Getting a little more JOLLY, a little more GREEN, and a little less GIANT.

19 October 2013

Third Marathon is the Charm!

I finished my third marathon a few hours ago, but I'm still riding this effervescent adrenaline wave of giddiness and relief. I must channel this somehow. Why not in a blog post?

This week, well for months really, I have been filled with overwhelming dread for this day. The pain of my last marathon was just so fresh in my mind and I wasn't prepared, mentally or physically, to do it all over again. But this stupid sense of pride. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing, but it just wouldn't let me NOT run this final marathon. As much as I really just didn't want to do it. Yesterday the anxiety set in hard and I would randomly burst into tears at the thought of running another 26.2 miles. My poor husband kept trying to convince me to just not to do it. Thank goodness my cousin Eden was running with me and giving me that extra sense of commitment. Otherwise...I just might have forgotten the whole thing.

I slept terribly last night. I went to bed early, but the fear and doubt and anxiety was overwhelming. My stomach churned all night. I fitfully dreamed about missing the bus or going to the wrong place or forgetting all of my running gear. I even dreamed that Leah Remini peed on me. Huh?!

I got up with my alarm at 5 am and dressed with MANY layers for a very cool October morning. I had laid all my stuff out the night before, so I grabbed it along with my customary piece of wheat toast (this time I skipped the peanut butter and went with just honey) and a cheese stick (this is new...but it just sounded like a good idea to me). NO APPLES this time!! I learned my lesson last time. In fact...I may never be able to eat another apple in this lifetime.

I drove to the finish line where we were to park and meet the buses. My cousin, Eden, was already there waiting. We haven't seen each other in years and years, but have both found a great love for running and the natural therapy that comes with it in our later years (if you can count your 30s as your "later years"). It was high time we reunited over a race. She has been having some rotten hip issues that have frustrated her training and races. I've been having some rotten attitude issues that frustrated me. We had both at different points all but backed out on the whole deal, but somehow this morning we found ourselves sitting together on a cold, dark, yellow school bus. At least we are in this together.

The bus took us and the fellow racers (only about 275) to Copperton where we waited for about 45 minutes for start time. We chatted and waited in line for the port-a-potties with chattering teeth; whether it was from cold or fear...I'm not sure. At 7:30 am the race began.

Eden has been following the long distance running methods of Jeff Galloway. He promotes using timed walk breaks between timed running intervals to endure through an entire marathon. I had read his book a long time ago and thought I was somewhat following his advice by running about 4 miles and walking a quarter mile, but that method just wasn't getting me through my last two marathons very smoothly. I would do really well with that for the first half and then things would eventually get more and more ugly until the whole thing was a bust and I was doing whatever I could to get through those last several miles. In my first marathon, I hit "the wall" around mile 16. During my second, I made it a little longer, but hit at mile 19. I figured my method wasn't working. Why not try this one? So we did one minute intervals. One minute running. One minute walking. One minute running. One minute on and so forth.

It was weird to start by running one minute and then suddenly stop and walk while every single runner cruised past us. Soon we found ourselves at the very back, but easing into the rhythm of it. I went into this run knowing we were going to be doing this and honestly, I worried it would drive me nuts, but I very quickly grew to love it. It was slow progress, but it was comfortable progress. Since we were very last we often had a police escort. It was a little disconcerting to have a police car with its lights flashing driving slowly behind us, but I tried to not let it phase me.

We hit mile 5, along with a loooong hill, and Eden was struggling with hip pain and fatigue. I shared some of my anti-fatigue capsules (from Hammer) with her and within a couple of miles she was feeling much better. (Anti-fatigues come through again!) The miles passed as we caught up on with each others' lives and families. I truly enjoyed catching up with my cousin who I haven't seen in so long. Her company was invaluable to me and made the time whiz by. She kept urging me to go on without her if I wanted, but I had no desire to move on. That would just be boring!

It was a little deflating to be dead last for the first half of the race, but I tried to have faith in Galloway. But being last means you've lost the pack and since the course wasn't marked extremely well we got a little lost at mile 10. We went straight when we should have turned left. Fortunately we caught the mistake before we went terribly far and ended up running an extra 0.4 miles to get back on track. We had a good laugh about it and applauded ourselves for running a 26.6 mile race instead of the usual 26.2. Because we're so awesome like that.

