26.2 — For guts, for glory, for beer!

It’s been just over two weeks since I completed my first marathon.  The soreness has subsided, the pain is nearly gone, my feet look like something out of a Saw movie, but I’m getting back into the gym and life is moving on.  It feels a little sad, to spend months training for this huge event and then to have it be over.  And the phrase, “Well, when I was running my marathon…” does have a shelf life, I gave myself a week.

It was an incredible experience though, like anything in life it had high points, low points, really low points, and incredibly high points.  I picked the VA Beach Yuengling Shamrock Marathon for three reasons: 1) I love Yuengling, 2) My East Coast family could all be there to cheer me on, 3) It preceded my 29th birthday by two days and I wanted to welcome the last year of my 20’s in a big way!

A few weeks before the big day I had a weird pain in my left leg, long story short I finally went to a doctor, was diagnosed with “Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome” and told not to run the marathon or maybe anything, ever.  I considered not running, but I’d come so far, and I wanted this so badly that I spent the last few weeks of my training resting and decided to take it slow changing my estimated finish from 4h30 to 6h.  Plus I was determined to have the “surprise finisher item” for my very own!

Here are some highlights and lowlights of the race!

  • Camp Pendleton – Best cheering section ever – they were over the top awesome and it was exactly what we all needed!
  • I know this whole Charlie Sheen thing is played out, but I stilled snickered at mile 7 when I saw the sign “Duh…Winning!”
  • Seeing my husband, MIL, and SIL at mile 12, they leapt off their bench “There she is!”, cheering encouraging and running alongside me
  • My hands were fuh-reezing, I stupidly passed my gloves to my husband at mile 12, making miles 13-16 unbearable – I scooped up some abandoned gloves and was in a much better place mentally
  • My dad was at mile 16, in true dad fashion told me to be careful and not hurt myself but that I was doing great
  • There were jokes on signs miles 16-19 – classics such as my favorite, “What happens to a leprechaun when he falls in the pond? He gets wet!”
  • Our names were on our bibs, such an awesome feeling to have someone you don’t know cheer you on by name
  • My mom and dad were waiting just before mile 21 on corner of the road leading to our rented beachside bungalow on Ft Story – I could have made a left and been on the couch with a beer in minutes.  Instead I accepted some IB Profen and encouragement in the form of words and a waving westie flag gratefully and pressed on
  • There was a guy running with an American flag who I overheard his response to an offer of help, “No thanks, I’ve been doing this since ‘98” Good for you sir!
  • My right foot was in agony so until my meds kicked in, I had to walk a bit miles 21-24.  It wasn’t my intention to walk at all, but it was the smart thing to, plus it was easier to drink the beer I got at mile 23 while shuffling along
  • I ran the looooong .2 miles at the finish to the cheers of my family, it was a wonderful blur and worth every euphoric/agonizing moment of the race for that medal/bottle opener
  • Meeting pal/guardian angel, Bob at mile 6 who encouraged me when he found out I was a “rookie”.  I saw him several times throughout the course, coming out of nowhere and he always greeted me by name with words of encouragement.  He was there at the finish too, and told me I wasn’t a rookie and anymore, and would be thinking of doing another in no time.

And damn if I haven’t been considering another one…sometime….maybe…in twenty years or so!  All in all, great experience, highly recommended, it took a lot from me, but it gave a lot too, and I feel so lucky to have had the support and encouragement from family and friends along the way that I did!  Thanks guys, I couldn’t have done it without you!

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention my time!  5:02:53!  I would have liked to have broken 5 hours, but I am pretty pleased with myself anyway 🙂

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