You owe it to yourself to do something remarkable with your life.
I ran my first marathon yesterday (April 28 2012). Here’s my story. It’s a little long (sorry! I like details!) but an easy read. It begins two days before the race. Enjoy!
6:30PM: Woke up with awful stomach pains and commenced a day spent at home with what I believe to have been food poisoning. It was probably the sickest flu symptoms I’ve ever felt. Two days before the marathon. Great luck, right?
3-somethingPM: Still feeling sick, a terrible headache (maybe a migraine?) started taking over and made me feel even more sick. Back to bed.
4-somethingPM: My awesome room mate (Amanda) is home from work with ibuprofen, gatorade, and saltine crackers, and makes me a yummy iced coffee to help get rid of the headache (what can I say, I’m addicted to caffeine!). It really helped.
10AM: I head downtown to the Marathon Expo to pick up my race information. Feeling much better and as if I had recovered from the day before, I have high hopes for the race and get excited again.
12PM: At work for the day and begin to feel a little sick, or at least not 100% well. Starting to get bummed.
9PM: Headed to my friend Johnathan’s art show. Feeling better after some dinner and a decaf coffee.
12:30AM: Finally get to bed after going to the art show, coming home and organizing some things (where my friends can see us along the race route, what time I might be done for Amanda to meet me at the finish, etc.). I drink a bunch of water and gatorade. I also work on my final playlist on my iPod for about 20 minutes, and it’s PERFECT.
4:50AM: My alarm goes off. I want to hit snooze, but know it will make me run late. I get up, drink a couple glasses of water, a tiny tiny cup of coffee, eat half a bagel, shower, drink some more water, get dressed, post this, and head out the door to go meet my running buddy for the big day, Matt. I’m already late.
6:10AM: Park my car on 24th Ave S. and start walking to one of two Starbucks on West End Avenue near the start line to meet up with Matt (we had planned this), and I get lost. Lost. A road that I am walking down (my walk has turned into half speedwalk, half jog) that I THOUGHT was some other road ends somewhere within Vanderbilt’s campus. Great. I’m not only late to meet Matt (we talked about meeting at 6am) but I don’t know which way to Starbucks.
I find my way to West End Avenue, where the start line and all the corrals are lining up. Music is playing and there are thousands of people around. As I’m standing there I realize, I don’t know which direction the Starbucks is. Right, or left? I have no clue. NO CLUE! I can’t think! Note I had been incredibly sick two days before, and since then, felt out of it in that “I just put the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard” way.
So I decide it had to be left. I also decide I have to start running because time is getting close to the race start and I HAVE to find Matt. I can’t do this without him! I also feel awful because I know he’s been sitting there at Starbucks wondering, “Where on earth is Kala and why is she 30 minutes late?!”
I start running along the sidewalk, dashing around people, going by the corrals. I pass our corral (16) and up another block or so and stop around 28th Ave S. It doesn’t feel right. I look up at a sign right before a set of restaurants and shops tucked off the street and don’t see “Starbucks” written on it. Shoot. I went the wrong way.
I turn around and run back down the corrals, 17, 16, 15.. 3, 2, 1, past the start line. I stop at two groups of police officers and ask if there is a second Starbucks (not the one that I KNOW is by the Barnes and Noble - everyone tries to lead me to that one - down the way. They have no clue. Thanks.
I keep running. I get down near 20th Ave S. and stop. It isn’t this way. CRAP. I have no clue what time it was but know it’s getting closer to 7AM, start time. I run back toward the corrals (all uphill). I pass the start line, up corrals 1, 2, etc. I get back to 16 and stop. The corrals are filling up and I have no idea where the Starbucks is and can’t keep running around. So I get into our corral and know that Matt will eventually give up waiting on me and come here. I stand around and look for him in every direction like a lost dog. I am already sweaty from running around all morning (what I map out later to be 2 miles! BEFORE the marathon even began!). I wait for about one more minute and Matt walks up! It’s 6:45AM.