I felt really great for the first half. By mile 13.1 I began to feel some soreness setting in, but nothing out of the usual. The aid stations were laid out well and the volunteer support was definitely appreciated. The miles continued to go on by.

Around mile 17 we passed the Oquirrh LDS Temple. It was gorgeous as always! And really all the scenery was gorgeous. We got to watch the sun rise and look at beautiful mountains and fall trees for 26.2--ahem! Make that 26.6 miles! What's not to love? The weather was perfect. Nippy, but great for a good race.

My stomach and feet started to complain a bit after mile 20, but nothing unmanageable. Absolutely nothing like my second marathon had been. Around mile 23 I had to sit down to get a rock out of my sock. Several blisters were forming on my toes, but again...nothing I couldn't handle.

I waited for the wall to hit, for the emotion and despair to come pouring in, but it never did. The miles passed by and we kept our one minute interval rhythm going. We passed a few people. Not as many as we would have liked, but it was a moral boost to not be DEAD last. And then before long, we were just about to the finish line.

Up to this point the race support had been pretty fantastic. Police had stopped traffic and waved us through every single traffic light. I felt like such a celebrity! But much of the course, especially at the end was poorly marked. We were rather confused the last bit of the race just where we were supposed to go to get to the finish line. And no one was really being very helpful. I guess this is what happens when you're one of the last ones.

Crossing the finish line was VERY anti-climatic. No crowds to cheer us on. No race support. In fact we had to walk around to find the lady who was holding the medals and ask for ours. I was not impressed with that part of the race and was feeling a bit jaded. But oh well! There was definitely that sense of pride I found in my self for finishing yet another 26.2 mile race!! And so much relief that running for 2013 is over. At least obligatory training running.

I was very happy that it was over, that I had braved the fear and doubt and pain to conquer that last marathon. I think the regret I would have felt in NOT doing it would have been terrible. It really was a great race! It was my longest race time wise (probably somewhere around 5 hours and 45 minutes) but it was also by far my most comfortable one. I finished with a smile on my face. Well, I think there was a smile somewhere behind the confusion and disappointment with the lack of a hero's welcome at the finish line. But I felt like a hero for myself. My husband and kids weren't at the finish line this time since I had needed to take our one and only vehicle to get there in the early morning, but honestly, I was glad they weren't there. This one was just for me. A personal victory to be savored internally and quietly.

Three marathons in 5 months!!! I did it! I'm so glad I did it! And even more glad it's done!! I'm sore, but I'm feeling pretty good. There really is something to the Galloway method. I'm a fan! And I'm so grateful for my cousin running with me! Her company was appreciated and it was a great to have our atypical family reunion. Definitely something I would want to repeat with her and some of our other cousins. Now I'm not saying I want to do any more FULL marathons, but halves...definitely. In fact, let's just not talk about fulls anytime soon.

After bidding Eden adieu, I drove home and prided myself on not crying during a race (for once!), but then my sweet 7 year old daughter handed me this:

And this is why I do this. Sure, I love the bling and the personal victory and the bragging rights of being a marathoner. But being able to show my kids that they can do hard things no matter how old or young or big or little or weak or strong they are; that they can go out and do amazing things with their lives; that they can BE their own inspiration and BE amazing... That's why I do it. And I think they're getting the message.

Oh my. It has been a most excellent day. And now...we eat chocolate! Lots and lots of chocolate!

04 October 2013

Following in Mama's Footsteps - My Kids Run their First 5K!

This last weekend I saw a dream of mine come true in real life. My two oldest children, known as "Dee" and "Jeigh" (pronounced "Jay") in the blogworld, ran their very first 5K!!!

I can't even tell you how proud I am of them for so many reasons. The first being that I couldn't work up the nerve to run MY first 5K until I was 28 and a half years old. And even then I was so scared that I was in fretful tears as we pulled into the parking lot. I begged my husband to just take me back home. I'm glad he ignored me because that 5K was an invaluable life experience for me. And although it took me another two years to work up the nerve and stamina to run another race, it was my first scary stepping stone into the running world; a world I have grown to love with all my heart.

