Hey, guys! I ran a marathon!

What do you do when you realize your best effort just isn't going to measure up? It seems my "Road to Boston" is much more about the road than about Boston. Find encouragement (and a few laughs) from my first marathon experience.
I did it! On August 25, in Santa Rosa, CA, I ran my first marathon!
And, as it turns out, my “Road to Boston” is more about the road than about Boston.
 
I had every hope & intention of running those 26.2 miles in under 3 hours & 40 minutes that morning. If I did – no, WHEN I did – I would qualify to run the Boston Marathon. 
 
All things considered, I had trained for this sucker for almost a year. My husband had made sacrifices to accommodate my training schedule. My kids had learned that Mommy walks funny & needs a nap after a really long run. I had consumed many, many, many protein shakes. 
 
My marathon weekend started off with a theme of stupidity and flightiness perseverance & overcoming adversity. After setting my alarm for 4:00 PM instead of 4:00 AM, I was startled from my slumber at 5:45 AM by a buzzing phone & my friend Katie pounding on the front door in a valiant attempt to wake me. Long story short, Katie got me to the airport on time & I forgot my cell phone at home. But I remembered my coffee, so that was a plus.
 
Fast forward to race day.
 
The marathon was scheduled to start at 6 AM. The sun was scheduled to rise at 6:34 AM. So, you know, it was pretty dark. While being corralled at the starting line, I probably should’ve focused on stretching or some form of positive self-talk like a real runner.  Instead, I tried to take a selfie in the dark like a teenage girl & blinded myself with the iPhone flash. Naturally. I finally gave up & just got a shot of my shoes. 
 
Marathonshoes
At the sound of the gun, my first marathon began. For 13 miles, I did everything as I’d planned. I was checking things off my list, just the way I do.  Run this pace: check. Fuel this way: check. Listen to this music: check. Everything was going according to plan, and I was ecstatic – and not at all surprised – when I hit the halfway point right when I wanted to. The plan was working!! Of course it was! 
 
I kept cranking out the miles – but quickly noticed something. My pace was slowing. I felt like I was holding steady, but my splits said otherwise. This continued for a few miles. My pace refused to reflect my effort.
 
Cue my first major mental crossroads: I’ve fallen off the pace; what now? 
 
I yelled inside my head, “GIVE YOURSELF A FIGHTING CHANCE! YOU’LL GET THROUGH THIS DIP! DON’T LET GO! YOU HAVE ROOM MAKE UP THAT TIME!”
 
I won that first battle as I chose to keep putting one foot in front of the other the very best I could, trusting that I’d get another wind of strength and make up the time I’d lost. I was still going to qualify for Boston. I just needed to suck it up and try harder.
 
I kept running, and I tried harder. But dang it if I didn’t keep slowing down. I was trying. I really believe I was doing the best I could. 
 
And, apparently, my best wasn’t going to be good enough today.
 
Cue the next major crossroads: I’ve done the math. I cannot possibly make up the time now. I will not qualify for Boston. I have six miles to go. What. Now.
 
And these last six miles are where God and I won the most significant personal victory I could’ve won. You see, for as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with this notion that if I can’t do something RIGHT (or WELL or EXCELLENT or the BEST) then why do it at all? Some would call it Perfectionism. I call it my really annoying All-or-Nothing complex. 
 
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing my best, with excellence, the “right” way. But sometimes I need to check my definition of “best,” “excellent,” and “right.” 
 
So, maybe you can understand that my natural inclination would’ve been to say “Forget this. Boston is a lost cause this time around. Let’s just walk this thing in. Better yet, excuse me, can I get a ride?
 
But instead, something pretty huge happened. I kept running. As hard as I could. I finished what I’d started, and I finished well. Not perfectly. And not the way I had originally hoped and planned. But I put my whole heart out there (because if you’ve run a marathon, you know you’re putting more than your legs out there; this is a deep down to your guts kind of race) and I kept putting it out there even when it wasn’t going to measure up to the standard I’d set for myself. 
 
I don’t care that I didn’t qualify for Boston!
That’s a lie. I care about that.
 
But I care more about the personal victory I did achieve.
Now, regarding lessons learned and personal growth — to be fair, I still have much ground to cover. Future posts will probably include “How NOT to Fuel For a Marathon,” “Why You Shouldn’t Pass Out in a Port-o-John,” and “Don’t Be An Idiot: Be Sure You Know What Time Zone You’re In So You Don’t Miss Your Flight Home.”
 
The journey continues!
 

2 thoughts on “Hey, guys! I ran a marathon!

  1. Polly Uher

    I love my dear 2nd daughter!! More than you could ever imagine! You’re the best marathon runner in our book! you qualify for…. well, The Father’s Favorite Daughter! just by being.

    Reply
  2. Lisa Preuett

    Loved reading about your marathon experience! I learned a hard lesson the day I ran my first marathon…..our timing does not always match up with God’s! 🙂 So proud of you for finishing that race. Of course we have expectations for ourselves, but to even get out there and attempt such a challenge is one that most people can’t understand.

    Reply

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