My 2016 Chicago Marathon (Part 2)

I remember laying in bed on Saturday night, unable to sleep. I had done the work. I was true to the training plan. I had done everything I was supposed to do. So why was I so afraid? I stared at the hotel ceiling thinking of the words a friend told me just hours before, “You’re about to do something great. Enjoy the end of this journey.” I drifted off, and before I knew it, my 4:30am alarm was going off.

I don’t why, but I was assigned to the final corral, K, which was Wave 2. Wave 2 had an 8am start time, but we were all advised to arrive by 6:30 to allow enough time to get through security. It was still dark and cold as we made our way out of the hotel. I was fortunate enough to book a stay about a mile from Grant Park, so we didn’t have to worry about driving or transportation. There were already a lot of people headed to the start. We made it to the Congress Hotel at 6:30 where I was able to finally meet and chat with IG friend, Myrna, who was running her first marathon. I chatted with her and her family for a bit, and were able to share in a few laughs and hugs before having to head out to our gates.

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When IG friends become friends in real life

I made my way to Gate 5. After some final words of encouragement from the family, I said my tearful goodbyes, and off I went.

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There is no turning back now

With no gear to check, I went through security pretty quickly. Maybe 5 minutes? All the porta potty lines were long, and since I didn’t feel the need to go, I made my way to Corral K by 7:25. I had no cell phone reception standing and waiting among the tall buildings. This meant I couldn’t get on social media, nor could I call or text anyone.

I really didn’t know where to line up. My fastest marathon had been 5:39, and I had really wanted to hit 5:20. But after sustaining a knee injury earlier in the year, and being advised I shouldn’t run this race, I knew I couldn’t hit 5:20 and that this race wasn’t going to be about a time goal. So maybe somewhere with the 6 hour pace group? While I debated about where I needed to be, I had the urge to go to the bathroom, but knew it was probably just the cold wind…and the nerves. So I ignored it, and lined up, ready to go.

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6:00 Pace Group

Finally, 8 o’clock came around, and the corrals in front of us started moving. I eyed the porta potties, but the lines were still long, and the corrals really started moving quickly. Afraid to miss my start, I just kept moving. It was cold, I was starting to feel stiff, so I just wanted to keep moving. Finally, at 8:30, Corral K was at the front. I took my sweatshirt off, tossed it onto the pile of other sweatshirts on the sidewalk, and off we went. Official start time: 8:35am.

I was cold, and I immediately regretted not going to the bathroom. I pushed it out of my mind, and tried to get into a groove. Somewhere around the first mile, we went through a tunnel. When I got to the other end of the tunnel, my Garmin stated I was at mile 4. WHAT?! Clearly, that was wrong. So I was going to have to pay attention to the mile markers to keep track of my fuel.

I saw my family for the first time at mile 2. Excited and overwhelmed, I started to cry at the sight of my daughter jumping up and down. Hugs and kisses, and I was off again. The porta potties at mile 3 had some insanely long lines, but I was hurting and knew there was no way I could continue like this. I stopped and jumped in line. TEN minutes later, I was back on the road.

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I see you, boo!

I was feeling good, too good. I told myself there was no way I could keep this up for 26.2 miles. I knew I had to run smart, and that I needed to slow down if I wanted to avoid the meltdown I had at my last marathon. I took the sights in, read spectator signs, and kept repeating to myself that I had to stick to my plan. I saw my family again shortly before mile 10. They had water, Tylenol, Kleenex, and Chapstick waiting for me. More hugs and kisses, and off I went.

Before I knew it, I was at the halfway mark, and still feeling really good.

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We’re halfway there!

My daughter texted me to tell me she would be at the Merrill Lynch cheer station at Mile 16. That would be great, as I had some more IG friends at the same cheer station. I kept trucking along, listening to music, reading signs, just really enjoying the race.

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MORE than halfway there

Things got kind of crazy as I approached mile 16. Crazy, as in, the crowd noise level was incredibly loud. I could no longer hear my music. So, I turned it off, and enjoyed running without it. So many people. So, so, so many people with noisemakers, bells, horns, screaming and cheering. I couldn’t find my family anywhere. I couldn’t find my friends anywhere. I was sad about that, but the crowd support was the absolute best!

I met the family for the final time at mile 18, and I exchanged looks with my daughter. She knew exactly what I was thinking, and simply said, “No. You’re not going to hit the wall. See you at the finish line.” Off I went, with just one goal in mind: You will not fall apart.

