I am a MARATHONER!

June 8, 2011

Yes, it’s official! I finally completed a HUGE lifetime goal! I put my body through hell and back and came out on top…with a 26.2 mile journey that I will never forget.

Pre-Race Day

Lucas and I arrived in San Diego the day before the marathon and the first thing on the agenda was to go get my race packet and bib number.

My first step in to the Expo and I was greeted with a huge sign…and one of my new running mantras, “Let your heart race”. And that’s exactly what I was here to do (did).

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Since the marathon boasted over 32,000 (yes, 32,000) runners we would be participating in a Wave Start. A wave start groups runners in to corrals based off their estimated finish time. The elite runners being in Corral 1 and moving down from there.

I was in Corral 16 with an estimated 4:10 finish.

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Even though I had an estimated finish time I was not holding myself to that time. Since this is my first marathon I have nothing to compare it to, so my only goal was to finish. No time goal. Just finish.

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After picking up my bib Lucas and I explored the Expo which was so much fun. We got tons of free samples! Love samples!! Saw some Biggest Loser contestants. Saw an Alien. Bought some race memorabilia.

RNR San Diego Marathon June 2011

After our shenanigans at the Expo we decided to head back to the hotel and get ready for the TNT Inspiration Dinner.

The Inspiration Dinner is one of the most amazing things I’ve EVER been to.

As you walk down the long corridor to the ball room you are greeted with a receiving line of TNT Coaches, Mentors, and Honored Teammates all cheering and shouting for you. I was overwhelmed with emotion walking through the line. Words can’t even describe the feelings I had. I just felt so immensely proud to be a part of such a great event.

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The Inspiration Dinner is a big ole carb loading party. Tons of pasta, tons of bread, and maybe some chocolate Smile

We learned that the New Mexico/El Paso Chapter raised $95,000 for TNT! We heard from individuals who had been diagnosed with some form of blood cancer and how TNT was there to make a difference in their life. And we got to spend some quality time as a Team before the big day.

It was an amazing night.

RNR San Diego Marathon June 20111

Dinner ended around 7:00 and I headed straight to bed, because I had a 2:45 am wake up call!

Race Day

I was shocked that I was actually able to sleep. I thought for sure that I would be wide awake all night long. Thank goodness I was able to get some shut eye. But as soon as the alarm went off I jumped up out of bed and starting to get ready for the race.

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I was trying to be quiet because Lucas was still sleeping (lucky dog, didn’t have to wake up as early as me). I started to take my own pictures and load up my fuel belt.

I was just getting ready to head out the door when Lucas stumbled out of bed and gave me a hug. He said his infamous slogan, “Go Babe Go” and told me he had to take my picture. He’s so cute!

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And with that I was out the door and off to meet my team.

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We shared our stories of excitement, nerves, anticipation, and all the other pre-race emotions.

I was the only member on my Team who was running the full marathon, so my whole Team was incredibly supportive and got me really pumped for my 26 mile journey.

We boarded the bus and within 15 minutes we were at the race start line.

There were still a few hours until the start gun so we ventured around, grabbed some bagels, drank some water, and stood in the 30 minute port-a-potty line. We were all struggling to stay warm too. Without the sun San Diego in the morning is SUPER cold. Thank goodness I had my trash bag!

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Before I knew it we were headed down to the corrals and the nerves really started to hit me.

My stomach suddenly started feeling queasy. I think I was most nervous about my leg. Not having been able to run in 2 weeks made me so unsure of how I was going to be able to perform. I said a prayer to God to please let me just make it through this, whether it was running or walking, I just wanted to finish.

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And with that prayer I was able to take one last start line picture and then I heard the announcers say, “Alright Corral 16…are you ready to do this?!!!”

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My first step across the start was full of pain and I immediately got concerned. My leg just felt so tight and a little sore. I started to get really apprehensive that I wouldn’t be able to do this.

