Saturday, January 28, 2017

St. Jude Marathon 2016 or "The Marathon Kicked My Butt"

8:36 a.m. 

I posted and talked a lot about the St. Jude Marathon before the race.
Not so much during or after the race.
There are a lot of reasons why.
To say that attempting to run my first marathon was an emotional experience would be an understatement.  
An understatement.
Talk about a game changer...for running, for wellness, for life.

I think I'm ready to talk about it some here we go:

1.  I didn't train as I should.  I about half-heartedly tried.  There were days when I was "all-in"...but many more days when I wasn't.  No excuses here.

Here's the thing about're either all in...or you're not.
There is no half-way.

2.  My oldest daughter Kendal and a friend Shannon were with me. 
I was at times more concerned about their experiences than I was my own.  
I don't have this analyzed completely in my head yet...and this was no fault of theirs.

3.  I didn't prepare myself emotionally.  I'm not sure I could have because I think St. Jude marathoners think they "know" what they've signed up for, but don't really know until they run it...or try to run it as was in my case.
I think this applies for seasoned marathoners as well as beginners.

4.  I didn't really have a purpose well defined.
Hear me out on this.
I had a jumble of purposes...all of them swirling around in my head...this, that, and the other thing. Influences from everywhere...trying to overlap anything and everything that I could in order to justify running.
That doesn't work for me.
My anxious brain does not need jumble.
My anxious brain needs a streamlined well-defined purpose to keep it busy.
So that it doesn't imagine all kinds of things along the way.

5.  I was injured.
I can tell you all day that I take care of myself physically...but I did not prioritize my physical needs before the marathon. 
I injured myself trying to do too much too soon (even though I know and have known for quite some time how stupid this is).  
After I injured myself, I was too stubborn or too "busy" to go to the doctor.
So the injury just festered instead of beginning to heal.
I was in pain by the end of mile 1 for a marathon I had waited 48 years to run.

6.  I didn't take the physical challenges of running a marathon seriously.
When Kendal and I stopped half way, we were taken to the medical tent to be checked out.  What we witnessed there shocked me.  
It was like watching MASH.
There is a fully functioning "hospital" at the St. Jude Marathon...medical personnel were attending to those who were on drips, wrapped up, heart monitors, and a few emergency situations...we watched the team work on a man who actually had a heart attack soon after he crossed the finish line. 
Others collapse as well.
I can't tell you what a humbling experience this was.

7.  I didn't enjoy it.
Kendal mentioned this after.
The last picture I took was at the starting line.  I was so consumed with worry about whether or not I would make it to the end, and whether or not I could keep up with my pace group, that I just stressed myself out even more than I was before the race.  I didn't take in my surroundings at all.  And there was so much to take in...the scenery, the families, the children, the signs...I missed a lot of it because I was freaking out.

8.  I was not dressed appropriately.
We stayed too far from the race site and had no clue...any of us...what exactly we were going to need nor the processes to follow before, during, and after the race.
I am already registered in a hotel right smack at the starting line for next year. 

9.  I didn't connect with my team.
I'm on a team.
I really am.
It's called Run4theKids.
I was so consumed with making the race a special one for Kendal and Shannon, something we could share together, that I did not experience it myself. 
I am 48 years old. 
It's time for me to live my life and let others live theirs.  
When will I learn this?
I hope now.

10.  I beat myself up when I didn't finish the race.
This is a normal thing for me.
When I fail, my brain just bottoms out.  I've spent a lot of time and money trying to fix this...and one of the things I know about anxiety is that I have to prepare for it...but I didn't.
By the time we got back to our hotel, I was not only physically exhausted, but mentally and emotionally exhausted as well.
I got a shower only bc I didn't want to get in the bed without one since I was sharing a bed with Kendal...see, even my shower was for someone else.
I slept for hours (Kendal and Shannon did as well, of course...1/2 marathons and marathons take everything out of you).

11.  I was ashamed.
But, it was pride more than anything else.
How would I tell everyone that I didn't finish the marathon.
Would I still get a medal even though I only finished half?
The answer to this is no.
When you make the cutoff to go half or full marathon, there is only one finish line, the finish line for the race you chose.  
Medals are only given out at the finish line, so if you don't make it to a finish line, you don't get a medal.
This hurt my feelings...but I do actually get it.
We emailed and asked if we could get 1/2 marathon medals since we technically finished the half, but we never received a response.
I'm not a fan of the trophy for everybody notion, so I'm ok with this.
It will make the medal I'm going to receive next year be that much more special. 

12.  I did not fundraise like I should.  
I committed to $500 and waited until the last month or so to find the money. 
My commitment was more of an emotional one rather than a realistic one. 
I'm pretty famous for that.

The one thing I did do right was sign up for the 2017 race at the Expo the night before the 2016 race. 
I'm locked in.
I have a plan.
I've learned a great many lessons.
And I'm taking steps already to make sure if at all possible, I won't have to learn those same lessons again.

9:16 a.m.


  1. On the bright side, you learned so much from this attempt. Courage IS "I will try again tomorrow."

    1. It's astonishing how much I learned, Suko. Still learning as a matter of fact. :)