THE Marathon, and What I Learned Along the Way

Heading to Savannah, I couldn't have been more excited. Music was blaring, the weather was beautiful for road trip viewing, and I was about to complete the biggest feat of my physical ventures. Then I hit traffic and over an hour of crawling towards my destination. You know what happens when you have lots of time? Thinking...

I couldn't help but sit there and question myself. Through 5 months of training, a visit to the hospital, hearing of other runners' hearts exploding before the finish line and another stress fracture scare, how could I not sit there and truly decide if I could do this? I was mentally nervous, but ready to get this race over with.

After arriving at the hotel late that night and just meeting my two roommates for the weekend, Hooman and Todd, I passed right out. That is not normal for me before a big event. Usually I am up all night, thinking, tossing and turning. But that night was a little different. Maybe it was a good sign.

The morning was early, 5 am early, dark, cold, and jitters running through my body. Was I really doing this? Was I really running 26.2 miles today? AM I INSANE??! We headed out, and after driving, a school bus ride, and some pep talks all around the race began as the sun was just coming up.

Slow and steady, following the way I trained, the first 13.1 miles went by like a breeze. After breaking off from the half-ers at mile 11, those running the full were welcomed by a never-ending stretch of highway. It was intimidating. We ran through the slums of Savannah, through Spanish Moss canopies and through parks filled with people cheering "Go random stranger go". My personal favorite sign was "Your feet hurt from kicking so much ass". Truth.

The last two miles involved me kicking it, using the energy I had left to "sprint" through the finish. It was exhilarating, and really special when they called out my name as I was running down the final few yards and lines of people to the finish. Those 5 months of training were completely worth it, knowing I had just completed something only 0.1 -0.2% of the world's population has completed. I was part of that club now and overcome a long run of self-doubt.

So what training tips did I learn?

1. Run like you train - don't run faster, don't run slower. Run as you have been for the past few months
2. It's ok if you skip some of your training. I tried not to completely wear myself out. Listen to your body.
3. But DON'T skip your long runs. Every other Sunday would be my day. I would plan my schedule around it, and I had to. Those are the runs that count- mentally and physically.
4. If you can run 20 miles by yourself, you can run 26.2 with a group. People, even strangers, always push you
5. If you didn't use Gu or other gels during training, don't take them during your run. You'll find yourself running to the nearest porter potty. I used chews- they're a lot better on the tummy.
6. Drink your water. Along the way, make sure you are hydrating. If you take the gatorade, take a water too.
7. These races are more mental than physical. If you think you can, you will
8. Weight gain will happen, but watch it. Extra weight also means extra weight on your knees.

So what is the next challenge I am taking on? Getting myself toned. The marathon really changed my body's shape, for the 3rd time this year. It all depends on what I'm training for (or lack of training for).

So, what is my first step to changing my shape AGAIN? These chocolate muffins. Seriously, they are amazing and sans eggs/oil. I'll be posting and creating some new healthy recipes, so look out! I'm also now a member of Urban Active in Buckhead. I took my first spin class tonight and I may have to admit I'm in love!

For anyone that wants to run a half with me, I've already signed up for the Georgia Publix marathon in March. I would love you to join me (and train with me). Please let me know if you are interested!

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