Marathon Training Didn’t Prepare Me For……

I am still a bit overwhelmed by the whole training and marathon journey. Even still my stomach has a bit of the jitters just thinking about it. I am barely sore. I healed amazingly. I can barely tell I ran 26.2 miles.

While I am a little disappointed in my time, at one point, I just knew the knee injury would end my journey at mile 20 or so….so, after that it was “just finish” in whatever shape that I could! πŸ™‚ I was well on track to finish under my goal time until mile 20ish. Then survival instinct kicked in. I had to finish.

My training taught me so much. I tried to imagine every scenario that I could so I could deal with it once it happened.

The thing that it did not prepare for was the mental aspect of splitting off from the half marathon people.

Up until the split, I ran with happy, colorful and energetic people. I felt motivated and encouraged. I was with my husband and that gave me comfort. At mile 10, the event people directed me down one chute and Kevin in another. I cried and waved to him. Then I noticed that all those fun, lively people went in Kevin’s direction. I didn’t see anyone close in front of me or behind me.

As I turned to look towards the route….it looked so lonely and hard…and it was a long incline. It hit me hard that I was in a different place in my run than I’ve ever been in.

Of course I saw people ahead and knew people were behind but we were not packs like before the split. The rest of the 16 miles was almost totally in my head. It was hard for me to grasp the loneliness. I had not trained at all for that. I wanted to go with Kevin at that split. I wanted to go home. I wanted a beer! πŸ™‚

I met a few characters along the way.

One character “Bob” talked never stopping for a breath. It was nice for a while but I needed him to shut up! πŸ™‚ He and I encountered each other a few more times. He talked a lot each time. He was a social runner. He was also dressed in so many clothes that he looked like a clown. He told me his wife had died a few years back so he just runs half marathons and marathons. We talked of pit bulls, no fly lists, ebola…etc. I was entertained and inspired. I thought he was considerably older than me but I later saw his age and he was just a couple of years older than me.

I saw other inspiring people. One lady was 80 plus years old. She was the last runner to finish. I met her on my loop back towards the finish line and she was just headed south on that long stretch. A medic vehicle was following her. I didn’t see her finish, but I saw later that she did finish!

One man pulled his calf muscle and limped so bad that I knew each step was hurting him…but he kept slugging along. I passed him about a mile from the finish line. I don’t know if he finished but I bet he did.

One lady who stayed ahead of me for all of the race until mile 25….had stopped her run and was walking. When I caught up with her, we chatted. It was her first marathon. She was a nurse. She told me she was glad she took vacation for the next day. I was hoping that she and I could finish together but she said she could not run anymore due to a very painful hip. So we told each good luck and I ran on. I noticed that she finished. πŸ™‚

I saw a young man running with an older man. Maybe it was his father or grandfather. Β It was obvious that the young man was an athlete and could have been elite. He stuck by the older man’s side and kept him going with encouragement.

Of course the cheering crowds thinned out by the time I finished. I thanked police officers who helped, I thanked the event people who yelled and cheered me and others that we could do this! I made an effort to smile most of the time that I ran upon cameras! πŸ™‚

I learned that if kids line up to give you “high fives” give them “high fives”. I ran under a couple of human bridges made by little girl cheerleaders.

There were 2 firemen running in full gear for a fallen comrade.

There was a lady about my age running with a full military backpack for her son who was killed in Afghanistan.

One couple (man and woman) were running each with 1 drumstick. I ask. They were running for their son who died the previous year from cancer. He loved running and playing the drums.

There were several churches with people out in front cheering on the people and blessing us. I embraced it and thanked them. I even got a hug from a nun. I needed all the blessings that I could get. πŸ™‚

During that long, lonely journey on the back half, I thought of my brother, Jimmy who is in critical health awaiting a liver transplant. I thought of my baby sister, Barbara who looks to me like a hero and I still am humbled by that. I thought of my son and daughter in law who are raising the 2 most important things in my life and the wonderful job that they have done.

I thought of pretty little Sadie and her sweet and bossy personality.