7AM: The race begins, with corral 1. 15 more to go until our group starts. Each corral goes about a minute or so before the next. We’re getting excited, though I’m still sweating from running around like a basket case before hand. I’m also feeling a little nauseous and dehydrated and I can’t figure out why because I had a lot of water in the morning and the night before. I blame it on Thursday’s sickness. As I’m feeling sort of sick and like I have to pee already (I had JUST gone), it hits me that we’re about to run a MARATHON. 26.2 miles. Nope, it never hit me until just then. Not the day before, not a week before, not even when I signed up for this race in December. It hits me after the first few corrals have already started running. And I’m sweating, feeling sick, and wondering whether I’m going to throw up within the first three miles. Awesome!
7:25AM: Our corral starts! After we begin running for the first mile or so I start to feel a little more normal (at least not sick). We’re running downhill for the first bit, then up, then down, taking West End almost to the river before cutting across to Demonbreun. It feels great outside, despite the humidity and the heat of the sun peaking around city buildings. The sea of people running down West End is really crazy - all types of bright colored clothing, heads bobbing up and down the hills toward town. I wish I had an arial view.
8:15AM: At mile 4.5, after a GRUELING 2-mile ascent up Demonbreun and 17th Ave S, I see my friends Johnathan and Lydia watching from the sidelines on Portland Ave, with fig newtons (at my request, thanks!) at hand. It was so exciting and motivating to see some friends watching, even though we couldn’t exactly stop and chat. Also, Matt and I had kept on an almost exact 10-minute mile, which was our desired pace for reaching our goal of finishing the marathon in less than 5 hours.
8:40-ishAM: Somewhere between mile 7 and 8 I start feeling really dehydrated. My arms feel like they are getting goosebumps and my sweat is quickly turning to salt. Not good with 20 miles to go. I’m starting to get a little bummed out and wonder how on earth I’m going to complete this. I keep going, and I stop to get a cup of gatorade and water at each drink station. I mostly dump the water on my arms.
(I lose track of time here because I don’t have a watch on so the rest of my story is based on mileage).
Mile 10: Feeling worse and worse. Wishing I had brought my own water even though there is plenty being given out. Getting annoyed that I feel awful because I’ve done this before, sort of. I’ve done 10, 15, 20 mile runs and felt GREAT. I can’t figure out why I feel as dehydrated as I do, but am blaming it on getting sick on Thursday. Just my luck. My legs are also beginning to get to a point of not wanting to run anymore - and we haven’t even made it half way.
Around this point, somewhere between mile 10 and 11, Matt and I both decide to listen to music on our iPod shuffles, just for a few miles (until now, we’ve just been jogging, talking, watching people, etc.). I put my headphones on, turn it on, press play, and nothing happens. I turn up the volume, nothing happens. I turn it off, back on, press play, pause, play, turn up the volume. Still nothing, but a slight bleep sound that signals it’s dead. DEAD. My iPod shuffle was not charged (later I figure out why and it’s my own dumb fault). I take off my headphones, run for a second, then tap Matt, who then takes an earbud out and asks, “What?” I tell him. “My iPod is dead.” He gives me a look of dread. I laugh. And get mad. And laugh some more. I can’t believe it’s dead. I bought it just for this race, I worked on a playlist numerous times. I typically wouldn’t “need” the music that I love during a long run but knew that the way I was feeling already, it would completely help me get through some more miles. He puts his music back on and I jog beside him, laughing at the irony of the situation and the past few days. Really? Really. Maybe I’m not supposed to run a marathon, is the thought that comes to mind.
Mile 11: Just after this mile marker, there’s a small sign in the middle of the road that directs half marathoners to the right side, and marathoners to the left. We’re almost halfway done, which means I have 15 miles more to run, but I don’t feel as though I can go another three. I keep it up during another ascent (THE HILLS WERE SO DIFFICULT!) and finally tap Matt again and tell him I have to walk for a minute. He walks with me. I tell him how annoyed I am and disappointed because I feel like I don’t think I can finish. He says he’s feeling OK about it. I finally tell him, against wanting to actually do this thing alone, to go on without me. He hesitates, but knows I mean it, and starts jogging again. I am then left to myself, other racers jogging slowly and walking around me, and crappy country bands playing on random stages for the next however many miles.
