Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Walt Disney World Marathon, 2015

Can you believe I ran a marathon?! Sometimes I hardly can. It was exciting and horrible and wonderful. I have a lot of emotions about running, clearly.

Two years ago just about this time, I was just about finishing my first (and let's be real, probably only) marathon. I can't believe I didn't write about it back then, but Shelby did a nice recap on her blog. Her's is still the way, way better recap, but I thought that a few years on, I'd put some thoughts down here.

Before the race, I had been so excited, but also pretty undertrained, and so the race was, by far, the worst one I'd ever run. Even within the first three miles, I knew something was off, starting much slower than I was used to, and having to take a bathroom break almost immediately.

Although I had Courtney offering me encouragement the whole way and some amazing crowds to pull me through, it took almost a full hour longer than I was hoping for, and a half hour longer than I expected it would, and I finished at 06:32:06. I am proud to have finished it, though and even though it's something I'm pretty sure I will never do again, I'm glad to have tried it once and do wish I had done a little better by the training. I do think this taught me to really respect running. It's nothing something to take lightly, and because it had worked pretty well for me without a ton of effort before the race, I think I wasn't as respectful of the sport as I should have been.

And doing a Disney race was a lot of fun! Most of it was on the roadway, which was kind of brutal for such a long race, but Disney tried to make it better with fun pop up stations and characters along the route. I think on a better day, I would have really enjoyed it, but because the race was already going so poorly, I didn't find it as adorable as I should have. My sister (pictured above!) is starting to get into running, and it's her goal to do a half marathon by the end of 2018. I'm so proud of her and can't wait to run in the Food and Wine Half Marathon with her in 2018!

I've had a weird relationship with running since this race. Although I ran a couple more races since then (Freihofers for the win! Trail running camp was awesome! Dropping out of a half marathon in Philadelphia!), I have really struggled to get back into it, even as I lost 20 pounds through circuit training and was in probably the best shape of my life (and then re-gained it once I hurt my back again, got a stressful job, and moved). I'm going to run the Covered Bridges Half Marathon this June, and I hope it gets me back into things a little more. And, until training starts in March, I'm taking a fitness class three times a week that really kicked my butt yesterday, so I'm hoping to start on really strong footing.

And in the meantime, I'm so grateful to my incredible family and friends who supported me through this crazy process a couple years ago. Roger never complained when I would spend hours every Sunday morning running in the cold and then come home pretty useless for the rest of the day. Shelby texted me after each of her long runs and kept me stoked leading up to the race. Courtney ran the entire race with me, even though I know she could have done it much, much faster, and sang Beyoncé to me to keep my spirits up. My parents and Liz flew down to Florida and put us up in their fancy hotel rooms. And Jill led us through Disney and bought me the cutest ornament ever to commemorate my run. Although the marathon really killed me, it also showed me how restorative the people around me can be, and taught me to never give up on any dream, even if it doesn't turn out how you planned.

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