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Time to start fighting

Mile 20 came, and the discomfort started. Mile 21 came, and I was in Chinatown, fighting back tears.

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Approaching mile 22, and I started to unravel. I was tired. I was sunburned. My calves started to quiver. I had some serious nausea. I wanted to stop. At this point, my phone was buzzing with notifications. My daughter texted me stating she found a spot, she was waiting for me at mile 26, and I needed to hurry up and get to her. That was when I started to go fishing: I focused on someone ahead of me, reached said person, and then worked on roping the next person. I continued to do this up and down the only hill of the entire race. I kept repeating to myself, “Stick to the plan. You are so close, just stick to the plan.” Mile 24 brought some calf cramps, and I kept telling myself to just stick to the plan.

I approached mile 26 and, exhausted, I could not find my family. I’m sure I couldn’t find them even if they held a sign flashing my name! So many people! I couldn’t stop running at this point. I was hurting entirely way too much. So I pushed forward. I saw a sign ahead reading: 1200 meters. “I can do this.” I told myself. “That’s 3 laps on the track. This is your final track workout. You can do this.” 800 meters. 2 more laps. 400 meters. The final lap. I turned the corner. 200 meters. “Just half a lap on the track. Go.” I caught sight of the finish line, and let out an audible sob. I cried. A race volunteer ran beside me and asked if I needed medical attention. I shook my head, no. I ran. I cried. I crossed the finish line at 1:42pm.

In a daze, I walked through the finishers chute. I remember a volunteer placing my medal  around my neck, giving me a hug and saying, “You made it.” I received my mylar blanket, and took my finishers photo.

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2016 Chicago Marathon Finisher

I made my way to the Mile 27 finishers party. That was when I received about 8 consecutive text messages from my dear friend, Angela, back at home telling me that I finished in 5:06.33!! No. That can’t be right. I wasn’t planning on hitting 5:20, let alone 5:06! I looked at my Garmin. It was reading that I ran over 28 miles, so that unreliable. I didn’t believe her. I made my way to the timing tent, and they confirmed my time. Oh my word! That means I just ran a 33 minute personal best. My family had caught up to me at this time, and that was when the real crying started.

We walked, and we talked, and I cried, and I finally had to sit to digest everything. I was no longer tired. I was confused. I was overwhelmed. After a while, I got up, and we made the long walk back to our room. Talking, and laughing, and crying some more. We got back to the room, I showered, and we were off to dinner with my new friend. IMG_0129.JPG

We decided to avoid the long lines at the neighboring restaurants, and dined at the hotel restaurant instead. To be honest, after 5 hours of energy gel, water, gatorade, and a piece of a banana, I had more nausea than I did hunger. I ate a little, but just wanted to lay down. After dinner, we went back to the room where I was able to foam roll and get into bed. I was able to finally chat with friends and family about my experience before I drifted off to sleep.

I was up bright and early the next morning to get a short run in. I knew the key to reducing muscle soreness was to keep moving. Besides, I was still on cloud 9, and wanted to get out there and run this city one more time.

After 3 miles, I headed back to the room, where the family had already gone and put our names in for brunch. By the time I arrived, the wait was 40 minutes for us, 2.5 hours for people just walking through the door. This morning was a completely different story. I. Was. HUNGRY. We ate, I ate some more, and then headed to our architectural boat tour. If you are in Chicago, this is a MUST.

After our boat tour, we made our way back to NikeTown so I can have my medal engraved.

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Lunch was, once again, Shake Shack, where I had a burger the size of my face. Afterwards, we headed over to Millennium Park to visit Cloud Gate, AKA, The Bean.

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I spent the rest of the day eating before heading back to our room to pack, sleep, and head home on Tuesday.

Now, the follow part of this blog entry is the reason it has take me over 2 months to recap this race:

In the days following the race, I received an email with my race pictures. Some were good, others were not, but there was one picture in particular that made me gasp. When I first saw this picture, I thought, “OMG. Is that how I look?” All I could zero in on were what I considered to be my flaws. I showed this picture to my trainer, who asked me why haven’t I posted it. I immediately said, “Do you see what I look like?” He asked me about my reaction in the picture. “Well, this was when I saw the finish line for the first time. I know this because that was when I began to cry.” “Well, why were you crying?”

