Tuesday, March 22, 2011

26.2.....DONE!

This past weekend was one of the most incredible weekends of my life.  Aside from my wedding and of course the births of my children.  But this weekend was all about me and about accomplishing what I set out to do!  It was a weekend that changed me forever! 

Sunday March 20, I ran my first ever marathon!!!  26.2 amazing miles!  I did it!  This was a feat that I never in a million years ever saw myself accomplishing.  I never had the desire.  That is until this past year!  I was always a 3 sport kind of girl in fairly decent shape but I hated cardio!  I would do anything and everything to get out of a run.  Well a little less than a year ago I started running, then signed up for a half marathon and somewhere along the training, in the middle of summer, around mile 8 of one of our long runs, I told my running partner Christina that we could so do a full marathon.  She too did not have any aspirations to run a marathon.  But there was something that day that made us decide otherwise.  Then we began our quest of a grueling training program through the worst most unmotivating months of the year!  We trained through the winter with cold, wind, ice and snow.  All of that work paid off this past weekend!

The whole week leading up to the marathon I was a complete mess.  I could not concentrate on anything.  Then the week ended and I found myself in the car on the way to VA Beach!  There was no turning back now!  I went to bed and woke up the next morning so ready to just run!  As soon as I walked out the front doors of our hotel, I almost cried.  It was sooooo cold and extremely windy.  I had no clue how I would find it in me to fight through this weather for my first marathon.  We took some pictures then I took my jacket off and stood at the starting line.  I was in Corral 4 so I had to listen to the count down a few times before it was my turn to run.  Still freezing but so pumped to run!  The countdown began and the horn sounded and we were off!  months of training all led to this moment!  We started down the street and I started to get warm.  The miles were flying by and the ground seemed to be moving under my feet.  I was running pain free and so effortlessly.  Mile 8 we were made it to a Naval Base where the armed men and women in uniform lined the streets to cheer us on!  This was probably the  most uplifting part of the course.  They were cheering for us when in fact I should have been cheering for them.  Brought me to tears.  Then we headed back towards the start and hit the 11 mile mark where my husband was waiting to snap our photo!  Then we headed to the half way mark.  I surely did not feel like I had run 13.1 miles. 

I still felt extremely energized and excited.  At least for the next 4 miles.  When I hit about 17.5 miles, I hit a mental wall.  We had entered part of the race with absolutely nothing around us but trees.  No spectators to cheer and no scenery to enjoy.  Just the quiet sounds of the woods and my feet pounding on the pavement.  Mentally I wanted to just stop and walk because I was starting to fall apart.  I had time to concentrate on every ache and pain in my body.   But something kept me going.  Christina was there to help push through this tough time.  When we got to the 20 mile mark, we stretched and I found a new burst of energy.  The longest I had ever run was 20 miles.  From this point forward, I was running above what I had ever done.  My new energy kept me going to 23 miles where I realized, I only had 3.2 miles left.  a 5K!  30 minutes!!  I got a new energy about me.  Then I see my husband again!  He rented a bike so he could meet up with us again and cheer us on and of course take more pictures.  then we hit 24 miles, then 25, then we turned the last corner of the race! 

The finish line was in clear view!!!  I started to cry!  i could not believe I was going to do this!!!  I picked up speed but did not want to leave my friend behind so I kept turning around to make sure we were still going to do this together!  Then she finally told me to just go with it!  I did.  I kept speeding up and speeding up because I was really going to do this!  I was really going to cross the finish line!  then I heard the crowds cheering louder and louder and I neared the finish line and then I hear my name being called as I cross through the Finish Arch at 5 hours and 8 minutes and emotions started pouring out of me!  I teared up ran to Christina when she crossed the line seconds later and we hugged and cried together!  They donned our medals, we got our finisher hats and shirts, food and water.  I reunited with my husband and cried again!  I could not believe what I had just done! 

All of the aches and pains in my body were totally worth the sense of accomplishment that I felt.  This was one huge feat that you can not put into words.  Unless you have ever reached outside of your comfort zone to achieve anything, you have no clue what this feels like.  I am a 188 lb girl!  I am not supposed to be a marathon runner.  But I did!  They told me I couldn't and I went ahead and did it anyway!  I am a new person.  I have no fear of taking on what seems to be the impossible.  So next time you say that you can't, think about it.  It's not that you can't, you just don't want it bad enough.  Dream big or Go Home!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Don't Be A Jerk!