Then I had to calm myself down and told myself that I just needed to warm up. I got through the first mile half limping, half running and was starting to feel a little bit looser. By the end of mile two I felt like I was right back in to my normal stride. A huge sigh of relief passed through my body and it was at that moment that I was able to fully embrace this experience. I think in the back of my mind I had been worried that I wouldn’t be able to complete the 26.2 miles so I was trying not to get myself to psyched up. But now that I was feeling like an all star I KNEW I’d make it to that Finish Line.

At Mile 2 I got a text from Lucas. Knowing that he was waiting for me around the corner got me so amped.

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I could see Lucas way up the street holding up his huge bright pink sign (This picture is obviously pre race). He couldn’t see me, but I sure saw him! He was dancing his sign around. I was almost right in his face before he noticed me. I gave him a huge kiss and he told me to keep running.

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I looked down at my Garmin and freaked it was displaying my pace time in miles/hour instead of miles/min. WHAT THE F***! How was I going to know what my splits were? How would I know if I was staying on pace? All these panicking questions started flashing through my mind. When it hit me. Maybe I wasn’t meant to see my pace for this race. Being injured and it only being my first marathon I took it as a sign from the big guy to just run. Enjoy the run and don’t worry about the time. This may have been the best thing to happen because I didn’t feel the “pressure” to keep up with my splits. (I later found out that the dumb thing was set to bike mode instead of running mode)

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I was feeling strong and didn’t notice that the miles were flying by.

Mile 5, Mile 6, Mile 7.

Since we had made a big loop I knew Lucas would be around Mile 8, so again I started looking for the huge pink sign, and again I was right in his face before he realized it.

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I stopped to tell him that my leg was feeling good and that I was running strong.

And then off I went.

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I was amazed that I had reached Mile 13 with no problems.

At this point I told myself I was half way through and just needed to repeat everything I had just done.

Way easier said.

Mile 17 boasted a doosey of a hill and this is where I was suddenly starting to feel fatigued.

I remember a TNT Coach coming over and asking if I was ok. I told her I was doing good but thirsty. Even though I had my fuel belt I was dying for some cold water. All of my fuel water was starting to get warm. She told me that the water stop was just around the corner.

I took 3 cups of water, slamming one after the other. I could feel my body getting dehydrated.

Mile 18 was where things really started to slow down for me. I started walking a lot. I text Lucas because I needed motivation.

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And with that I willed my body to continue running.

At Mile 21 I realized that I had just ran farther than I ever have before. My longest run at that point was 20 miles, and I was now facing unchartered territory.

My body was definitely taking some hits. I started to get cramps at the tops of my thighs. I pulled over in the grass and did some Down Dogs to loosen up. They helped momentarily but I was seriously getting my ass kicked. At this point I was able to run for a minute or two and then walk for a minute or two (maybe three). My body just did not want to run anymore.

Mile 23 and I saw Lucas again. He jumped on the course with me and jogged with me. I told him that I was in pain. That I didn’t want to do this any more. That I was so thirsty. That I just wanted to stop.

He looked at me and said, “Babe, you’ve got this, You’re right at the end. You just have to go around the corner here and it’ll take you right to the finish. You’re gonna do it Babe!” If it weren’t for Lucas there’s no way I would have made it. He jogged with me for a quarter of a mile and said he had to go find his spot towards the finish (really he wanted to see the drummer boys finish Winking smile ).

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I dubbed Mile 25 as the Death Mile.

I wanted to die. I kept asking myself why I ever wanted to run 26 miles. I told myself I was crazy and that I’d ever do this again. I wanted to cut my legs off. I wanted to cry.

Another text.

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I looked at my Garmin and saw 25.5. OMG!! I’m almost there was all I could think. In half a mile this will all be over. I’ll be able to sit down!

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I kinda got lost in my day dream of being able to sit down and suddenly saw my pink sign Smile

Lucas was smiling so big and yelling, “You’re almost there BABE!!”

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I gave him a huge wave and knew this was it. This was the moment I had trained for. This was a moment I’d never forget.

This was MY moment.

A moment I’ll never have again.

I could see the finish line. There were tons of people screaming. I could hear my name being shouted out.

I could feel the tears starting to swell.

