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

With a Heavy Heart.

Disclaimer: I tend to keep religion out of the blog, but this instance is different. You will see why. I apologize for the wordiness.
Last week I had many posts ready to go up (April goals, workouts, etc.) but then on the 4th, I got hit with some bigger news.
I recently opened up about some issues with my depression and how I have had a hard time finding the ‘good stuff’ in life lately. The past few days I have been feeling incredibly grateful, fortunate and being happy even in less than stellar situations.

Unfortunately all this eye-opening came at a larger cost. On April 4th, I went about my normal morning: workout, wished my mom a happy birthday, ate breakfast & checked facebook. That’s when things really changed for me. I found out that an old family friend of mine died unexpectedly. While I haven’t seen him in 10 years, we grew up together. Playing in their garage, swimming when his road flooded, and lots of family time spent together. And just like that, he had to leave this life and went to live the next Eternal life.

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I’ll never forget Drew Swan. One week short of his 25th birthday, this wonderful guy suffered a heart attack. While I didn’t keep in touch after middle school I remember the Drew I knew. He was so passionate for life, caring, faithful, driven, and a true inspiration to everyone who knew him. He praised his younger brother, Jack (who I keep in touch with) for getting into medical school. Drew always said he couldn’t wait to experience the journey Jack was on to become a doctor. And just like that… he is gone.

Jack seems to be handling it well but I cannot imagine the pain his family is going through. Jack and Drew were the best friends and brothers you could imagine. They had that amazing brother relationship that many people wish they had. I pray so much for Jack and his family in this troubled time.

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I haven’t been questioning my faith these past few days but I have been having a lot of conversations and prayers wondering WHY… why must God take the young and GOOD people? It’s not to say that I wish death upon anyone, but there are BAD people in this world. Why do the bad and ill-hearted individuals get to continue on with their lives yet amazing young men like Drew are taken too soon?
Everyone says that ‘it happens for a reason’ but I have a hard time finding a reason behind taking Drew from this world. He had so much life left to live, so much good left to do. I realized that in all the funerals I’ve gone to, only ONE was for someone dying from old age. Otherwise it has been suicide, car accidents, cancer, and now a heart attack. Drew was TWENTY-FIVE years young. There is nothing fair about it. God now has a new angel who is singing to all the angels and watching over all of us left here.
This weekend I cherished every second I got to spend with Tyler and my friends. I made sure to not ‘sweat the small stuff’ and didn’t get angry over petty issues. This life is a gift granted to all of us, but it is a gift that we do not control the expiration date of. In Drew’s memory I am making it a point to really be optimistic and not dwell on the negative. Because Lord only knows when my time is.

I will not dread going to work every day.

I will not get into petty arguments with Tyler over trivial issues.

I will wake up each morning and thank God that I have the privilege of being alive for another day.

Life is short, but sweet for certain.

 

In loving memory of Drew Swan.

A Very Blessed Easter

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend! A lot of people forget the religious aspect of Easter but it really was humbling for me this year. As I further develop my faith I found myself tearing up in church on Sunday morning.

Spring weather finally decided to show up for a couple days this weekend and it was glorious. It brought some much needed smiles around to these parts. With warmer weather I finally felt like I could get a much awaited for ICED coffee. 

Image Friday night I went to the YMCA with one of my best friends and her 8mo old daughter for some swimming. It was so cute and fun. It’s amazing how easily amused babies are… and the fact that she loves the water is awesome! Then her husby decided to stay home with the little one and we went out for a martini and just chatted! I forget how nice girl talk is sometimes.

