Marathon Training: Week 2

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So, it’s official: my “Weekly Workouts Wednesday” posts will now be “Marathon Training Updates” until October, as I kicked my butt into gear and started following a plan as of last week, so this is Week 2 for me, although not as per the actual plan. I’m following a Hal Higdon training plan flexibly, adjusting things as-needed and not beating myself up over sticking to the plan to a T. Must.not.overtrain. 

Thurs, 7/14: 3.1 miles (plan called for 3, so right on the $). Easy peasey!

Fri, 7/15: Rest (planned). I did strength & abs in my gym.

Sat, 7/16: 11 (glorious!) miles. This run felt sososososo good! Yes, it was hot, and so hilly (upstate NY likes to roll), but I felt amazing and strong and kept up such a good pace. I finished wishing every run could feel that runderful! (cheeeeese) The plan called for 6, but I’m doing my long runs on Saturdays most weeks (instead of Sundays).

Sun, 7/17: 3.2 miles (with the boy). I’m reversing my weekend long runs, so technically my plan called for a 6 and a 9 miler this weekend for a total of 15; I did an 11 and a 3, for a total of 14, but with a longer run in there. This worked well for me. Both runs were also non-stop hills, which I know is helpful (but can be so hard!).

Mon, 7/18: Rest. Plan called for cross training but a) no time as I worked 12 hours and b) let’s be honest – I don’t do that. Spinning just isn’t my thing…and so $$$!

Tues, 7/19: 4 miles (as planned). Felt so-so. Sometimes the shorter ones are meh as it usually takes me a few miles to get warmed up/in the groove, and I was pretty tired.

Wed, 7/20: 5.25 miles (plan said 7). I was tired, could feel the beginnings of some soreness (must foam roll tonight), and snoozed for 20 minutes before making myself run this morning, which set me behind on time. Having said all that – I feel good with 5 and am glad I didn’t push it for more, as my IT band is really sore today and one of my priorities in this training cycle is to listen to my body and not overdo it.

Total weekly mileage: 26.55. Thrilled with that!

Running song of the week: “Dancing on Glass” by St. Lucia

What’re you training for right now?
Throw some tunes my way! Could use some new running music!

Two Things Tuesday

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ONE: Marathon training has officially begun! As of this morning, in fact! Yes, I’ve been running consistently, but I just decided today at 6am that I should probably, like, follow a plan or something. What race am I training for? The Mohawk Hudson River Marathon in the Capital Region of Upstate, NY — yes, the same (and only) 26.2 mile course I’ve run twice before. Hey, if it ain’t broke…right?
IMG_8395I’ve had two great experiences and love the course and running in early October, and it’s important to me to run a race at home so that my parents & loved ones can be there, so this has become my favorite race. I’ve done the half twice (2011 & 2012) and the full twice thus far (2013 & 2015), forced to defer 2014 due to an injury, and I’m excited to train for this full again. I like the structure and accountability a training plan offers me, even if I don’t always stick to it unwaveringly, and I’m hoping the next 13 weeks take me on a journey of self that challenges & stretches me in all sorts of ways.

I’ve chosen to follow Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 Marathon Training plan, which is the same one I (loosely) used last time. No complaints with it and I adjust as needed.

TWO: Dave Matthew Band — in concert, this coming Saturday night. So, so stoked for this outdoor summer concert at my favorite (and most-frequented) concert venue, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC). I’ve seen dozens of concerts & ballets here throughout my life, but DMB has always been the front-runner — this will be my 10th time seeing them in concert since I became a huge fan in my early teens. An outdoor show on a golden evening in Saratoga, NY, where the music couldn’t be any more summer-perfect and the atmosphere is one of overwhelming joy and revelry just to be alive in that moment…those are some of my favorite memories of growing up Upstate, and I can’t wait to relive that again this weekend!

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Dave selling out SPAC!

What’s something you’re looking forward to this week?
Anyone following a plan/training for a fall marathon?

Monday Runday Talk

Hey, friends! Hope you had a lovely weekend. I know I still owe you a second Maui post detailing my Road to Hana excursion, and I promise to get that up soon, but it hit me that I really haven’t done much run talk on here lately, so I wanted to remedy that today.