“I was tired. My stomach was hurting. I was in a lot of physical pain. But when I saw the finish line, that no longer matter. I felt an overwhelming amount of pride. I was about to complete one of the hardest things I will ever do. It made all the gym sessions, speed workouts, early morning long runs, 100 degree heat worth it. I was in amazement of what I able to accomplish.” “Post it,” he said. So I did.

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In the days and weeks that followed, this picture was shared over and over on different social media platforms. Even last week, it was shared by Women’s Running Magazine. No one saw what I saw when I first looked at this picture. Everyone saw what I felt: A woman on her way to completing a freaking marathon! I am completely in awe and humbled by the number of messages and emails I’ve received from people thanking me for my vulnerability, congratulating me on my race, and messages of women letting me know that I’ve inspired them to step out of their comfort zones. I am ashamed when I think about how hard I was on myself. Who cares what I look like? I’m about to do something that not many people can say they have! I am about to complete a 26.2 mile race. What I look like does not matter. I fought and overcame obstacles to get to this race. I pushed on when I thought I couldn’t. I ignored that voice in my head that begged me to stop. I became a marathoner.

I want to thank the countless number of people who left me a kind note, word of encouragement, sent a message my way, for opening up my eyes that the only requirement to being a runner, is that I run. Running doesn’t know weight, or measurements, or speed, or distance. I am a runner. I am grateful that this body of mine is strong and healthy and has allowed me to get to where I am. This race set the foundation for a pretty amazing fall racing season for me. Since this race, I was able to PR the 5K, 10K, and half marathon distance twice!

If there’s one image that sums up my race experience, it is this one. I fought hard. But it was so worth it. I had so much doubt of what I could do. I learned so much about myself in training for, and running this race. I know that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for.

If there’s one marathon you must run, I hope that you make it the Chicago Marathon, and I hope that, like me, you have the race of your life! I can’t wait to return in October 2017.

Thank you for following in my journey.

xoxo

Esmeralda

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My 2016 Chicago Marathon (Part I)

Testing…Is this thing on?

My deepest apologies for my 9 month hiatus. Life got really busy once my training began for the Chicago Marathon. Speaking of Chicago, let me tell you a little about my experience.

Our flight departed nice and early from Chattanooga, arriving in Chicago by Noon. Once we arrived to our hotel, it was too early for check in, so I literally paced. Too excited to be there; too nervous to eat; too anxious to sit still we left our luggage with concierge and headed to the expo. There was a shuttle departing every 15 minutes, and lucky us, the line was already incredibly long. img_9912-3

The school bus arrived, we hopped on, and all I could do was sit on my hands. I kid you not, I could have probably used some sedation at this point. We arrived at the expo shortly before 3PM, and IT. WAS. PACKED.

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Abbott Health & Fitness Expo

The first order of business was, of course, bib pick up.

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Does this bib make me look ready?

Up next was visiting vendors and, OH MY, were there vendors. If there was anything a runner needed, it was there. Forgotten at home, it was there. Simply wanted, it was there. We spent the most time at (surprise, surprise!) Nike.

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After what felt like days, we boarded the shuttle back to the hotel. Checked in and unpacked, I settled with having dinner at the hotel restaurant so I can unwind and head to bed early. After all, I had a 5K to run in the morning.

It was a lot colder than I had anticipated for the inaugural International Chicago 5K. But you’re only cold if you’re not moving, right? Leaving the hotel, I had no idea where I was headed to, so I did what any runner would do: follow the group of runners wearing your matching bib. I made it to the starting area with about 15 minutes to spare. I made my way to the start, the gun went off, and off we went.

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Marathon Starting Line

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The best part was, yes, getting to run past the marathon starting line. Kind of gave me butterflies in my stomach thinking about what was going to take place the next day. I received my finishers hat, grabbed a hot drink, and made it back to the room to do some foam rolling.

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Finishers beanie

We went to grab brunch at a restaurant across the street from the hotel. Estimated wait time: 3 HOURS. It was PACKED. I was getting hangry and I really didn’t want to, nor was I in the mood to, wait around that long. We headed over to the Magnificent Mile, where we were planning on doing some shopping, and grabbed a burger and fries at Shake Shack.

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There was a reminder everywhere you looked about the next day’s race. Signs, billboards, merchandise everywhere we went. I spent more time on my feet than I probably should have, but the alternative was probably pacing in my room. We visited every store and shop up and down The Magnificent Mile. But we spent the most time, you guessed it, at NikeTown Chicago.

