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Hills, Heat, And Half Of A Happy Ending

The marathon that almost got the best of me

Do you run? Do you love it?

Lets take this a step further. Are you are “marathoner?" Have you ever run a marathon? I would love to know your experience. 

On May 6, I ran my fourth marathon. I signed up for the Dicks Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon back in January. At the time, it seemed like a good idea. So, January 1 I began my 18-week training plan. 

It all was going well: no injuries, and I seemed to be getting a teeny tiny (yes teeny tiny) bit faster! Throughout my training, I had run two half marathons, a couple of 16’s and 18’s, and two 20-mile runs. I was ready! I was healthy and excited to try my hardest to hit my personal best! So then what happenened? 

At 6 a.m. May 6 the alarm sounded. There they were, the butterflies that are always in my stomach on race day. 'Normal,' I tell myself. Pin on the bib, lace up my shoes, clip on my iPod, and off I go to start corral D, it was one block from my hotel.  The set up this far was amazing. 

All things were going great! The sky was crystal clear blue and there was a slight breeze while waiting to start. The national anthem was sung and the horn sounded. We went like cattle at first, but we were walking briskly, and I am directly behind the 4:10 pace crew. I am psyched because I am going to stick with them and crush my goal.

Approaching mile three I felt good, but what was that pain I suddenly felt in my right knee? “Ignore it,” I tell myself. I do ignore it and keep running.

At mile nine I got to catch some friends that have come to support me, I am so happy to see them, so I wave but I don’t stop and keep thinking, “what’s that pain in my knee?"  

My pace was pretty good up to this point, but between the knee, the scorching heat, and the endless upgrade of hills, I slowly began to unravel. Mile 16…17...18…19  I started feeling dizzy, lightheaded, and extremely nauseous.

I was unraveling. So I stopped to get some water. From there on out, I stopped at every water station for a drink, walked a little, then would try to pick up a good pace again. There was no way I was not finishing, I got this far and quitting was not an option. It wasn’t going to be pretty and my goal time was shot, but I was finishing no matter what.

So what happens to us when we get out on that 26.2 mile course? Marathon running is 90 percent mental and once you let doubt in your head and heart you're done! Don’t sell yourself short, running a marathon is hard even though you put in the endless hours of training. It’s like life in general, some days you do everything your supposed to, but it seems nothing will go right for you. 26.2 is 26.2 and it’s a tough challenge, but if you power through it with confidence, you can get it done. This holds true for your everyday life. There will always be obstacles in life to overcome. If there weren’t, life would be boring.

Your training could go great, you can feel amazing and have no injuries, but when the day comes there are so many factors that can change the outcome. Someone recently said to me when you run a marathon you just have to hope the moon and stars are aligned, that the wind is at just the right speed, and that you don’t wake up with the flu. The fourth marathon was no different than the others. Different circumstances for each one, but the bottom line is no matter the city or state, it’s still 26.2 miles.

So to backtrack a bit... yes I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 6.  It wasn’t pretty. I fell short of my personal goal and my finishing time was 5:02, but in the end I did finish and I am proud I didn’t quit.

Are you running a marathon in the Fall? Which one? Keep yourself moving and motivated!

You are stronger than you think!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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