I recently ran my first marathon. Yes, this does mean that I'm at least a bit crazy and yes, I'll probably eventually do another. There's a lot that goes into running a marathon, and quite a few unexpected outcomes. Here are a few of the most surprising ones that I came across!

1. Safety

This was the first thing that I wouldn't have thought about. Due to all of the recent terror attacks on large events, there were some extra precautions at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. The start line was absolutely packed from the 15,000 marathon, half-marathon, and 5K participants, who could have been a target for an attack. A city bus came and blocked the entrance to the street to prevent any attacks by car. While it was crazy to think about this, I did feel much safer. 

2. How much you think about food

A lot of the run for me was spent thinking about food. As a dietetics major and a writer for Spoon University, clearly food is my life. But alas, even I did not expect that I would think that much about food while I was running. 

3. Chafing

Okay. So you've got to expect some chafing and prepare for it. I was ready for some. What I was NOT ready for was the chafing of my entire armpits. Andy from The Office at least knew it was coming, but I was not that ready. 

4. The number of people running

Yeah, more people than just you are crazy. Since I have generally run smaller races before, I was overwhelmed because all of the half and full runners were together at the start line, which was literally thousands of people. 

5. Spectators

Those watching can make the race. I never would've expected so many people to be outside early on a Saturday morning lining the streets to cheer on a bunch of crazy people running, but boy was I proven wrong. The people of Indianapolis killed it on the cheering.

There were tons of bands performing, a group of teenagers dancing while chanting about how awesome we (the runners) were, kids in halloween costumes, and signs on signs on signs. Some of my favorites included "You're officially running better than the government," "punch to power up" (this one had a picture of a certain president to punch), "great endurance... call me," and "nasty women run." Serious props go out to everyone who supports us. 

6. How hungry you get

This is actually what ruined the run for me. I ate a PB&J before the run and thought I'd be fine, but I was very very wrong. You completely drain your energy in a race this long, and depending on how much or little you eat, your stomach could feel entirely empty. 

7. How much you're able to eat after

This is the best part of a marathon, tbh. If you think you eat a lot normally, be ready for a new surprise, because you just burned a couple thousand calories running. In the hours following (and even a day or so after the run), food is life. 

8. Exhaustion

Again, a little should be expected, but you're going to be exhausted after you run 26.2 miles. Walking was pretty difficult immediately after, and my parents had to help me out a bit there. This is something I have literally never experienced. That evening, I almost dozed off while watching a movie with my family, another thing that never happens. 

9. Your impaired ability to walk

The first thing I thought of when I signed up to run a marathon was the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Barney runs the New York City marathon on a bet and then couldn't walk afterwards. This really isn't too far off. I looked like a fool trying to walk (more like hobble) around campus two days later. 

10. The feeling of invincibility

This one came a few days later, but better late than never! When friends would ask how the run was, they would look at me in shock of how I did such a thing. A marathon is a pretty crazy thing. It's one of the hardest endurance races people do, so completing one at all is such an incredible feat.