I was a big baby about my first 5K, but my babies were fearless for theirs. After I finished my first Color Me Rad 5K last year and they saw how much fun it was they wanted in on the next one so I promised them we would do one together. The color runs are so relaxed and fun I figured my kids could handle it. But even still, I was nervous. 5K is 3.2 miles. A lot of adults can't do that distance. How would my 7 and 8 year old do? Especially with no more training than walking to and from school about half a mile each way every day. That and just the rigors of being active kids.

I shouldn't have even worried. I totally underestimated them. They did marvelously!

They loved going to packet pickup, something they've been dragged to a couple of times now for myself. This time it was for them! Kids were able to race free, so I only had to pay for my registration. Unfortunately it didn't end up being totally cheap. Dee wanted every single accessory they were selling at packet pickup and he sure knew how to play his mom who wanted to make sure his first race experience was positive as possible. We ended up purchasing a race packet for each of the kids for only $15 each. It included a T-shirt, a racing bib of their own (SUPER glad I did this! It made finding post-race pics of them easier. Plus, it made the experience that much more real for them!), non-permanent tattoos, sunglasses, and a bracelet. We purchased a couple of packets of colored powder too (something I wouldn't have done in hindsight since they were throwing out oodles of them at the start and finish lines.)
The next morning, race day, was chilly so I dressed them in sweatshirts with their white T-shirts on top. We got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare. Jeigh was eating up the energy of the crowd and music. Both of them were excited with the entire event and kept saying "I'm so glad we're doing this! This is so much fun! This is so cool!" I kept my fingers crossed that they would keep saying the same things at mile 2 or 3.

We used the bathrooms, did a little crowd Zumba, and waited at the starting line, soaking up the experience. The atmosphere of the Color Me Rad runs are awesome. Lots of loud music and good energy. Everyone's thrilled to be there. There are people of every size and shape, age and physical ability. Lots of bright colors everywhere. Just a lot of good, family-friendly fun.


And then we were off!

In less than a mile, Jeigh was too warm and wanted to lose her sweatshirt. We ducked behind a tree and switched her out. Much better. Shortly after that, Dee realized his shoes were too small and were making running difficult. I kept trying to convince him to just take them off and run in his socks. He kept saying "No! I don't want to be like Camille!" His aunt Camille, who finished her full marathon in only socks. I think he was making some sort of connection between "lose the shoes" and "run 26.2. miles".

The kids ran for quite a bit of the first mile. We did a lot of walking too. I would say it was about half and half. Jeigh was dedicated. Her face was stoic and focused every time we started running. Dee was a lot more relaxed about it, soaking in all the sights and sounds of the race.

There was a bit of whining, especially from Dee. He had to be convinced a couple of times that this was "fun" and that it was almost over. I don't think his shoes were helping him at all. I finally convinced him to ditch the shoes around mile 2. I carried him on my back for a bit to give his feet a break, but jogging with a 60 pound eight year old on your back who is spilling water all over you isn't that much fun.  I set him down and he did much better in his socks. Jeigh didn't like the powder getting in her mouth and choking her. She was kind of split on how "fun" the powder was once she started breathing it in.

I didn't mind the powder so much until I stopped just outside the Orange Color Station to take out my phone and record the kids going through. Someone at this station was aiming to kill. While I was recording, a big handful of orange powder was slammed straight into my face, going down my throat, in my eyes, up my nose. Ugh! It was terrible! I was spitting orange for the rest of the race. All part of the hazards of a color run, eh?

At one point I turned around to look at the kids and I saw a dad, pushing a stroller, hit a bump in the pavement and went crashing over and on top of the stroller, crushing his child underneath. It looked awful! I felt so bad, but we were ahead of him and I could already see tons of people gathering around. There wasn't much we could do, but hope it wasn't nearly as bad as it looked. Yikes!

For all the mishaps, we still managed to have a great time and make it to the finish with smiles on our freshly colored faces! The kids were so proud of themselves for finishing! And I was proud of them! They did it!! They did something that many adults can't or won't do. The pride has lasted for several days. I haven't heard a single "I want to do that again!" but I do keep hearing how much fun they had and that they can't believe they finished it.

