Well, I did it.
I did it with the love and support of my family and friends, who were there at the finish line or preparing an amazing holiday dinner (which I later devoured before falling asleep at 7:30) or live tracking my race or thinking of me on Sunday. I did it with the support of my husband (also at the finish line and who has, over the months, listened to all of my crying, elation, and everything in between and still been there through all of it). I did it with the support of coworkers, co-athletes, friends in the running community and in the epilepsy community. I did it with the support of family members who aren’t with us anymore. I did it with the support of San Sebastián (at least I think), who joined me on the race. I did it with the support of strangers who shouted words of encouragement on the race route.
A marathon isn’t 42.2 kilometres. A marathon is isn’t the length of time to complete those kilometres, whether it’s 2 hours or 8 hours. A marathon is all of the time that is spent building up to that. I don’t have every record of every run I went on. I don’t have any records for the walks, swims, yoga practices, hiking, roller skating, gym time or kickboxing sessions that I’ve done for cross training for the marathon. I do have some statistics though, from March 3rd, when I registered for the marathon to October 7th:
That marathon was 697.37 kilometres of running before I got to the start line.
That marathon was 3 days, 16 hours and 30 minutes of running before I got to the start line.
That marathon wasn’t 42.2 kilometres and 5 hours. It was nearly 700 kilometres and over 3 days. Plus everything else before and after lacing up my sneakers included with that. It was random tears and venting and the loss of filter when it comes to talking about running. No one was safe. It was staying at home when I wanted to go out with friends because I was running the next day. It was travelling with athletic wear and actually taking time in my vacations to use it. It was planning my schedule around trying to get enough kilometres in. It was visiting my chiropractor regularly.
It was totally worth it but it was hard. I freaked out a little around Kilometre 11, when all the half-marathoners split and I realized that they were half done and I had only just started. My left knee buckled around Kilometer 28. I was happy about that in the sense that I was more than half done (as much as someone can be happy about knee pain). I stopped periodically after that to sit or lay down to stretch that knee in the hopes of continuing without too much damage. At some point I saw a guy on a unicycle but apparently no one else did and I now wonder if he was even there.
I ran the last two kilometres strong. My knee pain was gone in the elation of passing the “40k” sign. When I saw the finish line, and I heard my family and friends cheering for me, holding signs and shouting my name, I smiled. I made it across the finish line and promptly burst into tears. I didn’t know this at the time, but other family members who weren’t there were live tracking my progress, supporting me.
I’m still a little bit in shock. I can’t believe it’s over. The most shocking part though, was that I loved it. I hurt then and I still hurt. That’s what reminds me that I did it, but mentally, I can’t believe it’s over.
When I was laying on the grass afterward the race stretching, with my family standing around me, someone joked if I was planning for my next one. I started with “Actually…” and everyone laughed. But it’s true. I know that now I have to take off some time from running to recover now, but I am thinking about the next marathon.
When I registered, all I wanted was to start the race. All I wanted was to get to the point where I could feel confident that I could do it. That point, where I was sure that I could run it actually never happened. Now though, I know I can. I can’t even describe how amazing that feels.
[Note: Yes, I copied this picture off the official page. I promise to anyone judging me, I will purchase all of them, they just aren’t all processed yet and I have to wait. But I couldn’t wait for this one]