Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Twin Cities Marathon Recap 2011: And now what?

I have already had about 4 people ask me...and now what??
It's only 2 days past marathon #2 and I AM thinking about the road ahead... already. 

Marathon Recap: 
This race for me meant a couple of very important things.  First it meant that I was running in my beautiful city which I love and appreciate so much for it's running love and running support! The spectators were amazing!! I was so excited to run marathon #2 in Minneapolis and St. Paul!! 

Second it meant that I got the chance to support Bolder Options once again and that all of YOU, readers, friends, family, face book stalkers, got to jump in and donate to a really wonderful non-profit helping kids leading healthy, hopeful lives. THANK YOU!! 

Finally, it meant the chance for me to see what I was made of. I set an aggressive goal, I trained hard, but not perfect, and I set out at 8 am on Sunday to see if I could physically meet the challenge and mentally keep my word to myself. And I did, with the grace of God! 

A little prep: outfit choosing, Gu packs, pacing bracelet and goji berry energy chews! SET!

I had my perfect race breakfast of bread, nut butter and banana's... it sets well, fills me up and I can run on it almost immediately! I didn't have to get up SUPER early, the starting line was only a mile from my house, so I got all ready at home, with my Twin Cities Marathon 30th anniversary arm warmers and set out! 


 Beautiful, SUNNY Downtown Minneapolis, that's the Metrodome to the left, it's where the Minnesota Twins USED to play, when you could sneak Grainbelt Premium and peanuts into the nose bleed section with your brother! Not that I ever did that... 

And here we are at the start line, Ann, Missy, and her brother Sean! They are such amazing runners and when I could, got my training runs in with them! See how we are right behind the 3:40:00 pacer? That balloon was my buddy for nearly the entire race!! 

The course was my stomping grounds! Running from downtown around the Minneapolis Grand Rounds which circles all the lakes you see me running around all the time! They are familiar and FLAT! Whew! I knew at least the first 10 miles were going to be just what I needed them to be.  

And they were! I felt strong, I was happy, the cheer stations were epic, people handing out candy, oranges, banana's! Giant parties on lawns nearly the whole way! Even off on the far corner of Lake Nokomis there were people lining the streets cheering and supporting. 

The spectators at a race like this, or any race for that matter can really make a difference to the runners! Shouting encouragement and just clapping as we go by help so much! My favorite is when you make eye contact with someone and they speak directly to you, strangers rock!! 

Mile 8:  Wow, I am one third done (almost).... ok, that's ok, I can do this! 
Mile 10: I am ahead of the 3:40:00 pacer, but just by a ways! This rocks... ! 
Mile 13: I see Missy and her brother! Am feeling strong! Right? I think I am, yeah, this is still ok.... 
Mile 15: Hips are grinding and something hurts on my left foot.. (curl my toes mid stride) oooh, yeah, that big toe is NOT happy. Oh well! 

Mile 18: See Melissa, she's running next to me, tells me I am a strong woman of God asks me how I am, I tell the truth, knee's, hips in some pain, my Ipod just crapped out but God is good and I am encouraged.

Mile 18.5: Pacer passes me, no prob, my goal is 3:45:00, not 3:40, I just have to keep him in my sights.

Mile 20: Calfs are seizing up... starting that lovely uphill into St. Paul, on to Summit Ave, a long inclined home stretch...just push. 

Mile 22: Can't push, this is hard, I want to cry, but then can't breath. Every step hurts and I just tell my legs to keep moving... I can't stop I have come to far. My friends the Halvorson's Scream my name from the right, I laugh, they are ROCKSTARS and I can keep going. 

Mile 23-24: See Alyssa's smiling face! Am encouraged, she's done this, I can do this... move legs, whispering "Jesus, Jesus, 2 miles, 2 miles..." He's with me, he's there I can feel it and the pain may not be going away, but he is holding me through it... 

Mile 25: "Whispering 8 min is all I have left" over and over when a man yells a quarter mile left! I look up, I can see the bend in the road where the Cathedral is, from there, it's all downhill, literally, so I move my legs! Fast Finish!! My watch says 3:44:38!! Right then, I didn't care about official chip time, I was thrilled to be done, thrilled to be walking and thrilled with my time for myself! 

I walked through a few water stops, but not all of them. With 8 miles left, it didn't matter if I ran fast or slow or walked, I was hurting, so I just wanted to get it over with! And for as much as I enjoyed the run, the scenery, the people and the whole experience on such a splendid day, I was wanting to push and rise to the challenge of my goal!! 

SO many in this race. 

I didn't want to stop running, I didn't want to walk, I KNEW I could get the time I wanted, I KNEW I could do it and push through, but the challenge that I faced mentally was worse than the physical challenge. That is where the battle is--our minds! 

But where does my strength come from? Where does that WILL POWER live? Christ in me... I have freedom, joy and drive because of his great love for me which gives me LIFE! HE is my strength. Sure it was my legs that kept moving but he was the fuel that stoked the flame... 

I learned that I DON'T have to or WANT to back down. Old Mary was scared of hard things, scared to run to the point of discomfort, scared to push too hard or too far. I don't have to be afraid anymore, I am capable of all I am CALLED TO DO! All I put my mind to is there for me to go after!! 

Also in the few months before the race, I really wanted new shoes, a racing watch and contacts... I dislike running in my glasses, my shoes have been through my first full and spring half marathons. I kept saying over and over, I don't have money for new shoes, I can't afford that and I really NEED that, I would like to have a polar or garmin for the race...etc...

 I realized what I was doing, I was FOCUSED on my LACK. Instead I started to say 

" I am so thankful for my legs and feet that I can run and am able"
" I am so thankful for my eyes that I can see God's beauty" 
"I am so thankful that I can run this race and meet my goal with all I have!"

The shoes, the watch the contacts...didn't matter at ALL. What mattered was my ability and my thankfulness in the moment. 

Success isn't in our shoes. 
Success is not in our situations or in what we HAVE, it's in how we use what we have, how we see it and what we do with it. Sure that stuff is nice, but it isn't necessary. 

Congrats to ALL the runners, all my friends and everyone who supported me!! What a great ride... and NOW WHAT?? 

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