and with no shade it can be a rough day. way to keep plugging along because now…YOU ARE A MARATHONER!!!

81 Melissa May 21, 2012 at 11:16 am

You deserve that medal! You pushed through, and conquered 26.2 miles. You are such an inspiration…thank you for sharing your story!

82 Kerry @ Half Healthy, Half Nuts May 21, 2012 at 11:21 am

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I love reading race recaps! I’m so happy that you kept on pushing through, even through the really hard times! What an accomplishment!! So now the big question … will you do another one?

83 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:28 pm

As much as I thought NEVER during the race…within 10 minutes of finishing I already knew the answer to another would be (and is) yes. I’m already registered for Chicago anyway. ;)

84 Rebecca @ Miss Magnolia Munches & Moves May 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

Congrats! Way to stay tough!

85 Kelly May 21, 2012 at 11:28 am

Congratulations! You DID it and no one can take that away from you!

86 Tameika May 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

I am so incredibly proud of you!!!! You fought and won!! A marathon is the ultimate test of mental toughness and through your faith and perseverance you won! So happy for you! I celebrate your awesomeness with you!!!

87 Evan Thomas May 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

Congratulations! The last 4 or 5 are always harder than the first 20. If you can make it through those, you can do anything!

88 Theodora May 21, 2012 at 11:52 am

CONGRATS!!! You are a marathoner! You look so strong!

89 Lisa May 21, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Aw this made me smile so much! Especially when you spoke about crossing the finish line! Congratulations Tina, that is such an amazing accomplishment. You did so awesome. And I love the outfit too :)

90 Gail Rich Nestor May 21, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Tina, I cried as I read this whole report! My first marathon experience was so similar and so fresh on my mind that I felt I was right there with you. I didn’t have quite as high temps, but my nemesis was rain, wind, and puddles for most of 4 hours. You should be so incredibly proud of that medal and of your HUGE accomplishment!!! You looked wonderful in your photos, and you told the story so well. I told myself during my run that I would never do another one, but 4 days later, I signed up for the Marine Corps. Marathon! Like with labor, the pain is forgotten pretty quickly, but that 26.2 sticker and marathoner title will stay with you always! Congrats!!

91 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:30 pm

I’m already registered for Chicago and within 10 minutes of crossing the finish line knew I would still go through with that marathon. And probably more in the future. It really is such a tough experience, but SO rewarding. Here’s to our future races being much better. ;)

92 Lauren @ Sassy Molassy May 21, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Way to be tough out there, Tina! Those temps sound rough to run a marathon in. Enjoy that accomplishment and yes, love the fun outfit!

93 Lauren May 21, 2012 at 12:34 pm

You. Are. Simply. Amazing and I love you! So proud of you girl!

94 Madeline @ Food Fitness and Family May 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm

SO SO SO proud of you!! Congrats!!

95 Lenore May 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Awesome tenacity and determination, Tina! Honest and brutal assessment of the fortitude it takes to conquer 26.2 miles! You and Slim Kate ( are my heroines!

96 Dena @ 40 Fit in the Mitt May 21, 2012 at 12:45 pm

What an amazing accomplishment! You are a Rock Star!!!!!!!!!!

97 Caitlin May 21, 2012 at 12:46 pm

This is an amazing, inspiring recap. Good for you! You’ve accomplished something few can say they have done. The last photo is beautiful, you’re so happy and proud. I love the blue skirt! Congrats!

98 Charlotte May 21, 2012 at 12:49 pm

first of all, let me just say – DANG you look amazing for having just run 26 miles in those last few pictures. pffft. I run a mile and I look like a hot mess!! hahaha.

love this recap though! SO proud of you for sticking through it and finishing strong! You did an AMAZING job out there!!

So have you realized you wanna do another yet? ;)

99 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Haha! Yep. Only took 10 minutes after crossing the finish line to know I would still do Chicago. ;)

100 Heather @ Better With Veggies May 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

You did awesome – a marathon is no joke! and running in the temperatures you did makes it all the more challenging. I complained when it got into the high 60s at New Orleans, so I can’t imagine – you are a tough chick!! I am so proud of you and your ability to stick it out even when it sucked!! Way to go!!

101 [email protected] May 21, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Congratulations! That’s an amazing accomplishment, and one that I want to complete sometime in my life, but am still a bit to scared to attempt. I know that I’d be feeling the same way as you did much of the duration of the race, and as a VERY emotional person, I’m sure I would break down in tears several times are you described. I think running is about 70% mental, and 30% physical, but when you can’t help but think about the length of time and distance you have left, it must be very overwhelming and almost impossible to not get discouraged. I definitely admire your perseverance and strength in completing something entirely new on your fitness journey!

