Yep. You read that totally right. I've been keeping a secret:)
Yesterday I did this
(If it looks like I'm dying, it's because I'm trying to get over to the grass so I wouldn't puke on the finish line:)
I ran the First EVER Kalamazoo Marathon.
After changing from the full marathon to the half marathon after my accident and surgery, I was unable to train for a full marathon. Nicole decided that she would change to the half with me, and we were going to run for fun!! Our maniac status would just have to wait.
I answered the phone Thursday night to an excited Nicole...
N: "dude. I think I'm going to run the marathon. It's the first. The shirts are sweet...so are the medals."
E: "we haven't trained. (seriously, the longest run I've been on since October was 10 miles last week, and a total of 30 miles for the entire month of April)...but if you're manning up, I want to, too!!"
Excited squeals...now, I know this may seem like a really stupid idea, but this race was going to be different because I wasn't going to be really "racing" it...I simply wanted to finish. We decided we weren't going to tell anyone until we toed the start line on Sunday.
We headed to K-zoo Saturday to pick up our race packets rocking our Poser shirts (as we were posing as 1/2 marathon runners:) where we met The Dawn...we had to tell her our decision since we would be picking up our bibs from the marathon line.
We couldn't stop giggling...I know it seems crazy but I was so calm and relaxed about this race. After my disastrous race in Long Beach, this one was so different because there were no time goals or expectations. I was running this for fun!! And the look on our friends faces were pretty epic when we revealed our little secret!
Kalamazoo has a pretty amazing running club...and lucky for Nicole and I one of my best friends and roommate from college and her husband are a part of it! So Saturday night we went to Jiggby's house for Pasta Palooza...and it was so fun to hang out and meet a bunch of people who would be running the next day! Jiggby, by the way is the most amazing wife of a marathon runner, who had shirts made for "marathon widows and their children" and sets up our own water stations at mile 7 and 21. We gave her our beverages and discussed gatorbombs (have you tried this???) and headed home to get our nails painted and ready for race day.
Woke up feeling rested and relaxed. Excited. A smidge of nervousness, but eh, who wouldn't be. Got dressed and headed over to a running club members house to walk to the start line. The weather was perfect. The sun was peaking out. Here's our group getting ready to head to the start line...
when Nicole and I decided we should go to the bathroom...but the lines were super long:( In the chaos of this, I lost Tonya and her running group (which run 10:30's) and I had planned on running this race with them. Oh god. I start panicking a little and Nicole reminds me, I ran the last one alone, just enjoy it!! Got it.
My goal today. Only positive self talk. No negative thinking.
I'm pretty close to the 4:45 pacer and I fall into stride with their group. The chic leading this group is hilarious. She was a stand up comedian at one point in her life, and she was cracking jokes along the way. I thought it was awesome that they were dedicating every mile to something/someone. When they hit the mile marker, they would ask for the next dedication. I decided if I was still with them at 24, I would ask that they dedicate that mile to EMZ who recently ran for 24 hours!! If I weren't with them, then hey, I would run that mile for her by myself. They slowed down at the first water stop, but I kept going knowing they would catch me soon enough.
At mile 2 I found one of my mantras for the day:
What lies ahead of you is nothing compared to what lies within you. You got this. Yea, YOU DO!
I loved this. After being on pace for the first 5 miles, I had to stop at mile 5.5 when a runner right in front of me tripped and went crashing face first into the cement. It was so scary. He was so out of it and I stayed with him for 2 minutes until a trainer got there and an ambulance was called. I took off again and was right back on pace. At mile 7 we ran down a long stretch of flat boring road. I was still feeling great and decided to put my music in at this point...when I saw Jiggby!! She's like here's your drink...I said perfect timing, I was really needing a salt tab!! It was wonderful seeing her there! At mile 8, I turned the corner to face this beast
one of the 3 big hills on the course. I decided I wanted to stay on pace as long as I could and I was still feeling amazing...so I powered through it for a 10:17 mile. WIN!
I started feeling a little tired around mile 12 and slowed my pace just slightly...up until this point I had only eaten some jelly beans (tropical starburst, yum!) and gum. Plus I had eaten 3 salt tabs.
Quick side point: I was reading right before this race about fueling. Since I didn't train or try fueling before this race, and I had SOOOO much trouble with my stomach in Long Beach, I was leery of eating Gu again. The article I read said to only eat salt tabs and drink gatorade...what do you think of this??
Back on track: I did have a Chomp with me and decided to suck on it for a minute. After 2 minutes of sucking, I puked it up in my mouth and said, enough of that, I'll stick to my jelly beans. I managed to keep around 11:30 pace from mile 12-17.
And I'm still soaring because I can't believe I'm still feeling this amazing (tired, but mentally amazing) and that I'm running and it's beautiful and the crowd is great!! At mile 18, I hit that point...but just kept telling myself, if I push through I will feel better. My last race I ran the end of it with Maritza and she told me then "it's all going to hurt at this point, just keep going..."little does she know, she was right there talking me through 18-20. Thank you Maritza!! One of the amazing crowd supporters was cheering for me and said looking good, and even though I was tired, I smiled at him and said, "it's a beautiful day for a run!" AND I BELIEVED IT!! Around 19 Tonya caught up to me (yea!!) and we got to chat for a minute. This is also where I took a drink of gatorbomb (redbull and gatorade)...which I felt good with, but the taste was kind of...eek.. Reminded me too much of redbull and vodka:) At mile 21, our special water stop with Jiggby was so wonderful!!! She hooked us up with cold drinks and positive words...just what I needed!!
Off we set to finish up the last bit. I'm not going to lie. I was tired. My feet were hurting. But I was soooo happy. Mile 24 I ran for EMZ and all the women and kids of the Sojourner Center. We ran through a park which was pretty, and I breathed in the smells and enjoyed the views. Even when I turned the corner and saw the biggest hill ever at mile 25, I kept pluggin away. Walk, jog, walk, jog, walk, jog. Push. This was the only point in the course where I said f*ck. Quickly, I changed my tune to "I freaking got this." (thanks EMZ).
Before I knew it, I was counting down laps...3...2...1...there's the finish line. Holy hell, I may beat my Long Beach time by a minute if I kick it in. I started to run as fast as I could. My fastest moving pace from jorge told me I finish the last 300 yards or so at a 8:06 pace. Guess there was a little kick left! I was so happy because Nicole was standing right there waiting for me. I managed to finish!
Chip Time: 5:19:19
A new PR? With no training? And I feel amazing when I'm done? And a little sore today, but not really that bad?? WTH???
I did toss my cookies after I finished, but sat, drank a bottle of water and felt...amazing. Grateful. Happy:)
BEST RACE EVER!!!!
We went back, changed, grabbed our bags and headed to Red Robin!! Yuummmm!!!
I wish it would have been a little cooler because I would have LOVED to sport my 26.2 in Kalamazoo Race jacket! Isn't it sweet??
This race was the best race of my running career, and was the PERFECT way to wrap up my first year of running!!! I love how it has come FULL circle and I have now found a passion for something I used to hate!! I could have never done it without the support of my family, friends, or my bestest RB ever!!
Hope you all had an amazing weekend! What did you do for mothers day??