So I did it. Checked it off of my bucket list, did it before my 30th birthday, and completed it within a year of having my baby. I ran 26.2 miles for myself. Why? I am still not sure but it feels so good for it to be finally over! I started training in June and my race was last Sunday October, 19th. I really tried to keep track of all of my runs on the Map My Walk app but I missed a few here and there. The app tells me I burned 29,600 calories and ran a total of 332.4 miles training for this race....all for one single day and one single race. Believe me, it IS as crazy as it sounds. I really never followed a training plan as I could not dedicate that much time and discipline to it, so my longest run was 19.5 miles. I truly felt great during that run and felt as if I could keep going. So I thought no big deal, with all of the adrenaline, crowd, and everyone watching me, I could surely run the last 6.2 miles no problem. Haha that was a funny thought. Turns out it wasn't as easy as I was hoping.
Race day started for me with my alarm going off at 5am. I slept really well the night before (shocking) and tried to stay true to my normal pre-run routine. Cup of coffee, bagel with cream cheese, then out the door. Let me tell you, the nerves were in full force that morning...I got all of my gear ready (ipod, fuel, and clothes) and my hubby and I were out the door by 6:45am. The race started at 8am, so we waited inside of Embassy Suites Hotel and kept warm. I seriously could not believe how little people were wearing and the amount of "pump it up" stretching that was going on. I was lazily sitting in a chair conserving all of my energy for the race. Receiving text messages after text messages from friends and family was the motivation I needed. Thank you to all who took time out of your day to send me a little note. So grateful for each of you.Yes that is a MANS foot behind me, clearly getting his stretch on :)
vTime to head out to the race. Found my anticipated pace sign and was waiting for the announcer to yell START. 3 minutes after we were told to start, I crossed the start line, started my watch, and away I went. Before training started for the race my goal was 4 hours. After I started training, my goal was to finish. Glad I cleared those expectations up before I ran because I was clearly delusional. I needed to start super slow and not rush it or I would not last the rest of the race. The first 8 miles were hilly....I mean HILLY. I wish I could remember all of the signs people were holding because some were hilarious. Here were a few of my favorites:
1.) NEVER trust a fart
2.) Worst parade ever
3.) At mile 13 a sign read "Congrats, you just lasted longer than Kim Kardashian's first wedding
4.) Chuck Norris never ran a marathon
5.) If this race was easy it would be called your mom
6.) For all of you moms out there, this sign was funny. " Smile if you just peed a little."
Clever. And kept my mind busy for the first 13 miles....then boredom set in, the wind started picking up and I started to die. My amazing hubby met me all throughout the race, surprising me at several locations and kept me going...until I hit mile 20. Remember when I thought to myself, the last 6.2 should be easy? WRONG. Here is the photo my hubby took of me at mile 20.Friends, this is the look of death. If the Marathon Foto people actually dressed in disguise, they would capture these images from people, but they wear bright yellow vests and hold large cameras forcing me to smile so they don't publish crap like this. But this is real life folks, this is what pain looks like. Haha. I was running through WaterWorks park, next was Grays Lake, then back up MLK to the finish line. Only problem was I knew the route, it was super windy, like 10-20 mile an hour gusts, and not to mention we were running into that the last 4 miles. Brutal.
Crossing that finish line was the best feeling ever. I had done it. No more training, my family there with me to celebrate this amazing accomplishment and last but not least, I could sit down ( I just wasn't sure if I could get back up.)
So this is my medal, my keepsake for running this race. But the best "gifts" I received that day was the personal accomplishment of setting out to do something and succeeding, no matter what time I finished it in and my family greeting me with such joy at the finish line, like I had just made them all so proud.
This baby is my love and life, I got up each morning, per her in her buggy and took her on a run. Her laughter, talking, and cries each run pushed me to keep going. Her love is endless and I can do no wrong in her eyes. I am her hero already, I didn't need to prove anything to her, but I hope someday I did.
This man. My husband. Helped push me each time I wanted to give up (a lot of times) and was so supportive of the time it took away from spending it with him, our baby, and friends. He took care of the baby countless times to give me a break, let me rest or when I had 3 hours runs every weekend. Also huge thanks to my mother who also stepped in to watch my baby on the days daddy was busy or working :) Sometimes it takes big things like this to realize you really are so loved and have the best of the best. Much love.
And this is my time. No it is not what I wanted, not what I expected but there are few things more challenging than making your body run for 26.2 miles. I started thinking the other day about how I could have bettered my time, but I know exactly how. Run again. And my answer is simply NEVER AGAIN. That itch is scratched and I will leave you with one more look of death...or pain. You choose.
I want to send a huge thank you to all of the volunteers, staff and head people of the Des Moines Marathon. You guys are amazing and this event was flawless. The crowds, families, and other runners were such encouragement in the time of need. Putting my name on the front of my bib number proved to be more helpful than I thought. Random people yelling for me to keep going, you're looking great, and you are almost there. Midwest people really are some of the best people and maybe next year I will just do the half marathon or volunteer :) So if you are thinking you want to run 26.2 miles sometime in your life...do it.