102 Kaelin May 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Wow! This a great recap Tina!!! Thanks for sharing all the ups and downs of your race. You are amazing and an inspiration! Way to go!!!! Enjoy the feelings of such a huge accomplishment!

103 Amanda Perry @ Sistas of Strength May 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Congrats! Sounds like it was awesome. A lot of your thoughts remind me of how I felt after the RKC 6 weeks ago. It was so hard and painful at times, but so awesome at the same time (especially the way you feel after accomplishing something like that!). Go you! :) :)

104 sarah k @ the pajama chef May 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

way to go! marathons are hard- but worth it! annnnddd i think that each marathon gets easier. at least you know what to expect!

105 Kim @ wonderings May 21, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Congrats, Tina! Enjoy the accomplishment this week!

106 Ari @ Ari's Menu May 21, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Tina, you are amazing, and considering all the challenges that you faced this training cycle, and then during the race itself, you should just be that much more proud of yourself! Congratulations!!!!

107 Christin May 21, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Congratulations Tina, what an amazing accomplishment!!!

108 Sara May 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Congrats, Tina! Love the real recap! (No holding back.) So glad you pushed through. And I wondered as I read if you would do another and then thought “duh, of course she will” and read the comments and saw what you said! :-)

109 Christie May 21, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Oh my- this reminds me so much of my first full marathon, well, only!!! I keep saying I will do it again, but haven’t gotten the courage to tackle that feeling again. Congrats on finishing such a huge accomplishment- you’re indeed a marathoner now!!!

110 Bianca @ Confessions of a Chocoholic May 21, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Congratulations, Tina! Thanks for sharing the experience and honest recap with us. What an amazing accomplishment! Now go rest and bask in your post-marathon glow, you deserve it!

111 christy Hemken May 21, 2012 at 2:21 pm

CONGRATS MARATHONER!!!!! I just finished my first HALF marathon this spring and swore there is NO WAY I would EVER do another (as I had some serious dehydration issues afterwards), and reading how horrible you we’re feeling and in the heat. Amazing!!! Loved your recap it honestly brought me to tears. I’m SO happy for you that you stuck with it and pushed through. Congrats!!, congrats!!!! Your such an inspriration!!!!

112 Sarah May 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

You did it! Amazing. Big-time congratulations, Tina.

113 Rachel @ Eat, Learn, Discover! May 21, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Congrats – this is so amazing! You have no idea how inspiring you are. Never stop running <3

114 Lauren May 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Congrats marathoner! I loved the honest recap because I know there are painful, hard, I wanna quit miles. It’s great to read this SIX days before my first marathon. I think it’s best that I’ve read tons of recaps, so I can imagine pushing through the tough spots, especially heat (because it’s in the 80s all this week).

115 Liz @ runbakerace May 21, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Congrats Marathoner!!!! Love the pic with you and your medal…your smile says it all.

116 char eats GREENS May 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Amazing story, Tina. I really love how real you are. You cried and you admitted that. You walked and you told us that. These are probably what make me even fonder of you. You made the experience so much more realistic to someone like me who is so scared to try a full marathon (I’ve only done a half!), but it’s doable. And that’s the most important message along with the accomplishment you achieved.

You did amazing and it shows in this post :)

117 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Thanks so much. I hope to be real at all times so it means a lot that it is appreciated. It is tough! I know you could do it too though. :)

118 Paige @ Running Around Normal May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm

First of all, I LOVE your outfit, Tina. Love it :)
Secondly, @#%@#%[email protected]$)#*!!!! Amazing, girlfriend. Amazing.

119 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Haha! %*^(&)^$&%*&(& < << that does about describe it. ;)

120 Katherine @ Neon Blonde Runner May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm


121 Ela May 21, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Wow, and congrats! So, you said you’d never do it again, but I bet you’re going to do another one despite, right? Maybe somewhere a little cooler!

I hope you get some great R&R–so sweet Peter was there to support you.

122 jobo May 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Wow. you are the epitome of strength and perseverance!! I am so impressed and proud of you and HAPPY for you. Despite all of those trials, you made it. Hope you are still celebrating, much MUCH deserved!!!

123 Kierston May 21, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Congratulations on your first full marathon!!!! Wow! Great recap!

124 Bonnie May 21, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Loved reading this – a huge congrats to you, Tina! What an incredible experience and a HUGE accomplishment!

125 David H. May 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Not only did you finish your first marathon, you also finished one of the hottest marathons you should ever run! Congrats. Very nice job. Enjoy this special moment!

126 Christine May 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

This is honestly the best marathon recap I have ever read. So real and so inspiring. I have been thinking about doing a marathon and after reading your post I definitely want to make the commitment. Looks like the pain is worth it and then some. congrats marathoner!

127 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:35 pm

It was SO hard…but even more worth it. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience to go through the first full marathon.