oh my goodness!  2 days left and boy are the butterflies out in full force today!  I jumped out of bed about 410, 35 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off this morning.  Im a little anxious for the weekend can you tell?!!  I work today and then get the dog to the kennel, pack our bags, hang out with the kiddos and then off to sleep only to wake early in the morning and get rolling to VA Beach!  yikes!  I can't believe I leave tomorrow for the expo and then run on Sunday!  I think Im more anxious than nervous.  I just cant believe Im going to actually do this.  yes my training has been real but the actual day still seemed so distant and so much a hazy dream.  But i sit here 2 days away and can't seem to concentrate on anything.  I am so excited for this!

running is such an individual accomplishment!  you do not ever truely understand what a person goes through when they run their first race, no matter the distance, until you do it yourself.  It is such a feat and such an accomplishment at any level!  I ran a 5K over the weekend and there was a girl, no joke, running while talking on her cell phone.  not an ear piece, her actual phone up at her ear.  she was running saying to the person on the other line "i just wanted to give you a call back, Im running a 5K.  oh no I can talk, it's only a 5K"..  I am not a violent person but I wanted to trip her so bad.  Ok, so it's only a 5K but to some people a 5K is a huge accomplishment.  Yes I run more than a 5K on any of my runs that I do on any given day, but I still understand what it is like to run a 5K for the first time.  I can relate to what work goes into setting and achieving a goal.  That girl on the phone had no clue who was running around her and what impact her negative attitude would have on them.  I felt for anyone who heard that who had worked so hard to get up to the 5K distance.   I was listening to the conversations at the end of the race and it made me feel so good to hear people around me who were just so proud that they were able to finish a 5K.  My husband being one of them.  He is not a runner but he is working to become one.  Running 3 miles was an accomplishment for him and I am so proud that he did it.  Im happy that he is making strides to a healthier lifestyle. 

so next time you are running "just a 5K", think back to the first 5K you tackled and remember how proud you were.  Don't take that away from anyone by being arrogant.  No matter where you are in your running or whatever you are doing, remember we all had to start somewhere.    The negative comments and attitudes could stop someone who has worked so hard dead in their tracks. so don't be a Jerk!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

a little behind

oops!  I kind of forget that I have a blog and that I am trying to write in it every day or so.  Well seeing as it's been since January that I last wrote, I am kind of failing at this blogging thing!  things have been busy over the last few months.  I turned 32, my daughter turned 4 and I have been busy training for my marathon which is in 3 days!!!

3 days!!!!  OMG!!!!  Im truely putting myself to the test!  I have learned over the past 6 months how strong of a person I really am!  I have pushed my body and my mind to the absolute limits.  There were so many days over the winter that i just did not want to get out from under the covers let alone go out in the freezing temperatures and run 10 miles.  But I did!   I chose to go out and face those extreme days and run!  Boy am I glad that I did! 

Since Monday of this week I have had fluttering butterflies in my stomach over my run this weekend.  Not nervous but excited butterflies.  I have this feeling of such accomplishment.  My boss told me that I should be so proud and believe me I am.  He said I am about to complete one of the hugest challenges out there and I did it with all odds against me.  Thinking back, he is so right.    Im a full time working mom who gets up at 430 every morning so that i can get breakfast made, lunches packed, dog and cat fed, 2 kids dressed and fed and have us all out the door by 545.  Then return home at 545 in the evening  only to cook dinner, clean up after dinner, get 2 kids bathed and in bed by 8 and then get things ready and packed for the cycle to start over the very next day.  Phew, im tired just typing that!  I don't have a schedule that allows me to get my runs in.  I had to make time.  I ran during my lunch hour at work.  there were days that my co-workers wanted to go out to  lunch and I could not go because I knew that if I did not run, I would get off track.  So I skipped out on lunches with friends and co-workers because that was the only time to do it.

The day of my scheduled 20 mile run, it was pouring down rain and i thought to myself, treadmill at the gym.  As much as I hate to run on a treadmill, I headed to the gym at work after dropping my kids off at daycare.  the gym was packed more than I had ever seen in my time here. So i left.  i headed off post to a local gym and signed up with them just so I could use the treadmill that day.  I ran for 4 hrs on the treadmill and I hit my 20 miles!!  Now I can cancel my membership with them!  

I can not believe the dedication that I have had in order to get to this point!  Today is my last run before I go to the marathon.  Im doing 2 short miles just to stay loose and then im packing up the shoes and heading to the beach!  I cannot keep my mind on anything else right now except the finish line!  I can't wait to cross it!  I will become part of the 1% of the population that has run a marathon! 

running is such an individual sport with very personal goals.  It is hard for anyone to truely understand the amazement and love you feel for yourself when you make it to this point.  yes they have been there through the journey and yes they have seen the time and effort you have put into it but they have not been in your head to see the fights that you have been fighting to make it to this point! 

3 days!  that's all I have left and all I can see is the finish line!