It was a beautiful morning in Downtown Nashville, TN. The buildings were glistening as the sun rose over the music city, and my best friend Aubrey and I stood anxiously together each wearing shorts, a tank, and a set of goosebumps. (Little sissy Jess, our marathon sherpa, wasn’t too far away.) We tried to remain calm with nerves and energy drinks coursing through our veins…waiting for the 7am horn to sound, marking the start of our first ever FULL MARATHON.
The full marathon that I always wanted to do, but never knew how…or if it was really possible for me.
The full marathon that I trained for for SEVEN months. (started from ZILCH)
The full marathon that I used to be afraid to run because of my recurrent miscarriages.
I said, “If we ever have a baby biologically, I’ll run my marathon (and hopefully as an added bonus, lose the baby weight.)”
WELL, RUN A FULL MARATHON I DID…this past Saturday, April 26th 2014.
It was such an emotional experience! Despite the 45 minute delay at the start line thanks to 30,000 people running and the wave start system, we took off with a steady pace.
I had mentally prepped myself for the hills in the first half, because the elevation chart looked FIERCE. Incorrectly judging the elevation on the the second half of the course to be milder than the first half, I expected more flats…but flats did not come. It was VERY hilly and got pretty warm.
Starting around mile 14, I got into the zone. I just ran. Around mile 18, I didn’t listen to my music b/c my headphone were being funky. I didn’t think much. I just ran! My legs hurt, but my lungs kept up beautifully and I really enjoyed the gorgeous sights and sounds of the city.
(not going to lie, though…the bands along the way were disappointingly ehh sounding…)
Sadly, around mile 23 I let my 4:45 pacer break away; he was needing to finish the race at 10 minute mile pace and I just couldn’t hack it on the hills (MoUnTaInS). He said that in 15 years of pacing races, only 2 people had ever successfully started and finished with him the whole way! I was hoping to be #3 but it wasn’t going to happen.
Kevin hopped in with me (illegal, yes we know) off and on throughout the race and that helped a lot! He brought me watermelon, bananas, and smiles.
He helped me power up the last big hill, and took me almost to the finish line. I am so grateful for that guy who supported me every single step of the way, literally. He was full of back rubs, babysitting, and encouragement when I needed it the most. I COULD NOT HAVE RUN IT WITHOUT HIM!
When you marathon, your body is so depleted and deprived that you have no self control as you cross the finish. THERE WAS NO WAY I could hold back my tears!
This race that I had always wanted to do…and had been so scared to do…was finally completed. It had taken more sweat, sacrifice and devotion than I ever imagined it would…and yet there I was crossing that glorious (electronic) finish line with my arms lifted high!
As a nice guy set that heavy cowboy boot metal around my neck, I just WEPT people.
I was dazed and confused mostly…but I remember walking (likely waddling) slower than I ever have in my life as I collected my chocolate milk and power bar and headed to our family meeting spot. I just wanted to lay down and cry like a baby.
Cry because my body hurt….and it was so flipping hard!
Cry because I was proud of myself.
Cry because I was in shock.Cry because I missed my babies.
Cry because I was so grateful to have the strength and opportunity to run.
Yeah…cry cuz I’m a girl and I’m emo.
My finishing time was 4:49:05, which with a porta potty break (and line to wait in!) + hills + heat, I’m proud of.
Thank you all for your words of encouragement and wisdom along the way…you know who you are! Thanks for sending me good music, and thanks for helping me raise $250 dollars for Compassion International’s clean water fund. We provided clean water for 3 kids for their entire lives! That alone makes all the sweat and tears worth it.
And just like having a baby…it’s a huge rush and despite the horrible pain, I just want to do it again. HAHA.
I know, I’m crazy.
It was an honor to run with you Jess and Aubs! You kept me going! Can’t wait til next time…in like 10 years ;o)
PS. Puckett’s is RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME. I would drive 8 hours just to go eat there again.
PS2. I’m still in pain. But ibuprofen and I have become good friends the last couple days 🙂