On 11.17.13 I ran my 26th marathon. I’d be lying if I said I was ready to run 26.2 miles again.

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MCM was a month ago and I had no intentions of racing. A faster {for you} marathon affects your body differently than a slower {for you marathon} does. I seriously considered stepping back and running the half at Vegas, but was dead set on having Vegas be my 26th marathon.

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I wanted to party at the VIP party on Friday night. Not one drink, not bottles of water – I wanted to party and enjoy being in Vegas.

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Partying always seems like a good idea to me before I’m drinking, an even better idea when I’m drinking, and a terrible idea the next day.

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Woke up Saturday hung over. I DO NOT RECOMMEND drinking before a marathon – just want to make that clear – but sometimes you have to live and not take things so seriously. Eric and I chatted and agreed that Sunday was just going to be a long slow run and even if it was painful it would be worth every single one of those drinks Friday night.

Eric tried as best he could to help me get pumped about #26. I think part of me was scared. I know the pain of a marathon, I know the pain of being hung over and swollen and I just didn’t want to feel all three of those pains in one day.

Sunday I woke up and decided to do something different.

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I have a VERY bad habit of getting caught up inside my own head. I replay situations, I replay future events and past events. I replay things people say to me and about me. I think being a stay-at-home-work-at-home-mom can make you go a little crazy at times.

When you are away from your kids and responsibilities and your only worry in the in the world is what you want to eat or drink that night, it’s a little easier to have a bit of perspective. A marathon is just a marathon. Oh yes I’ve had emotional marathons, I’ve gone to dark places in some of them, I’ve cursed running and told myself that I wasn’t cut out for marathons, much less running. I’ve told myself time and time again that this will be my last marathon, only to forget the next week, and sign up for another one during those post marathon blues.

Sunday was nothing like that. I decided to be in the moment and just enjoy the day for what it was. I had the same perspective when I showed up to the start line of Marine Corps and had a happy race, so I was determined to do that again. I would run what the day gave me and run the mile I was with, not stressing about finish times or how I felt whether that was good or bad.

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Sunday I arrived to the start line happy. I decided to tell that little voice in my head to shut up. Not be quiet – to literally shutup and run.

The gun went off – I was in my element. Cranked up my slow paced music to help me start slow and tried to not get swept away in the excitement of the crowds and running down the strip with thousands cheering us on.

By mile 2 my lower legs were cramping. Stupid heels on Friday. I repeated to myself – it was worth it.

By mile 3 it was very clear that I needed to use the bathroom. Lovely.

For one split second I started to think negative. I stopped myself and had another mini – get back to reality pep talk with myself – YOU ARE IN FREAKING VEGAS. JUST RUN. Stop being a baby, who cares how you feel, who cares about your time. It’s a marathon. You love marathons. You love running. Get over yourself and have fun.

So I did.

By mile 6 I decided I had to stop and go to the bathroom {for the first time in a marathon ever}. It was the best thing I could have done. I’m a firm believer that you don’t always lose time when you stop for a moment. A port-o-potty stop doesn’t mean that you could have ran faster than what you ran that day. Stopping can lower your heartrate and in my case, helped break up the cramps in my legs. Stopping actually probably helped me run a faster time than I would have had I not stopped.

I had to stop one more time along the course and again I think it lowered my heart rate just enough that I felt better afterwards.

By mile 13 I realized that I was running decently. I was in pain, but didn’t care.

YOU ARE GOING TO HURT IN A MARATHON.

END OF STORY.

There isn’t some magic pace you get to that makes the marathon easy.

So I decided to race. I started counting the females ahead of me on the turnarounds and swore that I was in the top 10.

I pushed.

My legs were cramping, my butt {that’s a first} was cramping, my arms felt heavy, but I just kept running.

It seemed like more runners than normal had gone out too fast and were starting to die out and slow down. I didn’t count, but I don’t think I got passed more than a couple of times in those last 10 miles. I just picked people off and it was fun. It’s fun to race against a clock, but it’s also fun to race against others and feel like you are competing in a marathon.

There were no ups and downs, no dark places, no dramafied thoughts during Vegas Marathon.

It LITERALLY not EXAGGERATING was the happiest marathon of my life. Happier and more fun than my first, than any of the times I’ve run Boston and I’d venture to say more fun than either of the B & A Marathons I won were {SUPER SMALL marathon that’s how I won}.

