As many of you know, if you follow me on Facebook or instagram (@cupcakesforPRs) … I have been training my butt of for the Akron Marathon. Countless hours and miles have been crushed, some even at 3:30am. I took on a pretty aggressive training plan complements of the Hanson Brothers.
The expo was wonderful! Was able to get my bib as well as some wonderful race goodies. I forgot I put Sidekick on my bib, which caused me to get a bit emotional at packet pick-up. You see Sidekick was the nickname my grandpa and I had for each other. My grandpa was my very best friend. I know he and my grandma have been with me for every long difficult run as I always see two yellow birds following me, strange but true! So Sidekick bib #3284 was ready to rock.
I was pretty excited pre-race Friday as I was surrounded by all my loved ones. My wonderful parents made the 8 hour drive from Wisconsin, just to see me cross that finish and go toe to toe with the blue line. How can one not be excited and ready to rock with all this amazing support!!
My amazing parents!
Saturday morning came early (4am), but I really don’t think I slept much the night before. I had a lofty goal in mind, and some pavement to crush. Once we arrived downtown and found the starting area my nerves were starting to get to me. Luckily I met up with some of my follow running pals, we chatted a bit and took some pictures. I wasn’t probably too chatty or kind, but I really appreciated their support pre-race.
Saying my pre-race prayer. Thanking God for giving me this gift of running! NEVER TAKE THAT FOR GRANTED!
The race started pretty fast and somewhat frustrating. There were many of folks in my corral that were assigned to other corrals!! So the start was difficult weaving through folks that we already walking or coming to a complete stop. I have no problem with folks running at slower paces, I think running is an amazing sport that everyone can participate in, BUT for the LOVE OF ALL THINGS go to the right starting corral!! PLEASE! (sorry had to).
After the start the first 13 miles went pretty fast! However my stomach was HATING ME. In the first 13 I already had to make one bathroom stop. I have never went to the bathroom so fast in my life!! I think I was still pulling up my pants as I attempted to run. Even with the bathroom stop I remember watching my garmin and feeling pretty fantastic. Then to my surprise right around mile 13 we came back by the starting area and I saw DANA!! I looked over and thought, wow that guy looks like my husband!!! Sure enough it was! I yelled to him and he ran on the sidewalk for a bit encouraging me =)
Miles 13-15 were great as I was feeling pretty fantastic after seeing Dana, and there is just something about knowing you are half way done!! At mile 14 I took my 2nd gu of the day, now these things always either ROCK and agree with me or cause me some serious issues. Well, around mile 16 my stomach dropped and I needed a bathroom STAT!! This bathroom stop wasn’t as fast as I my 1st, as I was having some serious stomach cramping (I even took an imodium pre-race). I exited the rest stop and was on my way again. Oddly still on tack pace wise.
At mile 18 a friend was waiting for me with her daughter! I remember thinking I sure hope they are there, I could really use a familiar face. Sure enough they were!! I got an amazing high five from Kayla and felt a second wind coming my way.
Hit mile 20 feeling somewhat strong, but the hills were really starting to get to me. My legs were sore, but I kept trucking forward. Come mile 23 my legs were shot, seriously Akron?!?!? Can you give a sister a hill-less mile…..PLEASE???
The course elevation, maybe should have looked into this before the race…or not 😉
I also started feeling not so fantastic. I could tell I needed some electrolytes as my body was covered in a salt like residue. I stopped around mile 23 and took a poweraid, decided to walk while drinking this so I could get it all down. This was probably a terrible idea, as I needed to keep this body running!
Then an angel came from no where. I am referring to this man as my hippie angel (based off our crazy conversations). He came up along side of me and said hey little lady you only have 5k left why don’t we finish it strong. Only a 5k, I can do that. Ok hippie angel lets get this done. We encouraged each other and chatted for the last 5k, I even encouraged him to leave me as I didn’t want to slow him down as I felt somewhat sick.
Finally my hippie angel and I hit mile 26, ok we got this. Hippie angel reminded me to not trip on the carpet on the way into the stadium, he said you know that would be quite terrible after making it this far. Very true my friend very true!
Finishing with my Hippie Angel! He is in yellow and black!