I mean, what’s not to love about 4 stories of workout stuff? Am I right? 🙂

We made the long walk back to our room, then headed down for dinner at Giordano’s. Lucky for us, the wait was only 40 minutes. The catch? You better know what you want to eat because it’s then a 90 minute wait until your pizza is made. To be honest, I am not a fan of deep dish pizza. My stomach can’t handle the red tomato sauce. I had the Fettuccine Alfredo, while the family had pizza. I won’t lie. The pizza looked and smelled great.

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This is a small pizza. Spoiler alert: we had leftovers

It was now a little after 7PM. I was tired. Nerves were starting to set in. I felt overwhelmed. We went back to the room so that I can get my things ready and have some quiet time. After all, tomorrow will be a big day.

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Race Ready

 

 

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Good night, Chicago

xoxo,

Esme

 

Chattanooga Marathon Recap

  

2016 Inaugural Chattanooga Marathon 

When registration was announced that my city was hosting a marathon, I knew it was a race I had to run. But let’s back up for a minute here. When I registered for this race, I was neck deep training for my first marathon, the WDW Marathon as part of the Dopey Challenge in January. So that means I would be completing 2 marathons only 8 weeks apart. Haha! Color me crazy! 

Racing locally meant I didn’t have to worry about travel costs, so I went down to the First Tennessee Pavilion on Friday for packet pickup.  

 
I signed my waiver, picked up my bib and tshirt, and walked around visiting vendors. There were some vendors that you expect to see at races. Vendors that sell compression sleeves, tshirts, foam rollers, skirts, chiropractic care, headbands, fuel, etc. But then there were some vendors that I wasn’t quite sure about, such as windows and siding for your home? I didn’t get that. But moving on, I ran into my running friend Jessica, who was running the half and I got to chat with her for a bit.  

 
Then I took a look at the course map and elevation change for the first time.  

 
I don’t like to study the course map. A lot of people say that I should know what I’m getting myself into, but I know myself, and I know I will over analyze every mile. I mean, would you blame me? Just look at the elevation change! 

I woke up on Saturday morning with every intention of getting in one last shake out run. But anyone that knows me knows that, if there’s a 5K going on, I am there. Not wanting to miss the registration cut off, I got dressed, and drove as fast as I could to Finley Stadium. Success! I’m in!  

 
The morning was very cold, so I stayed in the car until the last possible second. The course took us just about down Main Street and back. My shins were bothering me, so I tried not to push it. My official time was 34:54, so I was happy with that. The bling was nice, too.  
 
I laid low the rest of the day, determined to not let the next day’s race get to my head. So I ate, napped, painted my nails, laid my things ou, and went to bed early. 

Now on to the marathon. Sigh. This race is why it’s taken me this long to write a race weekend recap. I’ll try to get through the remainder of this post with minimal crying. 

We drove down to the finish line staging area at the First Tennessee Pavillon, where we were then shuttled to the starting line at the Tennessee Aquarium.  

 
We met up with some IG friends, did some light stretching, lined up at the start, watched someone perform the Star Spangled Banner, and were off shortly after 8am. Once again, my shins got the best of me. It was cold, my legs were tight, but I knew it was too early for this nonsense. Both marathon runners and half marathon runners took off together until the split at mile 1.56. What?! I looked behind me and a huge majority of the runners took off towards the half marathon course. So I found myself quite lonely at this point and knew, right then and there, that this race was going to be a fight. 

I turned on my music and pushed forward. Before I knew it, I was passing mile marker 5. I got a text from my best running friend/turned running coach, letting me know I was at the one hour mark. Ok. Good. One hour down. I can do this. 

 
By this point, I was feeling good. I felt strong.  I got a text at the halfway mark telling me I reached the halfway at 2:31, and my estimated finish time would be 12:58pm. That would be a sub 5 hour marathon finish. I knew I was going fast. I knew I would burn out. I knew I needed to save some in the tank. But I struggled slowing down. I was feeling good. I would soon come to see that I made a huge rookie mistake! 

I kept running and, boom.  

 
Every turn was boom  

 
At mile 17, I began to question whether I could pull this off. The sub 5 hour finish time was getting further and further away from me. Which was fine because I never really had a time goal, but at this point, the wheels began to fall off. I had my 3 best running friends texting me, telling me to finish what I set out to do. I was trying. I really was. At mile 20, I. Was. Done. I was done with this race. I was done with the pain in my feet. Done with the sweat in my face. Done with the pain in my foot. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I was reduced to a shuffle when my phone rang. Who’s calling me in the middle of a marathon? 