I get to the point where the half marathoners turn to go through town and to the finish line, only about 1.5 miles left on their course, and seriously consider leaving my route and heading to the end, quitting early, and calling Amanda to come pick me up. I realize that the marathoners, after going up to the north part of town, come back down toward this way, and decide to stick it out a little longer and perhaps just cut across in a few minutes. I also think that if I DO decide to finish, I have to be OK with finishing in 5 hours (before the morning started, I had high high HIGH hopes that we’d kick butt and finish in 4 hours and 30 minutes).
Mile 12.7 or so: I have walked for at least 30 minutes (with slight jogging off and on) and have just stopped to drink two gatorades and a water at the drink station. I walk for a minute more to let it settle and decide to try jogging again. We’re in a slightly appealing little part of town near a park and the road is winding in a descent. A breeze is blowing through the trees lining the street. There are more people around than I thought there might be during this part of the race and it feels nice to feel like I’m not alone even though I didn’t have my running buddy. It also feels nice to jog past (though very slowly) some men and women who are walking but look like they could kick my butt in a race. Slightly more motivated, though still feeling iffy about the whole thing.
Mile 15-16: Just made it (partially jogging) up a hill to an overpass across I-65. It’s blazing hot, but I’m feeling much less dehydrated than I had been. I continue to jog, even though it hurts, and think maybe I can finish this.
Mile 17: The marathon course has been running along with the end of the half marathon course through downtown, and as Mile 17 approaches, I can see the half marathoners crossing the finish line at LP field to my right. I can also see some marathoners finishing, coming from the opposite direction.
For a second, I think about giving up again: I’m only at mile 17, which means I have 9.2 miles more to go, and I seriously feel as though I can’t walk another ten feet. But as I’m watching spectators cheering on marathoners as they pass the 26 mile marker and run the last .2 miles to the finish line, I decide that no, I can’t give up, that I HAVE to cross the finish line in the marathon course. So I pass LP field, walking or jogging or something in between, and continue on for my next 9 miles of hills and heat, knowing it might take me a total of 6 hours (or anything over 5 hours) to finish. I give in to that idea, though it’s way over my goal.
Mile 18-19: This is actually a nice little jog (yes, I’m jogging again! kind of) as I pass through neighborhood streets where spectators are playing music, cheering us on, hosing us down, and another drink station provides even more gatorade and water. I feel a lot better, though everything from the waist down says “GO LAY DOWN IN THE GRASS AND STOP USING YOUR LEGS!” I kept going.
Mile 20-21: Sucks. No shade, open road, terrible scenery. At least it’s flat. Half jog/walk.
Mile 21-22: Grassy areas where the park around Shelby Golf Course begins makes the scenery better, as does another drink station. Yet another terrible group of musicians on the stage playing terrible music makes it worse. At this point, I’m passing marathoners who have already done the loop ahead of me. They are at mile marker 24. I decide that I am not going to run again until I get to that point. I’m at 21. I just passed a guy throwing up.
Mile 22-23.5: AWFUL. Yes, the scenery is better (golf course, green grass, trees, pond, ducks) but I CAN’T run and it hurts even MORE to just walk. People all along the route are either half jogging or barely walking. I pass a girl wincing in pain, holding her legs. Things are looking bad for some of these people. We round the pond and go up another hill. Of course.
Mile 23.5: I pass another drink station and another person with a hose. Feeling better, I decide to start my jogging a little earlier than marker 24. I’m jogging slowly, which feels awful, but I know when I stop it feels just as awful walking. At least I’m moving slightly quicker.
