My mother-in-law was in a terrible car accident last Friday. The past week has been tough with some serious diagnoses and a lot of question marks. There was a lot of brain damage but Nicole is finally coming around and “woke up” today. The world is light again and life goes on.
At 5:00 Sunday morning I arrived at Disney along with thousands of other runners. It was marathon morning.
The morning started off perfect. I was early. My body felt loose from all the stretching the night before. My stuffy nose was clear from the neti pot I used that morning. I even found a real bathroom with no lines!
Before every race I get nervous, anxious and doubtful. Honestly, that is the worst way to take on an exciting and rewarding challenge. This morning I said no to negative talk. I knew this race was unusual- my training was limited and I was now running with a screw- but I wanted to remember the reasons I loved racing: the fun, the fans and the fellow racers. Plus the medal at the end of course
My corral started around 6:45 a.m. The fireworks went off and the crowded group of runners made their way across the finish line and through mile 1. Usually a crowded start will naturally spread out so all runners have a little wiggle room. Not Disney. Most of the race was a constant fight to not trip on the heels in front of you or step on the person narrowly cutting in front of you.
I intended to run with my iPhone in my SPIBelt. I listen to Pandora and track my speed/pace/distance with the Map My Run app. Despite using it without fail a million times before, the app didn’t work when I started it right before the finish line. I had no option other than running without knowing my time and in hindsight I’m happy about it. This race wasn’t for a time goal and as long as I was doing my best, I didn’t need to know my pace.
The first few miles were solid. I refrained from going out too fast (for my time goal for this race) and maintained a 11:20ish average. I was prepared to be extra tired or for some pain so my motto was slow and steady. Ryan texted me my time updates as she received them from the chip: at 5, 10, 13.1 and 20 mile splits.
Around mile three we came across our first attraction- the sights and sounds Disney is known for. It was still dark out and there was a high school band and cheerleaders hyping up the runners on the sidelines. I was clapping for them and looked over– SMACK. I tripped over a speed bump and fell hard on my left knee to avoid hurting my right hip. I brushed it off then but my knee is still badly bruised and slightly swollen.
I realize my slower race times are mostly because I don’t like discomfort. Running slower is easier and more enjoyable for me. That realization has caused me to question why when I slow down or take a walking break. With that in mind I was hoping to finish in under 5 hours. My half time came in at 2:31 which meant my full time shouldn’t have been too far from my loose goal.
Around mile 11 we approached the Cinderella Castle. The mile up to the castle was lined with so many cheering supporters. Running through the castle and into a crowd of even more cheering supporters is my favorite part hands down.
My body started to slow down after mile 15- conveniently around the time we were going through smelly Animal Kingdom. I wasn’t in pain but it was the point where running was more of a choice than a natural movement. This usually happens for me at mile 17, so given my short training this made sense.
I have a sensitive stomach when running so I drank water about every other water stop and didn’t eat anything. I took a few sips of Powerade at mile 6 and mile 16.
Right before mile 19 I got some nasty side stitches. I took a walking break to try to work through them but they held on. I stopped to take deep breaths and stretch out my sides. I even walked and ran a little with my arms over my head. Nothing.
The side stitches frustrated me to no end. It felt like my stomach was eating itself and the pain got worse when I’d run. I was mentally prepared to kick ass through this marathon and these stupid side stitches were taking me down. I did a walk/run combo and tried to not let an upset belly ruin the experience.
As much as I hated it, I ran/walked the rest of the way. Along the way I passed Ben at the water station at mile 21and a lululemon cheer group at mile 24.5!
I paid extra attention to all the causes people were running for. Team in Training made quite the presence and tons of people had shirts made saying it’s their first marathon, they were running to support someone running their first marathon and other awesome reasons. My favorite was a guy running between two men, one with a string tied to this man. His shirt said “Running blind: I will not be defeated.” Talk about a tear jerker.
Before I knew it, the finish line was in sight. I had dwelled on this moment for months. This finish line meant the end of a period- a period I was very excited to run past! I crossed the finish line at 5:27:01 with my arms in the air and a smile on my face. Finally, it was all over.
Believe it or not, my hip didn’t hurt at all. Not at mile 1, not at mile 20 and certainly not after the finish. I felt strong- maybe even bionic I brought my medal to my final appointment with my surgeon yesterday and my doctor was thrilled and maybe somewhat surprised. My xrays checked out. No re-broken pelvis. No injuries. Nothing special to talk about.
I’ve taken most of the past week since the marathon off just because we’re so busy working, packing the house and spending time at the hospital. I’ll take my first post-marathon run in Orlando tomorrow! After that I’ll focus on running my favorite routes again and building up a strong base.
Thank you for cheering me on through this. It meant the world to have so many awesome people checking in on me and crossing their fingers for my success. You all are great!