There’s something you should know about me. I’m the type of person that goes through life with something to prove. Not to you, but to me. This is a trait that’s always made me ambitious, and sometimes made me successful. It’s also sometimes lead to total melt downs, but I think our biggest strengths are often our biggest weakness. Anyway, this entire journey to running a marathon has kind of been about that–having something to prove to myself. I know that my journey never ends, and really this is only the beginning of my path to becoming a runner, but it feels like this picture perfect ending to my weight loss story. That is why even when Coach Loken (I never know if you’re supposed to use the first name or the last name when you talk about your coach–thoughts?) said to run for 3 hours, I knew I had to hit 20 miles, and then I knew I had to run just a little further. To prove to myself that I can keep going once I reach 20 on November 4th.
This had all the beginnings of a perfect run. I spent the day before hydrating the crap out of myself, eating carbs, psyching myself up, and I planned out the perfect 20 mile route that would lead my two friends and me to breakfast at La Grande Orange where we would toast mimosas, meet up with Steve and have an amazing breakfast to celebrate. I raced home from rehearsal to be in bed by 9:30, and although I laid in bed having trouble sleeping, I woke up ready to go.
At 4:10 my alarm went off, and I noticed that I had multiple text messages, so I went to check them to find out both of my friends were having extenuating circumstances and had both canceled. I freaked the F out. I started crying immediately (dramatic much?) and telling Steve there was no way I could do this, and my training would be ruined. Just be glad you didn’t marry me, okay? I continued to cry and freak out the entire time I spent getting ready, but eventually put on my big girl
pants ruffly skirt and made my way to the kitchen to make breakfast.
I kept telling myself how everything happens for a reason. I knew deep down that I needed to do a long training run solo (I’ve run almost every single training run with friends), but I just didn’t want to, and I especially didn’t want to do it this time. I knew I could go wait, start realllllly early on Saturday, and then finish with the team, but I had carb loaded, I had mentally prepared, I had announced it to the world. I needed to follow through. I asked Steve to ride his bike along side for a portion of it (okay, I kinda cheated on the solo part, but 20 miles is a LONG way!), and finally got my butt out the door just after 5am.
I ran a nice 2.5 mile loop around my hood, then headed out for a longer loop. It was GORGEOUS out–absolutely perfect running weather, and I started feeling strong. I had been able to adjust my mind set before leaving to being excited to conquer this on my own, and I knew it was best for me. Mind set is 95% of the battle. I had woken up with a horrible one, but I turned it around. I was proud of myself.
The initial miles just kind of ticked by. I didn’t turn on my music. I just enjoyed being outside. Who am I, right??? I started off at a nice slow, relaxed pace. I felt myself wanting to speed up, but I know what type of pacing works for me, so I kept checking in with myself and reminding myself that if I wanted to feel strong later, I needed to stick with what works.
I took the same route that I took almost a year ago when I did my first 10 solo. It was all kinds of nostalgic. I realized I was running all around where Kara and I used to run when we were training for PF Chang’s. Then I missed the crap out of her, and was pissed at her for moving to Seattle and abandoning me in my time of marathon training need. I passed by Bosa Donuts.
I started mentally playing through all of my PF Chang’s training, and how far I’ve come as a runner since then.
I started to feel excited, and I started to pick up the pace a bit. I also found that by not taking the canal, I surprisingly had less stops. It felt like I was able to catch every green light, and just go. It’s so easy to take a break when you have to push a button before you go, haha.
Just after mile 12, I ended up back home, refilled my water, grabbed more fuel and my awesome husband, and we were off again. Somehow I thought running to Dutch Bros and back would give me 8 more miles. Apparently after 12 miles, my math abilities get a little fuzzy… We went the long way through the neighborhood and down towards the canal.
This is where shit got real. It was getting hard, and I was getting scared about finishing. Over the next few miles, my feet and ankles progressively started to get more and more tender and irritated. Every step felt like I was pounding on the pavement, and it was like the hundreds of miles of marathon training were all weighing on my 2 little feet right in that moment. Every time I had to stop to wait for the crosswalk, getting started again seemed impossible. I was mentally doing okay (with Steve giving me tons of support!!), but physically, I was HURTING.
Once we realized that getting to Dutch Bros would more like 12 miles round trip than 8 (see what I mean about that math…), the new plan became for Steve to turn around at mile 18 to get the car, and for me to do an extra loop to meet back together at Dutch Bros. I tried something different and ate a kind bar here because I was feeling just depleted even though I had fueled at 5, 10 and 14.5. Turns out that was not a good idea. It felt so heavy in my stomach and made me feel sick, but lesson learned. I won’t do that in the race. The next 2 miles felt like an eternity. I tried to decide if I really wanted to go over 20, but since I had committed to the idea of doing just a little bit more earlier in the run, I knew for my brain, I needed to follow through.
As I was about half way through mile 20, this song came on and I proceeded to cry, Loudly. I should have been embarrassed, but I was too happy and proud.
I took a breath after mile 20. I stopped for a minute and let everything sink in, and then I ran my little heart out to Dutch Bros and all around the parking lot until my garmin looked like this
20.5 miles, 3:30:03, 10:14 average pace.
And then I thought “Hey, I just trained for a marathon. Cool.” It’s pretty amazing what our bodies are capable of, and all of the sudden 20 miles doesn’t feel impossible. It just feels Fing hard, but that’s okay. I like a challenge. 🙂