Mile 23.7: I SEE MATT! An hour ago, I said to myself that he’s probably finishing the race, but lo and behold he’s been 1/2 or 1 mile ahead of me since we split! Unfortunately, he says he started feeling pretty gassed after we split back around mile 11, so he’s been walking a majority of the course. Just like me. Oh, and his iPod shuffle died too, back near mile 13. Great luck for both of us, huh? “At least we’re going to finish together,” I say.
Mile 24-25: Longest. Mile. Of. My. Life. No drink stations. Hot sun. Terrible scenery again. We’re having issues even walking, and I honestly don’t understand how I’m able to keep going. We discuss that marathoners are insane, that neither of us will be running again any time soon, and that we will never ever attempt another marathon or race like this in our lives.
Mile 25.2: Drink station. Last one. We both take two gatorades and waters, and are still walking because we can’t really imagine doing anything more. All we know right now is that the finish line is a mile away.
Mile 25.8: (Back at mile 21 was where I told myself I wanted to jog the last two. I had told Matt this when we met up again, and he has said to me once or twice now that I can go ahead without him if I want to jog. I say no, and again tell him we started this thing together, we’re finishing it together.) Surprisingly, just before the 26 mile marker, he says to me, “Let’s jog.” I’m stoked. We start jogging (and it doesn’t feel too bad to me, surprisingly - but that could be the excitement of finishing very soon).
Luckily, it’s only a slight incline before the decline to the finish line. Close to the finish line, spectators cheer us on, people we don’t know telling us how amazing this is and that we’re doing a great job, just a few more yards to go. We turn a corner with about 15 yards left and I suddenly hear my name yelled to my left, where I then see Amanda (who I hadn’t planned on meeting up with until somewhere after the finish). So stoked to see her, and excited to finish, I (and Matt) put a pep in our step and finally, at 5 hours and 55 minutes after we started that morning, cross the line and finish the Nashville Marathon.
After the race, I walked another mile or so with Amanda to her car, took a shower, and we went with a friend to have lunch at Rosepepper (delicious mexican!) and came home. I tried to nap but the neighboring kids playing and construction on our street kept me up. I had a hard time walking around the house, often dragging my feet, and tried to lay down as much as possible.
My knees hurt today, my hips hurt, my shoulders and back are sore, my skin is sunburnt. BUT - my feet are blister free, I never threw up or had a muscle cramp during the race, and although I am a little disappointed that I A) couldn’t run the whole thing and B) took 6 hours to finish, I’m glad I finally completed a marathon, as it’s been on my goal list for a few years.
Right after the race (and during, really) I told myself I would never ever do one of these again. I also told many friends that I would never ever attempt to run another marathon.
This morning I talked to my cousin, Jenna, who had thought about running this one with me but is going to instead run her first marathon at the Rock n Roll series in Savannah, GA, on November 3 (she ran the half there last year).
I told her I’d sign up with her.
Total miles run, jogged and walked, from my pre-race escapades to getting to Amanda’s car after it ended: 29.7
Skin rubbed raw: barely
Pretzels consumed: 13?
High fives from random spectators: at least 10
Hoses I ran under: probably 7-9
People I saw throw up: 3
Jokes made with other runners during the run about how terrible the race was and how it never seemed to end: 2
Favorite signs made by spectators: ”Toenails are for losers!” and “Because 26.3 would be crazy”
the start line. Photo credit: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/nashville
this is how I felt at every hose someone had along the course. Photo credit: http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/nashville
Matt and I at the finish line. Photo credit: my roomie :)
sun burn / tan lines after 6 hours outside - and my finisher’s medal!
Overall place: 3,432. Overall time: 5 hours 55 minutes 57 seconds. Not great, but at least it’s under 6 hours!
…Now you are on the path towards living a positive life filled with optimism and happiness.
Write down 3 new ones Every day for the next month…
There are so many people in the world who dont have things like Food, Water, Video Games, or even Tumblr. Be Grateful for what you have!
Good to be reminded.Source: pianoxamerica
Day 3, during Run #3. Sunset on a steeeeeeeep hill. (Taken with instagram)