Monday, October 13, 2014

I am a Marathoner

Alrighty so here I go with my marathon recap. I thought I would get it done right away, because we have a day today of exploring and well resting. I have had my coffee in me and I am ready to recap the action. Please beware of my grammar, spelling and long winded sentences, when I am excited about something I go on and on and to be quite honest I could care less about grammar, which if you have read my posts before you know that lol. This will probably be a long post, hold on though, this is the last leg of the journey.

So I suppose I should take it back to the day/night before, since I didn't post anything then. The day before (Saturday) James and I had a day together. We started at the Expo, which was quite small in comparison to other Expo's I have done too, but it was enough for me. It was inside a High School and they did have a lot of running stuff to purchase. I made sure to get a hat, a t-shirt, two long sleeves, two headbands, a running beanie hat, I picked up some Gu's and Shot Blocks and of course my iconic 26.2 magnets and stickers for my car. James paid for everything for me, as a treat, I swear this man is my rock.

I was so nervous picking up my packet. I was shaking, it was real, very, very real at that point. My bib number was 63.

There it was, right out in front of me. AHHHH. I calmed down and knew I was just really excited to get it done with and become a marathoner.

After the expo we went to our College, to walk around and go back. We had a wonderful carb filled lunch and then headed back to our hotel. James's friend Rick came up from Maryland for the day and we hung around until my mom and Aunt made their arrival. Once they got here, I said goodbye to James, and went off shopping with them. We ended up going to the Christmas Tree Shop. We do not have one of these in Florida and I love that place. I got a lot of goodies, I can not find in Florida. I also picked up KT tape because my calf was really, really hurting me. I mean it was all I was thinking about, even if I wasn't showing it.

It felt so strained, no matter what I put on it. I had heard a lot about KT tape, so I picked it up because it was a good price and hoped for the best. I am so glad I did.

After shopping we went to dinner for pasta and then I called it a night around 9:45 after a nice relaxing bath. Yes, I went to bed before 10:00, all the running around knocked me out. My flat Angie was all laid out and I was ready to run. I slept pretty good, I did wake up every 2 hours, looking at the clock, but other than that I was well rested. My alarm was set for 4:45, which is late for me for a long run morning. But the race wasn't starting until 8.

I got up, I got dressed and went downstairs to the lobby to get my breakfast. They gave out little goodie bags for those running and then let me go in and get a bagel with Peanut Butter. I forgot to grab a banana. I went to my mom and Aunt's room and ate and they were going to drive me to the bus pick up area. We laughed and they calmed my nerves for me for sure. It was amazing having them with me this weekend. We got to bus line up quickly and I was able to hop on one right away. It was freezing yesterday morning, so cold. Umm like 37 degrees. This Florida girl was in gloves and  my running attire and a sweatshirt.

The buses were kind of warm but because of my nerves, I was shivering. I ended up sitting next to a guy, who has ran this marathon numerous times and has ran 56 total!!!!! 56 marathons!! Crazy. He went on and on about races and advice and other things, it was nice to talk to someone, but I kind of wanted to be in my own zone, just focused, but him talking about how great the course and experience is here, made me feel better.

Once at the starting line, you head into the Forest City High School, where you could keep warm. They had some coffee and snacks for us. I did not eat anything because I did not want to upset my stomach, due to nerves and water, I went pee 3 times, I did not want to chance it. Once standing in line, I hoped in the 13 minute pace group, the last one. I wanted to be in the back so when others passed me or when using my beeper, I didn't want to annoy anyone. I found others doing the same thing as me, but doing 5:00/1:00's. I was comfortable being in the back and made some friends and found my rabbits to focus on.

The starting was of course sang with the Star Spangled Banner and the gun that went off wasn't a gun, it was a cannon! So cool, but being so short, I forgot to get a picture. I had my Garmin already to go but because I was talking to someone, I forgot to hit start right away. The first part was straight downhill and I could feel it in my thighs already. I ran the first mile, without using my run/walk. I threw away my gloves and then around mile 3, so did the sweat shirt, I started warming up.

There were not a lot of people in the back with me, which was nice, but it got lonely for sure. One gentleman was doing 3:1's and we chatted for bit. The area we were running, had limited service, so my Pandora wasn't working. I ran about the first 6 miles without music, which was different for me. But I just listened to my breathing and other runners and our foot steps. Another gentleman was around me and he had a neck brace on. This was his 36 marathon and he was going in for surgery tomorrow. They told me he could still participate if he walked it all. He was a trooper. I also had an older gentleman around me, had to be in his late 80's. He became my hero.

We ran through a bunch of towns and before I knew it we were at the half way point. Time was flying. I took a picture and sent it to my family. But when I did that I lost my Shot Blocks, they fell out and I didn't realize. I started to mini freak out because I lost my Sharkies at the beginning and all I had left was my GU. Because they weather was cold, my GU was cold, which I loved, but I hadn't done all my runs with just GU. I texted my BFF, Lea Ann, because she mentioned seeing me at mile 19 and asked her to bring me some chews, or a granola bar and water. She said Yes.

Now I had something to look forward too. For a good 6 miles we did trail running. It was absolutely gorgeous! I mean breath taking but the thing I didn't like was how long we were in there for. It became too much for me, it was boring and I was by myself with no specters. I was starting to hit the wall for sure. Never doubting what I was doing, but just becoming anxious. I looked at my phone at every walk, to change music, do something else, it was boring. But once I got out of the trail, I felt much better, tired and sore, but better.

