It’s official… marathon No. 3 is finally in the bag.
But surprisingly, the best part wasn’t the perfect race conditions, seeing the finish line or the fact that I PR’d by 27 minutes and 52 seconds. (We’ll get to that.) Nope… the coolest thing about running Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth last Saturday was that I got to hang with 13 other women who are in my ‘inner circle’ – 10 of whom rocked their own epic finishes.
I can’t help but note that this marathon was vastly different than the others.
The first 26.2 was undeniably for me. I had a lot to prove… and a dump truck full of bull sh*t to heal. (You can read about my first marathon here.)
I ran No. 2 five months later because I didn’t know what else to do with myself. (Hey, when you’re known as Brook’s First Marathon to the masses, you kind of think you ‘have to’ keep doing this, you know?)
And No. 3? Well… No. 3 wasn’t about me at all.
It was about being present and bearing witness to all the other women checking their excuses at the door and taking a balls out, “hell yeah!” approach to doing something heroic in THEIR lives. (Trust me, this is the very sh*t that puts the soul in sole.)
We had one qualify for Boston by a landslide. Four ladies ran their FIRST marathon. Almost everyone PR’d. And all of the women who were there will tell you it was their PB – their personal best (favorite) race to date. (Mine, too.)
Now you know… most of my marathon recaps have been bloated with drama.
But this one… not so much. (Thank you Jesus.)
That said, here’s a quick [cursory] overview of the ‘best-of’…
So, it’s race day. My alarm goes off at 3:30 a.m. and I lay there for a bit trying to figure out who’s bed I’m in. (We rented a house, give me a break.)
My first thought was, “OMG, did I drink too much?” (When you hang out with this many sole sisters, cocktails flow shamelessly.)
My second thought was, “Oh sh*t man, its shooooooooow time.”
So around 4:00 a.m., my feet hit the deck, I snag a cup of coffee, scarf a bowl of oatmeal and hop in the shower. By 5:15 a.m. we’re out the door to catch a bus to the start line:
The pic is Hubs and I on our way to the bus stop – damn nice of him to carry my drop bag don’t you think?
After a 20 minute ride on an old yellow school bus, we make it to the start where 8,000 of my closest friends and I are all vying for one of 200 port-a-potties. (I worked out ALL of my bathroom business pre-race, again, thank you Jesus.)
At 7:45 a.m., the race starts.
Eight minutes later, I’m rolling over the start line of Marathon No. 3.
Within minutes, the first thing I notice is that I’m running at a pace that’s absolutely not sustainable [for me] for 26.2 miles. (9:17, 9:21 and 9:10.)
The second thing I can’t get away from are the dozens, (if not hundreds!), of men who keep pulling over to piss. (For crying out loud…)
My Garmin didn’t catch a signal until almost 2 miles in… which means that Hubs, by default, became my speedometer. At the end of mile 3 I cry, “Listen! We’ve got to pull back or we’re NEVER going to make it to the finish.” (He obliged.)
We clock mile 10 at 9:08 and again I shout, “Damn it! If we don’t ease up we’re going to sh*t the bed at 20. Give me some leeway here and back it down!” (Again, he obliged.)
Mile 15 is when my lower extremities started protesting. That’s also when I thought, “Well why wouldn’t they be p*ssed? 15 miles is already a freakin’ HAUL.”
I reach mile 20 in 3 hours and 10 minutes… and it hit me. FINALLY, the 4:16, (that’s had my number for almost a year), is within reach.
As we’re running through the water station at mile 22, I tap Hubs on the a** and say, “Buddy, I need to walk a bit and snag a drink. You go ahead and I’ll see you at the finish.”
So he kicked… and all I could do was watch his bright yellow tech tee disappear in the distance.
For me, there’s a spot in each marathon where sh*t gets exceedingly hard. The first race was at mile 21. The second race was at mile 24. Last Saturday, it was absolutely at mile 22.
At 22, I tell myself, “It’s okay to slow down BK… just don’t walk.”
Seriously… the ONLY thing that kept me running was the fact that dozens of people were about to get a text message at mile 25 with the truth about my indiscretions.
Between 24 and 25, I eye a 60-something woman in a red shirt blowing by me. And I think, “For the love of all things holy, if SHE can do it, then at the ripe age of 37, I can, too.” (I thanked her post race for pacing me on the way in.)
By mile 26 I’m running on fumes. I feel puke festering in the back of my throat and I think, “F* that sister, I don’t care what comes out of your mouth. Whatever happens between now and the finish, there is NO WAY we’re stopping…”
I crossed the finish line in exactly 4 hours and 10 minutes. (Shaving 27 minutes and 52 seconds off my previous PR.)
I stumble through the chute and a young gal with long red hair places the medal around my neck.
Ten seconds later I tear it off because it feels far too heavy for my weary bones. (Does anyone else do this?)
I spent the rest of the race cheering on my sole sisters. (I swear on my mother’s life watching other people cross the finish line is even more fulfilling than crossing your own.) Think I’m kidding? Watch this…
(Here we are cheering Michelle on to her first marathon finish.)
My greatest lesson from marathon No. 3 is this:
Only YOU can sign up for a race. Only YOU can log your training miles. Only YOU can toe a start line and it’s YOU who is solely responsible for hauling your a** to the finish.
But you don’t have to do it alone.
There are literally hundreds of women who would love the chance to cheer you on to your finish line.
All you have to do is LET them.
P.S. Listen… now through July 4th we’re accepting new members into my Inner Circle of Sole. Please don’t let this opportunity pass you by — I promise — if you show up, being a part of this group will absolutely change your life. Click here for the details.
P.S.S. I met so many awe-inspiring women while I was in town… to Connie, Darla and gang… my sincerest thanks for your love + support + laughs… and for being with ‘Brook’s First Marathon’ from the beginning. Onward! xo