Running in to the finish chute I had a giant smile on my face and felt like I was floating on air – I totally disassociated myself with the pain my body was in.

After I crossed I asked Eric {who I had bumped into randomly at mile 24/25 and who then proceeded to run with me – in jeans – with a backpack on – and carrying a bullhorn – to the finish} to go ask the timing girls if they had a prelim list of the top ten.

The girl was like – UMMMM I don’t have a prelim top ten – the top ten girls haven’t even finished. Her statement was sort of a UMM DUH statement and it was honestly one of the happiest moments of my life.

I’m not a super fast girl. I’m not an elite and I know I won’t ever be. I don’t think I have a natural talent. I don’t want to run 100 mile weeks at this point in my life. So for little old me, to finish top ten in a Rock N Roll Marathon was and is HUGE for me. Every time I think about it a little smile comes over my face. I’m not the most confident girl in the world, I get confidence from running. When things like this happen, it makes me want to scream at myself – if you can do this – you can do anything. I truly believe you have to firmly tell yourself things at times. All my cheesy mantras and sayings – like I RUN THIS BODY or DREAM BIG RUN LONG – they are true.

Find a passion and life can be so much more than JUST life. When your passion is running – running can and will  be so much more than JUST running.

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The single happiest moment of the entire weekend was when I was hanging out at the VIP party – giddy over the whole race experience and the PR guy for Competitor, who owns Rock N Roll Marathon Series came walking in and said {rather loudly} 5th FEMALE and gave me a huge high five. I wish I could just bottle up the feeling I had in that moment and pass it out to people who don’t love marathons. I want everyone to feel the high I get from them.

#26 did not disappoint. It was the happiest of happy marathons for me.

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Over a week has passed since that day. I’ve played the marathon over and over in my head. I’ve thought about every single mile and the strength I found that I didn’t think I had.

I don’t know why or how 26.2 miles can make me so happy, but I thank my lucky stars every day that I stumbled into running. Instead of looking back on your life with regret, think about how everything that has happened good and bad has gotten you to this point. If I had never gained weight, been depressed, and miserable – then my mom would have never have dragged me on runs and convinced me to train for a marathon. Little did I know the marathon would change my life forever…..

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A mile by mile breakdown of my splits will be coming in another post. I’ll talk about starting slow and finishing faster and how it can help you have a faster marathon finish time overall and save you some pain in the process!

 

 

Disclaimer: some of you may notice I’m now listed #6 in the results because there was another woman who had a slower gun time, but had a faster chip time by seconds. USATF rules usually state that for overall you go on gun time and for age group awards you go on chip time. They do this because when you are in front at a race you are racing the competitors around you – if I had seen a woman ten seconds ahead of me, I could have raced her to the finish line. I have a bunch of thoughts on this and can’t wait to discuss it in an upcoming post – but for now I was the 5th female across that finish line on that day so I am going with that I finished 5th with the disclaimer that I was 6th based on chip time.

 

Check out my new website www.dreambigrunlong.com for I Run This Body gear!! Men’s, Women’s, and kids shirts are all in stock now, as well as my favorite Erica Sara for Mile Posts bracelet.

 IRTB - website

 

Comments

  1. Amazing! First of all 26 miles on your 26th marathon is great- then to do it with such positivity and spirit is fantastic…that should drive all marathons really…not fear! Well done!

  2. Awesome Dorothy! I can’t help but think that skirt had a something to do with it. ;)
    ThisisCarrie recently posted..Making Stuff: Baptism Dress {Mood Sewing Network Project}My Profile

  3. Congratulations! You’re an animal – the good, happy, fast kind of animal. And second, massive props to your hubs to even attempt to keep up with you while running in jeans, with a backpack and bullhorn! That must have made for a sight that only Vegas can provide.

    http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com
    Heidi recently posted..Kitchen InspirationMy Profile

  4. Congratulations! I just ran my happiest marathon ever last weekend too. It wasn’t a fast time or even a PR for me, but for the first time I felt like I ran happy the whole time. It’s so easy to get negative, and I feel like I learned so much about marathons in my last race. I, too, kept telling myself that marathons hurt so to just suck it up and enjoy the ride.
    HeatherD recently posted..Freezing our Gizzards for Some Cross Country PRs for the BoysMy Profile