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Saturday was everything I’ve needed the past few weeks. I did skip my long run {{again…}} and felt guilty about that for a couple hours. But then Tyler came over and since it was in the 50s we went on a 2mile walk and just talked. Sat on a bench overlooking the lake and addressed some issues that really needed to be addressed regarding me and how it’s affecting our relationship. There were tears, but it was necessary. It really opened my eyes to how this process has affected him. It was just what we needed to clear the air and I have been smiling non-stop ever since!
Since we wanted to spend time with both our families this holiday we did Easter on Saturday with my family. My grandma cooked up a divine pork tenderloin. I was having some mental issues with food and how I see my body unfortunately so I didn’t eat much but what I did try was fantastic. Just being with my family and Tyler was more than enough. 
Sunday we went to church with his family. His family is Catholic and I am non-denominational. While I have my reservations about Catholicism I still found the mass to be beautiful and encompass all the important aspects of Easter.

The rest of the Sunday was full of BASKETBALL. Kevin Ware’s fracture had me mesmerized…in a gross way. Did you see it? If not and you don’t get the heebie-jeebies—check THIS out. It’s probably the worst sports injury I’ve ever seen. And the raw emotion the players showed for his teammate shows what sports is really about. 

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{quite possibly my favorite picture of us}

 

On a lighter note: with Lousiville winning—I beat Ty in our bracket. He now has to eat veggies twice a week and cook me dinner of my choosing. Eating veggies will be a huge undertaking for him because he hates all veggies.. but it’ll benefit him 🙂

So all in all it was a fabulous weekend. I have a busy April coming up and it’s going to cruise by. Stick around for my next post where I’ll be talking about some of my goals to help myself with the depression. 🙂 

 

Monday Mantra:

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Struggle Bus

Beware: Very Sporadic Thoughts Post! 

I never really anticipated how difficult life after college would be. For some reason I had this {entirely unrealistic} expectation that I would instantly know what I wanted to do with my career, have a ton of friends and things to do, and simply be happy with where I am in life.

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Wake up! That is not how it is at all. At least that is my experience thus far. Sure, some people are incredibly fortunate and lucky to know what they want to do as a professional, but more often than not, recent college grads have no idea what to do after Commencement. Not to mention how difficult it is to land a job in the economy we face today. Here I am almost a year after my graduation, still unhappy and confused when it comes to answering the big and dreaded question: What’s Next?

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I still have no answer to that question… at all. I never thought I’d go back for grad school. Ever. I didn’t really enjoy college. Now though-I miss learning so much. I have toyed with many different options (Registered Dietician, Athletic Training, Exercise Science, etc.) but I can tell you that what I do right now (sit at a desk, relatively untasked) is not what I want to do. Sure, I shouldn’t complain because I’m lucky enough to have a job, let alone one that pays well and has great benefits. But I miss being challenged, engaged, and learning.Image
 
Who knows where the job force will take me. I just want to love what I do. I think that is so important. So many people work for money, but it won’t buy you happiness. What’s the point of living comfortably and being able to purchase anything you want when you dread going to work every day? That doesn’t spell happiness to me.
 
On top of the whole work situation, I’ve never felt more alone in terms of my relationships. The transition I’ve been going through is tough. As most of you know I did ROTC in college and commissioned as a 2LT in the National Guard. This has been a great opportunity for me. However, most of my friends who I did ROTC with went Active Duty. That means some of my closest friends from college are now scattered throughout the county… and the world! Just this past weekend I had to say bye to one of my best friends as she prepared for her first duty station in KOREA for a year… it was so much tougher than I anticipated. Because ROTC was so time-consuming, a lot of my friendships with ‘normal college kids’ dwindled. Now I’m stuck here… unhappy with my career, feeling alone, and at a loss as to what I want to do.
 

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At 22 I should not feel so unfulfilled with my life and the direction it’s taking. I know many people will say ‘you’re only 22 you have so much time’ but I don’t do bored well. I miss having that spark and something I’m truly passionate about.
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So after this sob fest {sorry I subjected you to this} I do have some good news. I am incredibly passionate about fitness… be it running, swimming, lifting.. you name it. So I have gone ahead and ordered the NASM materials and am beginning what will be a long journey in becoming a CPT!

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It will be a long work in progress but hopefully by this winter I’ll be a Certified Personal Trainer! 🙂 

Tell Me: How hard was your adjustment after college?