That one time I became a MARATHONER.

Ya’ll remember that one time last spring that I was training my heart out for a marathon? And for months after I alluded to a recap I was going to write? Well HERE IT IS. In honor of my almost 26.2 runiversary… maybe this will light a fire under my ass to love the {long} run again. (brace yourself: this is lengthy!)
If you had asked me five years ago if I even envisioned myself being a runner I would have laughed. If you had asked me if I would ever run 26.2 miles for FUN and willingly.. I would have said you’re are absolutely crazy. Once I quit swimming after nationals my junior year of high school I just did gym routines and workouts at my leisure.
Then after a good friend of mine got into half marathons, something clicked for me. Two half marathons later that I ran I finally bit the bullet and signed up for my debut (& possibly only..) FULL MARATHON. (& convinced said friend to run it with me & help me train up!)

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The marathon I would be running was the Country Music RnR on April 28, 2012. For all you Wisconsinities and midwestern folk, you know that training for a spring marathon can be tricky because of the weather. Well winter 2012 was really perfect for it… not too much snow nor BITTER cold.
I picked (and slightly modified) an 18 week training plan. I missed a couple mid-distance runs because of schoolwork and Army training, and one (maybe two?) long runs but I was actually incredibly prepared for this race.
I had put around 400 miles into the training, over 45 hours of running alone, 1 pair of Brooks, 1 pair of Asics, and many spaghetti dinners into this marathon. I loved about 95% of the long runs. I would almost always have company either with Sam or Tyler on these. I loved the training and the dedication… I finally believed I was a runner.

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Sadly, runners all can relate with me here: no matter how perfectly prepared and ready you are for a big race… things can and do go awray.

The drive from WI to Nashville wasn’t too bad.. the expo was so much fun. I even got to meet Ryan Hall and stocked up on some new compression sleeves that matched my shirt I had picked out for race day.

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ImageDespite some nerves I slept real well. Woke up more than ready to run and went through my morning run ritual: pb/banana sandwich, water/gatorade/BATHROOMx4/stretching. We had a cab lined up and met some amazing people at our hotel waiting for cabs too. The race hadn’t even started and I was having a blast.

ImageWhen the gun went off my legs were feeling real fresh, the weather was in the 60s, and I had such a smile on my face. My mom was somewhere at the halfway mark (around 12-13.5 miles) & until then I felt so great. I could keep Gu and gatorade/water down no problem. I was on track for my 4:30-4:45 marathon which helped push me even harder on the {beginning of the} second half.
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Well suddenly the 60 degree temperatures had crawled into the mid 70s. I was taking water cups at the water stops and pouring them over my head (which attributed to a blood blister the size of a half dollar on the bottom of my foot). I figured I would get over it. For a Wisconsin girl who just spent a WINTER training-the 70s is hot. Oh and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, nor any shade cover. As if the hot sun wasn’t enough, the course was hilly. This is where things got bad… ugly… painful & hideous.
Around mile 15 I couldn’t keep any foods down (spectators were handing out oranges/pretzels because of the heat). Then mile 16 came and I started dry heaving. I couldn’t even keep water or gatorade down anymore-the staples for my running fuel. I was a complete mess. The medics repeatedly told me that I could rest a couple minutes or take the DNF.
Luckily Sam was the most understanding training partner and stuck with me. I told her to go ahead but she knew without her I never would have crossed that finish line. Bless her soul, I still owe her. (I know you’re reading–THANK YOU LOVE!)
Miles 16-25.5 were the longest 9 miles of my life. Despite my amazing training, a lot of this was spent walking/crying/dry heaving. But you bet your ass I was going to finish this after the dedication I put into it (my last semester of college mind you).
Fast forward to mile 25.5-I saw my mom waiting under the bridge right before the finish line and I was somehow able to kick it into the finish when just a mile earlier I was bent over wrenching up nothing.
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I was overcome with emotion (happiness, anger, defeat, joy, frustration-you name it I felt it) when I finally crossed that finish line. Sure, I ran about 90-120 minutes slower than I trained for and DESERVED… but damn it, I was a marathoner.
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Tears flowed like crazy that night. It was the post-marathon blues and the disappointment in how the race went but no one could take the 26.2 mile run away from me. On April 28th, 2012 I became a MARATHONER. Time is irrelevant.

Not only did I get a kickass medal, but I also got the worst sunburn of my life as a great memory… errr…

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 This post was emotional for me to get out. Ever since this race my drive and passion for the LONG run has been gone. I don’t want this to be my only marathon experience and end on a sour note. I must get out there again…. time will tell which race (if any) will be my second crack at 26.2

5 thoughts on “That one time I became a MARATHONER.

  1. You reminded me the suck that was the ‘Country Music Marathon’. Best part about it was the beer waiting for me at mile 23. What a mess that race was. Good write up though and hopefully you will give another race a shot.

  2. Congrats on you almost 1 year maraversary. So cool to read your story and how you pushed through. I know you have mentioned that you are struggling with a lot of things recently. Use your experience at the marathon last year in those cases. You struggled but pushed through and learned some lessons and still came out on top. You CAN do this and anything you put your mind to. Struggling is hard, but you showed yourself you can handle it… remember that next time you are feeling down. BE YOUR OWN INSPIRATION.

  3. HOLY SUNBURN!! OUCH OUCH OUCHHH! I loved this post!! What a great recap, you are still 26.2 miles ahead of people like me who can’t even imagine running that far!! A half marathon is all I have been able to envision! I would love to accomplish a marathon someday, but man I can only imagine the training!! I would have fought tooth and nail just like you did to finish though, no one can take that away now!! Awesome job!

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