Mini Marathon Recap

I haven’t posted since just days before my mini marathon (and my 25th birthday), so you were probably justified in assuming I died during the race.

Surprisingly, I didn’t.

My dad gave me a few parting words of advice when he made his obligatory birthday call the Thursday before the marathon: “Good luck at the race. Hopefully I won’t be reading about you in the paper on Sunday.”

I’m surrounded by such love and support.

Well, since I’m alive and mostly well, it’s pretty obvious I survived my first half marathon. But I did more than just survive it, I dominated it. I didn’t dominate it because I got the most amazingly fast time (Quite the contrary, in fact. The winner of the full marathon, a 26 mile race, finished before me and my measly 13 miles), but I dominated it because I set out and did just what I wanted to do – I ran the whole dang thing without stopping or walking. Three cheers for accomplishing goals and other encouraging things of that nature! Hey-o!

And you know what? It was FUN. Like really, REALLY fun. Like, I had the time of my life and plan on doing this several more times before my knees give out and my legs snap off.

Funny, I was so concerned about not being able to finish the marathon it never occurred to me that I might actually enjoy myself while I was doing it. I looked to this event as a looming death sentence, an opportunity for me to fail. But really, this race proved to be an opportunity to succeed at something, and to really make me feel really good about myself.

And I do.

I finished the race in 2:38. My estimated time to finish was 2:35. I’m not too mad at the time, especially when you consider that there were some VERY steep hills on the course and I never trained on elevated surfaces and that I did a lot of clenching to keep my nervous bowels in check.

Speaking of hills, the course was beautiful. Most of it was through a small state park dotted with colorful fall trees. It was gorgeous. And we had perfect weather. It was almost too cold, but once our bodies were put in motion, it was very pleasant. I was worried I’d have to shed layers of clothes and toss shirts at strangers saying, “HOLD THIS FOR ME. MEET ME AT THE FINISH LINE. DON’T STEAL MY SHIRT”, but I never got that hot.

The whole experience was awesome. I almost got diarrhea peed my pants while I waited in my designated “corral” for the race to begin. There was so much excitement humming in the air, it felt electric. It was kind of intimading to be standing there alone without a racing buddy like most others seemed to have, but it was also a powerful reminder that this event was all me ... I only had myself to blame if I couldn't do it, and I only had myself to thank if I could do it.

I must say, running by a group of people holding out cups of Gatorade was a challenge I’ve never experienced before. I didn’t really sip my beverage so much as let it splash up my nose and splatter all over my face.

Gatorade is very sticky by the way.

I can be a woman and admit that as I ran past the mile 12 marker, I started crying (don’t worry, they were very manly tears). The race wasn’t over, but I knew that I made it. A herd of charging chickens, a freak tornado, Spencer’s flesh-colored beard, decapitation – nothing could keep me from finishing the race. It was honestly one of the proudest moments of my life. All of the sweat, all of the tears, all of the bruised toenails and chub run finally paid off.

And I totally photo-bombed an old guy as I crossed the finish line. I was so incredibly exhausted, so overwhelming exhilarated to be crossing the finish line, that I didn’t care to wait around for Mr. Dusty Bones to cross first. As he raised his arms in victory for the camera, I darted in front of him and stole his show. I actually felt really bad about it for awhile, but when they posted the pictures on line, he was smiling and I wasn’t blocking him … so there’s that.

I did it!

If you were sitting right next to me while I typed this entry, I would totally turn around and high-five you in victory. In fact, I might get up out of my seat and chest bump you … I’m still THAT excited about finishing my first mini.

^^Check out my thigh muscle of intense fitness!