I answered the call. On the other line was my best running friend, turned running coach, turned best friend. I didn’t talk. I simply listened. “You can do this. You got what it takes. I believe in you. Finish the job.” On the other end were my running friends texting me to keep pushing forward, and my family texting me to not quit. I shuffled my feet. I cried. I walked. I cried.  

 
The end was near.  

 
This felt like the longest mile ever.  

 
But with some more encouragement, and another phone call, I made it. Official time was 5:39:12. A marathon person best by almost 2 hours! I cried. A lot. I sat in a chair, trying to process the trauma I just put my body through, and the high of becoming a marathoner again. I don’t remember much about the rest of the day. The free food was great, and the company was even better.  

 
  

I hobbled the rest of the day. I slept. I ate. I rode the high of what I just accomplished. That is, until the next day. 

Rumors began to circulate on social media in reference to the course length. Specifically, it was short. While the course certification was correct, the barricade placement was not. The course was, in fact, 25.9 miles. So that means, on paper, it was not a marathon. 

I struggled with this for a while. I became upset. “How can this again happen? Why did this happen? My race no longer means anything.” These were some of the things I told myself over and over. But, as the day wore on, I was reminded that this does not erase all of my hard work. This doesn’t mean I didn’t run a marathon. This doesn’t take away from the fact that I was out there doing the dang thing. So, yes. I am a marathoner! 

Will I run this race again? At first, the answer was a firm, “heck no!” But time heals sore feet, and all wounds. Ask me today if I’ll run the race again, and the answer is, “Yes! See you in 2017!”

Until next time. 

XOXO 

Monday Must – Have

My friend and fellow blogger, Jodi, blogged about her Monday must have and it got me wondering, what is one thing I MUST have to run/workout with? Believe me, I’m the type of person that doesn’t like “winging it.” I am a planner by nature. So that means I’ve tried and tested many products in the short time I’ve been running, and I stick with what works for me. No deviation. Some say that’s a recipe for disaster because I can’t plan for every single scenario that can present itself. True, but I don’t mess with what works.

So…my one thing, tried and true, that I must have, are my Powerbeats Wireless Headphones.


These things are lightweight, but pack an amazing sound. With a 6 hour rechargeable battery, they connect wirelessly to my mobile device, as well as my Apple Sport Watch. They are also waterproof, which is awesome because I have ruined 2 sets of Apple earbuds with my sweat. Gross, I know. They’re a bit on the pricey side, but worth every penny, in my opinion. I love not worrying about a tangled cord while running. I canNOT run without these.

So tell me, what is your running must have?

XOXO

All Things Hydration

Lets face it: there’s more to running than, well, running. If there’s one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t just head out the door and run. You need the right kind of sneakers, clothes, sports bras, socks, fuel, sunglasses, hydration, hat/visor, and even headbands. Suddenly, running has now become rocket science; finding what works, what doesn’t, what fits, what’s necessary. Today we are going to talk about hydration.

I’ve never been a fan of sport drinks. They’re loaded in sugar and hurt my stomach. If I’m forced to have one, I have to add water or it’s a no go. Last year I began training for my first Spartan Race and a fellow racer mentioned a product called nuun; an electrolyte enhanced drink tablet which you pop into your water. It was love at first sip.

Recently I read about plus for nuun; an electrolyte carbohydrate tablet. Say what?

I already knew this would be a game changer for me because I DISLIKE fueling on a run. A lot of products that I’ve tried bother my stomach. I’ve tried jelly beans, different flavors of GU at different temperatures, gummy bears, as well as Blocks. I take them as directed, with water, but something about the texture makes me gag. I mean, there’s nothing like being 6 miles into a marathon when you begin to battle nausea. So I figured I will give the Plus for Nuun a try during today’s 10 mile run. I prepped the drink last night. It is recommended 1-2 Plus for Nuun tablets per 16 – 24 fluid ounces. It is flavorless, so I added my favorite Cherry limeade energy tablet.

I fueled like I normally do before leaving the house (Cliff Bar), and ran my 10 miles with only the water I prepared in my Camelbak.


I had no problems with nausea, zero fatigue, zero cramping, and needed zero fuel. No GU’s, no raisins, no gummy bears, no bananas, no anything today! I felt strong the entire 10 miles. Again, this is a game changer for me, personally.


