Hey folks, I am back!!! I am ready to re-commit to sharing life with you! Sadly I had to go back to day one of this blog and re-read everything. Such a humbling thing to do, as I sit here and think of all that has changed since January 2015 !
As promised on my quick blurb last week , I am going to talk about the fact that I ran a marathon… yes a MARATHON. It’s still feels unreal to even say that!
After running 9 half marathons in 2015 I had a ton of friends who kept telling me I was ready for a marathon, but it was never on my radar. I thought I am still learning to run these half marathons and get to a good speed that I am satisfied with. So I kept putting it off and thinking ya’ll are crazy!
It wasn’t until October 2015 when my friend and I shared a walk and in conversation we discussed running a marathon. We said we would find a nice flat marathon to do. By the time we got home the idea was out the window and unspoken of again. Then sometime I the beginning of the year (2016) my very good friend who is also my running partner said to me…. “ if you register for a marathon I will come out of “ retirement” and run it with you” ! I laughed it off like nah I’m good….
I cannot tell you the exact moment that it hit me or that something clicked and I said you know what I am ready… but I can tell you that it was 11pm one night, I was in bed on my phone, knowing a price increase was the next day that I did it… I just did it! I hit submit on my marathon registration! I immediately took a screen shot and sent it to my running partner… her reaction…. “ Oh sh!t” ! hahahaa
Now I didn’t announce right away I was running a marathon , to be honest I was still unsure as I knew I could change my reg to the half if I needed to. It wasn’t until training really began that I announced it!
So let’s speed it up a bit to June 11th, 2016 day one of training…. Now by this time my body is very conditioned to run a half marathon at the drop of a dime, however, marathon training isn’t about speed or increasing mileage right off the bat. Needless to say it was hard to only run 3-4 miles 4 days a week the first 6 weeks. It was also challenging to slow my pace on training runs. As the runs got longer we ran a 2:30 interval ( run for 2 minutes, walk for 30 seconds). Making these changes are crucial to avoid injury, THAT was the only thing that kept me disciplined enough to follow the plan. I have seen plenty of injuries on social media and I was just not willing to risk it! I am far too competitive with myself and I say it all the time , if I end up injured I am not sure if I will bounce back and go at it again. ( Crazy talk I know)
During training I also had the ability to run a few races and line them up with training miles….
August 13th – hell of a half marathon
October 9th – emerald bay half marathon
October 16th- Judgement Day half marathon
I was pretty excited as I even PR’d my half marathon time at Judgement Day with a finish of 2:12:02 a 3 minute PR from my best half earlier this year…. ( Big hat half 2:15:58)
Anyhow, One day I ran 14 miles alone it was brutal, I got lost, ended up actually doing 15 miles, It was HOT, my phone was dying and I was almost out of water. Thankfully my husband found me, picked me up and took me to the river to submerse my legs in the ICE cold river water.
Next distance that was challenging for me was our 16 miler…. felt great the whole way until mile 15, oh man my left knee was aching, barking, screaming at me to stop. This was the day that I thought to myself holy crap, I don’t know if I can do this! What did I do, What was I thinking.
It wasn’t until our 20 mile training run that I gained my confidence back. We took our time, we listened to our bodies and well we didn’t die! I felt like I was truly ready for the adventure I was about to embark on.
And thennnnnnnnnnnnn, I finally learned what the taper meant and was ready to put that into action. As I decreased my mileage and the day got closer I surprisingly felt nothing…. friends kept asking if I am nervous, excited, scared, anxious, READY? It wasn’t until race week that I started to feel all of those emotions.
Race morning came quickly, I was up early & I spent a short time in prayer before I hit the shower and prepared for my race. My amazing husband made us girls signs , decorated my car and was ready to cheer us on! As we arrived and approached the start line I can be 100% honest with you and say that I was nowhere near feeling nervous or scared, nor was I feeling excited. I almost felt numb to it. I told myself it was just another training run with my girls and a few extra people around. I told myself it is 5 miles 5 times.
They sang the national anthem, I said a quick prayer in my head and off we went…. started up the Garmin Vivo active and let it run me through my intervals.
The first 13 miles were cake, we were moving a little faster than we wanted to, and kept trying to slow it down without losing momentum. When we got to Mile 17 we ran into our other friend who amazingly trained alone and was well ahead of us the whole time.
Mile 18 rolled around and we took a little bit longer break than intended. Mile 19-22 were a bit of a blur but I do remember saying where the heck is the turnaround . By this time we had all kind of spread out and were stacked one in front of the other, not as close but enough to still see one another. I found some juice to sprint and catch up to my sole sister Katrina so we could be together through the last few miles.