Getting clean after a color run is the best! Look at that filthy water!!

I know it was just a dinky little 5K color run, but this was such a great way to share something I love with the people I love. It was such a fantastic experience and probably more fun than any race I've done alone. It made my mother's heart happy to see two pairs of little running shoes next to my size 12s and to watch my children following--literally--in my footsteps.

I don't know if they've caught the running bug, but it hardly matters. What matters is that they know they can do hard things, no matter how young or old or small or big they are. I hope they are learning to endure, to have hope in the joy and the relief of the finish line. And simply that running and being active is FUN! Proud, happy mom over here!!

06 September 2013

My Second Full Marathon or (the Tale of the Terrible Tummy)

In spite of a bad attitude (read previous blog post) I really did manage to be excited for my second marathon. My sister, Camille, and I texted back and forth the days before sharing our fears and hopes, but mostly fears. On Friday, the day before the race, I found myself literally shaking with anticipation and anxiety. Shaking makes it hard to text. Or pack. Or just keep calm for heaven's sakes!

My good husband was kind enough to make up his work hours during the days before so we could leave around 12:30 pm to drive to Pocatello. Even though the race wasn't until the next day, I needed to be at packet pick up by 4:00 pm to volunteer. Camille is Mrs. Pocatello and needs to make public appearances around town leading up to her pageant. We volunteered last year at packet pickup for this reason, but had such a blast doing it, we decided to do it again.

Packet pickup didn't disappoint. We were assigned to the half marathon booth where we handed out bibs and bags to the runners. It's always fun rubbing shoulders with the running community and when some of that community are old friends, even better!

After a couple of hours volunteering, we grabbed our own bibs (#332!) and bags and headed to my parents' house to make dinner. Dinner was chicken and shrimp tacos with beans and rice. Honestly I couldn't eat much. (Something that isn't usually a problem...)

We spent the evening visiting with all my family. Almost all of my siblings and their families had come to town. My dad was missing. He works out of town and would be gone until the next afternoon. At one point I drove back to the hotel to give my friend Jen her bag and bib. She had been running late and was worried she wouldn't make it to packet pick up in time so I grabbed hers when I grabbed mine.

A side note about Jen... I've "known" Jen for a little while now. We "met" on an online running group that we are both in. She lives in Wisconsin and came all the way to Idaho just because I said "Well, Pocatello has a great race!" I was really really hoping that Pocatello would pull through for me and my friend. I didn't want to disappoint her or waste her money.

Anyway! About Jen...She is a mother of 6 and has been on a major weight loss journey too. She has found a true passion for running, especially long distance running. And she is so amazing because she has gotten FAST!! She has set goals and chased them down. I'm pretty sure there's nothing this lady can't do and she is my hero! And not only that...she just has a good heart. She's genuine and lovely. She's just good people.

When Jen came into town, several of our online running group met together for lunch. Jen is in the front in dark pink. I'm at the top left in the white and grey dress.
After I dropped off Jen's stuff I headed back to my parents', got my stuff ready, and prepared for a pretty sleepless night. By now, I know this is totally normal. (That's why I took Benadryl the night before, hoping to store up some sleep.) It didn't take long to fall asleep but I was awake by 1:45 am with two crying girls. I brought my two year old to bed with me, where she kicked, punched, poked, and slapped me through the night. She also fell off the bed at one point. It was a rough night for the both of us. I laid awake for a couple of hours and probably fell asleep right before my alarm went off at 4:30 am.

As soon as my alarm went off I jumped out of bed and started to get ready. I dressed, did my hair, ate a breakfast of wheat toast with peanut butter and honey and a Red Delicious apple (BIG MISTAKE!!) I waited and waited for my sister to come out of her room and finally I went in after her. She had missed her alarm. This was at 4:53 am. We were supposed to leave the house at 5:00 am. Despite the bumps, we made it to bus pick up on time by 5:20 ish.

The bus took us up to the beginning of the race. The temperature was a little chilly, but not bad. It was still dark. We quickly found Jen and Rachel (another online running friend) and visited while we waited for a turn at the port-a-potties.

