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I’m a Marathoner Now.

November 16, 2016

I did it. I ran a marathon. This past Sunday, November 13, 2016, I ran the Bucks County Marathon, in 5 hours, 22 minutes, and 39 seconds.

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It was the best of runs and the worst of runs.

Up until I crossed the starting line, I was having doubts about doing it. There were about a thousand different moments when I decided NOT to run it. But, thankfully I kept talking myself back into it. And when I woke up that morning and saw the weather I pulled my anxious self together, put on my running gear and said to myself:

-it’s sunny and 45 degrees, which is perfect marathon weather

-you’ve trained for this and in your great physical shape for it

-you’re not injured (last year, on my very first training run, I got hurt)

-the race starts at 9am which is perfect since you hate waking up super early and running

-you’re 40 and not getting any younger

-you will be able to tell everyone you ran a marathon and you can finally put the 26.2 sticker on your car

And with that, I hopped into my husband’s car, and we headed to the race.

Like I mentioned, I was freaking out inside up until I crossed the starting line. As I kissed my husband goodbye and began jogging off into the distance, he said, “Just keep moving forward. It’s all you can do.”

And move forward, I did.

And for 16 miles, I felt wonderful. I was doing it – I was running a marathon! I crossed the half marathon point and felt great – it was an out and back course, through the beautiful, scenic fall foliage of Bucks County. At the turning point, I thought, “wow, I made it halfway and it was like nothing – I’ve only got 13.1 more miles to go – it’s gonna be a piece of cake!”

I rode that feeling for three more miles, when suddenly, like a lightning bolt from the running gods, I was struck from my high horse and found myself in a strange, dark, place.

My husband had warned me about this. “You’re going to through some rough patches, but you’ll get through it,” he told me. I nodded, but inside, I was thinking, whatever you say boss, I haven’t had any mental breakdowns throughout my training, so why would that happen this time. Well, it started with feeling sick to my stomach. It escalated into panic when I realized there were hardly any port-o-potties on this course. It turned to tears when I found myself somewhere in New Hope, PA, alone, with no other runners in sight in either direction. I was falling apart, mentally. All the preparation I had done was purely physical. I was not prepared for this. I didn’t recognize my surroundings which led me to believe I had somehow gone off the path. I stopped. I looked around for some hint of what the right direction was. I pulled out my phone, about to try using google maps, or as an absolute last resort, calling my husband to come save me. I looked around one last time, when I saw it, ahead in the distance – the 18 mile marker. I was going the right way after all.

At this point, I was doing some sort of half run, half walk thing, but I did what my husband said – kept moving forward. I was alternating between feeling sick and crying for the next 4 miles, when, at mile 22, another runner came up next to me.

“I was using you as a pacer!” he said. He was smiling.

“This is my first marathon,” I wearily replied.

“Mine too! And we’re doing great!” he exclaimed. He was right. And I needed to hear that. I ditched the tears and plowed onward.

At mile 24.5, my husband appeared, walking towards me. I was embarrassed at first, because I was merely walking at this point myself.

But I was glad he was there when he was – he gave me that extra push to take it to the end, although I complained and cried all the way through the last mile, which I swear was the longest mile I’ve ever run. It was as if the finish line was getting farther away the more I ran. But somehow, I found myself about to cross that line.

I’ll remember that moment forever. The girl on the other side, holding the medals, smiling. In my mind, it plays back in slow motion. I looked down at those things that pick up your time chip as I stepped across. I saw my husband off to the left. The music was playing, and it was a beautiful day. I had done it.

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And I have the medal (and soreness) to prove it.

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