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
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