Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Not Everything Is In Our Control ~ Marathon #5

 Ogden Marathon Post
 And when I say marathon post, I literally mean marathon post!  I always write long posts after a marathon because running 26.2 miles just isn't enough!  ☺ Actually I do it so I have a reference for when I need it while training for my next one and it's also good therapy for me.  I do not expect anyone else to read it so don't feel like you must!  Reading this marathon post might be as painful as running a marathon! ☺
*There is a condensed version at the end of the post for those of you that prefer a shorter "distance". ☺

Marathon #5 is in the books. 
Full marathons that is.  This was my third time running the Ogden Marathon.  I have run the half marathon many times - at least five or six.  Many people count half marathons as fulls, but I count them as half because they are only half the distance and they only require half the training, mental toughness, and stamina.  Half marathons are not easy by any means, but a full, oh a full, they are scary!  I honestly get scared before each one because you just never know what is going to happen during that long distance.  I live in fear of the unknown the whole week before. They really make you dig deeper than you ever thought possible and prove to yourself what you are made of and sometimes I just don't want to know!  A friend once wrote,  "Marathons tear you down and bare your insides at your most vulnerable times"Running that far makes it inevitable that you will become vulnerable because just the physical stamina required alone, makes you weak while testing how strong you really are.  The mental stamina required is even more than the physical. It's hard to describe the feelings both mental and physical to anyone.  It's one of those things in life that is only found in the doing of it.

One of the hardest things about running a marathon is the fact that you train hard for so long and it all comes down to one day.  That one day has the power to change all of your preparation and training depending on the weather or on how you wake up feeling that day, or if you are dealing with an injury, or if you didn't carb load well enough, or if you didn't sleep enough, or if you trip on the course, or if nature calls and you have to stand in a long porta potty line. Or 100 other things.  If all the stars align up perfectly, then great, but if they don't (and they usually don't) then you have to accept it and go with it.  Especially since most of those things are totally out of your control anyway.

After that description then why do people do it?  I must admit I asked myself that MANY times while running this last one in the pouring rain and cold.  I'm still not sure I am able to answer that.  It takes a few days of recovery and time to let the brain forget before I can usually answer it.  It's really kind of like having a baby in that respect.  While in labor and in the middle of the intense pain, you tell yourself you will never do this again.  But after a bit of time, you start talking about having more children.  Yeah, it's the same with running a full marathon.  The WHY however, may not ever be completely clear because I can't seem to find a good enough answer just yet, other than because I can.  I hope it's not because I have brain damage, though while running this one I often wondered that. ☺ However, insights always come as I write about the experience.
I was feeling very nervous about this one.  Of course, I am always nervous before a full.  There is something about that distance that you have to respect and it humbles you to the core because like I said above, you just never know what is going to happen during those 26.2 miles...and I've witnessed a lot of crazy things!  I trained harder than I ever have before in hopes of getting a BQ (Boston Qualifying time) which entailed a lot of speedwork which was so not fun.  But it did pay off because every race I ran during training, I either PR'd or won.  That gave me a lot of encouragement and hope.  At least until I found out that my target time to BQ was 10 minutes off for this year.  I had been training to run it in 4:10 but found out I had to run it in 4:00.  Next year, I get the extra 10 minutes, but not this one.  That really bummed me out but I thought there was still a chance (a slim one but a chance) that I could run it in 4:00 due to my projected times based on my half marathon time and 5K times.  My predicted times said I could finish it in 3:56.  What?  That seems impossible, but it was encouraging and I was happy my hard training was actually paying off.  That was until I got injured a month before.  

Thanks to my new Hoka shoes, I developed Plantar Faciitis just five weeks before the race.  Apparently I have a high arch and they are too padded and squishy to give me the support I need. I was able to return them, but I wasn't able to return the damage they had done.  Sad thing was I absolutely loved them!  They felt so good and so fast!  I was beyond frustrated but also still hopeful that I could get rid of it in time.  I did some specific stretches each day to help with it and I had my friend Carol who is a physical therapist scrape my calves, arches, and Achilles.  Oh, that was fun!  Ouch!  I even bought a Strassburg sock to sleep in hoping it would help. And I prayed a lot and had Dave give me a blessing.

