I did it! I did it! I did it!
I ran my first (and last) marathon last Saturday, and since about 1:00 Saturday afternoon, I have to exhibit tremendous self control so I don't shout, "I ran a marathon!" every 5 seconds.
We are not runners, and would chose "not running" over "running" every day of the week. I may actually be the least athletically inclined person I know and so if I can do it, anyone can do it.
We followed Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme's 30 week training schedule. Despite sickness, children's issues, injuries, her Grandpa's funeral, and my rental property disaster, we still managed to log 529.6 miles.
Running is hard. Running 26.2 is really hard. In an effort to motivate myself, I dedicated each mile to someone who has inspired me. I chose to run the marathon, but I have friends that did not choose to have sick kids, cancer, custody disputes, deployed husbands, difficult adoptions, divorce, etc., but handle all those "hard things" with strength and grace. Their names covered my arms and gave me strength.
I am so lucky to have some many supportive friends and family members. I just felt so loved by all the calls, texts, and emails from people showing their support and telling me I was in their prayers. My friend Suzanne (who's emergency surgery prevented her from running a half marathon) even made me a gift bag. My friend Angie bought me my favorite candy bar, a "Take 5" for my post run treat. My parents watched my kids and my mom was so proud of me she couldn't talk about it without crying. I was feeling the love.
We choose to run in Abilene's Marathon For Miracles because it was at the right time, flat, and within driving distance. We didn't realize how small of a race it was. There was a 5K and a half marathon, but only 28 people actually finished the marathon. Despite the small number, the support staff was amazing. They had water/ snack stations every 1.5 miles. It is just plain silly how helpful it is to have random strangers cheer you on.
Our husbands were the best support staff, and because the race was so small, they easily found us several time during the race. We could hand off sweatshirts as it warmed up. They brought us chapstick and sunglasses when we needed them. They also took pictures (not that we are at our most flattering) and would text updates to those cheering us on at home. Mostly I just loved seeing them.
Despite not being able the sleep the night before, the first 16 miles weren't too bad. A big problem was that we had to endure all of our long runs in extreme Texas heat and humidity. Staying hydrated was a huge issue. When we started our race, it was in the low 40's and so it was difficult to gage how much to drink. I drank 32 oz before the race and took a drink every 1.5 miles. I had to go to the bathroom at mile 18.5 and this was a disaster for me. Even though, I only stopped for maybe 30 seconds, my body started to shut down and decided it was done running for the day. My muscles all started to cease up. My goal was to run every single step, but I was starting to worry that I may not be able to even complete it walking.
Aly was way ahead and there were no other runners around, so I just kept talking to myself like a crazy person saying: "I do hard things", "I am a robot, the pain doesn't matter", "This will all be a bad memory", "right, left, right, left", "If I stop now, I have to do it again", "I told everyone I was running a marathon and it would be embarrassing to fail", "I can do anything for an hour", and "I have already run over 550 miles, just a few more". It worked, and I never had to stop and walk. Everything still hurt, but eventually my muscles got a little looser and I was able to run without looking like C-3PO or a zombie.
Then I saw a hot pink shirt heading my way. My sweet friend Aly decided that she couldn't cross the finish line with out me and was coming back to get me.
Seriously the woman chose to go backward for me!
Running with her again, helped me pick up my pace. My husband had been waiting at the finish line, but caught a glimpse of my zombie/ C-3P0 impression around mile 21 and was worried about me, so walked back and did the last 1.2 with us.
We crossed the finish line, claimed our medals and then tried to regain control of our legs. We both shook uncontrollably from pain and exhaustion. We finally were able to make it back to the hotel, where I tried to take an ice bath. I was supposed to soak for 20 minutes, but I used up all my willpower during the race and so only managed about 20 seconds. Those of you that can run a marathon AND take an ice bath are my heros.
It is less than 48 hours since the race, and honestly with a healthy dose of motrin I feel just as good as I did Friday.
It wasn't pretty, but we did it!!!!!