Looks lime I never posted this.... Better late then never right?
Wow, 10 marathons.... I almost can't believe it. I spent the last few miles of the Erie marathon holding in all my emotions. I didn't want to have an ugly cry face as I crossed the finish line! I was also in pain as I was dealing with some hamstring tightness that has plagued me for the last couple months.
During 26.2 miles, you have a lot of time to reflect. This race was perfect for reflection too. The race course consists of 2 laps around Presque Isle State Park. The marathon begins 30 minutes before the half marathon. The course is pretty vibrant for the first lap. My spirits are flying high as I chatted with other runners. The volunteers at the water stops were working hard and full of energy.
Then the second loop starts.... There are a lot less people out on the course now. The volunteers are starting to feel the early morning wake up call and have lost some of their energy. They still have lots of encouraging words and those do mean a lot. Most of the other runners aren't chatting anymore. It is just you and your thoughts. I had made the decision to speed up my pace after the first lap and start 'picking off runners'. This was my attempt to keep my mind in the game.
That lasted until mile 22. For anyone who has run a marathon before, Mile 22 is when your body starts to hate you. My hamstrings were so tight and my stride had shortened significantly. My mind and body were in a constant fight over whether to run or walk. I kept telling myself that I just needed to keep running. I was allowed to walk through the water stops because at this point I couldn't drink and run.
This is where the reflection starts. Why didn't I train more? Why did I think I could actually PR today? Why do I do this? I'm not even GOOD at running! Wow this is going to hurt tomorrow... That is when I have to dig deep. I remember telling some of my fellow runners as I passed them (yes I was still trying to 'pick off' runners) that we were almost to the finish line and this was the time to dig deep. But what does it mean to dig deep? What is motivating me to push through all this pain and keep running?
I want to be strong.
I want to inspire others.
I want to do something impactful.
I want to look back on my life and be proud.
I'm doing this for those who can't. For those we have lost and for those who are still fighting the terrible disease of cancer. I'm willing to push past my comfort zone and keep fighting even when my body doesn't want to. I want others to know that anyone can complete a marathon and that we will find a cure for cancer. Those all all the things that help me push through those last tough miles.
At this point, I'm close to the finish line. I see my cheering squad and I'm throwing my hands in the air as I cross the finish. It wasn't the PR that I hoped for. But it was a gorgeous day and a fantastic race. This race definitely taught me a lesson or two along the way. I'm proud of my performance and I'm SO VERY grateful to have the opportunity to do what I do every day.
"Unless a you faint, puke or die, keep going" - Jillian Michaels
#10 is in the books and #11 is 32 days away.