When entering the stadium the energy was AMAZING! Then I heard my name being screamed by a heard of people! I look and to my surprise it was my fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors! It made me tear up seeing all of them yelling for me, I felt like a VIP with my own cheering section!!!
Pointing to my fellow race ambassadors!
I finished strong and saw my family in the stands right away. I was so happy to see them and their smiling faces! I stood at the fence smiling at them, just happy to be done. In my head I was thinking NEVER AGAIN NEVER EVER AGAIN!
My NEVER AGAIN face!
YAYYYYYY I’m alive!
I made my way to get my medal and saw my friend Kristin waiting with a HUGE hug for me. That was so nice of her!!
I started to feel like death (this isn’t new to me, as I felt this way after my first full last year). I knew I needed something to eat and drink, plus a place to sit). I made my way to the food tent, took down some chocolate milk and water. I knew once I sat down I wouldn’t be getting up for awhile so it was time to get out of the stadium and by my family.
I sure love the stadium finish, but having to go up those stairs after 26.2 is no easy task. I slowly made my way up the steps and out of the stadium. At this point I needed to sit and it didn’t matter where. I could see my family! We found a place off to the side to sit. I could tell they all looked concerned, I kept trying to tell them I was fine but honestly didn’t have much energy to even talk (odd for me I know).
This is what feeling like death after 26.2 looks like!
Finally I got off the pavement and decided we needed to get to the car and go home. After walking a bit I was feeling just sick. I looked at my Mom and said I need a bathroom now. Mom luckily knew of a restroom at a restaurant near by (they may have had brunch their during the marathon). We made our way to the restroom (I am noticing a restroom theme for this marathon). Mom came in the stall with me as she didn’t want me passing out.
Mom was nice enough to bringing my spare pair of shorts, as my compression pants needed to come off! After a bathroom stop and a wardrobe change I was feeling a tad better. We starting making our way to the car, almost there!! Then don’t you know the only way to the car….up HILL! AKRON YOU’RE KILLING ME!! Slowly up the hill into the car sighhhhh…..thankfully made it!
The drive home my body felt like a roller coaster. One second I would feel fine the next I wanted to toss my gu, chocolate milk and water out the window. I told my family in the car NO MORE MARATHONS I AM DONE!!!
We got home, I attempted a cupcake BUT wasn’t feeling good yet.
Into the shower I went! The rest of the day was spent relaxing, after about 2 hours I felt back to normal. I started to recap the race with my family. Telling them about my bathroom troubles and the hills.
Then I realized wait…..wait a minute…. I just finished a marathon in 3:49, 16 minutes faster than last year and only 14 minutes from my HUGE LOFTY goal of a BQ pace.
Pretty fantastic if you ask me!
That BQ maybe would have been in reach without the bathroom issues, or all those dang hills. HMMMMMmmmm…. WOW I have done TWO marathons, I am a marathoner!! UMMmmmmmm… what do I need to do to make this BQ happen….. I am running Cleveland in May, planned on the 1/2….maybe I should take on the Cleveland full, really tackle this BQ on Cleveland’s fast, flat course….yep I will take on marathon number 3 at Cleveland!!!! Yep within 4 or so hours I went from never again to, when can I take this on again.
Overall, I am pretty damn happy with my results. The course wasn’t easy and was so very hilly. I gave it everything I had. I can’t thank my fellow Cleveland Ambassadors or running friends enough! All your cheers throughout the course mean more than I could ever put into a blog post.
I also can’t think my husband enough! He has put up with this crazy running schedule of mine, and has been nothing but supportive. He has listened to my tears, put bandaids on the blood, and hugged me through the sweat. He also put up with the 4am alarms and the aggressive training schedule. He also was the first one to encourage me to take on another, knowing I wasn’t done and that this BQ is a goal of mine that needs to happen.
Post race feeling like death but needed a photo with my #1 supporter!
Well Akron Marathon it was REAL! Thanks for the challenge!! Cleveland 26.2 you ARE next, I have some #BQdreams that need to happen. However now till Jan, this girl is taking a mini break. Running for FUN and practicing some BALACE in my life!!