Last Saturday I become a MARATHONER!!
I’ve officially joined to 1% of the world that has ever run 26.2 miles continuously and finished it. I can not tell you how excited I am to say that!! I need to start by thanking a few people.
My totally supportive husband, Donavan for all the hours he put in watching the kids so I could go out on training runs for hours at a time, for making the trip across the country to let me run in a race that was so important to me and most of all for helping through the last 6 miles of the marathon. Thank you I’m totally lucky to have such an amazing husband!
My best friend, Katie whom I pretty much forced to run this marathon with me. Thank you for pushing through 17 miles especially those painful miles from 14 – 17. I love you for sticking with me and being such a great friend.
I need to thank Karin (Katie’s sister) and Ben & Sandra (Don’s parents) for coming with us, supporting us through the race, helping with the kids, and sharing this amazing experience with me.
Okay so now the race recap. I got up around 5:30 to start getting ready and grab a cup of coffee. I met Katie and Karin around 6:00 to get my hair braided we headed to the start line around 6:30. The gun went off at 7:00 and we crossed around 7:17. Leading up to the race there had been a lot of talk about the hills, heat and humidity. I felt confident about the hills and tried to train to prepare me for the heat and humidity but I definitely had these obstacles on my mind as we got started. Around mile 2 as we began to hit downtown Nashville we saw Donavan and Karin there cheering us on.
At the 5K mark we hit our first liquid nutrition station where they were offering Cytomax and without even looking I grabbed it and took a swig. Big Mistake… it didnt sit well and I started feeling awful. I have to thank Katie for pulling me through those tough early miles as I really was not feeling it. Around mile 7 I started feeling myself again and I was back in my stride. Just before mile 11 we saw Don, Karin, Ben, Sandra and my kids which was a total boost for me… especially was we climbed yet another hill during this course.
We split with the half runners just before 12 watched enviously as they rounded for the last mile and we looked up at a nice long hill. At this point Katie and I shared some celebration pop rocks (our favorite candy) and chugged up the hill. Katie was starting to feel that beating the heat, humidity and hills were taking on her as she was not able to fully train and we agreed to walk all uphills and run the down hills. I welcomed the break for sure! It was around 14 that she felt she couldn’t go any farther. We knew our hotel was around 17 so we agreed we would walk the rest of the way when she would stop and I would keep going. I know how painful and mentally tough it is to push through those walls and I thank Katie for continuing all the way to 17. It took us an hour and 15 mins to go from 14 – 17 which at the time I thought would be okay because I could rest at this point but I found out later that might not be true. The gang meet us again around mile 17 and Katie headed back with Karin and Don ran with me for a few minutes.
I headed off on my own for the first time knowing I only had 8 miles left. That seems totally manageable. As I began to climb up mile 18 I saw all the half marathoners turning for their last .1 mile of the half. I actually felt a little boost knowing I was actually running a full marathon this time. Mile 18 was hard… really really really hard but I told myself I was not going to walk. I already lost some time walking and I needed to push forward. I tried to cheer others along as that stopped to walk or even sit down. This hill was a monster. About half way through 19 there was a downhill (YAY) and not too far a way the course turned (OH NO!). Yep and as I made that turn and looked up at that mile 20 hill I felt like I was never going to make it. Then there was Donavan (OMG THANK YOU!!).
At that point I see mile 20 and he starts to run with me. I’m so tired, thirsty and hot and all I want to do is sit my @$$ down. He encouraged me to push on. We agreed to walk the uphills and run the downhills for as long as I could which soon turned it to okay run 3 cones walk 3 cones. Around mile 23 I hit the wall. I was done and willing to catch a ride home but still Don stuck with me. It was at this point I realized the walking I had down earlier (14-17) had come back to hurt me. At this point I had been out here an hour longer than I expected, it was much hotter and I just wasnt trained to deal with it. I walked miles 23 – 25 completely disappointed and upset with myself. I was so sad that I didnt run the whole thing, that I didnt get that mental time goal I had set and most of all that I might have let those who were cheering me on down. I told myself to just keep moving, it wont last forever, just keep moving. Donavan walked with me and it cheered me on. He told me how proud he was and I was soon going to be a marathoner. Then there was the mile 26 downhill and the finish. I “ran” as best as I could at this point and there was Karin cheering me on. I round the corner and I hear the announcer screaming my name and everyone starts cheering. I’m so confused but determined to cross the line and then I see Katie with the announcer cheering for me. I flash a quick smile, throw my arms in the arm and cross that line. I did it!! I completed a full marathon. It took me 6:20:09 but I did it!!
Did I hit my time goal – NO. Did run as much as I wanted to – NO. Did I have an amazing time – Yes! I gave it everything I have and I’m proud of that. I cheered on those that I passed and those that passed me – I’m proud of that. Will I do it again – Maybe…. probably. It was hard…. really really hard but just as rewarding. Right now I’m going to focus on my goal to become a half fanatic and complete the halves I have left for this year… but maybe next year .
Also for all those that I’m always preaching hills to… Hills and I have officially broken up after that race. These hills were just mean. It was seriously 26 miles of hills and the downhill ever never enough to recover. Its for that reason I’ve titled this post Go Hilly or Go Home. Thats how you do a first marathon!