I’m feelin’ a little ADD right now.
That’s my excuse if this post seems all over the place while you read it. Of course, it’s probably not any worse than usual.
On Friday, I was a complete and total crazy woman. I went to the expo that night to pick up race packets and do a bit of carb loading. I think the expo was great . . . honestly, I was so hyped-up while I was there I don’t think I noticed much of it. I do remember snagging a 26.2 sticker for my swagger wagon, meeting up with a friend we were stationed with in Illinois, and posing for pictures by a horse. The rest is kind of a blur.
Y’all know the ugly mug on the far left. My pal, Christi, is in the middle and she set a HUGE new PR at Little Rock. Carrie, the super model on the end, did two marathons this past weekend. She ran one Saturday morning and then turned around and ran the Little Rock Marathon Sunday morning. I know, right?!
Looking at that picture almost makes me feel bad for them that they’re stuck with me. ::snort::
Since I felt so crazy all day Friday, I just knew Saturday was going to be worse; however, I was totally chill. I was so surprised! I was even able to go to sleep by 9:30 and slept until the alarm went off at 4:30 the next morning. I felt well rested and content when I woke up Sunday morning.
I enjoyed a cup of coffee, surfed on my laptop with my feet up and just tried to relax. Melissa‘s cousin, Emily, and a friend of hers ran the half and stayed at my place so they didn’t have to pay for a hotel. We all loaded up and hit the road a little after six to meet up with some other runners and head into Little Rock. It took longer than expected to find a parking spot and then we walked to a nearby hotel to keep warm and get in line for the bathroom. I was keeping my eye out for my friend, Vic. We planned on sticking together during the race since we did all of our 20-mile training runs together. Once Vic showed up, there wasn’t a whole lot of stand around time before we needed to line up for the start.
The Open Corral was jam packed full of people, so we couldn’t get up to the 5:10 pacers. We settled in next to the 5:25 pacers and figured we would just work our way up to the 5:10 group once we started.
There was lots of singing and dancing, among Vic and I, as we inched our way to the start line. I was so excited and happy.
Once we were off, it didn’t take long for us to catch up to the 5:10 group. When we caught up, we slowed down and settled in. The pace felt nice and easy.
My plan was to be in the mile I was in and not think about how much farther I had to go. That’s precisely what I did. As we passed each mile marker, I just thought to myself, “Okay. Now, I’m in mile 3. Okay. Now, I’m in mile 7.”
When we hit mile 13 or 14, we took a little walk break and the 5:10 group inched away from us.
I was okay with that though. I still felt great, as evidenced below. ::snort::
Right after this point on the course, we began about a three mile steady uphill climb. Up to that point, there were some nice rolling hills, but nothing too terrible.
We took walk breaks when we needed them and ran when we felt like it.
Sometime during this uphill climb, I spotted my parents on the side of the road and ran over to give them a sweaty hug. My mom snapped this picture.
Someone told us there would be beer when we reached the top of the hill. I kept waiting for the top of the hill. I kept waiting for the beer. And waiting. And waiting.
Once we reached the top . . . no beer. I was so bummed, but there was some nice downhill to make up for it.
I had been warned numerous times that the toughest part of the course were not the hills, but the out and back that begins around mile 18-ish. It’s flat as a pancake, so you would think it would be the easiest part . . . . no. Not so much.
You’re headed down to the turn around point and can see others headed back on the other side. I told myself not to get into a mental battle over it. I told myself to stay in the mile I was in and just focus on that.
I had a nice surprise heading into the River Trail portion though. My parents had made their way over and were waiting for me again. I sure love them.
My man had told me ahead of time he was going to try and be at the turn around point with the crew. As we neared the turn around and I didn’t see them, I told myself I wasn’t allowed to be disappointed, then I heard some guy screaming, “I’m in love with number 967!” ~ it was my man. And then I saw all the children holding signs and yelling for me.
Seeing them at that point in the race was perfect.
We were past mile 22 and I kept wondering, “When am I going to hit the wall? Where is the wall going to be? How hard am I going to hit the wall?”
But . . . the wall never came. As we headed back out and toward the finish, I started noticing fatigue in my feet and legs, but nothing terrible. No pain like I had been anticipating.
During the last mile, there’s a pretty decent uphill climb ~ at least it feels that way after running for over five hours. ::snort::
Soon after we crested the hill, I finally found people handing out beer. Carrie (who had joined up with us somewhere around mile 13 and hung out with us the rest of the way) and I each grabbed one, toasted and chugged. Y’all know how much I love dark beer, but I gotta say . . . at that point, that Michelob Ultra tasted pretty darn good!
As we neared the finish, Vic and I looked at each other and smiled. Carrie, Vic and I raised our hands together as we crossed the finish line. Such a euphoric feeling.
It was a good day. I saw people out there pushing themselves beyond what they ever thought they were capable of. I saw tears well up in the eyes of people who were in obvious pain, but refused to give up. I saw people laughing, telling stories and bonding over the endless stretch of road. I saw people on the sidelines inspired. I saw people chasing down their dreams.
Yes, it was a good day.
All day Sunday I kept getting updates from FB, IG and Twitter telling me how amazing I am. Every time I would see that I would feel so blessed, but then I would shake my head.
Here’s the deal: I’m not amazing. I’m just Ruthanne.
Are you reading this and thinking, “I could never do that!” . . . You’re wrong. I thought that same thing a couple of years ago. I never thought I would be able to run one mile, let alone a marathon.
It was hard. I’m not going to lie to you. But was it worth it? Heck yes!
It makes me think of a quote from Dean Karnazes book 50/50:
“It is so easy to live a life that has been scripted for you by others, to fall into a mire of conformity by following a path that society has laid before you, rather than heeding your own unique calling. Comfort, complacency, routine, the path of least resistance, the easy road – these things are the bane of humankind. It is a disquieting moment when you awaken to realize the trappings of conventionality have created a life for you that is entirely different from the one you wish to live.”
So, what changed for me? How did I go from the girl who could barely run for 60 seconds to a girl who finished a marathon?
I changed my thinking. I decided to no longer be held back by what I thought I couldn’t do. I decided to create a new life. A life outside the box I had been existing in. I set aside my comfort and complacency and decided to take the harder road – the more fulfilling road.
You can do the same.
I’ll even run the road with you and walk it when we need to.