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So, here’s my relationship with running lately:

Still running regularly? Yes, absolutely, 4-5 days a week.

Training for anything? Nope, not specifically, these past few months.

Next race: Brooklyn Half in May (love this race!).

Favorite runs recently: In Maui, we ran almost every morning on the beach walk along the ocean, which was absolutely delightful and the best way to start our days in paradise. It was also a good lesson for me in not being so hard on myself in regards to running and my body, and just allow myself to enjoy the sunshine & the beauty all around me & the blessing of being alive & healthy & happy & present in that moment, with the boy, in such an incredible place. I didn’t count miles (I think we did between 4-5 most days) or use a Garmin or worry if I had to stop and walk a bit because it was so hot — I just let myself take it all in and BE. It was wonderful for me to be able to view running like that.

What about long runs? Honestly, there haven’t been many of those lately. This past weekend I ran 4 miles on Saturday morning before transitioning into a 4-mile speed walk (that half with the boy), as I just completely lacked energy and my legs weren’t feeling it. Sometimes you just need to listen to your body and be okay with that. Yesterday I did 6 miles on the treadmill, as it was insanely windy and pretty chilly.

My longest run in the past few weeks was an 8 (hilly) miler upstate last weekend, and it felt hard at the end — my legs were really tired. I could let this get me down, but I’m learning to take it all in stride and do what I can and remember that I will be able to build back up again once the nice weather arrives. I’ve done this before; I will do it again.

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So, what’s been the norm? I’ve fallen into a habit of running between 4-6 miles, 4-5 times a week these past few weeks, and I’m feeling pretty good keeping this base and looking forward to upping my weekend long runs as Spring arrives.

Something exciting in runnews: I signed up for my third marathon today!

2016_banner.pngAnd yes, this is the same marathon I ran last year…and in 2013 as well. At some point I will consider diversifying my marathon locales, but having run this race in my hometown twice before and thoroughly enjoying my experiences, I want to continue running this one as many years “running” (yuck yuck) as I can. I love the course, I love the time of year, and I love being able to run in the place I consider home, and having the people I love most there to cheer me on. It’s an ideal race for me, so I’m stoked to do it again. I’m just going to remind myself how many of life’s problems I can solve in that time span. 😉

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And because the obsession is real:

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Runners: What’s new in your world? Training for any races?
Tell me the best part of your weekend!

What Running 26.2 Miles Teaches You

i posted this earlier today on MOGUL as well, a women’s site for which i am a contributing writer. check out that site if you’re interested and i’d love if you follow me! 🙂

on Sunday, October 11th, 2015, i woke up before the sun rose and knew immediately, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was a great day to do a hard thing.

i was instantly relieved & excited by the acknowledgment that i felt so good about this choice. this was a decision born of months of preparation and also the imminent glory of that morning, and both were necessary to carry out this enormous act. i could have woken up and said to myself, “sure, i thought i was ready for this — but i just don’t want to.” it wouldn’t have mattered, then, if i’d put in the necessary work; it wouldn’t have mattered how many amazing people were rooting for me; it wouldn’t have mattered if i’d paid the entry fee & affixed my bib to my favorite running shirt & laid out all my race-day prep & prayed for fresh legs. that would have all still occurred regardless of how i’d felt going to bed, and yet if i’d woken up at 6am and decided it wasn’t a good day for a hard thing, none of that would have mattered. my life would have still kept going, difficult thing or no difficult thing, and i’d have been okay.

but not the same. no, if i hadn’t done this hard thing, i would certainly not have been the same.

but as it turns out, i did choose to tackle the seemingly-insurmountable beast, and it changed my life & rocked me to my core in the most beautiful way imaginable. if i hadn’t woken up knowing what a good day it was for such a hard thing, i would have missed out on one of the most magical, epic experiences of my entire life, and i wouldn’t have had four hours and 26.2 miles to wrestle with myself on that Sunday morning. i wouldn’t have had that great thing occur — that covetable, magnificent, blood-sweat-&-tears thing that cost me so very much of myself and brought me to places within my being that showed me how very much i still have to learn about the person i’m continually becoming and how amazing it is to be the proud possessor of a human spirit that refuses to accept the fact that in this life, there just might be limitations.

