Monday, May 2, 2011

I Did It!

Well...I did it!! 26.2 miles is checked off the bucket list! It was such an incredible experience.

Brent and I arrived in Nashville around 5 pm Friday, and headed straight to the expo. It was nuts in there! But I have to say, I was definitely in my element. Being around super active people, people who are just as in love with running as I was awesome!

That evening, we drove to a J. Alexander's-like restaurant around the corner to eat a nice meal (seafood pasta for me, a steak for Brent) and watch the first half of Game 6 of the Grizzlies/Spurs (GO GRIZZ!!). We headed back to the hotel around 9, and I was in bed by 9:30. 4:45 am was going to come early!

A restless few hours later, my alarm was going off, and I was ready to hop the bus to the start line. We stayed at a hotel next door to one of the shuttle stops (taking us to the start line at Centennial Park), so that was very convenient. I took my time getting ready, carefully pinning an awesome sign on my back (as you can see below) and my race bib on the front. Not wanting to divert too much from my normal running routine, I ate a Nature Valley Oats n Honey granola bar followed by apple-flavored Dole Real Fruit Bites (FYI, if you haven't tried these, you're missing out!).

Showing off my sign pre-race!

I walked around, used the restroom, dropped off my bag at gear check, stretched, and repeated all that for about an hour until it was time to line up. Finally, the gunshot sounded and we were off! I started somewhere in the sixth or seventh corale and did my best to stay there throughout the entire race.

I was feeling pretty good all the way through mile 14. I kept a steady pace, only walked at a few water stations (I got water or Cytomax at just about every one, but only truly walked at a couple of them). I thought I would've started crashing at the half/full split point (just before mile 11), but I didn't at all. I was surrounded by some fun people, and we kept each others' spirits up as we dwindled down into a smaller group ("the few, the proud, the marathoners" as one gentleman chanted). At mile 14, though, my legs began to feel like they were pulling a bit of lead. I pushed through, trying to think of anything but what I was doing, and by mile 16, I had found my second wind...or so I thought.

Before the race began, I told myself I wasn't going to stop and use the bathroom. In my mind, any extra water I was carrying around only meant I was that much more hydrated. Well, after several cups of water and electrolyte-replacing drinks on top of two Gu packs, I was quite full and decided I need to go against my better judgment and pee. I felt great after that!

My favorite picture from the race!

And then came mile 20-21. This was my "wall" as they call it. Let me preface by saying it was already in the mid-80s by this point...I started getting chills, which meant I was already dehydrated. And my quads were SCREAMING at me. Maybe it was that last hill or two...or 50? Damn those Nashville hills!

Lord, let me make it up yet another hill!

After that, I pushed as hard as I could and did my best to make it through each mile. I kept running, but stopped after hearing that faint "beep" from my Garmin, indicating I had finally gone just one more mile. I swear, those last 4 miles felt like 10+ miles each. One more Gu pack and another quick walk break later, I had reached 26 miles!!! However, either I was zigzagging the entire time or I picked up an extra .27 miles somewhere in there I wasn't aware of. After passing 26.2 and no sign of the finish line in sight, I was a little discouraged (my Garmin read 26.47 when I crossed). Nevertheless, I picked up speed as best I could and pushed on for the last .5 miles. The last .2 were excruciating, as it felt like someone had ripped into my legs and was yanking out my calf muscles. They just locked on me. Again, I just pushed as hard as I could.

And then...I DID IT!!! 4:02 was my final time. Once I crossed that finish line and saw Brent cheering me on, I forgot all the pain I had just endured and simply took in the sheer joy of it all. I had just run a MARATHON! Something I told myself I would never do. What an amazing experience it was!!

So happy to cross that finish line!!

26.2 medal!!

My first medal to get engraved!

Physical therapy and cross training (spin) were my saving graces to make it through...and God of course! No knee pain and minimal hip pain. My quads are still sore to this day, but with those insane hills, I don't know how anyone could walk away and not be sore.

Stay tuned for my next running (or life in general) adventure! As Justin Bieber says, "never say never." This won't be my last full marathon. :)


  1. Way to go Beth!! Congrats!!! (okay, what are the things wrapped around your knee?) just curious1! Congrats again girl!

  2. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I was actually just on the edge of my seat reading that. I am now smiling at my computer screen because I'm so proud of you (and I don't even know you!!!). I have a long run ahead of me tonight, but your post will keep me pushing through!

  3. Congratulations on finishing your goal. Now you are my inspiration. Great Job!

  4. You rock! Congrats on your hard work!!!!

  5. Beth,

    I was wanting to do a follow up post on my blog and wanted to know if I could use the picture of you with your medal after the marathon. Would that be okay?