I wasn't feeling it go away and I started to really panic. It was very painful and I wasn't sure how I was ever going to run that distance with that kind of pain.  I was also worried I would end up with IT Band issues because my form would change to compensate for the heel pain.  Frustrated?  Yes.  But I kept hoping and praying I would somehow be able to do it.  I had my feet KT taped at the expo that morning even though I had never done that before, but I figured what could it hurt?  I was desperate and had no options. The therapist that taped me told me I was really tight in my arches but he thought I would be okay for the race.  I didn't have his same confidence. Partly because I was also told by Olympian Jeff Galloway at the expo that I shouldn't be stretching at all.  I honestly didn't agree with him and when I told the PT what he said, he also disagreed and said that stretching is the best thing to do for PF (Plantar Faciitis). 

But then that night after I got everything set out for my race, I put on my Strassburg sock and as I got into bed I immediately had this very sharp intense pain all through my right arch.  It didn't feel like the plantar pain.  Totally different.  It was sharp and intense and throbbing pain.  I couldn't believe it.  It really hurt and wouldn't let up at all.  I told Dave and he said it didn't sound like PF at all.  He worried I may have a stress fracture.  WHAT?!  That is not what I needed to hear!  I agreed with the stress part, I was beyond stressed, but a fracture?  Nooooooo!  But I also worried too.  With the amount of miles I had logged in the past 4.5 months (585.7 miles), it wouldn't be a surprise.  So I laid there and couldn't sleep due to worrying about what in the heck I was going to do now.  IF it WAS a stress fracture, running on it would be suicide for a BQ for my future marathons if I didn't BQ this time. I would be off of it for six weeks and I go straight into training after Ogden for St. George and so that would take me out of training for it. I laid there thinking that maybe I better not even run Ogden in the morning at all or I would do too much damage to recover soon enough.  I was so unsure what to do.  I was just feeling so down and frustrated and confused why this was all happening after I worked so hard for that one day and everything was falling apart now.

Then a very interesting thing happened.  As I lay there, I was trying to think of how to deal with this. I first of all accepted that I had no control over it and then I immediately felt inspired to just focus on gratitude, then no matter what the outcome, I will at least feel better about it.  So I started to think of things that I was grateful for.  I did this for a very long time because I was in too much pain to sleep at that point and I had to get up at 3:30 a.m. anyway and so I felt it was pointless to even worry about sleep, besides I was worrying about too many other things already anyway. After doing that for a while I felt strongly that I needed to remove the Strassburg sock.  So I did.  Then almost as suddenly as the pain had come, it also vanished.  It was gone.  Just. Like. That.  I was amazed.  I truly believe it was a tender mercy because I was expressing my gratitude and Heavenly Father blessed me for that.  It was just gone.  And that sharp pain didn't come back in the morning or during the race or since.  What a relief!

I had also been stressing SO much about the weather because for the past two weeks it was predicted to rain and I had done that once before in the Ogden Marathon two years ago and I just wasn't sure I was up to doing that once again.  Actually I was pretty sure I wasn't.  I had been consumed with the forecast and even more so now because it was now 100% chance of rain and cold.  Groan.... It was inevitable.  The weather is one thing we have absolutely zero control over and so I am not sure why I get so caught up in worrying about it.  It will be what it will be.  No amount of worry or stress coming from me has the power to change it one iota.  I still worry though because what I wear on race day is totally based on what the weather will be.  What to wear is such a huge deal to woman runners.  Kind of hilarious actually.  It's all about the outfit.  LOL  This time it was about staying warm and dry!

I have been so caught up in worry and stress about this race mainly because I really wanted to BQ so I can be done with this intense training!  And then the injury.  And the weather.  And I was just making myself crazy with expectations and pressure on myself and worry about things that I really can't control.  Then I received one of the biggest wake up calls of my life while I was driving to the expo on Friday to pick up my packet.  I was on the freeway and suddenly I saw this huge rock (3 inch in diameter) come flying at rocket speed right towards my windshield.  It hit and it hit hard!  But where it hit is what woke me up!  It hit smack right where my head was and if that windshield had not been as strong as it was, I would be DEAD!  It would have gone straight through my head and instant death would have been a certainty.  The shattering loud sound of it hitting really shook me up, but then the realization of what just happened and how lucky I was to still be alive was exactly what I needed at that moment.  Because of that, I ingested a huge gulp of perspective.  I believe it was a tender mercy.  A wake up call from heaven.  I got the message.  It was pretty clear.  I needed to relax about the race. It was after all just a race.  Whatever happened would be fine. There will be other races.  I was alive and life is great and I need to be grateful that I can even run and stop getting so caught up in the stress of it all.  I decided that I needed to take the pressure and expectations off of myself and just enjoy the race because I have zero control over what will come to pass due to my injuries and the weather.  I decided that I would focus on something that I am grateful for during each mile.  And the first one would be rain!  hah

