I haven't blogged in so long because the next blog post was supposed to be about the marathon, and I really just didn't have the words. I'm still not sure I do but I have as many as I ever will so I just need to write about it.
I have never thought of myself as athletic at all. I was a sickly kid. I spent a lot of time in the hospital and I had a special humidifier in my room. My lack of ability at sports was a clear disappointment to my dad. I was always last or nearly last on the mile run tests. My lungs sucked. I was a book worm. I was that person who said I would only run if something was chasing me.
I would have said I could never run a marathon.
The year before I turned 40, I decided running might be a thing I might try. I wasn't as sickly as I was as a kid. I knew I'd never be a "real" runner, but I thought I might run a few miles. I started a couch 2 5k program. It was my goal to do a 5k before I turned 40 (one that I failed miserably I might add).
That was 3 years ago.
I am still deliriously proud of myself 2 months later.
2 years ago I clomped and walked through one of my first 5k races at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, finishing in over 47 minutes, (at a pace too slow for the marathon cutoff), and feeling like I couldn't take another step. We were really impressed with the way that race was run, and we watched as some of the slower half marathoners finished and thought maybe...we could do that. 1 year later I managed the half marathon (right AT the cutoff).
Somehow I managed to convince myself to try for a full marathon, even though it sounded completely impossible. I like torturing myself, I guess. During training I got bursitis in my hip, and got a cortisone shot so I could keep going. The few weeks before I had bronchitis and I was really worried I wouldn't make it. And actually I was still a little sick the day of the race.
My husband ran with me. It was an awesome thing for him to do. He'd had a stress fracture in May so he was recovering from that while I trained. He's a much better runner than me and I think it's hard to go slower than you can. But I just didn't think I could go on a 6+ hour run by myself. (I was probably right).
The first half of the race was great. We hit the 10K split at 1:24:40 with a pace of 13:40min/mi. Pretty much perfect. I was well under the 15 min/mi cutoff but I knew I would need those minutes later so I was happy to bank them early.
Half Marathon split - 3:05:36 for an average pace of 14:11min/mi. (11 minutes under my half marathon time the year before!)
We joked about just going home at mile 14, which was pretty close to our house, and in the neighborhood I did a lot of training runs.
Miles 14 and 15 were a bitch. My legs hurt and we had bathroom breaks which ate in to my extra minutes.
One of the few times I remembered to take a picture.
From here to about mile 21 I honestly don't know how I kept going. I was tired. There weren't many people around, there wasn't a crowd cheering. They ran out of most of the food and gels at the fueling stations. Did I mention I was tired? Everything hurt. I lost a lot of my extra minutes. I was worried.
When we finally turned on to Meridian and there were 5k left Rob said "You got this!" to me and I said "I KNOW!" Because for the first time ever, I did know. I didn't know if I'd make the time, but damnit, I knew I could make it 3 more miles, even if I had to walk, I was going to finish.
By mile 25 I knew I could make the time and I was so happy. I managed to finish running (barely). I had nothing left but I was upright and had my hands in the air, exactly the way you want to finish.
Having friends and family there when I crossed the line was just the best thing ever. I don't even have the words for that feeling, it's amazing.
I couldn't have done it without Janet, who rode her bike all over town delivering us supplies at scheduled stops. I can't ever than you enough for that, really.
Later Rob wrote an email to the director of the IMM about the lack of supplies, and he ended up taking us out to lunch. He was very apologetic, and was busy trying to figure out what went wrong that there weren't supplies for some of us. I was really impressed with how involved he was and I wouldn't let it stop me from signing up again. (I'm already registered for the 2014 half. I want to run it faster, then think about a full in 2015 when I can cut a lot of time off. Maybe.)
The swag is really awesome too. The women's shirts even have a girl runner on them.
Two months later I still feel like it's the best thing I've ever done just for myself. I want so much to encourage everyone in the world to do something monumental. Sign up for something you think there's no way you can do, because I bet you can, and you will be so proud of yourself when you do.