Rock 'N' Roll D.C.I never knew I could sustain so much joy through 26.2 miles, to say nothing that comes with the over-the-top elation of now being able to call myself a marathoner. I seriously had a BLAST, ankle injury and all. In fact, my little ankle injury barely even spoke up on race day (it’s yelling at me now, but that’s another matter). Rather than trying to fight the injury or any pain I may have felt, on race day I decided to take my friend’s suggestion and invite every doubt and pain I’ve had over the past months to come run along with me. And you know what? I overcame every doubt or fear I had leading up to this race!

My running cohorts and I arrived about an hour early and had time to gear check, use the porta potties TWICE (a miracle), drink some water and…the best part of all…enjoy some hand warmers! The small luxury of hand warmers before the start was heavenly at the time.

Before we knew it, we were off! My half-marathon time was 2:14! For slow little me, I was booking it! That’s my PR for a half-marathon, which was an accomplishment in itself. I knew I shouldn’t have had a time goal because I was going into this injured and it was my first marathon, but I wanted to finish in under 4:45, and I finished in 4:43! I am pretty proud of my legs and grateful for what my body can do. I know I will look back on this moment decades from now and be so glad I used my body this way when I had the chance.

I carry a water bottle when I run because I tend to get super thirsty from mile 10 on, and the volunteers at the water/Gatorade stations were amazing at pouring fluids directly into my water bottle for me. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s incredible to have that help when your mind and body are toast. The race volunteers and spectators were phenomenal, and all the aid stations were so well stocked. There were ample Gatorade cups and energy gels, and people could not have been nicer!

The actual race felt like a breeze until mile 15. At mile 15, things got moderately tough, but it was nothing I hadn’t experienced in my training runs. And then I saw some girl eating an orange slice that her boyfriend on the sidelines gave her, and I have never felt such envy in my life. I would have fought her for that orange slice.

Miles 21-23 were unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. I had to sing out loud and high-five everyone I passed, runners and spectators alike, just to keep my good mood going! The proverbial “wall” is real, but I climbed right over it. It sounds ridiculous, but it felt like I was leaving behind some weaker version of myself and replacing her with a much stronger version of me.

Miles 23-25 were made possible by thinking of Kieran, my speedy running friends who were already finished, and some
non-23-25 were made possible by thinking of Kieran, my speedy running friends who were already finished and some running friends who came to support me. I knew they were waiting at the finish, and…to be completely honest, I also really wanted brunch by this time! Knowing Kieran woke up super early and trekked across D.C. on her day off made me want to finish as soon as possible. Having people cheering for me at the finish was absolute perfection!

I think I passed 15 people in the last mile, when I turned my music off and really focused. I was giving it all I had left! It’s still surreal that after all these months of training, I get to say that I’m a marathoner now! I really feel mentally stronger than I have ever felt, even if I can’t walk downstairs or roll over in bed without wincing. I ran with two friends, and we all surpassed our goals! I had a private sob fest (a good one!) at the finish before meeting up with everyone…and then another sob fest once I saw everyone.

Will I run another marathon? Probably. But I can definitely say it will be quite some time from now. My body took a serious beating, and I need to show it some TLC and do some low-impact exercising (and lose the 10 pounds I’ve gained during marathon training, when all you can do is eat).

Runners are an inspiring breed.

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2 Comments Post your own or leave a trackback: Trackback URL

  1. I really enjoyed reading this. I am training for my first marathon (NYC) in November. I am not much of a runner so that has inspired me!

  2. suzannamm says:

    Thank you for the kind words! November in NYC sounds like a perfect time for a marathon. Let me know how it goes. 🙂

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