Happy Friday, friends!
I’ve been taking a much needed body + mind break this past week, so this post is a little late in making it to the press…I hope to be back in full form next week (well, my mind, at least!).
I can now officially say that I ran a marathon–hallelujah! It still seems a bit surreal to say that and if my body still didn’t feel the way it does, I might not even believe it myself. It’s been a crazy 5 month journey in physical and mental training to be ready for the race, but I am so happy to have stuck with it and made it to the finish line.
Here’s the recap:
Last May, I decided I was insane enough to sign up for the Anthem Richmond Marathon on November 16th, 2013. I’d run a half marathon a few years ago and after an intense year, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to train for the full. So on July 1st, after a week of indulging for my sister’s wedding, I hit the trail on my first training run.
For the next five months, I slowly built up up my miles, spending pretty much every Saturday morning (except for a weekend in Charleston!) on the Huckleberry Trail in Blacksburg. I felt so lucky to have such a beautiful place–with a bathroom nonetheless–to train every weekend, but as the miles began to add up, I started to get a bit physically + mentally fatigued by the continuous training.
I wanted to just be over with it already but the week finally came, and I packed up and headed to Richmond the Friday before the race. Why Richmond? Well, it’s close to Blacksburg and it’s tagline is America’s Friendliest Marathon–so really, why not?
We stayed at the gorgeous Linden Row Inn just blocks away from the starting line. I wish we’d had more time to explore the hotel and area, but we were on a mission: marathon or bust, baby!
On Saturday morning, we woke up early and walked outside, only to discover it was raining. The weather gods had said that there was a 20% chance of rain that morning, but I didn’t really expect it to actually happen. Luckily, I had packed trash bags, so we bagged up and headed downtown.
Unfortunately, Jeff’s 8k started at 7am and minutes before the race started, it started absolutely pouring, and he was soaked through the entire race. I was luckily able to hide under awnings until my race began at 8am. Between checking my things at the bag drop, going to the bathroom, stretching, and sending a last minute Instagram pic (priorities, people), I barely made it to my spot before we were moving forward and then running across the start line.
Between nerves, rain, and stepping in a puddle (thank God for Jeff bringing me extra socks at mile 19!), it took a bit of time to get settled into race mode, but by about mile 4, I was in the zone and ready to run 22.2 more. Unfortunately, my body, especially my hip flexors, started to deteriorate around mile 13, but the spectators, gorgeous sites, and thought of actually finishing the darn thing were enough to get me to keep putting one foot in front of the other until the finish line came into sight.
The people cheering us on were really what made it America’s friendliest marathon: residents were handing out orange slices, grapes, donuts, and pretzels as they cheered and those little pick-me-ups were just what I needed. Also, one of our friends who ran the half marathon, ran almost the entire last mile of the marathon with me because she could tell I was completely exhausted. It was so amazing to have someone there to push me right when I needed it–thanks Jenn!
During my training, I’d read somewhere that there would be a time during the race where suddenly it would click that you were going to finish. For me, that feeling didn’t happen until I could actually see the finish line in my line of sight. At least I got it, I suppose! And then, I tried to keep from bawling as I crossed the finish line, had a blanket wrapped around me by a volunteer, and hobbled to meet Jeff.
We didn’t stay at the end party for very long, but instead hit the road to our fav Charlottesville breweries where I proceeded to limp, groan, and stumble my way to a much deserved beverage–all while wearing my finisher’s medal. I’m pretty sure everyone thought I was out of my mind, but hey, I wasn’t taking that thing off on the only day I could get away with it!
Would I ever run another marathon? If you’d have asked my 2 weeks ago, I would have said no way, but now that it’s behind me, I’ll just say that anything is possible…just give me a few years.
Have a wonderful weekend!!