Never ask a cold, nervous runner to be your pre-race photographer.
Soon it was time to line up at the starting line. The national anthem was sung. We bid farewell to speedy Rachel and Jen and headed to the back of the line. We knew we wouldn't be breaking any land speed records today, but we hoped for something with a 4 in front of it, even if it was 4:59. A shotgun...and the 2013 Portneuf Gap Marathon had begun!

Almost as soon as we started Camille got a stitch in her side which took a while to abate. Not related to the stitch...She had been injured several weeks before and had not been able to train as much as she would have liked. I figured that with her injury, I just might be able to keep up with her.

On we ran...

The first few miles went well, short of a side stitch. The sky was beginning to lighten. I could smell the pine trees and country side. The temperature was perfect; cool but not freezing. It was very peaceful and just perfect.

A mile or two in, I started to notice that the apple I had had for breakfast was trying to make its way back to the surface. I don't know why I ate that stupid apple. It's not something I usually eat before a race. And I don't even like Red Delicious apples. I think it was just nervous eating and I figured, "An apple? What harm can that do?"

Turns out it can do a world of harm. As we ran on I just kept feeling yucky. At first it was annoying, but nothing I couldn't deal with. Soon though, my hydration belt was becoming a problem. I couldn't find anywhere to put it around my middle that wasn't catalyzing my stomach issues. With every step that belt would bounce against my stomach, making me feel even worse. I took the belt off and tried to just carry it in my hand or around my neck and even around my chest. Nothing was working.

As my nausea increased I worried about what I should do for nutrition. Would it be better to stick to the routine (two Clif Blok Shots every four miles, one or two anti-fatigue capsules, and sip on Fizz electrolytes) or skip it altogether? At first I tried to stick to it, but with each capsule and Clif shot that I took, things just got worse. It felt like everything I ate was sitting at the top of my throat. After the first Clif Bloks I quit. I kept trying to take the anti-fatigue pills and sipped a little water at almost every aid station.

In spite of the nausea we kept running. We ran five miles, walked a bit. Ran another five, walked. Ran four, walked. At the beginning we spotted the 4:45 pacer and tried to stick with her but lost her when we ducked behind some bushes to go to the bathroom. We never really seemed to catch up even though we were keeping a pace in between 10:00 and 11:00 miles.

The first half went well. And the next few miles went good too. There had been a lot of down hill running which I was eating up. I kept imagining the mountain doing the work as I just let my legs go. My sister had a hard time with that. She had not done a lot of downhill training. She cheered every time we started going uphill and groaned with each down hill. I was just the opposite.

Around the halfway point we chatted with a man we had been playing leap frog with. We were keeping a pretty even pace and he was running 2:1 intervals (run two minutes, walk one minute). He was a retired solder, running marathons across the country to honor three fallen comrades. We admired his goals and mission and he gave each of us a commemorative coin. When he handed it to me Camille said, "Now you've done it. She's gonna start crying." And sure enough I already was. Sick stomach or not, what a blessing to be able to run that day, especially when there were others who could not. It was very touching.

After the half way point, we continued to do okay for the next several miles. We walked through every aid station and every time we did, sweat would come pouring in to my eyes so badly that I couldn't see. Note to self: Next time I run a long distance I wear or carry a bandanna. We dropped off my belt at the aid station around Mile 18 or 19. I just couldn't stand to carry it any more.

It was a relief to have the belt gone, but my body was starting to really rebel. I was just so darn nauseated. And my body was starting to feel the toll of the repetitiveness of running. Everything was aching. I needed to stretch and move differently than in the running position. By this point I was getting so thirsty. The aid stations were probably every other mile, but I couldn't seem to get enough water. The day was heating up too, which didn't help anything.

Around Mile 19 we stopped to stretch and that was it. That was the wall. The wall we just couldn't seem to get over. Camille's quads were done for and my stomach threatened to empty at any second. I remember a guy running past us saying "It's just a 10K! You can do a 10K!" And I thought, "Yes, I can totally do a 10K. Just not right now."

