No Giving Up Now

I just have one thing to say.

I finished that fucking marathon.

Ok, so that’s not all I have to say about it, but dammit, it feels good to say it.

For one thing, let’s just all shake our heads at me (again) for running TWICE in the two months preceding this race. Dumb move, Ann. Very dumb move. Pretty sure if I’d have actually trained for it, I wouldn’t have walked the last eight miles.

BUT. It was walk those eight miles or keep running and injure myself and possibly not finish. So I walked.

I walked, and I finished, and I will never do this again.

Let’s talk about the race, shall we?

It all began at 2am EST when my alarm went off. Well, actually, I suppose it started when I went to bed at 7pm the night before, but I’ll stick to just Sunday. Two in the morning, which meant that most of the people I know here were STILL AWAKE. GCB was actually still three hours from the end of his shift. Crazy.

The pre-race stuff included a lot of “what were we thinking”s and “this is dumb”s and “we totally should have trained for this”s. It also included lots and lots of people who looked way more like runners than we did, THREE trips to the porta-potty before we even got in our corral (pre-race hydration, FTW), and this picture, wherein we still look happy:

Oh, did I mention it was 65 degrees at 4 in the morning? Because it was. God bless Orlando.

This race. 25,000+ runners, 530am EST start, fireworks, music, and more spectators than made sense given the hour.

Highlights and lowlights:

Mile 1: Had to stop and pee AGAIN before we hit the half mile mark. Not dying. Good times.

Mile 3: Looked out a bit and saw runners who we later realized were at mile 8. That’s right. They’d gone eight miles in the time we’d gone three. Buzzkill.

Mile 4-6: Came upon the castle. THE castle. All covered in lights and looking gorgeous, even though none of my pictures turned out. Ran through the castle at dawn. Still felt great.

Mile 7: Bad mile. Had a brief moment of “oh crap, I can’t breathe” followed by “oh crap, I can’t run.” The lung thing didn’t last. The leg thing did.

Mile 8: Ran around the WHOLE Disney race track. That was kind of cool. Cars characters and country music.

Mile 11: Ate a banana. Took Tylenol. Didn’t puke. I consider this a ridiculous success.

Mile 13: Laughed (because otherwise we would have cried) at our half marathon time, officially the worst I’ve ever run in 2:44.

Mile 15: This is where it got rough. My intervals of walking to running weren’t very awesome, and I could tell Steph was getting frustrated, so I sent her ahead. I also visited THE grossest porta-potty I’ve ever been in. Guys? I ran a Ragnar last year. The fact that THIS porta-potty was the grossest is really saying something.

Mile 17: Got into the Wide World of Sports Complex. Realized that continuing to run was going to probably result in a DNF.

Mile 18: Started walking for good.

Let me break real quickly to talk about this. I knew going into this race that I was physically and mentally so far beyond unprepared that it wasn’t even funny. I also knew that with only running twice to “prepare” for it that I would probably not be physically capable of running through all 26.2 miles. I know people who have put forth the effort to train for a marathon and have still not completed it due to injury. It might sound crazy, but I was finishing this race whether or not it meant army crawling my way across the finish line. So I chose to walk the last eight miles. I know, I KNOW, that if I had tried to continue running that I wouldn’t have crossed that finish line. It was an internal battle that threatened to burst out of my eyeballs, but at that point there wasn’t any giving up. I had started, I was going to finish no matter how long it took me.

Mile 20: Noted that after having gone nearly four straight miles with the sun at my back that I was probably going to be incredibly sunburnt, given that I hadn’t even thought about putting on sunscreen.

Mile 21: Heard “Sweet Caroline” four times in a row. This is too many times in a row. Took more Tylenol.

Mile 22: Chocolate! And?

As much pain as I was in at this point, I SKIPPED over to get a picture with these two. That maniacal grin stayed on my face for quite a while.

Mile 23: Walking NOTICEABLY became limping. Both hips were (and still are) very, very angry.

Mile 24: Got into the heart of Epcot. The park was open, so there were TONS of people on the side of the course cheering and being supportive, even for someone who was walking and (after looking at my race pictures) looking absolutely miserable. At 24.8 miles, passed the 40K sign. Kind of wanted to puke seeing that.

Mile 25: Hobbled. Tried not to cry. I was going to FINISH.

Mile 26.2: I ran across that finish line. The last tenth of a mile, I clenched my jaw, tried to ignore every square millimeter of the lower two-thirds of my body screaming in protest, and I ran. I must say, it took quite a bit of will-power to not burst into tears when they handed me my medal. I crossed that finish line at 6:12:58, and though that is literally HOURS after I’d planned on finishing when I signed up, I finished. That’s all I’m worried about.

Today I feel ok. I am exhausted, I am still limping, my muscles are still sore, my hips are still VERY angry, my lower back is still achy, but this afternoon when I laid down my hips didn’t hurt badly enough to make me cry like they did last night. This is progress. I know I’ll be sore for another couple of days, and that’s ok.

There’s a small part of me that wishes I would have finished faster, but that part is greatly overshadowed by just how much I’ve enjoyed what I’ve done these last few months INSTEAD of training.

And oh my goodness, I am OVER THE MOON excited to not have any single, solitary form of a training schedule. Anywhere. The half marathon in April that I was thinking of running, well, I might run it, but I’m not signing up for it just yet. If I decide I don’t want to? I’m ok with that. The Tough Mudder that was supposed to be in April is actually in September. As of two days ago, the only running/lifting/exercising in my immediate future is the kind that is going to make me HAPPY, the kind that makes me feel better and healthy, not the kind I feel obligated to do.

Guys? I finished a marathon. Then I celebrated with this.

Marathon. Check. Off to the next great adventure.

4 thoughts on “No Giving Up Now

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