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WOW!!! Another Cleveland Marathon in the books. This year the full 26.2, as I usually participate in the Cleveland half taking on my full marathons in the fall. As we woke up and got ready at 4:15am I already felt a bit of a pit in my stomach, I could hear the rain outside down pouring like crazy. Then I thought well it’s just getting it out of it’s system it will be fine.

We all got ready for the race, my family putting on their awesome shirts I got them (that no one would have seen due to the 25 degree real feel).

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I actually don’t think I bitched at my family this year while making our way downtown/getting ready. I think the weather had me too nervous to yell or talk back to them (#winning). We found our parking spot easily and found ourselves parked and ready by 5:15am. As we sat in the car my emotions and the two hail squalls we drove through on the way downtown were starting to get to me….cue the tears, let’s go home, bed sounds good, maybe I will just do the half…. My family reminded me that I trained too hard for this and tried there best to lift my spirits.
We made our way to the Q arena where the start of the marathon took place. Luckily this year the Q was open for all participants, hello warmth and flush toilets!!! I made my usually bathroom stops, got all my gear ready and tried my best to put my head in a good place. The many comments from race participants around me concerning the weather didn’t really help. At this point my husband could tell I was struggling. He pulled me aside and said Jamie think of all those 4am wake up calls, you put in the work today isn’t the best just embrace the suck….run this thing.
The announcer came overhead telling the participants in the Q to make their way outside. To my surprise I was in corral A, right with the elites….dang!! I listened to my music, getting my head right. Maybe cried a bit in the corral as the rain and hail bounced off my face. I worked too hard for this, I got this….the air horn sounded it was go time!

Miles 1-13

For the first half of the race I felt pretty good. I was wet and somewhat cold, but I think it was still the honeymoon phase of the race, I was still excited and heck I was running through the streets of Cleveland. I was really excited to pass in front of Cleveland State, and it just so happy that on my playlist “This is my House” started to play…heck yes this is my house!! =) I also saw my friend Stephanie out there cheering, omg my peeps are here!!! At mile 5.5 I took my first gel, hello huma blueberry….it tasted alright and my stomach seemed to like it.
One could say mile 12 was magical for many reasons. At mile 12 I got to see my friend Susan, she was jumping….yelling…. and just plan excited. Made me want to push on harder!! She seriously gave me the pick me up I needed. Also around mile 12 I started to feel my stomach drop…sun of a gun I need a portapotty! I saw the green structure in front of me, it was glowing!

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I quick made my way in, luckily making it in time. The hardest part here is dealing with my compression pants, it’s like a wet swimsuit. I think I spent more time trying to get my darn pants up then going to the restroom.
I made my way out of the portapotty still adjusting my pants. I knew I had to make up some time at this point, so I looked at my watch and brought my pace into the 7:30 range. I was feeling strong and wayyyyy better, so the pace was fine. Around mile 10 I saw the cut of for the half, part of me thought hmmmmmm….. but then I focused on how strong I was feeling…..nope I got this! I took my 2nd gel around mile 11, once again hoping for the best!

Miles 13-20

These miles were interesting. The hail was pelting me in the face, it almost felt like someone had a bag of frozen peas and decided to throw them directly at me. At one point I thought seriously God, what the hell. During these miles I lost all use of my hands, it was pretty scary. I tried to grab a cup of water and my hand wouldn’t open nor move. Now what?!?! I thought hard on this, is my hand frost bit could that be a thing? Am I starting to experience hypothermia? Why won’t my hands work?!?! I blew into my hands trying to warm them. As I did this my fingers did give me a wiggle, I figured this was a good thing and no medical tent was needed.
Around mile 14, I felt that gel take hold of my stomach again. AWESOME I need another portopotty. This time it was questionable on if I would make it in time. I saw the green meca and kicked up my pace to get there. At this point my hands still were not working. I couldn’t get my pants off!! My hands weren’t working!! Now what?!?!?! I shoved my hands into my compression pants and used my arms to pull them down. Now I debating sharing this part but figured….let it all out (literally) as I did this my stomach let lose….I am pretty sure the back of the toliet was a dang mess. At this point I thought on no I literally have poop all the way up my back and lululemon jacket. I thought well there is nothing I can do, I might me the shitty runner out there but I have to continue on (I did later find out, no poop on the jacket…praise!!!). Now I tried to get my pants back on, yep those hand still not working. Shoved my arms down and pulled them up the best I could, back on the road.
Once again I knew I had time to make up, pressing the pace again moving forward. At this point I discovered due to the whole hands not working thing, my underwear never made their way up, help they were some where lower butt….awesome!
I kept pressing on and honestly was starting to feel the suck but trying to embrace it. It was at this point the wind gusted so darn hard that it literally moved my whole body. Between this and the hail, I just couldn’t…..I might have yelled you have to be F*ing kidding me. Then I saw two angels…I am not exaggerating here. I see Boyd and Lisa Yarbrough, sitting there yelling my name all budded up in the elements. OMG they are here, yelling for me, hells yea….I got this!!! They were at an amazing spot on Lake Ave, so not only did I see them around mile 14, I also saw them on my way back around at about mile 16 or so. This really gave me the 2nd ok maybe 3rd wind I needed.