And I began to wonder if we were going to make it. Scratch that. I wondered how we were going to make it, because there was no way we weren't going to make it. It was just a matter of how long and by what method. We kept moving, but walking. Out flew any hopes of making a time with a 4 at the beginning. The new goal was to just get there. However possible.

We walked. And as we walked I said to Camille, "So what! We're walking. Our pioneer ancestors walked. They walked with bloody feet and brand new babies, in cold snow, and through rough terrain. If they could do it, WE CAN DO IT! Maybe we can't run right now, but we can walk."

So we walked. And then we hit a hill. And we walked up the hill. And then we saw my husband in the truck. He parked across the street from us and we broke away from the course to give him Camille's belt. I leaned against the truck and stretched a bit and then I sat down to stretch out my hips. So much pain. So much more desire to stay sitting here. So much disappointment that this was quickly going south. And then I couldn't help it...I stretched out my tear ducts a bit.

My mom pulled up behind Clayton. And then I really lost it. This was just so hard and painful and stupid and hot and long. I cried a bit, stretched some more, and finally got up and crossed the street again. Camille began to run and with a groan and a grunt I began to run. I thought, "This is it. This it the time to push the wall and prove my worth."

And then Camille collapsed on the course. Her quads just gave out. Seeing my little sister laying there, crying, hurting because I had convinced her running marathons was super awesome... I felt so bad. And in that moment, instead of stepping up to the plate, I fell apart. I tried to help her up, but I didn't have the presence of mind to be strong for her, for both of us, and I mentally resigned myself to walking the rest of the way. Still, not ready to quit completely, but running? No way.

Camille running with her little boy, Micah. (I LOVE this picture!)
We continued on and all of the sudden she started running again. And then she was gone, leaving me alone. Well, good for her, but I was done. No more running. Not if I still had five miles to go. So I watched her run ahead and I walked as fast as I could, thinking soon, soon I'll have enough get-up and go to GO again. But it never came. I kept walking with my husband and my mom driving alongside. Sometimes my mom would drive ahead and check on my sister. Then she would drive back to me and give me reports. "She's having a tough time, but she's afraid that if she stops running she won't be able to start again." I wished I had that in me still, but I felt that I had passed that point. The nausea intensified every time I even thought about running. Some glorious way to do a marathon, eh?

My husband drove slowly alongside and called out to me. "You can do this, Evelyn. You got this. C'mon Evelyn!" and I couldn't help but recall the times he stood by me as I suffered through those last stages of child birth. So much pain. So much doubt. But there he was firmly telling me I could do it. And I knew I could...kind of.

Walking, but at least we're still moving
My mom drove back and forth between my sister and I, pulling me along with her votes of confidence. I could tell she was emotional watching how this was playing out and I could only imagine what it was like to watch your children suffer, especially self-inflicted suffering.

Eventually my other sister, Erin, and her family drove by. They yelled and cheered with all the exuberance the race deserved. But sadly, their racer was lacking. I honestly couldn't tell if I was more relieved or embarrassed that my family was there. I really was so happy to have them there; I felt like I needed them in that moment. But at the same time I hated to have them see me be such a flop.

Erin quickly got out of the van and told her husband to drive on. She walked the last three miles with me. She chattered incessantly away and apologized several times for doing so, but I was glad to have the noise and distraction. I didn't hear much of what she said and I couldn't really respond as every time I started to open my mouth I wasn't exactly sure something more than words wouldn't come out.

Several times I wandered to the side, got on my hands and knees, and stretched. It just hurt so bad and I needed to move my body in some other direction. Sometimes I would get in child's position just so I would have an excuse to bury my face and cry. I even tried to pray, but Erin kept talking, doing her best to keep me entertained and in good spirits. She would try to pull me up, thinking I had quit. I was never ready to quit. But I may have considered it a time or two.

People would pass as I was kneeling down in pain and nausea and ask if we were okay. It was humiliating. Particularly because I was wearing my Jolly Green Giant shirt that I had made for my first marathon. On the front it says:

And the back:

Anyone who passed knew my story immediately. One guy even ran by saying, "I see by your shirt that you knew what you were getting in to." He probably meant it in a supportive way, but all I could feel was judgement and shame.