128 Melissa @ Live, Love, & Run May 21, 2012 at 8:49 pm

You DID it. YOU. DID. IT. Was it even a year ago yet that you embarked on your first half marathon training??? Tina, you should be SO incredibly proud of yourself…and honestly, you’ve totally inspired me. You powered through…and you look FABULOUS doing so. :) Congratulations!!!

129 Lee May 21, 2012 at 9:01 pm

You did it! Congrats!! Hope you are enjoying your roller coasters now.

130 Kelly May 21, 2012 at 9:36 pm

CONGRATS LADY!!! It’s the best feeling in the world to finally cross that finish line. My first thought after my first one was….I will never do that again. And now I just completed my 4th and am already planning #5 and #6. Let the race sink in and bask in the glory that you are a marathoner.

131 tinareale May 22, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I’m right there with you. Within minutes I knew I would follow through with #2 (Chicago) that I’m already registered for. And I’m already thinking what other ones I can do in the future. ;)

They are addicting and such a rewarding experience. You’re so right. Thanks for the cheers and support, Kelly!

132 Amanda @ Click. The Good News May 21, 2012 at 9:46 pm

Congrats- that’s still a fabulous time, even with all that walking! I don’t do well in the heat either, but I’m so glad you finished!

133 Sarah @ A Runners Heart May 21, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Congratulations and Great Job! I’m totally jealous of you right now! I can’t wait until I have the guts to run a half, much less a full! Your my Hero! lol :)

134 [email protected] May 21, 2012 at 11:50 pm

NICE WORK!!! SO exciting :) You’re right it IS a tough experience, but you probably feel on top of the world.

The pain of a challenge is even more beautiful when we meet it and OWN it :) GO you!

135 Heidi Nicole May 22, 2012 at 12:14 am

I was literally checking Twitter constantly for updates! I saw the change in pace from the half to the 30K and I seriously felt for you! Being able to see a familiar face in the crowds makes a huge difference though, so glad you got to see Peter! You did great! You powered through, you won the mental battle in the end and you go that blasted medal!

Now, for the important questions – did you have at least a little fun or do you now hate running? And will you run another?

136 Jen May 22, 2012 at 12:28 am

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Wow, girl – I already knew that you were a rock star, but you never cease to amaze me! What an incredible accomplishment (especially in that HEAT) – you should be SOOO proud of yourself! Heck, I’m proud of you & I’ve never even met you! :)

You did it!!! Annnd, managed to look adorable doing it! :) By the way, I seriously cannot get over how great you look in that picture AFTER the race – you make it look like it was a piece of cake!

Hope you had a blast at Cedar Point! They have some great roller coasters – I went there once in high school & pretty much spent the whole time riding coasters.

Holy cow…longest comment ever (sorry about that). Really, your shirt says it all – you ARE abso-freakin’-lately amazing!!!

137 Jen May 22, 2012 at 12:36 am

Abso-freakin’-LUTELY amazing! Good grief (darn auto-correct)… :)

138 Geraldine May 22, 2012 at 6:38 am

Congratulations! You look so lovely in that final picture – not a big sweaty mess after slogging through the heat. Well done!

139 chelsey @ clean eating chelsey May 22, 2012 at 7:29 am

I am so so proud of you!!!

140 Cheryl @ Happy is the new healthy May 22, 2012 at 7:31 am

YOU’RE INSPIRING! And so cute in that outfit. CONGRATULATIONS I hope you ride the high from this race for weeks! :)

141 Bari May 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

LOVED your recap! You should be incredibly proud of this accomplishment – and to run a 4:42-something first marathon is outstanding!!! Way to go, girl!

142 Carissa @Fit2Flex May 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Girl that is a GREAT time!!!! Seriously! You did it! I look forward to your follow up post. You just can’t plan for heat like that…all you can do is slow down. Which you did and you finished. Very inspiring!

143 fizzgig May 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm

awesome recap!! and congrats on your first full marathon. After doing this as my first half….I am not so sure I am up for the challenge of a full. It was so hot, and so many people didn’t finish, so you did amazing!!

144 Sabrina @Work It Ms Jackson May 22, 2012 at 2:44 pm

CONGRATS girl! I loved your recap! Way to go!

145 KelleeMove May 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

This is fantastic – an honest recap without rose-colored glasses! Congratulations on such a huge accomplishment, tears and all!

146 [email protected] May 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm


147 Sara @ The Foodie Diaries May 23, 2012 at 9:07 am

You are AMAZING!! That’s where real marathoners are made, the points where you just want to quit and turn around but you don’t. 26.2, WOW. Not many people can say they’ve run a marathon and now you can :) CONGRATULATIONS TINA!!!