because on that day, i did a really, really hard thing — and nobody can take those four hours away from me. they are forever mine; i fought for those with every ounce of skin & sinews belonging to me. with every footfall, i imprinted my signature in rubber along the long & lovely trail. i was here. & i was here. & oh yeah – i was here, too. i was grit & smiles, sweat & wings, pain & joy. i was suddenly everything i’d ever hoped i’d become.

what you learn about yourself when you run a marathon is that you can do amazing things. you learn that you have a mind and a body that can work together to astound you; that you’re capable of deciding to take on something most people think is impossible – that you once thought was impossible – and that you can discipline your body to carry out that decision. you learn that you are a fighter; that you can push yourself past boundaries of comfort & pain & fatigue & weather patterns and hover on the edge of sanity til you realize you rather like it there, suspended between earth and sky, walking a tightrope of something akin to mania or euphoria when you think about the ways you’ve pushed yourself in the pursuit of a dream worth losing sleep & social life & toenails over. you groan through the aches and celebrate the highs and become more in tune with your body than you ever have before, and you begin to love yourself immeasurably for what you can accomplish entirely on your own.

you learn that anything in life truly worth fighting for – anything you’re desperate to have tucked beneath your skin, written on the tablet of your life, bursting forth from the pages of your story – will require nothing less than total commitment and the utmost self-belief. you learn that all those hours of early morning pavement pounding, of Friday nights devoted to early bedtimes and the anticipation of tomorrow’s long run taking priority over all else, of muscles so sore and tight you often wondered how you’d ever make it through another run, of tunnel vision rendering you one-dimensional in your pursuit of this beast and turning all of your conversations back to your training as you’re suddenly unable to recall a time when you once had other things to occupy your interest and time, are all part of a journey that will leave you forever changed in every soul-gripping way imaginable.

and at the very core of this lies the overwhelming sense of gratitude you begin to wear like a second skin. gratitude for legs strong enough to carry you across those relentless miles; gratitude for a life that allows you the freedom and time to devote yourself to something so all-encompassing; gratitude for all of the people who love you enough to support you through this and champion your efforts. mostly, you’re awash with gratitude for your very youness; for being healthy & strong & determined & able to carry out this dream; to do something so very hard entirely on your own, armed with nothing but a feverish desire to overcome all obstacles in this dogged pursuit of self.

what training for a marathon really teaches you is how to become the very best version of you. it’s as gloriously simple as that. it’s as heart-wrenchingly difficult as that.

i don’t believe it’s possible to accurately capture in words that specific, all-encompassing feeling of elation that overwhelmed me when i rounded the final corner and saw the finish line of my marathon ahead of me. so much crowds into that moment that if i could just freeze it and dissect it, i’d be able to name all of the individual parts that contribute to the overwhelming sense of euphoria that brought tears to my eyes as a grin stretched across my face and my arms had no choice but to fly high above my head — but in that moment, all i felt was so much. so much.

it’s the sense of accomplishment in yourself, of having done this hard, hard thing — this nearly-impossible thing that really is ever-so-possible after all — entirely on your own.

it’s the physical representation of the goal, that banner stretching high, the words marking your final steps. it’s hearing your name over the microphone as you step across the finish line.

it’s the cheers & excitement of the crowds, seeing your parents & best friends’ faces beaming through, feeling their love & pride shining forth at you. all for you.

in that moment, it honestly feels like the whole world just loves you. like you understand what it means to sit atop a cloud and look back at earth & transcend it all, floating high amidst the bluest blue, untouchable, unbreakable, infinite.

in that moment, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are exactly who you were meant to be; exactly who you want to be. you are oh-so-human, with good days and bad, with heartaches & joys, with disappointments & love — you carry the whole world inside of you, & as you cross that finish line after a 26.2 mile journey to the center of your core and back, you can feel it all.

you are one person among many, but you are so very much you.

& suddenly, you know that will always be enough.