I got up about 3:20 a.m. and could feel the PF pain in both feet, but once I got my shoes on, it felt a lot better.  I packed my IT Band band just in case that flared up.  I checked the forecast and the predicted forecast for where the race starts was in the 30's with snow.  I changed my planned wardrobe and added more layers. I didn't want to be cold.  I always worry I will overdress and get too hot, but I would rather deal with that than be too cold.  So I ended up with four layers on top.  I also had a big warm jacket to wear at the race start while waiting.  It wasn't raining when Jen picked me up at 4:15 a.m. and we were happy about that but knew it wasn't going to last.  I ate my yogurt as we drove to Ogden.  We met her running friends and loaded the bus.  We got a luxury bus this time instead of a school bus.
Taylor's "encouraging note helped me to smile and relax a bit.  Just what I needed!

I was nervous.  REALLY nervous.  I was more than keenly aware that my plantar faciitis might make this a very rough run.  I had no idea what to expect as far as physical pain and what was about to come as I attempted to run it with a significant injury. This time I was even more anxious because I knew that we were in for rain, possibly snow according to KSL. That bus ride is always so long as you realize that you will be running that far very soon.  As soon as we got on the bus, it started to rain.  We got off at the start and it was clear.  We could even see some sky.  It WAS cold though.  We immediately got in the Porta Potty line (a must) and then I immediately got back in line (the lines are insanely long!).  I saw Grant while we were waiting. He gave me a hug and wished me a sincere good luck.  Robin was running the half with their daughter.  While in line, it started to snow!  Not a lot, but it was snow!  Brrr...  I put grocery bags on my shoes because he frost on the grass was getting them wet.  That actually warmed up my feet too.  There wasn't much time before they announced they wanted all clothing drop bags to the truck.  So we all had to strip down to our running clothes and try and stay warm for 15 more minutes until the start. 
The guy in the orange jacket is from Kenya and he was hoping to WIN the entire race. He was so nice but SO nervous!  I never heard what place he took.

You could feel the collective nerves in the air at that point.  But we were also all so cold that we were ready to just get started so we could warm up! The start of a marathon is just exciting!  The music is playing loud as everyone lines up according to their projected pace.  You make fast friends with whoever you are standing by and you can just feel the nerves and electricity in the air.  Then the announcer begins the countdown and the gun goes off and suddenly it becomes real and you realize that the day has FINALLY arrived that you have trained so hard for over the past four and half months.

The first few miles of most of my marathons usually pass rather quickly and effortlessly.  I am always amazed how fast they fly by.  It seems I am usually on mile six or seven before I start to even feel it.  This time the only mile that flew by was the first one.  And by flew I mean flew!  I couldn't believe how quickly we were done with that first mile. I am sure it's the excitement of the start and the adrenaline pumping while running shoulder to shoulder with 1000's of others and listening to the chatter about everything running related, mostly the weather this time.  But the rest of the miles were not flying by.  In fact, it seemed they were dragging.  I was not feeling the way I usually feel during those first miles as far as energy and adrenaline.  I choose one thing to focus on each mile that I was grateful for and that really did help me take my mind off of the lack of usual vigor I feel.  I focused on each of my boys, and Dave, and my parents, and my cat, and my love of children and animals, and nature, and yes, rain was first mile focus even though it didn't start raining until mile 2 or 3.  
Once the rain started, it did not let up except for about 5 minutes when I was on mile 18.  It was raining hard too.  Even more than the downpour when I ran it in 2013.  This was worse. Much colder and much wetter.  I stayed at around a 8:50 to 9:00 minute per mile pace the first half which is what I wanted.  Then about mile 12 the 4:00 pacers came up behind me.  That's always discouraging because I had been ahead of them at about a 3:50 or 3:55 (finish time) pace for the whole first half.  I was not feeling like I could push any harder than I was even though I knew as they passed me that so did my BQ.  I was okay with it.  If I wasn't pushing as hard as I could, then I would not be, but I was giving it all I had.  On mile 14 where the huge hill is, I lost them.  But that was okay.  I made it up the hill and didn't walk...even though I really wanted to. My hands were frozen. I couldn't even unzip my pocket in the back of my jacket to get my gels.  It was so cold.  It took me at least five minutes each time to finally get that unzipped.  Jen had given me some hand warmers and those helped so much, but I lost one at mile 2 and so I only had one. I kept switching it from one glove to the other. By mile 6 or 7, I was drenched.  It was just coming down so hard.
I really was struggling to stay positive and keep pushing.  That is normal in a full, but it usually happens around mile 18-20.  This started about mile 7.  As I was struggling, I saw off to my side a table and awning set up with people in it in front of their house and a huge sign that said, Elder Basset Vladivostock Russia.  I recognized the name from McKay's medical assistant he had for his wisdom teeth -- because it was the guy's Bishop and he told me his Bishop had a son serving there.  The assistant gave me their phone number so I could call them and ask questions about the mission. So when I saw that I ran over and yelled that I had a son going there and said that their friend gave me their number and I was going to call them.  That was crazy!  I'm still not sure why they had it set up but I will ask when I call.  Still cool and it gave me the boost I needed right then.

