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!