  5. What a great recap! I actually felt this way when I ran NYC Marathon a few weeks ago. I felt like I smiled the whole way, and when things got painful I kept repeating certain mantras to myself. I’ve only ran 2 marathons and this year was the best. Even now, a few weeks later, I’m still thinking about the day and how great it was to run 26.2 miles with my mom!
    Patty (reach-yourpeak.com) recently posted..Motivational Monday!My Profile

  6. Congrats on marathon #26, awesome place and still a rock solid time for “easy” paced marathon. More importantly glad you were able to let go, have fun and find that happy place- that makes the race all the more better.
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Final ‘training week’ for CIM done- Let the taper begin!My Profile

  7. Love this so much. The one thing more impressive than your speed is your spirit. I haven’t met you but I feel so happy for you – your joy oozes from your words and pics. Big congrats!

  8. You Ran Your Body Dorothy! Great job on #26 & this post is such a great perspective on the marathon! So many emotions run through our heads during the marathon.. its our job to keep the positive ones in and the negatives ones out!

  9. I love this post! Love how you stayed positive and in the moment and it paid off in spades! I’ll have to carry this thought into my 2nd marathon this weekend.
    quix recently posted..Week 44 and 45: Method and MadnessMy Profile

  10. Oh my word, I am SO PROUD of you!! Now just think if you add that positive, happy mentality to races where you are actually feeling aggressively motivated to compete from the start….the result would be incredible. Remember this feeling and soak it in for ALL future races. Congrats Girlie!!!
    Kris @ http://www.kris-lawrence.com recently posted..Philadelphia Marathon Race RecapMy Profile

  11. I didn’t know that about the official USATF rules. Interesting. (I definitely agree, I just didn’t know that was the rule and there’s always a bunch of dispute at big races when someone in a later wave beats an elite, etc.)
    Kelly recently posted..Not Even Showing Up to the Start LineMy Profile

    • I spent wayyyyyy too much time trying to figure this out. I’m still semi unclear but USATF says that overall is based on gun time not chip time – I asked RnR and they said that top 10 is usually on gun time not chip time. It could be argued that overall is only top 3 since they are not included in age group awards and top ten is. It’s sort of an interesting concept all together because you would think she would have put herself farther up if she thought she was going to run that fast….but maybe she didn’t think she would? Based on her slow down though she started suffering at the end and had I had a chance to actually race her I feel like things may have been different….Anyways its just an interesting discussion that I know has been had a zillion times before. I keep asking myself if I would feel differently if I had finished 5th because of chip time and she had beat me on gun time……and I know it’s not a big deal either way but top 5 just seems super cool in my head – haha.

  12. Awesome job!! You had the greatest attitude and it looks like it paid off! Congrats on #6!!! That is amazing!
    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun recently posted..Motivation MondayMy Profile

  13. Wonderful! I’m so happy for you. Really. And with a potty break and all. Look how letting go can work. Now stop being so neurotic and just run. Great job!

  14. Congrats! What a great race! I’m totally behind you claiming 5th place. For the top finishers, knowing someone is close could totally change the end of your race. I was annoyed when everyone gave that woman who “accidentally” ran the full marathon instead of the half and won it so much credit. One, I have a tough time believing she hadn’t already planned in her head that she was going to just run the full to eek out a BQ before the field filled up – but I obviously don’t know her or have any proof of that. Still when other women saw her pass and saw she had a half marathon bib on they weren’t considering her as a competitor and if they had might’ve tried to stay with her. Does’t seem fair to be given first place under those circumstances. Anyways, rant over…huge props to you on such an amazing race!! Glad you had so much fun with it!
    Colleen L recently posted..Footprints: Monday Morning RecapMy Profile

  15. Loved reading this recap, you did so well. Well done! Sounds like it was an awesome race :)
    Rachel @ Curious Runner recently posted..Kerikeri Half Marathon Race Recap…My Profile

  16. Yay! Reading this post made me so happy. The story is a great story most can relate to anything really. So motivating and positive. I love it! Job well done!