Then I knew I was going to see Lea Ann. I turned a corner and I see her jumping up and down and running to me. I, of course, being an emotional wreck of a person I am, starting sobbing. Not because I was tired, sore or hurt, just happy to see her. She gave me some gummies and water, kept telling me I was doing it and gave me a kiss and sent me on my way.

I was so thankful to see her and her boyfriend at that moment, it was the boost I needed. Oh and I forgot a little bit back was a family handing out sugar. Hahha. Skittles, Swedish Fish, candy, I needed it then. I knew I hadn't trained with it, but I needed something to boost me, I took the swedish fish and it was heavenly. After mile 22, from seeing Lea, my stomach rumbled a bit and I knew I need a bathroom. So I stopped, I had only stopped once more to pee. I was quite proud about that.

Mile 21 seemed to take forever, I swear it did. Then 22 was fast and before I know it was mile 23. I was now entering a zone, I had not completed me before. I was almost there, 3.2 more to go. That was it. I did all that in training before, now I was in the home stretch. I started to see many more people, as those starting to drop off or drop back a bit from being tired. I knew I wanted to get there under 6 hours and my body was responding perfectly. The run/walk method really was working because I was able to recover.

I did walk a bit in mile 24 because I knew I had time and I wanted to finish strong and there were too many hills. I mean rolling hills, one after another and winding hills. It was a cruel joke. I ran my 2 and then walked a bit, I didn't care, I was in it to finish. The crowds were much more encouraging now as we getting closer and I could see more of Scranton. The emotions in me at this point were unreal. I mean unreal. I texted my boss and her and my work BFF sent me a video, which I choked up with, telling me I got this. Mile 25 looked so beautiful to me, except it held the straight up hill. No shame, I walked that bitch, I was spent.

My legs were wobbly and sore. I got to the top and ran it home. I was done with music and started listening to the Rise and Grind Nike Motivational video. I was so close and those words, in my ears over and over got me home. I could see the finish at 26 and everyone yelling you there, go. And then the water works started coming. I was sobbing and crying. I couldn't believe I had done it. I really did it.

Then I saw my family and they are jumping and yelling. I waved to them through tears and I knew I didn't look pretty haha. I was crying not in pain but in happiness, I really did it. After all those hours of running, training and I really, really did it.

I heard the announcer say my name and put my hands up in the air and I crossed under that finish line.

I became a MARATHONER!!!

I can not explain that feeling. Crossing under it alone, the relief, the emotion and everything rolled into one. I was given the mylar blanket, but I didn't need it, I was warm and felt good. Then she put my medal on and it congratulated me. I downed a bottle of water that tasted amazing. I felt my dad with me the whole time. I know he was running beside me. It was a gorgeous day, he made that happen. He pushed me along when I felt tired. He carried me up and down those hills. Everyone in my life alive or in heaven, we crossed that finish line together!!

I turned a corner and then saw my mother running towards me. I was sobbing seeing her. It made it all worth it. James and Lea and My Aunt were right behind her. Congratulating me and my Aunt kept saying over and over unbelievable.

I really did it. I ran a full marathon. I survived without injury. I survived, I never gave up, I didn't stop once. I just kept going until the end and I finished under 6 hours. My goal was complete. And my family was there to witness it all.

We took lots of pictures and I hung on to that medal with such pride. My legs were starting to get sore and my feet were so heavy but I felt amazing, almost like it never happened. We went out to lunch to Ruby Tuesday's and I had a ice cold margarita and a burger. It was heavenly. I didn't even change because I didn't feel all that bad, plus I was afraid to change and never get back up lol.

Lunch was great and we had lots of laughs and my family let me bask in my glory. They left around 4 and I went back to the hotel and crashed for a good hour. I showered and then tucked myself into bed. My body was tingling, which woke me up. I spent the rest of last night, looking at pictures, sleeping with my medal and eating a salad with chicken and soup. Back to the good choices and not so much bread and carbs haha.

I had a wicked headache because I had no caffeine all day, so I had some coffee to settle it, it worked for me. I passed out early with such satisfaction, even if I put it into words, it wouldn't convey how I felt. I really did it. I did it.
I am looking for inspirational quotes before I sign up for marathon #2....

This sums it up perfectly. I was a girl who weighed 234 pounds. I was overweight and never ran a mile in my life. I dedicated my life to weight loss for the last 3 years. I took up running on a whim and fell in love with it. Then I ran some half marathons and realized, I loved long distance. I never thought I would run a full and then the bug of it settled in and I took the chance and signed up.

Have the courage to start something, sometimes it's all you need to get going. #support #havecourage #startsomethingnew

Then I dedicated hours, days, months, my whole life to this half of the year to training. Then I got up, got it done and I can say I gave every ounce of who I am and what I have done to those miles. I gave it 150% and I finished.

If you ever think you cant run a marathon, please think of me. I was never a runner, I was never born into this, I didn't have a body for one, but I made sure I was going to get it done. I broke the rules and doubts of my own mind. I pulled deep and I did it and so can you!

And now I can earn this...

Marathon, then try an ULTRA! 50k, 50 miles, Double marathon!!!! JUST RUN!

Thank you for being a part of this journey...