I've never been so disciplined about anything in my whole life as marathon training. In the month of February, I logged over 125 miles ... and way more than I'm willing to admit were done on the treadmill.
I owe a humble thanks to the treadmill, which I will do now.
I've always hated you, calling you the dreadmill and other dirty names. I still don't like you, but without you, I might have had to run out in the cold dark all alone. So thanks for being my friend when I didn't want to be yours.
Ok. That's out of the way. Y'all, the marathon was actually...FUN! The fun started thursday night and went all the way through monday.
I am overwhelmed by the generosity of our friends and families. We raised nearly $9000 to send 26 Nepali girls to school for one year. Anything over our original goal of $7800 will go to sponsoring the girls for additional years of schooling. Seriously, friends, THANK YOU.
Erin Leigh and I also grew much closer during the whole process of fundraising and training. She has helped me see the value of dreaming big and reaching for the impossible. We had an amazing time together, both running and goofing off (read: quoting SNL to each other).
In February, I started referring to the marathon as our baby, due on March 17. Erin-Leigh (EL) was the dad, because she talked me into it. The analogy worked perfectly. One big reason for that is women have multiple children because they don't remember the pain of childbirth, but only the joy the experience. The same with marathons. My guess is that people run multiple marathons because they only remember the best parts. Also, my labor only lasted less than 5 hours. Not bad, eh?
The race itself was fantastic. The weather was perfect. My dad and his girl friend Andrea came to see me at 6 places on the course (miles 1, 4, 8, 12, 18, and 25)! My friends Angela, Jill, Zoe, and Kyle were at other places on the course cheering me on too! Also, 1027church worked a water station right after mile 19. They cheered loud and proud for me, which obviously caused me to burst into tears. I nearly to forgot to get water from them. I was so thankful.
Here are things I ate during the marathon: jelly beans, clif bar energy gels (black cherry flavor), oranges, 1 GU energy shot, gummy bears, oreos, and m&m's (see EL's instagram about the m&m's).
The hills were a-plenty on the course. Two of the biggest were on East Lake Drive and Lullwater Road. They were pretty merciless. However, a few nights before the race, I learned a great mental trick from my new friend Shara. When I come to the bottom of a hill, I say to myself, 'self, this is a 200 second hill....200, 199, 198..." I count backwards all the way down, keeping my brain occupied, hoping that by the time I reach zero, I will have reached the top. This worked wonders during the race. I only stopped to walk during the water stations and once for like 25 yards around mile 23.
By the time I made it to un-chartered territory (mileage wise, I had only gone to 21 in my training), I was feeling ok. I was the most tired in peidmont park. My feet hurt pretty badly, and the downhills hurt just as much as the uphills. But I knew I had only about 4 miles to go, which I can do in my sleep. Also...I knew those m&m's were at mile 25. By mile 25, I felt much better and knew I could finish. I just wanted to keep running the entire time.
My friends Tabi and Tammy were at the finish line cheering for me at the finish, Tabi holding an amazing sign which she had made (like, with her bare hands...she made it. See below). I crossed the finish line. In 4:56:58. (I used the restroom 2x during the race...so we might say that it was in the neighborhood of 4:50). My aunt and two cousins also came to meet me at the finish line!! I was so thankful for the outpouring of love and support during this whole journey!
I walked back on the course to a few blocks before the finish line to wait for Erin Leigh, so I could finish alongside her. This was one of the moments in life I hope to never forget.
Never say never, y'all.