  17. You are so awesome for moving past those negative thoughts and turning your attitude around! And of course for that kick-butt 5th place finish :)
    I love the last sentence about not regretting anything because everything both good & bad has gotten us to where we are today. I find myself thinking that when I look back on mistakes I’ve made and that I wish I could change them – I realize I can’t picture being anyone but who I am today.
    Amber recently posted..Ch-ch-ch-ch-changesMy Profile

  18. “I thank my lucky stars every day that I stumbled into running. Instead of looking back on your life with regret, think about how everything that has happened good and bad has gotten you to this point. If I had never gained weight, been depressed, and miserable – then my mom would have never have dragged me on runs and convinced me to train for a marathon.”

    ^^This speaks to me so much. My mom wasn’t the one to get me running – I dragged myself out and made myself go running, but for much the same reasons. I was depressed and angry and miserable and the runner’s high was something I wanted to bottle up and drink endlessly but since I couldn’t the only answer was to get out there and do it again.

    I’ve been in a rut with running this week after finishing my first half marathon a little over a week ago, and this post makes me want to get right back on my feet after an intense weight lifting class.

    Also, perspective is amazing – that you would say you’re not a super fast girl – dude, I’ve seen your splits. I can’t run a single mile as fast as you can sustain a pace for 26.2 miles. I was thrilled to death my first half marathon was under 2:30. But the sentiment is the same – am I going to kill myself trying to BQ, run 100 mile weeks trying to finish top 5 one day? No. But I’ll work as hard as makes me happy, as hard as I can that doesn’t make me start hating it, and be happy with wherever that takes me. :)

    Congratulations on an amazing 26th 26 :)
    Nevie recently posted..Race Recap: Richmond Half MarathonMy Profile

  19. Congratulations!! That’s amazing!! I wish I could be that fast–baby steps :)
    Kim recently posted..Taking Care of YourselfMy Profile

  20. Congratulations, Dorothy! I love the way you turned your negative thoughts into positive ones. Sometimes we are literally our own worst enemy.
    Finishing top 10 is an amazing accomplishment! A great way to top of a fun weekend in Vegas :)

    Karen @karenlovestorun
    Karen @karenlovestorun recently posted..Holiday Run Streak and Giveaway!My Profile

  21. So great seeing you after the race – way to go with that time girlie, truly inspirational!
    Kat recently posted..Motivational Monday – Hot Dog! + Featured Sneakers #47My Profile

  22. your rocked it lady! so glad you had crazy fun on Friday and put those pesky negative thoughts out of your head on Sunday. way to go!
    Sarah @ RunFarGirl recently posted..How An Ex-Bulimic Survives the HolidaysMy Profile

  23. Vegas is one of the best cities in the world to walk around in, so I can imagine that it would be truly amazing to run in! Reading your story of keeping positive in the face of struggle is just downright awesome. Congrats!
    Primal Jefferson recently posted..Weight Control Without Even Thinking About ItMy Profile

  24. You were 6th. If you were 5th, you would have been listed 5th. It’s only top 3 who are gun time which is why they are the only ones who have bicycle escorts. Your time was pretty slow , so don’t blame someone who started behind you for not thinki go they’d be top 5 and starting away back. Rock San roll got rid of prize money so they don’t draw near the fast marathoners they used too. Especially eith all of the fast people going to Philly or RRSA and other fall marathons. The field for RRLV is typically very weak so get off your high horse. Your blog is so nauseating. I love how you never mentioned your finish time just said you finished. 5th (which you did not). Would have loved to hear your story should you have actually knocked out an impressive time. Also loved your oh I got drunk excise. Bitch, your race wasn’t until Sunday night. Seriously?? U r a train wreck.

    • Sorta harsh dude. Go to GOMI instead.

      • Thank you for saying this – seriously – thank you! I don’t care if you guys want to snark on me on GOMI – it’s your choice – but this woman legit has been harassing me for over a year and leaves downright nasty comments all the time. It’s almost Thanksgiving – can I just be left in peace over the holidays….

  25. So stinking cool!!!!!
    Kristin recently posted..Philly Marathon Recap: I Broke the TapeMy Profile

  26. Congrats on doing the marathon! I still haven’t done one, actually training for my third half marathon now. But a full marathon is my goal!
    Heather Cotton recently posted..Happy Birthday to me!My Profile

  27. Is it weird that I cried reading this? I don’t care because it was so moving and honest and all around great.

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