I took one big huge breath, put my arms up in the air, and shouted “WOOHOOO!!!” as I crossed over the finish line.

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I DID IT!!!

I was officially a MARATHONER!!

I was so emotional. Finishing a marathon is nothing like I ever thought it would be. I was hit with a rush of emotion and in pure disbelief that I had accomplished something so big.

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My official time was 4:46:45 (But I had stopped to use the bathroom at Mile 15, which took ten minutes…so according to my Garmin I finished in 4:35 Winking smile )

My bestie was waiting for me at the finish gate. SO excited she was there to see me!!

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I will never, ever forget June 5, 2011, the day I completed my first marathon. I am dedicating my race to my amazing fiancé because without him I would have given up on myself at Mile 15. He was my biggest cheerleader and the person who has been with me since the very beginning of my training. Thank you Babe for helping me to achieve something I’ve always dreamed of but never thought possible.

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San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll you almost had me…but I brought my secret weapon! I came a runner and left a marathoner!

RNR San Diego Marathon June 20112

…And did I mention that I’m totally ready to run another one Smile (I’ve got my eyes on The Hawaii Marathon in December!)

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate@Diethood.com June 8, 2011 at 10:55 am

WOOOOOOT! CONGRATULATIONS!!! Soooo proud of you, Steph! WOOOOOT!

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2 Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie June 8, 2011 at 11:06 am

So thrilled for you, Steph! What a monumental feat you just accomplished! :-) So proud!! Hugs!

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3 michele June 8, 2011 at 11:14 am

Congrats! He is such a great supporter!!

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4 Dorothy @ nearlyhereorthere.blogspot.com June 8, 2011 at 11:17 am

Congratulations! You’re such an inspiration! Makes me want to run a marathon :)

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5 Samantha Angela June 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

Congratulations!!! What a huge feat :)
I know exactly how you feel because I did my first marathon this weekend too!

http://gamereviewwiki.com/bikinibirthday/2011/06/i-ran-a-marathon/

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6 Liz June 8, 2011 at 11:41 am

YOU are amazing!!!! Congratulations…I was tearing up at your description of your run. I’ve done a couple half marathons which were killers, so I bow down to you…you were fabulous!!!!

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7 Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean June 8, 2011 at 11:46 am

SO proud of you lady!! got teary eyed reading this. you’re amazing.

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8 Chelsea June 8, 2011 at 11:52 am

Wow I don’t even know you (personally I mean) and this post touched my heart. My boy-friend told me how he felt a rush of emotion wash over him when he saw me turn the corner to complete my first 5k. I can’t imagine the rush of emotion your fiancee felt for you at every pit stop! The support is always soo so important to have when running and it’s an amazing feeling :) You make me want to join a TNT just to have even more and know I’m not training all alone for my 10k haha. One day I will be like you and complete a marathon, one day!

You look so happy and pretty in all your pictures too! You can’t even tell you were in pain or ready to give up :) Way to go girl!

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9 Donna @ Love, Run & Travel June 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Oh my gosh Stephanie
Your recap seriously made me cry a little
SUPER excited – you did it!!!

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10 Jorie June 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

You rock! You don’t even look tired in your final miles photo. How’d you do that? Congratulations!

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11 Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit June 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Yay! I knew you could do it. Congratulations! I love the idea of a Inspiration Dinner… SO great to get the vibe going. Also, at the end of it you didn’t look tired or anything. I could imagine myself being a complete mess! WAY TO GO!

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12 Evan Thomas June 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Congrats!

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13 Carolyn June 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Awesome, awesome, awesome. Sorry it felt so hard in the middle there, but you did it and you rocked it! Go Steph!

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14 Arantha June 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm

Steph, that is amazing. Congrats on this accomplishment! I love your blog and read it all the time. :)

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15 Lisa June 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm

CONGRATS!!

I’m signing up for my first marathon right now!!
You’re inspiring!

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16 Emily @ Life on Food June 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm

Congratulations! I am so impressed.