I thought of Daniel who I adore. He has run 5ks with me. He did the squat challenge with me. (he’s up to 1771 squats he informed me) He encourages me no matter what I do. I especially thought of him when Katy Perry “Firework” came on my playlist and the dance he did to that dressed up in the Link (of Zelda) one Halloween a few years ago at a party. I also thought of a time I showed him a picture of me holding him as a baby when I weighed 300 lbs. I said “I’m not a very pretty Momeye (what he calls me) am I? He said, “Momeye, you have always been beautiful.” πŸ™‚

I thought of my mom and dad who have been gone from the earth many years and wondered if they would be proud or get a kick out ofΒ meΒ foolishly running 26.2 miles with no one chasing me! πŸ™‚

I thought of Peyton and Eli. I wondered if they thought we were not coming back to the apartment that day to feed and pee them! I also sadly thought of the day that I might lose them.

Most of all, I remembered why I loved Kevin and regretted not showing it the way that I should. He has been my rock of support. Anyone would be proud to have that. I am a lucky woman.

When I came into the home stretch like a strong runner and not beaten down by the previous 26.2 miles and saw my loved ones smiling at the finish line, the emotions hit hard.

I felt like a champion.

“The marathon’s about being in contention over the last 10K. That’s when it’s about what you have in your core. You have run all the strength, all the superficial fitness out of yourself, and it really comes down to what’s left inside you. To be able to draw deep and pull something out of yourself is one of the most tremendous things about the marathon.” ~Rob de Castella


13 thoughts on “Marathon Training Didn’t Prepare Me For……

  1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences that you had during the race. I’d imagine that one can’t really prepare themselves mentally for the race unless you’ve run one before. The emotions that must have been surging through you as you approached the finish line must have been palpable. Trust me when I tell you that your experiences, your honesty, your self doubt, and ultimately, your triumph has been quite an inspiration to your followers. Congratulations, Charlotte, you’ve earned it.

    1. Rob, thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate you following along with me giving me encouragement and support. Never did I dream that people that I don’t know in real life could help me through. πŸ™‚ Thanks

  2. I can only imagine how lonely that felt. Thank you for taking us along on your 26.2 miles. It really is very interesting how you dealt with the time and all the wonderful things you experienced and thought about. You are a lucky woman, but you’ve also earned the love and support and wonderful things you have in your life. You deserve them and are an inspiration to us.

    1. Thank you, Cynthia for your encouragement and sweet words. That does mean so much to me to hear that. I’m glad you guys came along on my journey. You had to put up with my complaining, crying, complaining….haha Thank you. πŸ™‚

  3. Such beautiful, amazing thoughts!! You’re truly a gorgeous lady inside and out!! I’m so proud of you!! It sounds like you had a great approach to your marathon!! I never doubted for a second that you wouldn’t finish strong because you have such a strong, willful heart! You are truly an inspiration to me!! You’re hard work and dedication is endearing. xoxo

    1. Thank you so much, Kristin. I appreciate your encouragement and sweet words during this marathon endeavor that I embarked upon! It was long journey for me from when I weighed 300 lbs and couldn’t walk up a flight of stairs! Thank you for sharing my journey. The crazy thing is that I think I may try to run another marathon next year. I am thinking of so many things I could do different to make it better! Crazy, huh? haha

      1. Ohh Charlotte, not crazy AT ALL!! You’re so strong! I totally believe you could rock many many marathons!! Seriously, go for it!! You’re journey is amazing!! xoxo

  4. ohmygosh, i am sitting with tears streaming down my face! Bless you! what a lovely blog entry and bl**dy WELL DONE!!!! you are AMAZING!!!! and a total inspiration! xxx

  5. That’s the thing about running, isn’t it? It’s you and you alone that’s taking the journey. Even though you may have people running along at your side, they can’t run for you. You have to do it yourself. And doing it yourself means finding an inner strength that years, or even months ago, you didn’t know existed. Congratulations on finding that strength. The sky is the limit now, don’t you think? Compared to this, so many things in life now will seem effortless.

    1. You are so right! It is you alone. That looooong run on Sunday taught me so much and put many things in perspective. I know it may be hokey or silly but you can find out a lot about yourself. Somethings I found out about myself, I’d like to change. Others improve on. Especially after 20 miles. It is true what they say that “the person who starts the marathon is not the person who finishes.” πŸ™‚

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