Those last five miles just seemed to last forever, but I kept moving. I don't know if Erin was just stroking my ego or if it was true, but she said we were walking pretty fast, enough that she was getting a side ache. Well, we may not be running, but at least we can walk fast! That's something. We slowly gained on Camille who was walking again. Walking in just her socks actually. The last half mile we, three sisters, walked together. Camille cussed, Erin chattered, and I tried to remember to smile that last block when all the pictures would be taken.

Eventually we saw the finish line. We mustered everything within us to start jogging again. You can't finish a marathon walking. You just can't. And so we jogged in. Smiles on our faces. Like it had been a day at the beach. We crossed the finish line and I turned to Camille, looking at her with new respect. She was a marathoner. She did it! As ugly as it was, I was very proud of her!

We bowed down to receive our medals, walked away from the gate and collapsed on the grass. A couple of people came to check on us and asked if the could get us anything. Camille asked for an epidural. They just laughed, but an epidural sounded pretty awesome right then.

We eventually got up and walked/stumbled to our waiting family. I got a chance to talk to Jen for a minute. She had finished waaaay before me and sounded like she had a bit of a rough experience too, but she was proud of her race. I admired the pride she could take in it and wished I could feel the same. All I felt was relief it was over, embarrassment for what had just taken place, and the churning in my stomach.

A couple of racers came to chat with me about my shirt and story and to ask if I was okay. They had seen me on the side of the road and wondered if I was sick. I could hardly focus on the conversation because the nausea just kept coming and coming. Eventually I just laid down, buried my face in the grass, and cried, hoping no one could see me.

I HATE feeling nauseated. It is the worst feeling. That in and of itself will turn me into the biggest baby. But compound that with what had just taken place... Whenever I finish a run, I take great pride in saying, "I did it clean!" meaning I gave it my best effort, I mostly ran, and I pushed myself. This marathon did not feel clean. It felt so dirty and ugly and pathetic. It has been really difficult to look back on this experience and take any pride in it. Sure, the first nineteen went pretty well besides the rotten gut. Sure, I got up every time I went down. Sure, I got across the finish line. Sure, my time actually wasn't that much worse than my first marathon. But it just felt all wrong.

I had failed to be strong for me and my sister. I had met the wall and backed down. I had not proven myself to anyone, but most especially to me.

Ahh...There's that bad attitude again.

In the hours after the marathon, I couldn't stand to eat anything. My mom took such good care of me. She got me home, letting me hang my head out the window so I didn't gag on the stench of myself. She helped me get out of the truck and in the house. She brought me Gatorade, ice packs, and pain meds. She sympathized and told me how proud she was of me. I really appreciated her being there for me...before, during, and after.

For all that nausea, I couldn't throw up during the race. First of all, I didn't want to puke in front of hundreds of people. But when I tried to get in the shower the shock of the water finally did it. I immediately felt better, but the nausea soon returned and stuck around for several days. I'm not exactly sure what caused it. The apple? The heat? The running? The pain? A virus? A combination of any of those? I'm not sure, but it definitely was the worst part of the race and post-race recovery.

I was pretty sore the day of the marathon and the following day or two, but I managed to help with a little bit of moving we were doing for my parents AND went to church the next HEELS! (in a moment of stupidity I had forgotten to pack any other church shoes. Note to self: PACK FLATS!)

It was pretty frustrating to feel so nauseated for so long because post marathon I feel like I've deserved a day or two of eating whatever I want. Too bad all I wanted was Gatorade and chicken noodle soup.

Oh well. There's the nitty gritty of it all. It's long. It's not pretty. It's whiny. It's self-mutilating. But let me see if I can put a positive spin on it...

First of all, I am so grateful for my family. As embarrassed as I was to have them see me like that, who better than to have around? I was very glad to have that experience, however painful, with my little sister. I am truly proud of her for finishing and becoming a marathoner!

I appreciated my husband, not just on marathon day, but every day as he helps with kids and home while I go on training runs. He works hard and brings home a paycheck that pays for my running shoes and races. He was there, physically by my side, as I struggled to move forward, urging me and encouraging me in a way that only he can.

