I’m back from my 5 day marathon weekend! It has been too long and I’ve missed you guys! I have tons of blog reading to catch up on. I will be working the day away today and sipping on some coffee!
So let’s recap these past few days! Friday morning I was up bright and early to meet up with my girls at the airport. We had a quick layover in Cleveland before making our way over to Erie, Pennsylvania. The plane to Erie was one of those tiny propeller jets! We felt so V.I.P. In our tiny little G6.
Once we landed in Erie early afternoon, we met up with my friend Ann’s parents who showed us around their hometown! We got a cheerful little ‘Welcome to Erie’ greeting from the baby ducks.
Friday night was super low key and we went out for dinner at this adorable Italian restaurant. Delicious flatbread pizzas all around! We really enjoyed our lovely evening with Ann’s family who were super sweet and hospitable the entire weekend!
Our bellies were quite full and I rolled in to bed that night pretty early. Mission carb load accomplished!
Saturday morning we were up early to pick up our friend Sarah at the airport and head on over to the expo at Presque Isle where the race was being held. The expo was held outdoors on the camping grounds. They had booths where you could get your energy gels, t-shirts, shorts and whatever swag you needed. I loved the small race feel.
After picking up our swag we took some fun photos at the beach! Lots of jumping around and playing in the sand!
We had an early dinner and I loaded up on some shrimp pasta at Olive Garden. My trademark pre race meal.
Marathon day! We were up a little after 4 since we had to be at the race site before 5:30. It was a nice and breezy morning, close to 60 degrees and 80 something percent humidity. Not as cold and I would have wanted it (and definitely more humid than expected), but pleasant. Not much I could do about that. We did our porta potty runs and were at the start line just before 7 am.
I have to say for this race I did not have any hard nosed goals, and I knew I’d be running it with my girls so I wanted to go out, have fun and just run my little heart out. Sometimes, despite all of the long summer training and hard work that you put in, you never know how things are going to go when you get out on that course. At the start I felt kind of tired, but tried to keep my excitement and mojo up.
We took off and I started off a little faster than I wanted so I tried to reign it back in. I stayed at about a 9-9:20 pace for the first 6 miles. Feeling just OK. Not amazing. I stopped and had some water after a few miles and was just listening to music on my phone trying to enjoy the journey. I took a quick pic of the gorgeous sunrise that was greeting us good morning.
By about mile 7 I had split off from Sarah and Ann to grab some vaseline and put it in a place that I was experiencing some chafing. Ugh! Gotta love that. I thought about catching up with the girls as they were still in sight but decided to reign it back to a 9:30 pace. At about mile 8-9 the wheels started to really fall off. I was experiencing some freakish heel pain on my left foot…honestly that I’ve never felt before. It started affecting my stride and I had to start walking. Walking…really…not even at mile 10 yet? This was so frustrating and I almost started to cry. The pain was really uncomfortable. I whipped out my phone in desperation and called my mom at mile 11. I told her in between huffing and puffing through a jog…‘I can’t do this. I’m going to stop at the halfway point’. My sweet mother said a prayer with me while we were talking and that was honestly just what I needed for a head adjustment. I felt slow, I felt like the odd man out, I knew I would never catch up with my friends and they would beat me. I’m not used to being the slow one. All of these defeating thoughts circled around in my head. Somewhere along that course it stopped being fun and I started putting myself down.
When I saw the end of the first loop I had a decision to make. I could just stop right there. End it…finish in a little over 2 hours and call it a day and nurse my heel. Something inside of me took over and said…‘No, you came up here to finish your 7th marathon. Even if you have to walk/run the whole damn thing. Just do it. Do what you came here to do’. So, I did it…started in on the 2nd loop and just told myself…we’ll see what happens.
Somewhere along that 2nd loop I started to enjoy myself again. It was just me, by my lonesome. In that alone time I experienced some peace. Peace about this race, about not being perfect, the best, the fastest. Whatever. Just being in that moment and enjoying it for what it was. My heel pain faded away and I found my stride again. I started to pick up the pace and got a 2nd wind at about mile 20. More miles went by…I talked to the volunteers on the course who were super encouraging. I drank water and gatorade at every water stop. Just kept trucking. Mile 25 was a long stretch but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Then…that finish line. I literally broke down when I saw it.
I sprinted on in and kicked it up a notch. I had no idea at around what time I was going to finish. I did not care. I did not want to complete this race and wanted to give up earlier than I’ve ever wanted to give up. But guess what? I didn’t. I experienced the highs and lows. I went there and finished what I started.
So, not my best time. 4:37. Not my worst. But, I made it home.
I saw my friends and I cried some more. Those hugs they gave me in between my tears meant more to me than you can ever imagine. I got myself together for a quick group photo.
Welp, another notch on the belt. On to number 8 in 2014. And guess what, Houston? I’m going to make you mine.