Then mile 23ish our MASH trainer Kelly found us and was going to run us in, at this point my mind was focused, my breathing was on point everything felt great…. except my left knee. It was aching, it was uncomfortable and with that I was unable to smile and hold a conversation with the girls I was running with.
For some crazy reason, my body just said GO. Turn up the volume and move you’re a$$ . So I did just that…. I left my girls behind and honestly I just wanted to hurry up and get to the finish line and be done!
Mile 24ish – My fellow Bear, fellow runner, my friend, Crystal who was a course marshal was on her bike was riding with me. At one point I tried to talk to her and I remember her telling me “ put those head phones back in girl” so I did just that, I pushed, as my knee ached, I dug deep to keep going knowing the finish line was just around the bend.
I remember taking one last walk break, I told Crystal , LAST walk break and that was it, when that 30 seconds was up and it was go time, but my knee locked up. I stopped for a second and grabbed that knee and MADE it go by pulling up on the leg, once I was moving I did not stop again!
Coming around the corner about a ¼ of a mile from the finish I see my good friend Nate! He waited there for me , we fist pumped and by this time I could see the arch! So naturally I picked up the pace as much as I possibly could and as I am coning up I hear a loud shout of my name and then smaller shouts. My friends there waiting for me to cross with a sign held high the sky! As I am inching closer I see my family, Omar, Zeke & Eden standing there with smiles, cheering me and at that moment I felt NO pain. I pushed myself across that finish line and as I did, I stopped my watch and then it happened, the tears came! I grabbed my medal and as my family wrapped their arms around me I just thanked God I had finished!
I told my husband “that was hard” like really hard. My friends joined us in celebration as we waited for the others to cross, one by one they rolled in, each of them with a face of accomplishment!
This day November 6, 2016 was a day I never even dreamed of. I never once I my life thought I would ever run a marathon. As I said before it was not on my radar. When I signed up for it I wasn’t even sure it was ME wanting to or if it was the voice of others in my head. Never the less I committed to it, I trained for it and I finished it! I am officially a Marathoner!!
I hope that during this long holiday weekend you have time to go back and read at least my first 3 blog posts to see where I started. I haven’t been running for a long time, I am not super-fast, I am still not an educated runner, I still get lazy and lose motivation, I do not run marathon after marathon. I do however, run with quality in mind.
If I am sacrificing my time away from family, you best believe I am going to make my run time well worth it!
Now I am going to do a coupe shout outs so hang tight with me because as they say it takes a village to raise a child, well it takes a village to raise a runner!
My husband & Children: I thank you, for allowing me to train, for never once holding it against me, for waking up in the wee hours of the morning to drive me to the start line and sending me off. Thank you for your willingness to drive around the course and find me because every single time I saw your faces I knew I couldn’t give up. Thank you for meeting me at the finish line and for how much pride you had in me! I will be forever grateful for not making me feel like a selfish mother or person. I love you guys more than you know!
Katrina: You came out of retirement for me! You could have told me I was crazy and on my own! You were with me every step of the way, side by side through every training run and you didn’t cuss at me ONCE during the race! You truly have become one of my best friends. Thank you for always listening and never judging! I am so proud of you for completing your 3rd marathon! I barely made it through one and here you are showing us all up! You are a true inspiration and my forever friend!
Stephanie: Crazy smiling chipper woman in the wee hours of the morning. You never ONCE complained and you showed up every single time. You are a strong woman, a fighter and a great runner. So glad to have met you and to call you friend. So proud to have shared this accomplishment with you!
Michelle & Sean: Holy cow guys! Thank you. Thank you for supporting me, asking me, just genuinely caring. I really think you guys are the ones that made me cry when I crossed! seeing you was just so unexpected. I am grateful for our friendship, I am grateful that you trusted me enough to call me coach. I am proud of both of you, especially you Michelle for stepping so far out of your comfort zone and getting in there right along all of us other crazy runners and making it happen! Love you guys for that!
Crystal: Mannnn, I don’t think you even understand what it meant to just have you riding next to me in silence. You made me move, you made me realize I could not stop, you basically paced me till the end and I cannot thank you enough for that small gesture because it meant the world to me. Without it I can’t honestly say I would have not finished in the time that I did had you not been there! Thank you friend!!!!
I also want to say thank you to every single volunteer out there, even though you do not know us, or you look at us like we are crazy, having you cheer for a perfect stranger has a huge impact on our mental game while running. So get loud, get crazy because we LOVE it and we NEED it!
That’s it for now because my fingers hurt, ad while I wanted to share this experience with you, I can tell you that reading it on paper is nothing like experiencing it for your own self, so if you are on the fence about doing… DO IT. What have you got to lose?
Stay tuned for the next blog post ya’ll as I will be sharing what I learned and life after a marathon!
Peace, Love and Running.