The aid stations for this marathon are always fun.  Most have a theme and go with it. This year there was an Elvis one that I loved.  Lots of others too.  Great volunteers to stand out there in a downpour just to give us water, fruit, and gels.  I decided that I was going to stop at the Porta Potty at the aid station at mile 17 because I had to make some wardrobe adjustments.  I have never stopped during a full or half for that matter at one.  My first marathon, I did run off into the bushes, but I've never had to do that since.  And when it's raining, it's so cold sometimes you just find out that things tend to leak a bit and you have no control over that either!  But no one can tell because you're soaking wet anyway! lol  I did stop and went behind the potties to try and make adjustments and got my gels out of my belt and put them in my pocket where I could get to them easier.  But I decided I needed more privacy and so I went inside the porta and I set my handheld water bottle on the ledge in there and as I was adjusting I heard a PLOP!  My water bottle was IN the toilet.  Crap!  Literally!  I couldn't believe it!  I just had to laugh and hurry and get out of there.  That little stop probably took me four to five minutes and I knew that I lost valuable time but since I knew I wasn't going to BQ anyway, I didn't care that much.
It was amazing the difference that little stop made.  I had more energy after stopping for that short time and just felt so much better.  I think it was because I no longer had to carry that water bottle.  It was freezing my hands and just felt heavy.  I felt so free without it. I don't think I will carry one anymore.  I loved not having it.  And, it was the best part of the entire course right after.  It was the downhill part.  Miles 17-23 were my HAPPY miles. I was singing to my tunes and just feeling so good.  Not sure why I felt so good considering the conditions, but I was glad I did for those six miles.  That part of course is always my happiest.  You are running downhill along side the river and past the waterfall and it's just so gorgeous.  I kept replaying Taylor Swift's song Style over and over and over because I really like it. My feet still really hurt (they started hurting at mile 2) and I was one wet puppy, but I still felt happy.  I thought I could really pick my pace up with that downhill and I felt like I was flying but my pace was still around 9:45.  I couldn't go any faster.  I kept waiting for my legs to get moving and I thought they were until I would look at my Garmin.  I was pushing as hard as I could but I guess everything was just frozen.  I got to mile 23 and that is always when it gets tough because the last three are not downhill and you stiffen up after all that down.  I still felt better in those three miles than I have in the other two Ogden fulls I ran.  It was tough, and I was so stiff and sore and cold, but it wasn't as bad as I remembered them.  I hope it's because my training paid off. I kept telling myself to trust in the training.

At mile 25 my shoe lace came untied. I ran with it untied for a half mile and then decided I better ask a spectator to tie it for me because  my hands were too frozen to even move and I didn't want to bend down because I wasn't sure if I could get back up at that point.  I asked a guy to tie it but he couldn't get it tied!  He tried twice and was so slow!  I started pulling my foot away before he was finished because I didn't want the clock just ticking.  I was only a half mile away from the finish line!  I took off and was kind of bummed that no one was going to be at the finish line to cheer me on, but then I heard, "Jo!".  It was Dave!  He made it!  Not sure how because he had to work until noon. I was so happy to see him and then I heard Taylor yell my name.  He was with McKay a little farther down and then I heard my name again.  It was my cousin Brigitte.  Then I heard it once again and it was my Dad!  I was so happy to have so much support when I needed it!  I heard them announce my name just before I crossed.  My time was 4:13:41.  A new PR by one minute!  I was happy I at least got a PR.  No BQ but I'll take a PR especially with all the obstacles I faced. 
 Almost to the finish line!
 Smiling - I was mostly smiling because I was almost done!
 Telling Taylor and McKay hi!
Taylor took all of these.

