Let Me Explain

"If a person's bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over you are considered obese." - Medical News Today

That is fact. It's not an opinion on the topic, but merely a definition. I don't believe you have to be skinny to be healthy. Would I like to lose weight? Absolutely. Have I lost weight? Sure have. But that's not what this is about. This is about running. Mostly running with a side of other fitnessy stuff... and a WHOLE lot of goofy.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Marathon

Oooohhhh has it really been a month since I've talked to y'all? My bad. Maybe I can make up for it here...



THE MARATHON

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 finished.
I puked. Twice. And I laughed about it because I was now a marathoner.

Finishing was SUPPOSED to be my only goal. I wanted to finish and not have a time in mind so I wasn’t disappointed with any part of the race. It didn’t work out that way. I was disappointed I didn’t finish in five hours. I was disappointed I didn’t run more. I was disappointed I didn’t finish faster. I was disappointed that I didn’t have the time of my life, that I was hateful as hell, and that I walked away saying I would never, ever, ever, in a million years do that distance again. I was disappointed with myself that I made beating someone else’s time my most motivating goal. I was disappointed with myself when people asked me how it went, that I couldn’t say “I had the time of my life and I want to do it again!” None of that was the memories I wanted to take away from the day.

I’m not going to write an entire dissertation on what happened throughout the race, but I’ll give you a breakdown of the key points--as I remember them. First, I love the cause but hate the course. The St. Jude half and full marathons are no joke. The hills in the city are sneaky. You don’t feel them until it’s too late. I’m not even kidding. You think they’re not there… but when you don’t get a break from them for like ten miles, it tends to wear you out. And, somewhere around the ten mile mark is where this course kills me. Every. Time. It happened last year. It happened this year. I’ll continue to be a hero and raise money, but until this Fat Girl can take a little more ass kicking, I’ll do the 10k or something shorter on this course… anything to keep me off North Parkway.

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.

It was really quite overwhelming, from start to finish, the amount of support I had out there on Saturday. From the time I stepped foot onto Union Avenue to right before race start--where I was met with people squealing my name and holding out arms to give me hugs--to the time I crossed the finish line to the same cheers and hugs, I never once felt alone. That’s quite a feeling for someone who struggles with feelings of loneliness from time to time. People were at the start. They were on the course. They were at the finish. They were across state lines in front of computer screens. They were glued to their apps, watching my pace speed and slow. They lost complete days just to keep up with my progress. I can honestly say I’ve never felt so supported, so encouraged and so absolutely the opposite of alone in all my life. And it didn’t stop there. People--including my cousin, her husband and children--were waiting at the top of the stairs when I left the finisher zone. It was probably the most overwhelming thing I’ve ever experienced.

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.

There are by far way way way too many names to list individually, but I hope everyone knows how special they made this day for me. If I saw you or spoke to you at all, you were a part of my day and I thank you for that. I would, however, like to take a moment to say a special thank you to the people who came from Mississippi to cheer me on even though none of them are particularly fans of running. They are my friends, no… my family, and they did this for me. I hope I showed them all just how much it meant to 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.

Most importantly, I need to thank the love of my life, Joe Cassatta, for being the kind of prince every girl dreams about. (Yes, I’m tearing up right now.) We’ve always been supportive of each other’s crazy endeavors, but I never expected him to go above and beyond the way he has since all of this started back in June. He has gone out of his way to make sure I had carbs on the days I needed them, or light meals on slow days. He helped me prep my lunches, rubbed my butt when it hurt. He sat in doctor’s offices with me, suffered through my moodiness, and lost quality time with me so I could train. He never once complained about any of it. I mean, y’all, he even held my puke cup while I hurled. That’s love right there.

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.

After...

From the experience I had, one might doubt their training. Maybe. They might go back and look for all the things they did wrong, and I was really close to doing that myself, however I'm not going to. Why? Because I climbed LOTS of stairs after it was over and barely whimpered. I jogged downstairs. I danced and I partied. My legs and my body were conditioned for this. I trained well. I honestly believed what happened Saturday was beyond my control. I honestly believe it was because I was still sick.

From here…

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.