You can train and train and train, do everything right, and still have the challenge of your life come race day, and that’s exactly what happened to me on Saturday. I’m trying to be as real about this as possible without being negative. I want everyone to know while this was probably the most god awful, physically demanding and draining things I’ve ever done in my life, not once was it a waste of time or effort, because what I walked away with was just as valuable.
I puked. Twice. And I laughed about it because I was now a marathoner.
Second, and I think this is what actually killed me more than anything… I’ve been battling sinus problems for months. I went to the doctor, had everything all cleared up, or so it seemed, but a few days before the race things got bad again. More so, the fluid on my ear got worse and so did the popping. The morning of the race, I skipped the Flonase, because I’d gotten a couple nosebleeds and I didn’t want to be pulled off the course because of it, but I kept the Sudafed and the Allegra. The fluid on my ear wasn’t draining. The drugs drying me up gave me cottonmouth. I’m pretty sure I drank way too much. I’m not sure if it was the popping ear or the sloshing water, but one of the two kept making me nauseated. I’d be willing to bet it was my ear. Every time I tried to run and breathe, my ear filled up like it had a balloon in it and I would feel sick. So basically, for the next sixteen miles, I was fighting nausea, a popping ear, and an achy leg (from all the walking that wasn’t supposed to happen.)
DON’T STOP READING YET. ALL THE BAD STUFF ENDED RIGHT THERE. I PROMISE.
VIDEO CREDIT: RICHARD TUTKO
I put that finish line video right in the middle of this post for a reason. While all of that sounded really stinking horrible, and it really freaking was, I still finished, and I finished strong. I adapted and overcame. I preserved. Add to that I had the love and support of my friends and my husband. While I might’ve bitched and moaned for almost 6 hours, what happened at the finish line was totally worth all of it--the months of training, the pains, the missed parties, the money spent on doctors, the eating of all the good for me foods rather than the good for my taste buds foods. It was worth hurling in a blue cup/bag and yelling at people who tried to sit my ass in a wheelchair, because at the end of the day I learned one hell of a lesson… I was never, not even for one second, alone on this journey.
When I finally got home and had a chance to look over the text messages, the timeline posts on Facebook and the comments when I’d posted at mile 10 and 17 about how over it I was, I was so moved that I finally ugly cried. See, I don’t like crying. I especially don’t like crying in front of people. Sometimes though, crying isn’t bad. Sometimes, we’re so overwhelmed with emotion we need to get it out. Funny thing was, it wasn’t my accomplishment that really made me boo-hoo like a baby, but the fact my beginner runner ladies set a goal to run the entire 5k without stopping and they did it. I was more proud of them than I was of myself, and that was totally okay because I had an entire community of people to be proud for me.
I would also like to take a moment to thank the people who spent all that time helping me get through those long training runs--especially Kirsten who let me verbally abuse her for almost six hours. And those who talked me through moments of doubt or gave me sound advice when I maybe wasn’t being rational. They say I could’ve done this on my own, and maybe I could have, but I’ll tell you this journey is a hell of a lot better when you have a tribe.
An epically huge thank you to Julianne Tutko for getting my sweet hubby where he was supposed to be. Between her and her husband Rich, finish line magic happened for me.
I think it’s safe to say I’m probably the luckiest girl in the world because through this process, I realized I very much have a tribe, and they all came together and kicked major ass just to make my first marathon a memorable experience. They did. In spades.
I kept telling Kirsten that I wouldn’t do another marathon, that I wasn’t built for the distance, and yeah… no. I kept saying I wasn’t going to do New Orleans (The Rock-N-Roll Marathon in March that I’m already signed up for because JACKET.) I kept saying I would defer, or maybe just lose the money because marathons are stupid, but after a lengthy text conversation with a woman I’m hoping will become my Tri coach in 2018 (I haven’t had that conversation with y’all yet) I changed my mind about New Orleans. I’m going to do it. I’m going to give the distance another chance. New Orleans is a pretty flat course. It shouldn’t be too cold or too hot, shouldn’t be in the middle of cold and allergy season, so we’ll see. I’m already trained up. Might as well do it while I can, right? And if I still hate it, then now I know. I don’t have a problem trying to get my half marathon time down to 2 hours while working my way up to Triathlons.