I got my medal and then saw my Dad.  I ran over to the fence and I couldn't talk very well.  I was losing my voice or it was just frozen.  He asked me how it went and as I started to tell him I got all choked up and had to hold the tears back.  There is something about crossing that finish line after a marathon that makes you cry.  All the emotions that have built up and the desire of wanting to be done and all that you push through for those long 26 miles, all just comes to the surface at that point. It's hard to hold back the tears.  I hid mine back pretty well, but they were on the surface wanting to break through.  Most of them are happy tears from the gratitude of being done running!  And some were from disappointment and letdown that I didn't get my BQ.  I was pretty bummed about that.  I was bummed I didn't get a 4:10 too because that was the time I had trained for.  But I would have if I hadn't stopped at the porta potty or stopped for my shoe to be tied or if I hadn't been so frozen solid.  So I feel a little better about that.

Dave had a blanket for me and I refused it.  I don't think I was thinking clearly because I was freezing and shivering like crazy! In my head I was thinking if I put it around me it will just get wet and then I will have one more wet thing on to worry about. He said that when you get hypothermia, you don't think straight. Oh really? ☺ After running 26.2 miles you don't either!  I went and got my clothing bag and they made us walk SO far to get it. I think it was their way of keeping us walking for a bit because you really shouldn't finish and just stop abruptly like we all do.  I was having a hard time walking as was most of the peeps I saw. There is nothing more entertaining than watching runners after a marathon. Everyone looks so tired and can't walk but is still on a high.  It's so inspiring.  Dave and the boys said they saw a lot of people being carried across the finish line and a lot really struggling.  That is always the case. If you want to be inspired just go watch a marathon.  The finish line will bring you to tears.  It always does me! hah  Even watching it for me does because I feel their pain and I know what it took to get there.  It is always such a feeling of accomplishment. One I can't even describe. I think that's my why.  The feeling of crossing that finish line is just beyond description.

Before I got to my bag, I grabbed some chocolate milk because even though I didn't feel like eating or drinking anything, I knew my body absolutely needed it.  I drank that wondering why there wasn't any HOT cocoa anywhere.  I ate some bread and then just started to shiver.  I got my bag and really didn't want to walk as far as I had before so I started hopping the fences.  Oh my!  That was a challenge. I was so stiff I had to have peeps help me.  I ran into Sherrie and Linda and we took a photo.  They did great and finished close behind me at 4:18.  Then I found my Dad and the boys and I was shivering pretty bad at that point.  I got in his car and he drove us to where Dave was parked.  I got in our car and cranked up the heat and seat warmers.  Whoever invented them deserves an award of some kind!  We stopped for Hot Chocolate (a life saver!) but I was still just shivering.  I was experiencing hypothermia but slowly started to feel better.  Felt like a repeat of the 2013 marathon only this time it was worse.  We stopped at Panda for the boys but I just stayed in the car.

I was so happy that was over!  I was happy I did as well as I did but I also felt a little defeated because I didn't make my time goal that I had trained SO hard for.  I had to stop and force myself to realize that I had no control over the weather and no control over my injury and no control on how I would feel.  But, I can't lie...all of the positive thinking wasn't doing much good because I still felt let down.  Four and half months of training and the stars just didn't align up like I had hoped.  Now, I have to keep training until it happens. I am so close that I know it will, I just wanted it to be with this one.   St. George, here I come!
These were updates (and official results) from the Racejoy app.

Running has taught me many things.  I have learned so much more from this sport than I ever thought possible.  