148 Lindsay @ In Sweetness and In Health May 23, 2012 at 9:56 am

Tina I’m soooooo so so proud of you!! Such an amazing accomplishment. The fact that you pulled through the pain and hell of it is amazing too! Eeee and now you can say you’ve run a marathon which is AWESOME! Congrats pretty lady <3

149 Leonor @FoodFaithFitness May 23, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Running a marathon IS hard. That’s why a small percentage of the population run them. Congrats!

150 Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning May 23, 2012 at 2:19 pm

I have so much admiration for you- I don’t think I’d ever be able to run a full marathon. A half was enough for me! But to check that one of off life’s list is pretty darn fantastic. I really enjoyed reading your re-cap and love how honest you were. And man, it is IS an emotional experience!
I hope you are taking it easy and basking in the glow of it all being in the past.
PS- LOVE your race-wear. And your smile!!!

151 Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot May 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Congrats Tina! You are a marathoner! I must admit though that I am slightly jealous of that fact ;) Mine was called when I was at mile 15 because of 90 degree temps and depletion of IVs at the med stations of all things… part of me was so happy to not have to force through that heat for another 11 miles but another part of me is still so, so disappointed that 5/20/12 was not my day to become a marathoner :) Can’t wait to see how you do in more reasonable temps. I bet you will be flying :)

152 Danica @ It's Progression May 23, 2012 at 3:00 pm

This is such a beautiful and inspirational recap Tina…you should be so proud of yourself for pushing through such an extremely difficult situation. I’m running my first half marathon on Sunday and if I ever start feeling ‘stuck’ I’ll think of how you just kept pushing to the end and it was all worth it!

153 Alicia May 23, 2012 at 3:18 pm

You are so my Hero!!! I am so proud of you. I can only imagine the amazing feeling to say that you did it!! I was crying inside for you.
You never cease to inspire and amaze me.

154 Kimberly May 23, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Tina, you ROCK! Great job – you are truly an inspiration :)


155 Elena May 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm

GREAT job Tina! I have my first full in October. VERY nervous! You have always inspired and motivated me though (yep – since the 02 days) and seeing your success and happiness here makes me (slightly) less scared about my race!

156 Liz (Little Bitty Bakes) May 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

The fact that you say the marathon is tougher than child birth makes me a little less worried about giving birth someday, lol. ;)

This gives me the chills, Tina! I’m so happy for you. Mother nature may not have been on your side but God certainly was. It’s so neat to hear about others’ marathon experiences, especially when its a first time. I remember when I finished my first marathon, I crossed the finish line and was just in complete shock that I had done it! It’s a crazy, crazy feeling, right?!

Hopefully we’ll marathon buddies in Chicago this fall!

157 Megan May 24, 2012 at 10:07 am

Loved reading about your experience! I just signed up for my first full (come next February) and I’m already nervous! I know there’s so much emotion that goes into, but I appreciate reading your real experience!



158 Maryea @ Happy Healthy Mama May 24, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Holy cow, Tina! Congrats to you! You are one strong woman.

159 amy May 25, 2012 at 6:28 pm

congrats tina!! isnt it such a great feeling when u cross that finish line? for soooo many reasons haha the biggest one that its over! hah…seriously though its an incredible accomplishment-you should be proud! i have to say, im glad u said its harder then childbirth bc i am scared shitless for that! :)

160 Nate May 26, 2012 at 1:15 am


Extremely happy to hear you ran your first marathon in Cleveland. My friend, Christie Foster, won the half marathon in 1.19 there. Hope you continue to progress with your running, stop over at my site sometime. Best Wishes and continued blessings in 2012.

161 Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl May 26, 2012 at 1:37 am

That is so awesome Tina! And yay for a friend that said the right things and ran along side to help you accomplish your goal. BTW, I think that’s the best finish picture i’ve seen. Most of the finishing pics are not so happy looking.

Congrats for sticking it thru the finish! 50K next? ;)

162 Caroline May 28, 2012 at 12:17 am

Wow- this race sounds TOUGH! Congrats on finishing your first marathon and fighting through the heat and pain!

163 J @ ... semplicemente j ... May 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

Loved reading your recount … I am not yet at the Marathon level … not in mind nor in body … it was amazing … (do not tell anyone) … as odd as it seems you almost made me want to try one … I did say … almost!

Good job, Tina!

164 Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food May 30, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I just got a chance to read your recap! You are awesome and amazing! I loved your honesty through the whole race and it’s great to see how you pushed through the pain and finished strong. You should be so proud of yourself! You definitely did earn that medal!

165 Caitlin @ This Bride's Joyride June 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

I’m catching up on old posts and this post was so inspiring! I love that you were honest and didn’t just sugar coat the whole experience. You’re amazing!

Your final line seriously makes me consider signing up for a marathon in the future! :)

166 Taura March 16, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Thanks so much for sharing! Doing this 1213, first marathon, flying in from FL so need some inside info on the course and knowing how you felt will help mentally prepare….Thanks!

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