Mohawk Hudson Marathon Recap (aka the best day ever)

Sunday, October 11th, 2015, has to go down as one of the most incredible days of my life thus far. it was the second time i’ve run the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in upstate NY, and by far the absolute most wonderful, amazing, beautiful, kick-ass, fun-from-start-to-finish races/runs i’ve ever experienced in my life.

for starters, the day was utterly glorious. this entire weekend was like a gift straight from Autumnal Heaven. i mean, i woke up to this view of Crooked Lake from my parents’ deck every morning and sent up silent prayers of gratitude that this is, in fact, my life. i felt so relaxed & thankful & rested & healthy & strong & READY for this marathon. Sunday morning dawned all hazy pinkish-purple and chilly, in the 40s, and i knew it was going to be a perfect race day. thank you, God!

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a 6am wake-up call really isn’t that bad for a race, so i woke up feeling SO READY to run. i just knew from the start that this was going to be an awesome day for me.

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i’m blessed with the world’s most amazing parents, who also woke up at 6am and shared my excitement for race day, and the three of us set off to the start in Schenectady NY’s Central Park. i was more excited than nervous, and totally curious about what this race held for me and how i’d be feeling in just a few hours!

i’m a big fan of this race. it’s small — i think they cap it at 1,500 runners. it’s well organized, and the course is just absolutely gorgeous, winding through a truly picturesque, tree-lined bike/running path for a good portion of the race, and over rolling countryside hills & along both the Mohawk and the Hudson Rivers, ending in downtown Albany right along the Hudson. my dad said one of the winners was quoted saying it was the most beautiful course she’s ever run, which is easy to believe. it’s really an ideal place to run an Autumn marathon, showcasing upstate NY at its finest.

the start isn’t very crowded and it’s easy to find people, which was fabulous, as i was so fortunate to be so very surrounded by people i love. one of my close girlfriends came to support me and run the beginning with me (thank you, Sarah — you’re wonderful!), and the boy also dragged himself out of bed bright & early and came to see me off (before getting onto a plane for work, unfortunately, but i’m thankful he made it to the start — points for that 🙂 ). my sweet parents were there, of course, and then resurfaced 3-4 more times along the route, and were the faces i saw in the crowd right before i crossed the finish line as well. my (pregnant!) best friend also jumped in to run a bit with me around mile 19, which was so appreciated and fun, and was also waiting for me at the finish — and took some great photos for me. thanks, baby girl — you are my sunshine!

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i felt so very loved & encouraged & reminded yet again of how blessed i am to have such wonderful people at the center of my life. the world becomes such a bright & shiny thing when people are invested in what’s important to you because they care about you. feeling all that love & support contributed greatly to making this such a magical experience for me.

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so, what can i say about the actual race itself?? it went smashingly. no, but like — it really, honestly did. i couldn’t have wished for anything better, and i went into it so relaxed & ready & confident that i’d done all the necessary work, and i was determined to just enjoy the experience and savor every moment — and i truly feel like that’s what i did. i ran with the 4-hour pacer til just over mile 23, when i started to feel the first twinges of the struggle life set in, and i decided then and there that i was going to run this race for me and not push myself to the point of misery and lose the joy i’d felt the last 23 miles. i slowed down a bit and started reflecting on the whole thing: how crazy good i’d felt for 23 miles, how all my hard work was coming to fruition in this one 4- hour race, how blessed i was to be strong enough to choose to run a marathon, how over-the-moon i was about to be in a few miles when i saw that finish line up ahead.

i won’t lie: miles 24-25 were a bit rough. not rough like during my first marathon (where i thought my body might break apart), but they were the hardest of this race for me by far. i didn’t walk (save a few steps at the water stations), but i did have a few fleeting thoughts of doubt creep in during those 2 miles where i almost wondered how i’d ever finish and everything suddenly just seemed so dang hard…

and then something happened when i saw the mile 25 marker. it was like a switch flipped within my brain and i instantly thought, “okay, welp, stop the pain stuff — you just ran 25 miles. you’re one mile away from finishing this race, and this has been a wonderful, mostly enjoyable experience that will go down as one of the biggest accomplishments of your LIFE. you so, so have this, and you’re going to finish it STRONG & HAPPY & just let yourself go.”

mile 26 was glorious. it really was. no, i wasn’t flying, although i did pick up the pace from my last 2 miles, and no, i didn’t magically feel all my pain swoosh out of my body. but somehow, i didn’t feel it as much, because i started to become overwhelmed with the beauty of the whole experience and be so very present in the reality of finishing this race. mile 26 was so very mine. it was my pièce de résistance.