Nuun can be found at most sporting good stores, and of course, online at http://www.nuun.com. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Have you ever tried nuun? What’s your go to fuel method?

Until next time.

XOXO

 

A Heart To Heart 

Check out Helen Parr dressed as Mrs. Incredible

I’ve been in a slump here recently. Some call it lazy, others call it depression, most call it “post marathon blues.” Well, whatever it is, it’s hit me hard. I’ve had zero motivation. Zero ambition. If I could just go to work, come home, and sleep, I’ll be OK with that. But I know myself and know that I have to fight whatever this is and not let it get a hold of me. I mean, come on! I’m Mrs. Incredible!I’ve been thinking back on when I was at the top of my game. This is before the back injury, before the back surgery. I was at the gym 5-6 days a week. I was running 3-4 days a week. I was active and the numbers reflected my hard work. I showed up at the starting line of my first half marathon ready to KILL IT. 

 I did! 

  
And I killed the next half marathon after that. 

  
Since then, not so much. So what was the secret? Why was I able to get up at 4:30am and go to boot camp 5 days a week? I mean, goodness! That’s hard! But I did it every day for a few months. Then the cold came and I changed to an evening class. But I went faithfully. Every single day. Why could I do that then, and not now?

The answer to that was a bit of an eye opener. I simply made myself. I forced myself. Did I like to go? No. Did I look forward to going? No. Did I feel like a million bucks after each class? YES! So there’s my answer. After 2, 3 months of forcing myself to go to boot camp, I created a habit. Before I knew it, I went automatically and I loved it. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a hard class. But it challenged me every single day. I left that class exhausted, but with an incredible feeling of accomplishment. There’s nothing like flipping tires, throwing around a sledge hammer, or running sprints until you cannot breathe.

So I decided today will be the day (again!). I went to class, and I’ll go tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. Why? Because, for 60 minutes a day, it’s just me and the trainer. Nothing else matters. I leave all of my frustrations, sadness, thoughts, out on the turf, and work hard. And that’s a good feeling. My hope is that I create a habit of it soon, and that I can dig myself out of this hole I feel like I’m in. Exercise is truly the best therapy. I’m looking forward to it. After all,

There is only one way to success. It’s called HARD WORK.

Until next time. Keep on grinding.
XOXO

 

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Recap

This past weekend runDisney held its marathon weekend at the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, FL. Anyone who’s ever run one of their events knows how stressful the registration process can be. I mean, these races sell out in a matter of a few hours! So I was beyond thrilled  when I was able to snag up a registration back in April.

Fastforward 9 months later and race weekend was here!

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I signed up for the Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon). 4 races spread out over 4 days totaling 48.6 miles. Now, I have never run a full marathon distance. So, naturally I was scared. But I trained as best as I could and was determined to cross all 4 finish lines. I had my best running friend, Chelsie, with me and we were off.

The 5K and 10K races were fun (despite the rain for the 10K), but we had so much fun running the half marathon distance together. There was something about running to Magic Kindgom and back having great laughs and conversations, that the time just flew by and we were already done.

Sunday’s marathon was a whole separate beast. It was hot. It was humid. We were tired. The hardest stretch was in between Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. Six miles of very narrow road, not so great entertainment, and a lot of nothing. That’s when the mental fight began. Once we got to Animal Kingdom, we jumped onto Expedition Everest (so much fun!), and were ready to tackle the second half of the race. Then mile 19 arrived and with it came leg cramps, painful feet, and a lot of tears.

 

so much hurt

I don’t think I had ever wanted to quit something as badly as I did at this point. I sobbed on my husbands shoulder at mile 20. He firmly said, “You quit the race now, and the last 20 miles were for nothing.” So I dried my tears and we kept going. It hurt to run. It hurt to walk. It just plain hurt. Once we got into Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of Epcot, the crowd support was outstanding. We ran and cried and we made it. 26.2 miles complete! We are marathoners!

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I hobbled for a few days, but that’s such a small price to pay (in my opinion) for the feeling of completing this challenge cannot be beat. Now that time has passed, I can honestly say I want to do this next year. 1000 times, YES! Yes, it was hard, the 2am wake up time was insane, you run 2 races at half pace, but I had so much fun and have created a lifetime of memories.
The saying is true:

“When your legs get tired, run with your heart.”

Until next time.

Esmeralda