To all Marathoners out in the world I bow down to you. I now have FULL respect for anyone who runs a Marathon. It’s nothing to be taken lightly and I can tell you from yesterday’s experience it is FRACKIN’ HARD.
I woke up yesterday at 5:30 am pumped and ready to go.
I had some jitters but was really excited about finally crossing the start line to complete a 16 week journey. At 7:30 am my 4:15 buddies and I lined up at the start line, watches synced, and we went for it. The first 10 km were a breeze- in fact I managed to run over to Rhiannon, Jeff, and Jordan to give them a jumping high five. As a group we managed to stay together for about 11 km and then we started to spread out- between bathroom breaks I started to lose some of the crew and kept up with one running buddy fairly consistently. However, at about 15 km I began to feel sharp pains along my IT bands (BOTH!) I stopped to walk a bit and stretch them out and kept saying to myself “Come on body, don’t let this stop you!”
Fortunately I kept moving and saw my cheerleaders Jeff, Rhiannon, and Jordan along the way at multiple stations. They had some awesome signs “Toenails are unnecessary”, “You are all Kenyans in my mind”, “You’ve trained for 16 weeks don’t give up now!”- and of course their encouraging cheers- it truly was awesome to see them at various points.
Throughout the race, it was very much a mental game. I sang songs to myself, gave myself pep talks, thought about what I would eat when I finished, and dreamed of our new life in Victoria. Anything to distract myself from the extreme IT band strain was worth it.
I didn’t shed a tear until the 2 km mark when Rhiannon and Jeff pulled up beside me (at this point I thought I was going to vomit) and they took my fuel belt. I think there might be a picture of me somewhere, but I hope it gets deleted. I have that complete look of despair and tears were welling up in my eyes. It was tough.
On the home stretch I saw Leslie, Stuart, and Sally who were cheering me on and at the very end I saw the Finish! At the finish was Emily- she was cheering me on (as she had finished in 4:00 hours!!) and was encouraging me across the finish. We hugged and tears came to our eyes- WE DID IT!
Here is what I learned from my first marathon:
- You can physically train for 16 weeks, but come race day it is a MENTAL game.
- Too much Gatorade at the aid stations will make you want to vomit.
- Despite the pain you can get through it!
- Burrard Bridge…. oh you were so easy on training days… I curse you now.
- Porta Potties- aren’t just for going to the bathroom- I went into one just to sit down for a second.
- Cheerleaders, you can’t have enough.
A special note to Emily. I couldn’t have done this without your support each week. Thanks so much for running your second marathon with me and being there at the finish line. I will never forget that and seeing you there was so inspirational. I also will NEVER forget the following conversation:
Me: No wonder you waited 5 years to do your 2nd marathon
Emily: Yah, it’s like having children, you need to space them out so you forget about the pain.
Love you and can’t imagine training with any other sister out there :)