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i don’t believe it’s possible to accurately capture in words that specific, all-encompassing feeling of elation that overwhelmed me when i rounded the final corner and saw the finish line of my marathon ahead of me. so much crowds into that moment that if i could just freeze it and dissect it, i’d be able to name all of the individual parts that contribute to the overwhelming sense of euphoria that brought tears to my eyes as a grin stretched across my face and my arms had no choice but to fly high above my head — but in that moment, all i felt was so much. so much.

it’s the sense of accomplishment in yourself, of having done this hard, hard thing — this nearly-impossible thing that really is ever-so-possible after all — entirely on your own.

it’s the physical representation of the goal, that banner stretching high, the words marking your final steps. it’s hearing your name over the microphone as you step across the finish line.

it’s the cheers & excitement of the crowds, seeing your parents & best friends’ faces beaming through, feeling their love & pride shining forth at you. all for you.

in that moment, it honestly feels like the whole world just loves you. like you understand what it means to sit atop a cloud and look back at earth & transcend it all, floating high amidst the bluest blue, untouchable, unbreakable, infinite.

in that moment, you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are exactly who you were meant to be; exactly who you want to be. you are oh-so-human, with good days and bad, with heartaches & joys, with disappointments & love — you carry the whole world inside of you, & as you cross that finish line after a 26.2 mile journey to the center of your core and back, you can feel it all.

you are one person among many, but you are so very much you.

& suddenly, you know that will always be enough.

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xo.

Marathon Training Begins (eee!) & Weekly Workouts: 6/7-6/13

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are these weekly workout posts boring anyone, or am i good to continue with these? plz let me know if these are snoozers! i just like the idea of holding myself accountable to seeing my runs/workouts all laid out before me, and anyway, isn’t this what we healthy living bloggers do??

so, before i lay out my week, let’s talk something else that’s on my mind:

Marathon Training

yep, it’s true — my training for my October marathon (please pray i stay uninjured and able to run this year!) “officially” started this week, as i decided yesterday to follow an 18-week Hal Higdon plan and lo and behold, that starts me this week! i chose the Intermediate I plan, which has me running 5 days a week, but i’m definitely planning to listen to my body and see how i feel and cut down to 4 days some weeks if need be. i know my legs get tired from over training and my main priority is not getting hurt this time around, so i’m staying open to modifications, both on the number of days i run and the mileage for certain days. i’m going to try to stick to the long run mileage on weekends, though, as i know those are crucial.

along with choosing a plan to follow, i made another big decision yesterday:

i’m giving up drinking for the summer.

i want to be the healthiest, fittest, soundest, most grounded version of myself throughout my training and just in general, and this feels like the right move for me right now. i have a list of reasons i want to go drink-free this summer, and training and my health are at the top of that list. i’m actually excited for this process now that i’ve made the decision to stick to it (minus a glass of wine here or there for a wedding or other celebration), and i’m looking forward to tracking my progress and seeing how i feel throughout the next couple of months.

sooo, yeah. i figure if i can give up alcohol during the summer in NYC, anything is achievable. 🙂

Weekly Workouts
Sunday, 6/7: 6-7 mile run along the Hudson River at sunset, with a dancing break thrown in!
Monday, 6/8: rest. i ran a lot over the weekend and met friends at a sailboat bar after work instead…marking my last drinks for a while! at least i chose a great spot. 🙂
Tuesday, 6/9: 3 mile run (per my new plan!) along the river path last night, followed by a long stretch session and 10 mins (broken up) of planks
Wednesday, 6/10 (t0day): 5 mile run at 6am along the river
Thursday, 6/11: 3 miles on plan, and i plan to add some abs/strength training in
Friday, 6/12: rest from running, so i’ll do a morning strength session at my gym and probably a walk after work
Saturday: 6/13: going to my first Soul Cycle class (woot!) at 10am with a whole mess of friends as the kick-off to my birthday celebrations. i am supposed to run 5 miles that day, but i’m going to push it down to 2-3 and just run down to class in the morning.

tell me, spinners, what can i expect from Soul Cycle? do you love it? i’m afraid my legs are going to be so tired from all the running that i’ll be sort of just coasting and jamming out to the tunes. 🙂
best workout/anticipated workout of your week?
anyone want to come running with me?! i’ll sing for you!!

