I proudly accomplished one of my goals for this year this past Sunday - I ran a marathon! I'm incredibly sore, but I am already looking forward to the next one! It was such a rush and I experienced a range of emotions - I was so nervous that I was feeling sick before the race started, and once everyone was lined up in the starting corral, the adrenaline rush that hit me was incredible. As nervous as I was, I knew I was ready - I trained, I was well-hydrated, I had all my nutrition that I would consume during the race, and I got a good night's sleep. My goal for this race was to just finish - I had to make sure I was pacing myself so I wouldn't burn out too quickly. All the continuous cheering from the sidelines, funny posters, shots of beer, and donuts people were handing out to runners was incredible. All that support gave me the motivation to get to the next mile! But the best part was seeing my boyfriend, family, and Lucy (my dog, who started crying after she saw me) throughout the course and at the finish line made it all worth it. I have an amazing support system and couldn't have done it without them!
I've run a few half marathons before and knew this was going to be a big challenge, but I trained really hard and had confidence in myself that I could do it. There were thousands of people participating in this race and I was constantly surrounded by a crowd of people telling each other "good job!" and "keep it up, you're doing great!" That's the beauty of these races. Everyone knows the struggle. Everyone has been there and experienced/are experiencing the pain and knows that everyone needs a push. It's such a supportive group of people and everyone is always helping each other out.
In the beginning of the race, I felt so good and I ran the first 15 miles with no problems, except that I was worried about becoming dehydrated and I was drinking so much water and gatorade that I had to stop to go to the bathroom a few times - and then around mile 16 I thought my toenail was falling off. It was so painful, and I had thought about wrapping my toes before the race, but didn't because that had never been an issue for me before, and I didn't want to try anything different on race day. Luckily my dad had a bandaid, so I stopped to put it on the next time I saw my family on the route, which helped tremendously. Then I made it to around mile 21 and thought my quads were going to explode, so the last few miles I had to walk/run. But I made it. I crossed the finish line. It was an incredible feeling. I accomplished something that I never thought I would be able to do. Although, I felt terrible after the race. I was hurting, I could barely walk, and I was starving. All I wanted was some pizza and some sleep!
Crossing that finish line was huge for me being that I'm a chronic asthmatic. I spent so much time in the hospital as a kid. I went into respiratory arrest at 6 years old and my dad performed CPR on me and saved my life. I spent hours doing breathing treatments and wishing I didn't have this miserable condition. But I found ways to overcome it. And running this marathon was one of them. I was told I could possibly grow out of it, but I haven't. I still suffer with it, although it's nothing like it used to be. Staying active is key. I always carry my inhaler when I run, just incase, but hardly ever have to use it. Running this marathon was a little emotional for me - I never thought I'd make it through something like this. It just proves that living a healthy lifestyle can be life changing - it's not just about eating healthy and exercising a lot. It's about taking care of yourself, knowing your limits, and pushing your limits.