On October 18th 2014, I did what only 1% of the population can say they’ve done. I ran a frickin marathon. 26.2 miles, 42.16 kilometers, 138336 feet… a LONG ass distance. It was by far the most rewarding and most difficult thing I’ve ever done. It also taught me A LOT… so, lets dive right in…
1. The right shoes are CRUCIAL. It’s two weeks after, and I’m still suffering from the dreaded black toe (times 4) because I didn’t wear the right shoes… Go to your local running store, mine is Charm City Run, trust them… they’re called experts for a reason, and don’t be afraid to fork out a little bit of extra dough. (if money is tight, which I get, trust me… find the shoes you want and get last years off the internet.) But don’t, I repeat, DO NOT run in shoes that aren’t the correct size, or the correct fit for your foot… ESPECIALLY FOR 26.2 MILES!!! (smacks forehead – *sigh*)
2. Hydrate or die! Well… not die (maybe), but be VERY unhappy. There were 10+ water stops on the Baltimore Marathon course. I stopped at EVERY SINGLE ONE… even if I didn’t need it. I filled up my water belt…. ya know why? I’m not going to be that ass hole who passes out of dehydration and causes a massive pile up on the course, no sir I’m not! I also work in medicine, I know how the body works. Dehydration is NO JOKE people. Yes, I had to stop to pee… whatever! Better then the alternative!!
3. Goals are great, but don’t kill yourself if you don’t meet them. I had three goals going in to this thing. I was VERY under prepared. I have soft tissue damage in my left knee and shin splints like a mother… So, my training has been lacking. I get that. I owned it to anyone who asked. My longest run was a 20-23 mile (my phone died, so I don’t know the exact milage) training run a month before the marathon, on the HOTTEST day of the year. I know I could complete the course, however, I had NO CLUE how long it would take me due to injury. So… I set three goals. 1) under 6 hours 2) Pain free 3) JUST CROSS THE LINE. I met ONE… only one of my goals. I crossed that line. I crossed the Baltimore Marathon finish line at 6:07:41. And I knew at mile 22 my toes were shot… So, the pain thing was out the window way before I finished. However, thanks to my trusty KT Tape, my knees and shins held up BEAUTIFULLY!!
4. WORK THE CROWD!! Especially if you’re not a speed demon… much like me. When you’re near the end, you KNOW the spectators are getting bored or dancing, singing, whatever they’re doing… so dance with them!! It made me smile, and sure a shit made the older gentleman I danced with laugh! 🙂
5. Keep smiling, even when you want to cry. I (stupidly) signed up to get text alerts for my OWN time so see how I was doing… sounds like a good idea right?? Yea, no. The first few alerts cam through and I felt like I was flying!! (est finish time 5:30:41 – oh fuck yea!!!) next one… (est finish time 5:42:27… ok, ok.. I can still do this…) last one… (est finish time 6:02:59… fuck, I’ve blown it). I had a little over 2 miles to go and I was broken… I wasn’t going to make the 6:00:00 mark… I was in AGONY… and I was almost alone… (almost). The tears started streaming down my face and I looked at my hand… I had written two names (for this reason exactly) “Alex” and “Emily”. Alex (as you probably already know) is my beyond perfect son. Just seeing his name made my entire face light up. Emily, is an amazing young lady who I (the week) before was given the privilege of running for!! These two names were what I needed to smile. So even though you don’t know it Als and Emily, you guys made me smile, when all I wanted to do was cry! ❤
6. Having friends on the course is REMARKABLE!!! One of my best friends “followed” me (its way less creepy then it sounds) and met up with my at 3 stops on the course. To see a familiar face in a vast see of unknowns was WONDERFUL! Also, my November Project Tribe was in charge of one of the water stations (mile 16). Seeing them was like a breath of fresh air!!! LOVE YOU GUYS!!! “Can i get a fuck yea?!” 🙂
7. Bribe yourself. When I didn’t think I could take it anymore.. which was around mile 22… “Stace, 4 more miles until food… 4 more miles until family, 4 MORE MILES UNTIL YOU CAN GET THESE STUPID *profanity* SHOES OFF!!!!!!” Sounds silly, but it worked… at least for a little while. lol.