The marathon was much more fun than I expected it to be. Someone told me that means I didn't push hard enough. That's probably true. I know I could have run it faster. I will run my next one faster. But I had an absolute blast AND posted what I consider a respectable finish time. That's enough for a first marathon.
One thing I just noticed is that I negative split my first marathon. My second half was 3 minutes faster than my first half. I planned to do that, but did not expect to do that. I'm really happy about that. I know it's more because of a conservative start than a strong finish, but the finish was strong enough. I'll finish my next one even stronger.
One thing I failed to mention in my VERY long recap is how giddy I was for the first 15-16 miles. I had a goofy grin on my face that I couldn't remove! I was truly taking in the moment, saying, "I can't believe I'm running a marathon!" And I felt MUCH better than I expected to.
So, what next? I definitely want to run Rocket City again next year. I want to train harder for it and run it faster. But what about the immediate future? I need a big race to train for to keep myself in shape. I didn't sign up for Mt. Mist because I didn't think I was worthy of that race. After the marathon performance, I believe I could finish it, but it's too late to sign up now. Oh well. I'm thinking about the Black Warrior 50k. I've never done trail running, and I don't have any trail shoes. I'm also considering the Country Music Half Marathon (maybe even the full 26.2? Naa, it's too soon). And I'll support as many local, shorter races as I can by running or volunteering.