“True happiness is not found in any other reward than that of being united with God.”
May 13, 2017….I finally settled my peace with my last marathon by doing another. I told myself that I would never do another marathon. I trained so hard for my last marathon…through -20 temperatures and being a single mom. I worked my tail off, only to have four cysts in my side that caused immense hip pain. I wanted to die at the end of my marathon. I got to mile 18 and it was over. When the 3:45 pacer came by, I knew my chances for a BQ were over.
I have been enjoying the simple day to day runs and focusing on life outside of qualifying for Boston. We get it in our head that we should run Boston. I do want to run Boston and I am sure I could have and still can at some point. No matter what I say I have done, people always want to know: “Did you run Boston?” I just simply look down and say, “no.”
It has been a long road for me both physically and mentally. I had a lot of knee injuries over the years and a divorce. I tried dating after divorce and I just ended up hurt again. I am happy to say that I am now remarried and have a wonderful husband. He supports me and is a runner himself so he gets the crazy when it comes to marathon training.
I also met my running buddy through Andrew. Jen and I run all the time on the weekends and we are both moms! We are used to getting up early and it is nice to have a good run in before ten! I do miss the days when I could sleep in and go for a run, but I think it is more rewarding to wake up and get it done!!!
So…a marathon…well not long ago, January 4, 2017 to be exact, we pulled the plug and registered for a marathon. This would be Jen’s second marathon and my fifth. I have never enjoyed a marathon and Jen was in cloud nine from her Rochester Marathon finish a few years ago. If I didn’t like Jen, I probably would never have done this! I tried training briefly for a marathon and I know it is a long road alone. I think part of me was scared and part of me was excited. Either way, I know I never would have been able to cross the finish line without Jen or Andrew…or Lilly.
We picked the Rhinebeck Hudson Valley Marathon because it was close by and not at the end of May. This race is also on a Saturday, which was the day before Mother’s Day…happy Mother’s Day to us lol!!!!
For ages it seemed, we got up early and ran. We love to go on the Erie Canal and to Green Lakes. We did some hills and even made it to the top of the world!!! This is a gigantic climb and we did not die. I was thankful because Andrew rode his bike and surprised us at the top. I was mean and stole his water!
A few 20 milers later…and some 15-17 mile runs…we ended up in Rhinebeck for the evening before our marathon. We went on a drive around the course and I wanted to cry. I love that it is a loop course because I could figure out where the hills were…but it was definitely hilly. The thought of doing the course twice scared me…but Jen and I went for a shakeout run and I forgot all about it while eating my chicken Parmesan and Samuel Adams.
The best part about this race is that it is at the fairgrounds and there is a big bathroom. There was absolutely no wait and it was pretty clean. However, it was rainy and cold. I had my water belt and fuel all ready but I had no idea what to expect. I learned that you should do a test run with your marathon outfit. The week before, I was at a wedding in Wisconsin so I did my final long run with my husband. I went with my blue Nike Pro shorts and my 3/4 crop Oiselle bra. I had my New Balance 1400V5 and blue Balaga socks. I put on my glovers and garmin 910X. Boom!!!!!!! It was showtime. My belt fell off, but I did not start the race yet so that was a plus!
Jen and I started out with the paceband and we felt pretty good. It was hard to slow ourselves down because everyone was passing and the instinct to pass kept coming!!!! However, I knew that going slower was a good thing and I am glad we did! We enjoyed running the first loop, except for the small uphill the marathoners had to take to add the .1 onto the race. The half marathoners turned left and went into the fairgrounds, but we had to turn right to go back to the loop again. The uphill was annoying and we turned around the cone…Then we went back to the main part of the course. I liked the downhill and the volunteers were amazing. I think the road flares scared me a little. I thought the rain actually helped me and the runners were super nice.
Being my fifth marathon, I learned that fueling and taking salt tablets are the most important things to consider during a marathon. I took salt tabs about one per hour and I had 3 packs of jelly beans and one pack of honey stingers. I like the pomegranate jelly beans with caffeine, but I also like the variety pack because the same flavor gets a little old after a couple hours. The honey stingers are pomegranate as well! My foot has been a major issue during marathon training so I put some Icy Hot on it and took some ibuprofen! This was amazing as well!!!!
After the first lap, Jen and I cam in at about 1:55 and some change. The pacer in me came out and I am sure Jen was annoyed!!! I said to Jen that we totally had this and we had about 5 minutes to bank. By mile 15 we had 7 minutes in the bank. The rain picked up and I was having trouble because my shorts were so sticky. My top was perfect, but the rain made me feel disgusting. The glovers were perfect, but I think I wiped my nose raw to be honest.
I felt bad because somewhere around mile 18, my heart took over and determination to finish just kind of captivated me. I did not stop and I no longer was with Jen. We talked about what we would do so I knew she would be fine. We had our sub four hour race in the bag so now it was just a matter of getting to the finish. When I got to the turn around I was so happy to see Jen!!! I was soooooo happy because she was not too far away and she was looking strong. It also helped to run into Andrew on the course with Lilly because they kept me going mentally. It was a small race so there were not a lot of spectators. I was too dazed to notice.
When I saw the sign that said mile 23, I was so excited…and tired. I just kept moving and it felt like I didn’t know what was going on! I just kept moving and I finally saw a few girls. I could hear a few guys talking behind me. They were into ultra marathons and I was jealous they could just carry on a conversation so far into a race. I caught up to the first girl and then felt bad for passing on mile 25. I passed the next girl and just didn’t look back. I could see the corner coming up, knowing I would not have to do another lap. It felt amazing to be able to turn left and I saw Andrew and Lilly. I turned left and it felt like forever before I got to the finish line. My foot began to throb, but it was my left foot. I did not stop and I just kept going through the finish line. The clock read 3:49:25! I was so tired I did not stop my watch just after finishing. The volunteers asked me if I was alright. I felt fine, but just super tired. I wanted a warm blanket and coffee. It was so hard to run 26 miles and not have coffee that day. I wanted to sit down but I was so wet and it was outside.
I wanted to look at my left toe because I knew there was a blister. However, all I could think about was Jen! Andrew, Lilly, and I waited for Jen. I was so happy to see her finish!!! We both reached our goals. Jen rocked the marathon with a 3:53:05. I remember joking around with her because she thought it was funny her plan said she could run a 3:53…it was just amusing that she came right in with her program goal time.
After Jen finished, we looked at the bagels and bananas. I ate a banana but Lilly was hungry and wanted a bagel. I got her a bagel but she wanted cream cheese. I had to walk my slow self back over to get some. Then we left for warmth lol. Jen and I wanted a shower more than anything. Poor Andrew! He is such a good sport. He looked up directions and we ended up at the Ulster YMCA. I had a membership and we begged for showers. It was the best shower of my life…I felt so much better after showering.
Andrew started driving and we ended up at a service plaza. By then, we would eat anything. We had Roy Rogers, which I have never had to my knowledge. I ate a chicken sandwich and some french fries. I was starving! I also had my Starbucks coffeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!
It is hard to move on after completing a marathon. This was the first time I ever felt wonderful running a marathon. I think because I ran with Jen and I had such good support it was impossible to fail. I could not let anyone down. I worked so hard for this. Andrew, Jen, and Lilly helped me out so much it would have been devastating if I did not do well. I think no matter how much doubt I had the day before, looking at the course, it was just meant to be a good day. I finally knew what it was like to be on “cloud 9!”