Yesterday, I finally put marathon No. 2 to bed.
Truth be told, that b*tch played hard to get for months. During training, I was forced off my legs multiple times b/c of injuries. I worked through two 3-hour pseudo triathlons at the gym in lieu of long-runs to salvage my endurance. I survived one cortisone shot, 33,600 mg of Motrin and 8 doctor visits in the weeks leading up to the big day. This, by far, has to be one of the the wonkiest marathon training schedules on RECORD. I’m proud to say my dawgs and I got ‘er done… and somehow, (likely by the grace of God), we PR’d by almost 5 minutes.
Here’s how sh*t went down:
A few minutes before the first corral was released, we shared a moment of silence for Boston. I was reminded, (again!), that thousands of runners stood at the start line of THEIR race that fateful day in April… likely feeling exactly how I felt that very moment: excited, hopeful, a tad bit scared and in a whole lot of awe over what you’re about to accomplish.
Immediately following the silence, the announcer asked me, along with 10,000+ of my closest running friends, to sing the National Anthem. Words can’t describe how it feels to stand strong and sing that song with thousands and thousands of people who have worked their a**es off just to get there. All I can say is I had tears in my eyes, a lump in my throat and a sense of pride that I’ll likely never be able to recreate.
Around 7:15 am, I rolled over the start line. As was the case with marathon number one… peeps are zooming past me left and right. I thought about trying to keep up, but told myself I’d catch ’em when their legs blew out at mile 20. (Is that mean?)
The first mile marker sign I noticed on the course was the 5k. I thought, “Sh*t! That was fast.” Around mile 4, I glanced over to my left and notice I’m about to be passed by a man sporting a broken-foot boot. (Yes, a f*ing boot.) I didn’t say anything, but I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of havoc he was wreaking on his skeletal structure. I can only surmise that’s a damn bad plan. Anyhoo…
Mile 8 was the FIRST time I went banging on God’s door.
Which is another way of saying that was where the pain in my right knee reared it’s ugly, monsterous head. I found myself curb side 4 different times in a quarter mile stretch — to walk, to apply BIOFREEZE and/or to simply adjust my IT Band brace. That’s also where I begged God for a little bit of help and an epic kick in the a**. He obliged.
I didn’t look up again until they forced the half marathoners to split from the full. (Mile 10? 11?) I watched, with raw envy, as they veered left. I, on the other hand, was forced to go right.
Somewhere around mile 13 I realized my knee and foot were both numb. (Maybe my IT brace was cutting off circulation, who bloody knows.) Instead of panicking, I offered up thanks that I had no idea WTF was happening. Somewhere around the same time I was absolutely POSITIVE I lost a toenail. (I can’t tell you how many times I peeked at my shoe to see if blood was spurting out of the top. There wasn’t, thank you Jesus.)
Miles 14, 15 and 16 were relatively uneventful. Mile 17 ushered in a monster hill. I took the opportunity to walk, wolf down a snack and give myself a pep talk.
“Okay, self. You’re rounding the corner on Mile 18. And when you see the sign, you only have 8.2 to go. You feel good. You’ve got this. Shake your a** sister and bring THIS home.”
At mile 20, I noticed people were dropping like flies. There were dozens of runners walking, stretching and POWER SNOTTING. (I seriously saw more people shoot snot out of their nostrils yesterday than I’ve seen in my entire lifetime. What am I missing?)
As I roll by the big 2-0, I take on the matra: “This is why we came.”
Listen. Almost everyone goes to 20 miles at least once during a training cycle. Some people go farther. Others put up 20 two or three times before the big day. So in a way, you go into a marathon knowing you’ll likely ROCK it ’til 20. In my mind, it’s miles 20 – 26.2 where sh*t has the opportunity to get wild. That’s why I started to say, “This is why we came.” It means [to me] this is where your true test lies, sister.
While at some level I was definitely fatigued, I mostly felt STRONG. My lungs were fully in the game. So was the rest of my body. I had nothing to complain about, so I kept running.
21, 22, 23…
At mile 24, my knee 100% tried to check the f* out.
With stabbing pain shooting through my knee cap, (think ice pick style), I quickly moved curbside and tore open another packet of BIOFREEZE. I ripped off my brace and lubed up. After 45 seconds, I put the brace back on and gave it a go.
So I removed my brace and started to walk.
For the second time that morning, I went banging on God’s door.
I offered up thanks for a strong 24.5 miles. I asked for forgiveness for ALL of my recent transgressions. I sent love and light to my sole sisters world wide who were chasing their finish lines, too. And I snuck in a small, small request…
“God, I could walk the rest of this and there’d be NO SHAME it that. I’ve had a near-perfect race until this point. No matter how this goes down, I know I’ll finish. But if I could make a small request, it would be to find my legs, get my head back in the game, and put this b*tch to bed.”
Once again, he obliged. (So, I’m back in the game.)
I cried most of mile 25. (Think ugly, ugly, ugly cry — mouth open, chicklets-a-flashing.) Not b/c I was in pain, but b/c I was damn thankful I was going to cross the finish line. During those few minutes, I was so f*ing proud of surviving a sh*t training cycle. For not quitting. For doing every last thing I said I do… and then doing more.
Shortly after blowing by 26, I turn left and see the finish line. With tears in my eyes, I run over the mat, throw my arms in the air and firmly, finally and officially close the book on marathon No. 2.
It took me 4 hours, 37 minutes and 52 seconds.
I’m sooooo freakin’ good with that.
P.S. Hundreds of YOU ran races yesterday — I’d love to know how it went, what you learned, what’s next, etc. Please post your pics to the timeline and come chat me up! www.Facebook.com/BrooksFirstMarathon
P.P.S. There are only 2 days left to get in on my 90 Days No Excuses Challenge. If you think you’d like to spend a VIP day with me in Denver — click here for your chance to win.
P.P.S.S. I am so thankful for you. Your good vibes, prayers, encouragement and support carried me 26.2 miles yesterday. My most sincere thanks. (And please know… it goes both ways.)
And finally — be watching your inbox. I plan to share what’s up, what’s next, etc. in the next few days. xo