How NOT to run a marathon

I consider myself a pretty wise and fairly practical person, sometimes.  So when I was asked “You want to run the Shamrock with me?” my first response was nope.  I’d run the Shamrock and being the snob I am, the medals did nothing for me.  But, I reconsidered because I’m all about challenging myself nowadays.  I don’t know how many years I have ahead of me and while running 26.2 miles has never been on my radar, my curiosity was peaked so I re-tracked and said yes.

I will post a video of some of my adventure but lets just say, not training and when I say not training, long runs in marathon training are double digits and I’m talking in the 20s. My longest run to date was maybe 7-8 miles.  Yeah, I wasn’t pressed, see I DON’T LIKE running.  I do it because I can, period.  That and the fact that unlike changing a tire, you can know how to do something but have someone do it for you, I’m perfectly capable so not too many people will run for me.

My run partner left me.  It’s no big deal, I expected it.  I already knew, despite her constant barrage of I’m not going fast, blah blah blah.  NO worries, I was running my own race.  When I hit the 13.1 mark, I was ready to go.  Not because I was hurt but because I was bored.  Yeah, I had music and even when me and my run partner were together, we didn’t talk that much (that is annoying) but my mind was telling my body there were other things we could be doing but my body fought back, so onward we went.  Prior to getting to the 13.1 mark (I NEVER say HALF) I met a woman names Shayla from DC.  She walked with me a bit but then she too power-walked off.  I saw her standing on the side at the 13.1 mark, she tapped out, her legs were done.  I wished her well and trudged on.  Some of the 26.2 runners were heading to the finish and they were all so encouraging.  Seems I was kinda the last runner.  The police car was following me.  At first I felt shame but them I felt like a rock star.  As long as I stayed ahead, I was on pace to finish.  Here’s when the fight started.  VA is for Lovers and we LOVE the military here.  Problem is that if your race is over say 10 miles and held at the beach, you are going to go on a base.  Well, the base closed it gates to the public at 1:34pm and my numb toes were being resistant and I wasn’t going to make it.  I had 2 hours and 5-plus miles to go (as per my garmin) 6 miles according to the markers but I digress.  I was totally going to finish.  6  miles – 2 hours, I got this, even with the numb toes but alas, it was not meant to be.  I missed the gate cutoff and the guy was so sweet about it.  He seemed really bummed but I wasn’t.  I had just done 21.648 miles (my official garmin data) in 5 hours WITHOUT TRAINING.  Now I’ve been training for other things but let’s be real, I don’t like running so it ain’t high up on the list.  I did it to see (1) what the hype was about and (2) would my mental toughness last.

I get the hype. Being on your feet for 26.2 miles is amazing.  I’ve always had mad respect for people who do them but the level of respect went a little deeper today.  The mental toughness, oh yeah, it’s there.  It shows up when it needs to and you don’t even have to ask.  There were times I would look at the overcast sky and close my eyes and walk.  I was unafraid of falling or tripping because I was walking in grace.  I had no runner’s high or nothing like that but I was overwhelmed with the number of high fives I received as I kept trudging along to Shore Drive.  1 mile at a time is all you can do and that is what I did.  When my toes (left foot) came back to life (damn you piriformis) my right calf took over and began to whine with tightness.  I increased my water and did a regular run and it seemed happy.  All was going well but I was quite a ways away from the gate and forge on as I might, I just didn’t make it.  The courtesy vehicle came for me and another runner (it was her first attempt to and her run partner left her too – completely ok) so we all happily boarded the van, quite proud of our achievements.

Here’s the thing about getting a ride. Once you stop, it is soooo hard to start back.  We had 2 options (1) get dropped of at 80th street leaving 3 miles  to finish or be taken back to the start/finish line.  They chose to do the final 3 miles, I chose to go home with my victory.  For me, if I crossed the finish line, I technically didn’t finish and since the finisher gift was a beach towel (yeah, I really didn’t want that) I was ok with my own personal victory.

Getting off the van proved to the be hardest part of the race.  Sitting down, my body went into relax mode.  I did my best Fred Sanford imitation getting off the van.  I’d never been so glad to see a pair of flip flops and a bottle of chocolate milk in my life.  I was sad that I didn’t finish but I learned much about myself.  That I am really lazy, mentally when it comes to running.  It’s boring so need distractions.  I do better running with someone.  My run  junkie buddy Tracy is the only person who has ever truly run with me.  We had a nice run and I didn’t get bored.  We didn’t talk we just ran.

I don’t recommend you follow me lead.  I’m not the best conditioned athlete but I am RAW so I have an advantage.  I am a Real Athletic Woman because the effort I put forth was real.  Didn’t matter that I DNF.  I’m superficial with races, the medal has to be nice and the finisher gift has to be something I’d want.  There are some medals and finisher gifts that I may have gritted it out for but again, I was ok with what I had.

Will I attempt another? I don’t know.  Run Junkie Evans talked me into getting into the Chicago Marathon Lottery.  If we both get it, it will be a fun race, I would probably train for it but this race today showed me that Size Matters Not.  I am a Real Athletic Woman.  RAW is REAL.

As I rode by the remaining runners, I could see the fatigue, hurt, stiffness and body betrayal taking place.  It is a humbling and heart tugging thing to see but it is the humanity at it’s best.  Strangers fighting and encouraging each other, willing each other to go the distance.  Some made, some did not but those who did not, the feat is not diminished.  They are warriors, they go hard.  They (and myself included)  fought the good fight, we kept the face and some of us finished that race.  Those of us who didn’t finish that race we are winners too because we fought the good fight and we always kept the faith.

I read a post that said (and I’m paraphrasing) If you need someone to motivate you, if you need someone to push you then you don’t want it bad enough.  I disagree because we all need a cheerleader.  If we didn’t we wouldn’t feel the need to post things on FB, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler, etc.  Sharing equals encouraging and yes, sometimes you have to encourage yourself but just because you may require some external encouragement every once in a while does not mean you don’t want it bad enough.  Besides, we never really do anything alone.  Jesus is always there, always encouraging so we shouldn’t be too quick to take credit for his work.

I’m still blown away by the fact that I did that distance without having properly trained and aside from the sore legs, I’m doing fine.

I applaud and celebrate people’s achievements because it’s important to them and if you are in my life, then you are important to me, even my FB friends who aren’t really my “friends”.

21.648 miles.  I may rise slowly (due to stiffness) but still, I rise. And that saying about if you still look good at the end of your workout then you didn’t work out hard enough is, IMHO complete BULL.  Prettiness, IMHO never takes a back seat.  I refuse to buy a busted race photo.  #poseforthecameraNowClickClickClick  I worked out hard and was cut at the end, thanks to face wipes and Baby Lips.  Real Athletic Woman:  MY Real, not yours!

What ails ya?

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