I ran my first marathon in 2008 and I had no fu**ing clue what I was doing. I followed this plan loosely. I never did any long runs over 20 miles because I did a little research to learn that there was really no physiological benefit to runs over 20 miles. Other than that, I ran 6 days a week, did 800s on the cinder track near my house in North Carolina and arrived on marathon morning with no idea what to expect. I knew I needed to go out slowly but beyond that, was clueless.
From what I remember, it was actually one of the least painful marathons that I’ve run. I actually managed to start slowly and spent much of the race by myself. They’ve changed the course in recent years, but the year I ran it, City of Oaks had about 8 miles in Umstead State Forest, which is dirt and extremely hilly. I loved it from start to finish. I ran a 3:17, finished 7th and got to go up on stage to get my prize package which included a cell phone. In hindsight, it was actually a pretty amazing prize! I still carry the tote bag everywhere.
What was your first marathon? Did you finish and swear to never do one again or start looking for your next fix?