Monday, September 20, 2010


The final week! I ran a 5K on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I did yoga on Thursday and Friday. Took the day off completely on Saturday. I started feeling quite anxious about the marathon on Thursday. The anticipation was brutal! Plus it was hard because I couldn't run to burn off the anxiety. The fortunate thing was starting on Friday I was busy visiting with my sister Nicole (veteran marathoner) and friends Ashley and Kris (first-time marathoner) who were in town for the marathon.

Marathon Eve- Saturday September 18th. Molly and I picked up our race packets then hung out for a while discussing our race plans. That night we had dinner and Ashley and Kris- pasta, bread, salad, oatmeal bars. I was feeling more relaxed because having company took my mind off the marathon. Went to bed about 10:30pm and actually slept well surprisingly.

Marathon Day- Sunday September 19th. Woke at about 5:45am after getting a good night's sleep. Breakfast was one-half each PBJ, protein bar, banana plus water. Our ride (Molly's parents) picked Nicole, Kris, and I up at 6:45am and we arrived at the start about an hour prior to race time. We found a spot to sit (close to the bathrooms!) and try to relax. Ten minutes before gun time we ventured outside to the start line. The weather was perfect- just under 50 degrees with a partly cloudy sky and no wind. We started near the 4:00 group. Nicole decided to run with the 4:00 pace group as she was trying to PR at under 4 hours. The National Anthem was sung and before we knew it we were off!

Miles 1-9 (Easy): I considered these "warm-up" miles. Our legs were fresh and it was hard to not run faster than a 9:00 pace. These miles flew by and were quite easy. Saw Peter, Eleanor, my parents and brother, Molly's parents, and my co-worker doing the relay marathon along the way.

Miles 10-19 (Fun): Quickly used the porta-potty around mile 10 then around mile 11 realized I dropped my Tylenol and Shot Bloks in there. Bummer. But Molly was generous enough to share her Tylenol with me which I took at the half-way point. Ate two gels and started stopping for more water. We put our music on. My feet were doing fairly well. Still stayed at a consistent 9:15 pace. This part of the marathon was not easy and not hard, just moderate. These miles flew by as well, was really in the groove, kind of zoned out of most of these miles, in fact frequently didn't even know which mile we were at! Saw lots of familiar faces in the crowd- my parents and brother, Peter, Eleanor, Ashley and her dad, Molly's husband and son, co-workers, etc.

Miles 20 to 26.2 (Hard): Molly started to have some issues around this point. We agreed that if it didn't improve I should keep the planned pace and move ahead. This was a bummer to separate.

Ate a gel, part of a bagel, and Gatorade during these miles. I thought I was around mile 18 but learned that I was almost at 22! I think knowing that I was in the "20s" caused me some mental stress and I immediately felt tired and a little panicky knowing that I had ran further than I ever did in training.

I would totally agree with the saying that "the race starts at mile 20." Miles 23-25 were just plain hard, physically of course I was tired- legs were heavy, etc, but I found these later miles to be mentally exhausting. I was almost on the verge of falling apart, I had to take it second by second, keeping myself together. Spectators were talking to me and I just kept staring ahead, completely focused on not falling apart. I repeated the words of Deena Kastor, "Sometimes the moments that challenge us the most, define us" over and over. My pace went down to 9:30-9:45 but I felt like I was sprinting.

I was telling myself that where I was at, exactly in this point of time, was why I ran hundreds and hundreds of training miles and worked so hard over the past 17 weeks. I did not see my family during these miles and kept scanning the crowds in search of some encouragement.

When I reached mile 25 I knew I would make it. I kept just putting one foot in front of the other over and over and over focusing on my music lyrics, "sometimes you feel tired, feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up. But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength and get that motivation to not give up and not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse."

I made the final turn and saw the finish line, probably a quarter of a mile away. "You better lose yourself in the music, the moment you own it, you better never let it go, you only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow this opportunity comes once in a lifetime." The finish line was getting closer and closer. I saw my sister, who had already finished, about a tenth of a mile from the finish. She was yelling and screaming for me and ran me in to the finish and got me yelling and screaming too. Finally my feet struck the last timing mat. I had made it. I was now a rare breed- a marathoner. A 4 hour 7 minute marathoner!

Nicole guided me to get my medal, blanket, shirt, and water. I couldn't really comprehend much for a few minutes after I stopped running. My friends, family, and co-workers came over to congratulate me.

Shortly after, we watched Molly come into the finish. Even though she experienced some unexpected issues, she looked great at the end and had a good time for anyone, much less for not feeling well the last ten miles.

Nicole's goal was under 4 hours and she achieved 3:51. I was so proud and happy for her. Amazing! Kris met his goal of about 3:40. Unbelievable!

Final words: I really never thought I could do this. In three years, I went from a non-runner to a 7 time half-marathoner to a full-marathoner, plus I had a baby there in the middle. I am no great athlete by any means. All you need is a little fitness and a lot of perseverance.

I would highly recommend doing this. It will make you a better spouse, parent, sister, daughter, friend, and employee. You will be an active participant in your own life. You will realize what you're capable of.

"Once you cross that finish line, no matter how slow, no matter how fast, it will change your life forever."


  1. AMAZING!! Congratulations and GREAT JOB!!!

  2. That is amazing! Your story is inspiring. I've just started running, and am still deciding if running a marathon is something I want to do. I loved hearing all about it!

  3. I just found your blog and I just had "tears of joy". You must like "Spirit of the Marathon" too. I am training for my first full marathon and can only imagine what it'll be like when I cross that finish line. Last year at this time I could barely run a mile. Now I've completed 6 half marathons and well on my way to my first marathon in June. Thanks for being an inspiration! Amy (

  4. I just found your blog via my sister (Bobbi) and am truly inspired...thank you!