This was never [just] about the Marathon.
If you follow me on Instagram, or if you're a friend of mine on Facebook, you've probably seen my photos about running clog your feed from time to time (#sorrynotsorry). Well this past Sunday, 16 weeks of running, training and sweating culminated in a 26.2 mile run through the streets of Chicago, and it was amazing
When I first signed up to do this run, I didn't think it was going to be that hard. I thought that since I ran a half-marathon, and it went pretty well, that I would just train a little more and knock out the full (I know, I know). I was totally wrong. This was probably the hardest thing I've ever done, and I'm not talking about just the 26 mile run (although, that was hard as shit, but I'll get to that in a sec). I'm talking about the 16 weeks of Saturday morning long runs. Of waking up early to squeeze a run in. And making time to get a last-minute run in before dinner. They were never easy, but they made me a better runner!
Now, on to the actual race...
Even though I trained for so long, as race week approached, I started getting nervous about the 26.2. Every time someone asked me if I "was ready" my heart started beating a little faster and my response differed depending on the time of day. I didn't really know what to expect! Well, on Sunday, I found out. Running for 26 miles is hard. My longest run up to that point was 20 miles and I felt confident that I could make it that last 6.2 miles. Sadly, when I got there I my body started to break down and I began to struggle. For more than 6 miles, I ran through fatigue/pain, and the last .2 miles were even worse! I completely cramped up and froze just a few hundred meters from the finish. I've played sports all my life, and I have always been physically active, but I have never experienced a feeling like this. Where your mind is telling you that you have to finish this, but your body is refusing to cooperate. It was hard. And humbling. Incredibly humbling. In that moment, I felt like all the hard work I put it had failed me. It was so hard not to hang my head as my limp because far more noticeable. I was so disappointed. But after a few minutes of feeling sorry for myself, I realized that I was still so close to something incredible... Finishing a marathon! So I tired to pull it together and literally limped (and cried) my way to the finish line. And crossing that line was one of the best moments ever! Yes it hurt, but damn, it was worth every bit of it.
So long story short, I did it. I completed a marathon! It may not have happen in the time I wanted it to happen... but it happened! And I am proud of that.
I seriously couldn't have done it without my friends at NRC Chicago who me on track and pushed me along. I am also super thankful about EVERYONE who cheered me on, who send me words of encouragement and who contributed to my fundraising efforts (and your prints are coming, I promise)! You all made my first marathon very, very special, and I'll never forget that!