I did it!! I can hardly believe the day came, went as well as it did, and is now over. All those months of staying in on Friday nights in preparation for early Saturday am runs, of mental and physical preparation for the big 26.2, of physical therapy and insane highs and lows and total uncertainty over whether or not I’d even be able to run at all… they all paid off, and they’re all behind me and totally worth it. Because yesterday, I finally ran the race I’ve been dreaming of running since the spring — and I couldn’t possibly be happier with how it went.
Ahhhhh I cannot even begin to describe the cloud I’m perched up on right now. At this time yesterday, I was in the middle of running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon, my very first full marathon. The day couldn’t have been any more perfect for a long race: mid-60s, blue skies, sunshine, zero humidity, and just lovely. I was surprisingly extremely calm and relaxed starting this race — I didn’t even have a single butterfly or nervous thought. Pretty sure I got all of the anxiety out the few days prior, when I was a walking basket case and spouted tears right and left. Yep, glad I left that behind on race day. Yesterday morning, I felt wonderful, and I knew that I would finish this race, come hell or high water. I’d done the half the two years prior, and what is it they say about third time being the charm? Exactly.
This was a very well-organized, intimate, and thankfully flat race (as in, a lot of it was gradually downhill). I heard there were only about 1,800 runners, so the start was not crowded and there weren’t really any bottlenecks. Most of the course was beautiful, running by the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in the peak of Autumn. I actually had a moment where I was running down a tree-lined path for miles, gold and crimson leaves littering the ground around me, and I thought, “Savor this. Cherish this. This is as good as today could possibly be.” I felt very, very blessed to be running in the midst of such a beautiful natural setting, and actually able to enjoy this grueling task I’d set before me. This was it: all those months of training through the hot summer had culminated in this day, and I was determined to make the most of every mile.
I honestly felt really great and strong throughout most of the race. I was between the 4:05 and 4:10 pacers for the majority of it, and then ran with the 4:10 pacer til about mile 22, when things started to get rough. On the one hand, I’m thankful it took me 22 miles to start really hurting and wondering how I would ever keep going; on the other, I wish I hadn’t started hurting that badly at all…but what can you do? Running that long is rough. ‘Nuff said. 🙂 Things started to get really bad for me around mile 24, when I was struggling to keep up a 10-minute-per-mile pace, and my left hip and quad had been hurting for so long that I was definitely in an agonizing auto-pilot. I just kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other, not to walk, and that in two miles, this would all be over. Yes, that was much harder to do than to say…but I did it. My friend Sarah, who had trained for the race but ended up getting horrible tendonitis and was unable to run, jumped in with me for the last half 3/4 of a mile or so, and that was totally key. Having someone run alongside you and encourage you when you honestly don’t know how you’ll take another step makes such a huge difference, and I am so thankful for her.
Crossing that finish line as my family stood right there and cheered for me was an absolutely ridiculously amazing feeling, and I think I’ll probably being flying high on this accomplishment for a while.
I finished in 4:13:51, which I’m thrilled with, especially for my first marathon.
I’m so grateful to all of my fantastic family members and friends who supported and encouraged me throughout this whole process, from my initial training til when I crossed the finish line. This was such a wonderful, exciting, tumultuous, emotional journey for me, and I feel like I learned so much about my ability to push out of my comfort zone and to commit to something whole-heartedly and devotedly, even when it seemed like such a daunting task. People immediately began asking me if I have any plans to run another marathon. Hmmm… for now, I think I’ll bask in the joy of this accomplishment…and then pick another one sometime in the future.
California sounds good, doesn’t it?
Last pic from yesterday: post-race, still sore and overwhelmingly happy, I shed my sneaks and sweaty duds for heels and a cocktail dress to attend a lovely friend’s wedding. Quite a full and eventful day, and wonderful from start to finish.
Today? I’m sore beyond belief. But I couldn’t be happier. Feeling blessed.