Now back to the why.  Why would I voluntarily do something that is so difficult and painful?  I think it's because I give my all when I run a marathon, and the marathon also gives it's all back to me.  By the end of the 26.2 miles I am tired and weak, but because I am weakened, I am also strengthened.  A dichotomy?  Yes.  But it's true. And I have found that doing something hard because I choose to helps me to get through other hard and challenging things in my life that I may not necessarily choose.  I gain a confidence from the knowledge that I can do hard things and that in turn helps me to do the other hard things that I have to deal with in life.  Each time I run a marathon, I gain strength that I hold in reserve for when I need it most for other hard things in my life.

This is what my friend Isela posted on Facebook about her feelings which I loved.  It made me tear up:  
Rain, rain, go away...come back again...at night when I am not running. One quick snapshot of my run on Saturday. I have never been so grateful to my foresight of not signing up for the full marathon. I had to run only 5.56 miles (yes, I am counting every single step extra than the assigned 5) and I was soaked despite my waterproofed jacket. My legs were cold and my core was frozen all 5.5 miles, I kept waiting for my legs to fire up and "start" working but it never happened. As I sat in the bus waiting to get to the finish line to meet my team mates, I kept watching all the marathon runners continue on the trek. Only one word came to mind as I saw them making their way down--resilient. 

Over the past two days, I have read many stories of their race and how defeated they felt for not meeting their times. Yet, all I saw as I sat on that bus was a group of courageous, resilient, determined runners. Even when the conditions were not ideal, each one of them kept going to the finish line. In my mind, each one of them was a winner. Winning is more than a BQ--winning is about defeating that small voice inside of us that keeps yelling at us "stop, stop now. Just give up and get on the bus!". To all my friends who finished the half and the full marathon this weekend--you are all winners in my book.

For my friend Jodi: if we really sit down and ponder the entire ordeal, you and many of the other runners would realize how remarkable you all truly are. All of you showed up that morning knowing full well what was ahead. We all knew that there was going to be rain, and that it was going to be cold. Yet, all of you woke up at 3am and boarded that bus and went up to the top of the mountain. You all congregated at the top around the fires and laughed nervously about what was to come. The sun came out to tease you all a bit and to give you all hope, and then the sky opened up and never stopped. Yet, you all continued to run, walk, and run again. The thought may have crossed your mind to quit, yet, your heart kept you going. Talent can only take one so far, to be a true runner one needs heart, and you all demonstrated that you have hearts of lions! You may have cried along the way, you may have hobbled along, you may have left the desired BQ behind, but you persevered and kept going to cross that finish line, because at the end of the day, it is about finishing what we started, it is about proving to ourselves that we are stronger than we think.

