A line in one of my favorite songs is "I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places that this world could give. And with every broken bone, I swear I lived." and when I crossed that line that is exactly how I felt! I lived! I lived my ass off Sunday and I surely couldn't have done it alone! I know that I tend to be gushy but Sunday I felt like royalty! This experience was life changing. 26.2 miles can do that to a girl!
I can't go on enough about how awesome it was to be picked as an ambassador for the marathon! I know, I know, you have heard it before but my goodness these people are so uniquely talented and have such drive and passion for running. And boy, can they build a girl up! I was honored to be a part of such a group and know I have made some very special friendships that will continue for a long time! We will just have to get together and drink some Tito's right!? Tito's was an awesome sponsor of the race and I was pretty pumped to find a bottle to try in the swag bag!
So these peeps.... You need to follow them if you haven't already on Twitter, Facebook and IG! They will motivate you and heckle you if you don't respond after a few hours! But, all in good fun!
On Saturday I went to the expo to explore. It was great! I met up with the Boom! people! My girl Debi is an ambassador and introduced me, I didn't want to switch up my fuel on race day, but I bought some and I might be switching! I also got my nails done (thanks Stephani for the heads up). I met up with a few of my ambassador friends, had my running form analyzed, and met the car sticker guy! Because after I ran this Sunday, the first thing I did at home was pop that sticker on my car!
So the expo was super fun and then I had a nice carb fueled dinner with my cousins Jay and Leslie and Uncle Jim!
We had a fun evening and then settled down for a good nights sleep! But not before some more crazy pictures! I even taught Leslie about the whole flat runner thing! I think we nailed it!
Fast forward a good nights sleep and it was race day!!! OMG, wha!?! I honestly couldn't even believe that it was finally here! When I talked Lynanne into running a whole, it was back in October and I never really thought the day would come! But here we were, same as the last year. Driving from Leslie's house towards downtown, and somehow it looked less scary! I kept telling myself to "trust my training" and know it was going to be awesome no matter how long I took out there!
We got downtown and parked just in time to zip over to the start line and meet up with my ambassador peeps! I was so excited to see them and wish them all good luck!
They are great!!!!
Then we have some quick hugs and high fives and split off to get ready for the start! I met up with my work running coach Tim! He's totally the one who told me that I could do this, a year ago I would have NEVER believed that I had this in me!
From then on, things went fast. We went to our corral and heard the national anthem and boom, we were running. Tim ran the first two marathon miles with me and I'm so glad for that. It felt kind of like any other race. I wasn't as emotional at the start as I was thinking I might be, so I just kept moving along. Another work running buddy Ryan ran by about mile 3 and gave me a high five! It's always so fun to see people you know in these huge races! The miles kind of ticked by one after the next and I was feeling good. Before I knew it I was passing the 10k mark! Then I heard my phone chirping, the people who were tracking me were texting in after I crossed the first tracking spot.
And then I just kept going, slowing down intentionally because I wanted to pace myself a little. But more miles zipped by and I was having a good time! I loved interacting with the spectators! Nothing beats a high five from a kid!
The first real moment of doubt is when the half marathoners split right and I felt like I was going left with maybe 5 other people. I just kind of thought "oh man, this is it". So I walked a little and kept running. One thing I should have done more consistently is the walk run method I used in training. But I also knew how exciting the race is and I couldn't bare to walk when I felt like running. After a few lonely miles in marathon path I was excited to get onto the main stretch again!
I burst into tears when I saw my friends waiting for me with signs at about mile 14!
It was just what I needed to see, four smiling faces telling me to keep going and that I was doing great! And the signs were hilarious!!!
It was incredible!!! Susannah is the girl who got me to run my first 5k about 5 years ago! She is the most motivating friend!!! Lynanne is my running bestie and without her I highly doubt I would have run this marathon! And Tonia is the bees knees, she gets me and that isn't always easy! She brought her little man Brett with her too, he's hilarious!
By this time, I was obviously quite emotional and it was pretty hot out there! I was double fisting drinks at each fluid station. By mile 16 I saw my friend Amy that I had worked at loft with years ago! We have been Facebook friends but haven't seen each other in at least 8 or 9 years and ( you guessed it) I bawled again like a baby! I just can't even explain how amazing it is to see people you know when you are out there! Thank you Amy for the sign and for waiting for me! It made a world of difference to keep going!
Also, on this stretch I saw some of my super speedy ambassador friends run by! Andrew, Jess, and Pam all zipped right on by and it was fun to cheer on peopLe I knew! Then Tim ran by too! He shouted "too legit to quit" so I kept moving.
In another mile or so I saw the 17 and 18 mile markers and I knew I was getting close to the turn around! Uncle Jim was waiting for me to walk with me for a minute and then met me after I did the turn around too! Then I saw my cousin Jay snapping some pics at about 18 and I kept moving!
I was still running a decent amount at this point and knew that the sweet mile 20 was approaching! On the way to 20 I saw my friend Amy again and then Susannah! It was great!!! And I didn't even cry this time!
But by mile 20, I was feeling quite sore and tired, so I would run a song and then walk one. I kept this up for awhile, but wasn't ashamed because pretty much everyone around me was in the same boat. But seeing mile 20, I knew I could do it! I even took a picture to remind me of this moment.
So it was quite slow going after 20. I kept telling myself that "pain is temporary" and somehow I found myself on the shore way at mile 25!!! 25 miles!! I knew I could do it but wow! I had another moment when I saw a volunteer picking up cups. He said " good job" and I lost it. He was very nice and I explained that I just couldn't believe that I was actually doing this right now. It was just something that I will always remember. As I neared the end I chatted with a few runners that seemed to be dying on the vine like I was and I convinced someone to run in the last quarter mile with me. We slowly ran down the last little stretch of highway into the city and spotted the flags and I knew I was home free! We kept moving until I spotted Leslie waving to my mom who had my Ryan waiting to run the last few steps with me. I knew that he would think it was cool to cross the finish line with me epically since we share a love of chocolate milk! He was pretty excited and I'm so happy that we were able to share that moment together! I didn't loose it like I thought I might, but I think it's because right at that end I switched back into mom mode. But it was incredible!! The whole 26.2 were awesome. And even when I was moving slow and could barely run I had the perma smile that I just couldn't shake!
I PR'd! Obviously because it was my first while marathon, but I am pretty proud of my time! I was hoping to get in under 5 hours, but I don't care! The heat was crazy and I did it and that is all that counts. 5 hours and 17 minutes of glory is pretty great to me!
And then we celebrated and took a million pictures! Of course mom had glitter!
And she made a really cool poster for Ry to hold!
And dad painted a cowbell to look like the metal! He's so talented!
And then pics with all of my peeps ensued.
It was kind of the best! I don't think I have ever felt more supported and loved! And then at home I pulled into this!
We had a nice home cooked dinner and cake and I got to re create the finish again with Jack and Ryan!
The last two days have been a whirlwind and I have learned to always take the day after a marathon off!
I still can't believe I ran a marathon!
Thanks to all of the other ambassadors and the Cleveland marathon for being so great! And to my amazing support of friends and family! Muah!!! Big hugs and kisses because this is for you! I could have never done this without all the love and support!