A big part of my brain is still having trouble processing that the marathon is over. Heck, most of my brain still can’t quite wrap my mind around what my body did.

Before I get into what went down, if have to preface the story with one thing: I’m not totally thrilled with my results. (Downer of a preface, huh?) Let’s Tarantino that statement and get into what happened.

I promise there will be a post all about Paris this week, but for now all you need to know is that my luggage didn’t arrive until day four of our trip.

Admittedly, this upset me more than it should have. Fortunately, I had packed almost all of my running things in my carry-on, but I was missing my snacks and a few other details. Thanks to Diana, I was able to start the race with everything I truly needed, but I still felt a little off.

The morning of the race was gorgeous. Before noon, it was sunny and 65 degrees, which was lovely but also not conditions I was used to running in after our horrendous winter. What I’m saying is, I sweat a lot more than normal. And, for whatever reason, the marathon only had water stations every five miles or so, and I felt more dehydrated than I usually do.

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Also, without getting too gross, I started having a few stomach issues around mile eight. That’s when things fell apart for me a little. I had to walk a few times, and it wasn’t until a Powerade station around the midpoint of the race that I stopped feeling quite so depleted.

And the port-o-potties on the race? The people who used then before me were animals. I have never seen such revolting toilets in my life. (Okay, sorry, that’s gross.)(POOP EVERYWHERE. HUMAN FECES.)

Anyway.

My mile 16, things started to hurt. I was so frustrated because my two 20-mile runs had gone so well, and now I was facing the reality of plodding along for another ten miles in serious discomfort. But really, there was nothing else to do but plod along.

So I kept at it.

To their credit, the people who came out to watch were very kind. They would chant out your name (it was on my bib) and encourage you to keep going. So that helped.

In the end, my time was about four and a half hours, a half hour longer than what I was (quietly) hoping for.

There has never been a girl more happy to be sitting down.

There has never been a girl more happy to be sitting down.

Part of me wants to try again this fall on another course, just because I know I could do better. Part of me never, ever wants to do that again.

One thing I don’t think enough people emphasize when we talk about running marathons: It hurts. By mile 22, I swear I thought my feet were going to crack in half. At mile 24, if there had been a way for me to cheat to just make it end, I honestly can’t say I wouldn’t have done it. When I finally crossed the finish line, I burst into tears and couldn’t get it together for about 10 minutes. (The poor women handing out the t-shirts looked deeply concerned.) My legs (and back and obliques) burned for the rest of the night, and I couldn’t walk down stairs normally for about five days.

So the experience was less fun than I think I was expecting. But who knows — the human body can’t remember pain, so maybe I’ll feel up to it in another few months. (Maybe.)

After everything, I’m trying not to beat myself up about not having the best run ever. At the end of the day, I still ran a marathon, something I’m not sure I totally believed I could do until the second half of my training. The actual race, as well as the entire training process, has made me realize that my body is capable of so much more than I usually give it credit for. Another thing people don’t emphasize enough when we talk about running marathons? It’s a huge confidence boost.

Thanks so much to everyone who cheered me along during this whole process, especially my lovely running partner and darling husband who were there to (literally) support me at the end. I love you all.

Di and me

Di and me

4 Responses to I’m a Marathoner.

  • Greg Blanchard says:

    I really appreciate the additional detail. I had no idea regarding the additional obstacles you faced. Talk about “never quitting!” You really showed a lot of courage, stamina, and will power. I personally am thrilled by your accomplishment. On a personal note, I can actually understand the difficulty “walking down the stairs” thing. I helped your sister move into a 3 story walk-up Friday, and someday hope to be able to navigate stairs too! Love you!

  • Laura says:

    WOW such an accomplishment Justine! I have done a 1/2 marathon, but I can’t imagine doing a full. I just can’t wrap my mind around the distance of that. You are my inspiration. Congrats on finishing even though you hurt all over!
    Laura recently posted..High 5 for FridayMy Profile

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