As hard as it was for my mom to watch her daughters flop around on the pavement and not be able to do a thing about it, I was very grateful she was there. I may be 32 years old, but whenever I get sick I still want my mom around. Her presence alone was comforting.

My sister, Erin, took her own part in our marathon walking those last three miles with me. She didn't even ask...she just did it. And it meant a lot. Her presence was invaluable to me. Seeing my dad at the end of the race was good too. He had just gotten off a twelve hour shift and had not slept yet. I was very glad to have him there at the finish.

This marathon was ugly, but it was a beautiful ugly. My family really came through and shared this experience with me, more than any of us anticipated. They got me through it. And I love them for that (as well as a bunch of other stuff too!). Yes, I struggled across that finish line, but I DID get across it. With a sick belly and all! How many (crazy stupid) people would do that?

This is an experience I know I need to learn from. I should have waited awhile before signing up for another marathon. I needed my heart to be in it. I could have trained better and harder. I shouldn't eat one single new thing before a race, no matter how harmless it seems. I need to find a new method to get me across that finish line, because this running miles and miles, walking a bit, running miles and miles thing isn't cutting it for me.

This is one to learn from, appreciate it for what it was and what it wasn't, and move on.

05 September 2013

My Second Full Marathon: A Preface

I ran my first marathon on May 18th of this year. Within hours of crossing the finish line, adrenaline still coursing through my veins, I typed out several pages of notes, a ROUGH rough draft, things I wanted to remember about that awful/wonderful experience. I had every intention of writing a beautiful, clever blog post about it. And then I fell asleep.

4 months later...

I have just finished running my second marathon and the days are quickly slipping by. Maybe I'll skip the rough draft step and head straight to the blog post. Though I don't promise it will beautiful or clever. My body is already telling me it's time for another nap.

A second marathon is a very different experience than a first marathon. My first marathon was terrifying. Leading up to it, every time I let my thoughts linger on running *gulp* 26.2 miles I got dizzy and nauseated and usually ended up running to the bathroom with nervous bathroom issues. But it was also glorious. The anticipation was nigh unto Christmas or impending child birth. So much excitement and hope and fear, all churning and bubbling in one body.

Back in May, I crossed that finish line with incredible relief and immediately muttered to my husband, "I never want to do that again. Ever."

But I had already signed up for TWO more. Because somewhere in my twisted brain it made sense that if I was going to run one marathon, I might as well make it a lovely, round three. And I did this before I even knew what it was like to run one. And then I did run one and as great an accomplishment as that was...I was ready to move past it.

Marathons are just too long. Too painful. Too much. Too much time away from my family. Too much money. Too much anxiety. Too too much.

But this dang sense of pride. It just won't leave me alone. I said I was going to run three and by golly I would do three. Even if I couldn't quite get my heart behind the next round of training.

I half-heartedly pounded through four more months of training. And I saw my speed decline. I wasn't nearly as committed to getting every single run in. I just didn't/couldn't care about it. I let summer get in the way of my training. We took off to Mexico for almost 10 days and I didn't get a single run in. We went camping. We went to Idaho. Any excuse was a viable excuse and before I knew it I was only getting in three training runs a week instead of the four that I had been so diligent about the first go around.

As the date of the second marathon drew near, I didn't even feel anxiety. It just felt very old hat and drudgery. Depressing, no?

I don't mean to come across all grouchy and grim. I WAS excited to do it because I would be running with my sister and in my hometown and seeing many friends and family members that I love. That part was going to be wonderful.

It was just the 26.2 miles of pounding on every joint in my body. The pain from the first one was too fresh in my mind.

Imagine having a beautiful baby after a long and painful birth. Then imagine walking out of the hospital, new baby in arms, knowing you're pregnant again and going to give birth in a mere four months. THAT'S about the closest analogy I can think of. You love your new baby and you're excited for the new new baby. You just aren't looking forward to the part where you get the baby here, especially where you aren't feeling completely healed from the first birth.

Anyway...this is turning into a very long and drawn out explanation of nothing more than a bad attitude. That's most likely what this boils down to: A bad attitude.

And runners are supposed to be so peppy...

Read on for a hopefully peppier description of race day.