Sunday, May 17, 2015

26.2

It has clearly been forever since I have written anything
but with Jack and I moving in the next few weeks
and everything else that has been going on
I really want to get back into it!

So yesterday I completed my second full marathon!
It was a TON of hard work, but honestly well worth all the pain and tears.
Seeing my sweetheart and family at the finish line cheering me on
and the satisfaction that comes with working incredibly hard to achieve a difficult goal
is something I can't begin to explain
but once you've done it... you'll know exactly what I mean :)
it makes it all worth it


All week (especially yesterday) I was trying so hard to remember my experience the first time around, but since I didn't document it very well... 
I have forgotten majority of the details..
So I am taking the time to write down everything I remember
so that next time I decide I want to run 26.2
I will have something to reflect on 

I really started training for the race about 5 months ago 
Jack was so awesome at helping me stay motivated 
he is extremely dedicated to going to the gym every single day
so it really helped me to get out on every run
not just the long ones :)


Training was full of a lot of successes, but I am not going to sugarcoat it...
It was really hard.
surprisingly I was running a lot faster than I ever have, 
so I started to get competitive with myself
which was both good and bad
running was a lot harder that's for sure!
and I was sore a LOT
and I got heinous blisters
at one point I had 10 on each foot!
which eventually turned into ugly calluses 
and I was stressing my poor knees so I spent the majority of evenings icing them...
but I was also finishing my long runs 20-40 minutes faster than last time
so that became a little addicting
and I started eating wayyyyy healthier than I ever have
because my body just craved it!
I even gave up sugar for an entire month!! 
just because!
(blew it yesterday when they gave me Sweetish Fish at one of the aid stations)

I did two 20 milers
the first was awesome! 
I was really happy with it
but that's kind of where my successes ended...
Every run after that was a struggle
for some reason my legs felt like they weighed 900 pounds 
and I couldn't lift them
a 4 mile run was taking me 45 minutes 
and I would get home and be so upset
After your last 20 you start to taper your weekend long runs
so I had a 12, then an 8, then the marathon
all of which were heinous

As you can imagine race week I was absolutely terrified
Thank goodness for sweet hubbys who care about the things you care about
because I think he had to talk me through the race every night this week
and remind me of all the successes I had had early on

Yesterday my wakeup call was 3:30
my uncle Joey was planning on running the 1st half and my uncle Matt was running the 2nd half
so Joey picked me up and we got to hang out together all morning waiting for the race
we got to the starting line at about 5:15 with the race scheduled to start at 7:15
Luckily it didn't start raining until I hit mile 1
but oh boy did it rain!
it seriously POURED!!
and it was really cold.. and windy...
someone said her watch read 38 degrees.....
at one point, I kid you not, it started snowing
but Joey and I decided to pretend it was ash from the fire...


(to document the terrifying storm we were about to run into...
and the only time we saw the sun all day)

My cute fam was cheering me on at the 7 mile aid station
I was so happy to see them! It really kept me going ;)
I placed myself between the 3:45:00 and 4:00:00 pacers
pretty reasonable
 my goal was just to finish in under 4 hours
22 mins off my last time

the first 9 miles went pretty well..
but by mile 10 I could feel about 2 inches of water squishing in my shoes
 and it was all I could think about until 13
after 13 I was just so happy to be counting down rather than up
from 13-18 I just sang music and tried not to think about how cold I was
but mile 18 is where the canyon starts 
and the icy wind was really killing my face 
so I had to stare at the ground praying my contacts wouldn't just pop out
this was also about the time I was ready to stop running
in my head I knew I could make it to 22 because that's where the canyon ends
and majority of this section is down hill
but it was a really long four miles...


after 22 I was honestly sooooo tired
and I had to keep moving my fingers because they were so numb
this is where you start winding through the park and people start lining up
everyone is so sweet and so supportive
I couldn't make eye contact with anyone though because I would get super choked up 
and cry a little....
not good when you need every last ounce of air your body is willing to give you...

The next three miles were honestly horrible
It was such a mental game at this point
My legs felt detached from my body
but somehow kept moving...
My mind would wander to
"okay, if I stopped running for 30 seconds I only lose about a minute of my time...."
but the legs knew better...
once you stop... going again is 10 million times harder

strangely enough 25 was the hardest mile of the whole race....
I knew the finish line was 7 blocks away 
I mean I could see the flipping sign! 
Yet I was choking on every breath. 
The rain was still pouring
and every block seemed longer than the next
This woman running near me said 
"we've got this girl, only 6 more blocks"
which helped
for about 30 seconds
5 blocks out my sweet uncle Joey came into sight 
he saw me and just hopped right in and started running with me 
cheering me on
I of course got SUPER emotional at this
but honestly he was my saving grace and ran the next 3 blocks with me
telling me how proud he was and that I was going to make it in under 4 hours
then we saw the fam and he let me finish the last 2 blocks solo


As I crossed the finish line I saw my sweet hubs who hugged me while I cried for a bit
 then my daddy
(who, might I add, spent his whole birthday cheering me on)
as I choked on my tears for the next 5 minutes everyone ran over and hugged me
it was honestly one of the best moments in the world
like I said there is no way to describe it
you are just so proud of the work you put in, and you feel so powerful and alive, and so loved 
and you're so proud of everyone else who did it with you and is feeling the same thing
it's why I love it
it's a crazy thing, but it's also really wonderful
so let's be real... it was really hard.. and cold.. but it was also really amazing :) 
and I definitely think anyone who has any ounce of a desire to run a marathon
should.




xoxo,

Ash