Sunday, April 12, 2009

Better Late then Never.....


Holy late post...it's been three weeks since I ran the Shamrock Marathon.....and really it was certainly a race blog worthy.

So, again here is my story in all it's glory and the lessons I learned.

As far as marathons go.....the "day" itself could not have been more perfect. The temps were in the mid 40's to start and the skies were clear and blue....there was absolutely no wind. So, weather was never ever a factor.

Nerves, however, were....

I got to the start line with Running Buddy so full of nerves, I could have lit up the entire city of Virginia Beach....

And it all started a week prior to the race. 

If you have kept up with my blog, you would know that I had lost my beloved pet companion "Bailey" in January....and I was on a list of potential "adoptive" parents for a puppy from a litter rescued from a puppy farm just an hour outside of were I live. I was on pins and needles to even know if I had been approved to adopt.

Marathon weekend was more than just about the marathon....it was about the puppy, trying to qualify for Boston....and of course my year long running journey with my running companion....Running Buddy, who was also looking to PR her 2nd marathon.

So, you can imagine the mental wreck I was at the start line.

Time marched on....and the gun went off. 

I had made the decision to stay in between the 3:40 and 3:50 pace group....which in the end bit me in the ass.

First of all, the 3:50 pacer started off WAY too fast....like at an 8:15 pace for the first 5k. It scared me and about a half dozen others in the group. But, luckily, the lead guy realized his speed and slowed drastically which pushed me about 30 sec. ahead of the group overall by the first 10K.

And that is where I stayed for the entire run.....until.....mile 22. 

This is officially, where my race and fight for the BQ time began.

Friends....for all of the first 21 miles, I was in an awesome place.....felt good, strong, confident and steady. I was on my own, but I stayed within a reasonable pace.

But, by mile 22, I had to start praying. I wouldn't say I "hit the wall" like I did in Outer Banks. I felt ok, tired, but cardio wise, I felt ok. Muscles....well the fight was on. I got a nasty, gnarly and wicked unfamiliar cramp in my right calf. Weird....but painful....

And it slowed me down. It never stopped me....but it slowed me down on the last 4 miles.

Those last 4 miles were a fight for my life....literally, a fight for my BQ time.


I have NEVER, pushed and struggled so hard and worked through the worst "charlie horse" in my LIFE!!!

I used to think that people who got "charlie horse" cramps were crazy...and there I was...on the last 4 miles with a wicked Charlie Horse cramp.

I struggled and used mental strategies as the 3:50 pace group started closing the gap on me.....closer and closer....mile 24, mile 25 and that group was breathing down my back and my cramp was bringing tears to my eyes. I had not one second to stop, stretch, or catch my breath.....literally, I had to speed up.

The 3:50 group caught me and passed me on the 26th mile.

Has it been said that the marathon has been won or lost on the .2 mile? Because mine was WON on that .2 mile.....

3:50:40....



But really 3:40:09.....because my chip time and start time are the same and I did NOT start with the gun.

I only had 19 seconds to spare to qualify for Boston....

And although I'm proud and happy....it was WAY too close for comfort.

My training efforts payed off....and despite the emotional loss of my golden retriever pet of 10 years mid way through my training cycle....I pushed through.....with the love and dedication of a good running partner, boyfriend and mother/best friend....I met my goal and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Running Buddy still asks me to this VERY day....."do you feel like a different runner now??" and I say...."no....not really..." still I feel very humble.

But....today.....3 weeks later, recovered, stronger and happier...yeah....I do feel like a different runner...and person....

Because, I found strength in me that I NEVER thought existed.

It would have been so easy to quit after I put Bailey to sleep.....

But I didn't.

It would have been so easy to quit after I felt so weak...so tired.....and SOOO sad.....

But I didn't....

And I won...

I won the greatest honor a runner can achieve...

I qualified for the Boston Marathon...

A 41 year old woman...

who only ever ran to lose weight...stay in shape...and stay healthy.....

The dream came true...

And a stronger runner, more motivated person....more grateful individual had been born.

Man....did I learn some life lessons.

Live every day like its your last....sounds so cliche' dear friends....and I used to think I was the poster child of appreciating every moment until my dog died. He was all I had.....then I had nothing. And I didn't know how to go on.

Run every run like it could be your last......

You never know when you can't or won't be able to.

Dig deep into your soul...you are always..... ALWAYS....stronger than you think you are and you can endure more pain than you think you can when your dream is on the line.

Am I a different runner now??? As my Running Buddy would ask....and who by the way PR'd by an ENTIRE HOUR (thanks to my special training and dedication to her dream!) and finished 4:14 ( last year her time was 5:12)

HELL FUCKIN' YEAH I feel different now! I'm goin' to BOSTON BABY!!!!!

 But still, there is a humbleness about me....and a deep appreciation for my own strength...and for the powers above...

Because not only did I did make the Boston time.....but I was ALSO blessed with a golden retriever puppy marathon weekend. 

I am very happy and satisfied with all the work and efforts......

I am blessed...

Thank you blogger friends for all of your kind comments and thoughts through my journey...

More great things to come!

Next weekend....well.....another half marathon I hope to PR by at least one minute!

Stay tuned!!

Toodles from the East Coast!!

12 comments:

joyRuN said...

Awesome,inspiring post Kelly!

Congratulations on your BQ AND new puppy - happy news all around!

PS - Can I please have your legs?

The Laminator said...

Congrats on your BQ! What an awesome story! I needed that as I prepare to run Boston next week...i need the reminder why this race means so much, because I myself can remember how I felt when I qualified. And yes, you definitely become a different runner once you get there. Congratulations again! What a dream weekend it must have been for you!

Kelly said...

Awesome! Very cool report. So good to hear all the details! What's the new puppies' name?

TNTcoach Ken said...

It was worth the wait! Great job and a great post. Good luck with the new puppy.

The Happy Runner said...

OMG Congratulations!!!! Your post put tears in my eyes. Seriously. Tears. I loved it.

WAY TO GO!!!!!!!

Oz Runner said...

great race report...congrats on the BQ

Amy said...

I am so happy for you! The BQ and the puppy! That's awesome!! Such an inspiration for us all!!

Lily on the Road said...

Oh Kelly, way to go and HELL FUCKIN' YEAH you do feel different now! and you are goin' to BOSTON BABY!!!!!

Baily was with you every step of the way, GOOD LUCK!!

aron said...

you are sooooo amazing!!! CONGRATS again on your awesome race and pushing so hard to finish! I will keep this in the back of my mind as I am going into my race coming up.

and yayyyyyyyy for the puppy! can we see pics pretty pretty please :)

rinus said...

WOW!!!!, Congrats and go to Boston!.
Rinus.
www.rinusrunning.punt.nl

Tina said...

YAY!!! "Running Buddy" is soooo proud of you! You're my hero!!! :)

Caroline said...

I just stumbled across your blog, and must say your post made my day!!!

I was feeling a little sorry for myself today, and your story has made me feel optimistic.

I love how you got through that race with heart and soul and accomplished your dream!!

Happy also to hear that puppy has found a nice home :)

Summer Vacation