Such poignant words that touched me and helped me to put it all in perspective...
Marathons are like a box of chocolates.  You really never know what you're gonna get...
To sum it all up... even though I tried to just enjoy the race (the rain made that almost impossible) and to remove all pressure for a BQ (I made that impossible because I worked so hard for it and that was hard to just throw out the window) and to be happy with just a finish...that didn't happen.  I AM happy I finished considering the miserable conditions and how cold and stiff I was, but deep down I am still feeling sad I wasn't able to meet my goals.  BUT...I am happy that I am sad about that because there would be something wrong with me if I wasn't sad after working so hard.  But even though I am sad and disappointed, I am also happy that I was able to endure what I set out to do even though I knew the outcome would not be what I hoped for.  And because I did that, I gained strength that I otherwise would not have gained and heaven knows we can all use some extra strength in our lives.  So all in all, it was a success for me and I AM happy and most grateful for that!
~ ~ ~ 
Here is the CONDENSED VERSION for those that don't want to take on the full distance!☺
~ ~ ~
I am that runner. I am that runner who trained for 4.5 months in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon. I am that runner who got in all her long runs. I am that runner who religiously did her speed work even though she hated it.  I am that runner. I am that runner who followed her training plan like a boss.  I am that runner who ran even when she was sick and should have been resting.  I am that runner.  I am that runner who was elated when she set a new PR in a half marathon and a 5K.  I am that runner who was in shock when she placed first overall woman in two races during training.  I am that runner who never expected to do that.  I am that runner who will admit it was mostly because they were small races.  I am that runner who mentally needed that to boost her confidence, small race or not.  I am that runner who was on target for her Boston Qualifying (BQ) time or so she thought.  I am that runner that found out after 3.5 months of training that her qualifying time was 10 minutes faster than she thought.  I am that runner that wanted to throw in the towel at that point and did for a couple weeks.  I am that runner.  I am that runner who decided to just do her best and have faith based on her race predicted times that she could still BQ. I am that runner who was feeling so great and so positive about how her training was going and then got an injury just five weeks before the race.  I am that runner.  I am that runner that said, "Really Heavenly Father?  Really?"  I am that runner that was discouraged and felt beaten down.  I am that runner that felt total defeat. I am that runner.  I am that runner that tried everything to get rid of the injury.  I am that runner that found hope that maybe she could still BQ even if it was painful.  I am that runner that was hopeful but also very doubtful.  I am that runner.  I am that runner that obsessed about the weather for two weeks before race day.  I am that runner that was in a panic because rain was predicted for those solid two weeks.  I am that runner that ran her second marathon in a downpour and got hypothermia after.  I am that runner who is afraid of running another full marathon in a cold and miserable downpour.  I am that runner.  I am that runner that let the weather predictions and her injury cause her great anxiety the week before the race.  I am that runner that had high expectations for herself and put a lot of pressure on herself to get a BQ.  I am that runner that received a huge wake up call while driving to the race expo.  I am that runner who had a huge rock hit her windshield right where her head was and if it had gone through the windshield it would have been certain death.  I am that runner.  I am that runner that gained a much needed new perspective and thanked her Father in Heaven she was alive and had a body that was able to run.  I am that runner that woke up and said, "No more expectations or pressure!  I am going to run because I can and because I am alive and because I love to run!".  I am that runner.  I am that runner that almost dropped out of the marathon because of scary pain that she thought might be a stress fracture the night before the race. I am that runner that freaked out knowing that if she ran on a stress fracture in the race, her future chances for a BQ in her next marathon would be gone. I am that runner that stayed awake for hours and thought about everything she had to be grateful for. I am that runner.  I am that runner that experienced a miracle as the pain totally went away by morning.  I am that runner that got up and even though she knew rain was inevitable and it was going to be another miserable marathon in the rain she went anyway.  I am that runner that was very nervous in the hours before the race mainly due to her injury and not knowing what to expect with it but also very nervous to run another 26.2 miles in the rain and cold.  I am the runner who watched as thousands of other runners loaded the buses even though they also knew what was in store for them but still braved it anyway. I am that runner that ran my race that was placed before me the best that I could. I am that runner that tried her best and gave it her all despite of her inability to get the time she hoped for and the BQ she trained so hard for.  I am that runner.  I am that runner that wanted to quit many times but kept going because she is not a quitter and because she can do hard things even though she wasn't sure she believed that.  I am that runner that questioned her sanity for doing something so insane when she didn't have to.  I am that runner that wondered why she was doing this and hoped she would have an answer by the time she finished. I am that runner.  I am that runner who had hands so frozen she couldn't even undo her zipper to get her gels out and had to stop (the only time the entire 26.2 miles besides to tie her shoelace) to get them out.  I am that runner that watched the other runners also fight through the rain and cold and the pain and still keep going as they inspired her to do the same. I am that runner that saw many who physically could no longer do it and had to drop out of the race.  I am that runner who crossed the finish line full of emotion and gratitude.  I am that runner who felt defeated for not reaching her goal time, but also grateful for being able to finish strong.  I am that runner that watched other finishers shiver and shake due to the extreme cold once they stopped running but were so grateful they were done running.  I am that runner too.  I am that runner that wanted to hear the stories of the other runners because she knew they would be amazing.  I am that runner that learned that most things in life are not within our control and we have to go with them.  I am that runner that when she took off her waterproof jacket, her other three layers were dripping wet.  I am that runner that savored a warm blanket and a cup of hot cocoa on her way home from the race.  I am that runner who will treasure her medal from this race a little more than most of her other medals.  I am that runner.  I am that runner that teared up at the finish line for so many reasons good and bad.  I am that runner that is grateful she is able to run.  I am that runner that is not a BQ runner today, but one day she will be.  I am that runner.  That runner is me.


Nancy Mc said...

Loved the Marathon Post! I love reading your details amaze me!
I have an acquaintance who told me her marathon was 3.1.
I understand totally...all that training and then it really is that all that one day, and one has no control. So glad that you had support at the finish. Tears just happen.
I love how you accepted and then felt gratitude.
I loved the Karen Armstrong quote and your WHY!
I could go on and on...I loved the post!

Jodi Wilding said...

Thanks so much Nancy! You deserve a medal for reading it all! Hah!


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