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At mile 16 I also knew my gels weren’t really agreeing with me but what do I do, I need the carbs but well I don’t want another shitty experience. I decided to take the gel, I was feeling strong with my running and figured I could always up my pace to make up for things. I just needed my hands to work. Well….those gels once again attacked me around mile 18… once again no hands working….using the whole arms to raise and lower my pants, exiting and pushing my pace into the 7:30’s.
Mile 20 came, at this point I figured only 6 miles left. I usually run 6 miles with my dog Reese on Sunday mornings. I thought well all I have left is a Reese run, that’s no problem. Also around this point there was a lovely volunteer handing out out honey stinger gels, at this point mine weren’t working and I figured what the hell I have had honey stinger before…it was vanilla and the lady was a doll and had it open for me! I took the gel, it tasted pretty good….

Miles 20-25

At mile 20 I usually have a conversation with myself and God, my body usually wants to walk at this point. NOT THIS TIME! Seriously I felt so darn strong. I kept looking at my watch and I was consistently around a solid 8:00 pace. I could see the city in front of us… almost there, almost to home base. Well you know my body much like the Cleveland weather wanted to be shitty….so at mile 23, guess what…yep stomach drop. I will spare you all the details as you know what this had to involve, and yes my hand still weren’t working. I came out of the bathroom at mile 23, knowing I had 3 miles left. Time to leave it all on the streets. I have to kick it in the butt…it’s go time.

Miles 23-25

I kicked hard, keeping my pace around 7:50-8…it was a slight incline but the view of the city kept me focused. I knew I was close to my goal, just didn’t know how close. I also knew the elements, bathroom stops, and loss of usage of my hands did play a part in the day.

Miles 25-26.2

These miles were the best, the end was in site. I felt strong, the rain was just a mist….time to bring it home. As I entered the finish line area I knew I was close to that BQ but also had a feeling it was just out of reach. I finished strong and saw my husband and family.

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Dana gave me a huge hug, I could tell with the elements he was relieved I finished he also couldn’t believe how strong I was running through weather HELL. I walked through the finishing area getting a few things to eat. Saw my friend Stephanie and gave her a hug. Then connected with my family. At this point I saw the results….yep 3:35:46 I teared up a bit BUT I had just ran a marathon through fricken Armageddon…..no reason to be upset! Some people didn’t even compete today due to the weather! I braved the elements and really kicked it’s butt!

Here are the result from my Garmin….yep you can see exactly what miles included those 4 bathroom stops!

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After the Race..

I didn’t think I was that cold until about 20 min after the finish.  I started to shiver uncontrollably, yep I think I was a bit hypothermic!  Dana tried his best to warm me up, but I wanted to make sure to get some after race photos.  I tried my best to women up for the pictures, as I knew this truly was a race to remember.

After the pictures we made our way home for a much needed shower and relaxation!!!!  Now you are probably wondering what I am thinking.  I mean I almost qualified for the fricken Boston Marathon…..yep that is true.  I almost qualified with terrible weather conditions and 4 restroom stops. So I am giving myself this week to celebrate (today I will eat whatever the heck I want and go back to real life food tomorrow), and will just enjoy my accomplishment the rest of the week.  Then next week I make a plan for the next 26.2!!  I will keep you all up dated.  However, I really can’t be mad I mean seriously 3:35:46 THATS JUST DANG AMAZING (and you know I don’t toot my own horn).

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I was so honored to be a race ambassador again this year!  Thank you Cleveland marathon!!

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Until next year Cleveland!!!

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Don’t worry all updates on the next big adventure to come, we have a BQ to get!

XX,

Jamie

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