I ran my first marathon and my legs didn’t fall off!!

I did it!! I can hardly believe the day came, went as well as it did, and is now over. All those months of staying in on Friday nights in preparation for early Saturday am runs, of mental and physical preparation for the big 26.2, of physical therapy and insane highs and lows and total uncertainty over whether or not I’d even be able to run at all… they all paid off, and they’re all behind me and totally worth it. Because yesterday, I finally ran the race I’ve been dreaming of running since the spring — and I couldn’t possibly be happier with how it went.

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pre-race, with the girls and the dad

Ahhhhh I cannot even begin to describe the cloud I’m perched up on right now. At this time yesterday, I was in the middle of running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon, my very first full marathon. The day couldn’t have been any more perfect for a long race: mid-60s, blue skies, sunshine, zero humidity, and just lovely. I was surprisingly extremely calm and relaxed starting this race — I didn’t even have a single butterfly or nervous thought. Pretty sure I got all of the anxiety out the few days prior, when I was a walking basket case and spouted tears right and left. Yep, glad I left that behind on race day. Yesterday morning, I felt wonderful, and I knew that I would finish this race, come hell or high water. I’d done the half the two years prior, and what is it they say about third time being the charm? Exactly.

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This was a very well-organized, intimate, and thankfully flat race (as in, a lot of it was gradually downhill). I heard there were only about 1,800 runners, so the start was not crowded and there weren’t really any bottlenecks. Most of the course was beautiful, running by the Mohawk and Hudson rivers in the peak of Autumn. I actually had a moment where I was running down a tree-lined path for miles, gold and crimson leaves littering the ground around me, and I thought, “Savor this. Cherish this. This is as good as today could possibly be.” I felt very, very blessed to be running in the midst of such a beautiful natural setting, and actually able to enjoy this grueling task I’d set before me. This was it: all those months of training through the hot summer had culminated in this day, and I was determined to make the most of every mile.

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I honestly felt really great and strong throughout most of the race. I was between the 4:05 and 4:10 pacers for the majority of it, and then ran with the 4:10 pacer til about mile 22, when things started to get rough. On the one hand, I’m thankful it took me 22 miles to start really hurting and wondering how I would ever keep going; on the other, I wish I hadn’t started hurting that badly at all…but what can you do? Running that long is rough. ‘Nuff said. 🙂 Things started to get really bad for me around mile 24, when I was struggling to keep up a 10-minute-per-mile pace, and my left hip and quad had been hurting for so long that I was definitely in an agonizing auto-pilot. I just kept telling myself to put one foot in front of the other, not to walk, and that in two miles, this would all be over. Yes, that was much harder to do than to say…but I did it. My friend Sarah, who had trained for the race but ended up getting horrible tendonitis and was unable to run, jumped in with me for the last half 3/4 of a mile or so, and that was totally key. Having someone run alongside you and encourage you when you honestly don’t know how you’ll take another step makes such a huge difference, and I am so thankful for her.

Crossing that finish line as my family stood right there and cheered for me was an absolutely ridiculously amazing feeling, and I think I’ll probably being flying high on this accomplishment for a while.

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I finished in 4:13:51, which I’m thrilled with, especially for my first marathon.

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I’m so grateful to all of my fantastic family members and friends who supported and encouraged me throughout this whole process, from my initial training til when I crossed the finish line. This was such a wonderful, exciting, tumultuous, emotional journey for me, and I feel like I learned so much about my ability to push out of my comfort zone and to commit to something whole-heartedly and devotedly, even when it seemed like such a daunting task. People immediately began asking me if I have any plans to run another marathon. Hmmm… for now, I think I’ll bask in the joy of this accomplishment…and then pick another one sometime in the future.

California sounds good, doesn’t it?

Last pic from yesterday: post-race, still sore and overwhelmingly happy, I shed my sneaks and sweaty duds for heels and a cocktail dress to attend a lovely friend’s wedding. Quite a full and eventful day, and wonderful from start to finish.

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Today? I’m sore beyond belief. But I couldn’t be happier. Feeling blessed.