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17 Fallon June 8, 2011 at 7:15 pm

WOW you did great for your first marathon. I’m glad your body felt strong and you finished strong! Now just take some time off this next week to let your body fully heal. I wish I could have that motivation to just fun half a marathon. I need a running buddy!

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18 Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts June 8, 2011 at 8:33 pm

YEAH!!!! Congrats! This is on my wish list someday. I was hoping for one this year, but last year I hurt my knee, so I am out. Right now I am just hoping I can do a 1/2 in October. Way to Go – HUGE accomplishment!

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19 Lori June 8, 2011 at 8:39 pm

Woo hoooo!!!! Way to go Steph!!!!! This awesome!!

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20 Happy When Not Hungry June 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm

CONGRATS!!! I remember when I ran my marathon I too wanted to die around the last 1-1.5 miles. I’m sooo happy that you pushed through and finished in an awesome time. All that hard work paid off girl!!!!

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21 Veronica June 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Shoot girl, I’m literally in tears! I haven’t commented in a while but I want you to know how inspiring you are and how proud I am of your accomplishment. I bet you’re still hurting! I remember having to go down stairs backwards b/c it hurt to much to go the regular way. But sooo worth it!

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22 Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels June 9, 2011 at 8:56 am

Wow I am SOOOO proud of you! I’m so glad you did a post about your marathon. I loved reading every bit of it. It’s so amazing that Lucas was there to support you. You are incredible Steph! :)

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23 Amanda June 9, 2011 at 10:19 am

Good Job! Glad you had your cheerleader there! You raised money for a great charity and completed a goal for yourself. Be proud of all you accomplished!

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24 mandy s June 9, 2011 at 10:36 am

O WOW!!! How awesome! You DID IT!!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

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25 Sherry June 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

This post actually made me cry. That’s is so freaking incredible and amazing and awesome. I am in awe of you. This post was so inspiring I have no words. I want to be able to do this so bad!

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26 Cher June 9, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Congrats! That is such a huge accomplishment. I have been sharing your posts with my 17-year old who is a runner and she gave you two thumbs up.

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27 Carina - Kitchen Groovy June 10, 2011 at 3:18 pm

Wow, you are truly inspiring and while I don’t even know you, I felt like I was right there with you – you brought tears to my eyes! I am so happy that you accomplished something so great! AND – a HUGE thank you for sharing that you stopped and walked some, too. I think that is so important for those of us to hear that it is okay to do that. Good luck as you train for your next 26.2!!

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28 Lisa June 10, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Congrats!!! You did awesome and I’ve never seen someone smile soo much while running 26 miles!! Congrats again

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29 Chrissy June 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Congrats!! Now I totally want to run a marathon! :)

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30 kitchenarian June 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Congratulations. Job well done.

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31 Kita June 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Congrats Steph! You have me wanting to give running a try. I’ve never been able to – bad ankles since ice skating as a kid, but I really want to get up and try something small for a while. Who knows? Im really really pumped for you and super happy you were able to complete your first marathon!

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32 Kim (Feed Me, Seymour) June 15, 2011 at 6:10 am

I’ve been really wanting to get into running. There always seems to be some excuse for me not to, but you have inspired me! Reading about your marathon and your amazing journey makes me want to run! To feel so accomplished!!! Awesome job, girl!

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33 Lynn June 15, 2011 at 11:38 am

Congratulations! Great article!!!

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34 Uncle Myke June 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm

That was great stuff sweetie!!! I am so proud of you! I just can’t believe that you were able to do it. I should be able to believe though ’cause you are one awesome kid!!! Nicely done! I love you!

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35 Kelsey July 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Way to go! What a great accomplishment and what a sweet fiance!

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36 Steph July 19, 2011 at 7:36 am

Thanks Kelsey!

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37 Hilary August 22, 2012 at 12:52 am

I just read all your race recaps and this one was my favourite!!! You are an amazing athlete and give me so much confidence that I can run a half or full marathon too! Even though this is an older post it is never too late to say congratulations!

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38 Steph August 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Thanks Hilary! It was quite the journey!

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