This is by far the fastest post race blog post ever. Should I write the word post again?! I just finished marathon #2 and am writing in bed with sour cream and onion Pringles and a bag of sour worms. I’ve already eaten a sandwhich, fries, and a soda. I feel like I can eat ridiculous amounts of food today and I’m really looking forward to an all out carb binge. FINALLY! Beware: lots of tears ahead, I’m a crier.
I worked the information booth at the CIM expo the last two nights and enjoyed every minute of it. The excitement was contagious and was surrounded by all my running friends. I even made a new friend named Doug who gave me free foot massages under the table. (See pic below). Okay I know it may seem very strange but he told me he use to work with elite athletes until he got very sick and could no longer work. He was a very sweet older gentlemen and seriously changed my feet. I had zero foot pain during the race, but then again I guess that’s what a two hour massage will do to you. lol
I had my alarm set for 4:30 but ended up waking up before my alarm. I was way to excited and immediately checked the weather. Dan dropped me off at Fleet Feet where I met our training group. It was so much fun riding the bus with friends. Everyone was so excited and the bus driver was even playing Christmas music. At one point we were listening to Rudolph the red nose reindeer and we all said “Yipee” at the same time. Haley and I sat together because DUH and chatted the entire way. Once we got dropped off to the start area we had an awesome tent with lots of delicious food and drinks. It was amazing! Oh and we even had our own porta potties. Talk about convienent!
The start line
I made my way to the 3:55 pace group. It was great to see Jamey (the pace group leader) and a familiar face since we had ran with him on a 14 mile training run a few weeks ago. It was packed and raining but it was okay because we were about to start the race. David Guetta’s “Titanium” was playing and I knew it was a good sign that great things were in store for me.
The first 13 miles
I was feeling wonderful the first half of the race. I felt strong even though I was soaked and my headphones weren’t working. I was embracing my pace and felt unstoppable. I saw my grandparents and aunt and uncle around mile eight and from the videos I looked so happy and enthusiastic. They were so cute with their signs cheering me on. They are the BEST. Dan met me somewhere along the way and I gave him my headphones since they weren’t working.
I hit the wall very early on or should I say the wall hit me. Things got really rough around here. I was alone with no music and no friends. I started giving up on myself. I walked at some parts and even contemplated quitting altogether. At some point while walking I read my text messages from friends and family and said to myself out loud, “YOU ARE NOT A QUITTER!” Even if I crawled to the finish line I was not going to give up. Not one thing in particular hurt but I was feeling very exhausted and my legs felt like they had bricks attached to them. At this point GUs and my electro drink were not tasting good and I couldn’t stomach it anymore.
Mile 20ish: Suavamente and smiling faces
Around mile 20ish I saw my parents, my brother, and niece and nephew and started to tear up. I yelled, “I am so happy to see you guys!” I gave them each a hug and refueled with real food that I gave to my mom yesterday just in case I needed something else to eat. Suavamente was playing (my favorite Spanish song) and I even felt like dancing well slow dancing, okay more like wiggling. At one point my three year old niece asked me for some of my water and it made me laugh. They were a breath of fresh air and exactly who I needed to see at that moment. They were the cutest littlest fans ever and make my heart so happy!
Mile 21: I’m pooped
Dan got lost and couldn’t find the race. (Insert sarcastic comment here) Thanks that’s exactly how I felt. I mean hello?! This wasn’t my first rodeo but he finally found me before mile 21 since we were talking on the phone. Yes, I was on the phone while running. A lady thought is was hilarious and she even took a picture of me. Dan ran with me and encouraged me not give up and keep going. I was telling him I felt like crap and that I was going to throw up. I took out all my rage on him. “I hate my GUs, I can’t drink my drink, I’m tired, I want to walk!” Luckily, he knows how I am and kept pushing me the entire way. He’s such a wonderful supportive husband. We saw my grandparents, and aunt and uncle again on the corner and they were cheering me on with their signs and encouraging words.
Mile 22-Mile 23: the struggle is real
At this point I was running and walking off and on. Everything hurt and I felt naseous. I saw two of our Fleet Feet coaches and Cami said, “But you look pretty!” It made me giggle and kept me going. At the Sac State bridge (the worst part of CIM for me last year) I saw fellow ambassadors Amy and Leo. Their positivity and humor made me feel good even though I was dying inside. Along the way I saw my friend Mariana and her family and I started to tear up. She was cheering me on and telling me to “not stop and keep going”. I told her “It was really hard” and she knew that we both knew I was on the struggle bus. I saw the 4:10 pace group leader pass me and I tried to stay with them. I couldn’t and I was okay with that.
Dan met me again at a spot that I had struggled with last year. Right before L street. In Dan’s words, “You didn’t look good and you were really struggling.” It’s true. I was. I felt like I could either pass out or throw up or do both at the same if that’s humanly possibly. I was with the 4:25 pace group for a few minutes but was struggling to keep up. I kept stopping to walk but Dan wouldn’t let me. He left me at one of the hardest points of the race because he had to leave and go to work. Last year he ran the last few miles with me. I was pissed he was leaving me but knew this wasn’t about anyone else but me. It was up to me to finish the race and push my body.
Mile 24-26: Is it over yet? Please tell me it is.
The music was getting louder and we were finally in downtown. I have driven these streets so many times but after running over 20 miles down them it was getting really difficult to come up with positive mantras. The crowds were getting larger and I could see the end getting closer. Around mile 25 I saw a man begin to walk and I tapped his shoulder and told him, “Do not walk, keep going and finish this race!” He looked at me and smiled in a way that said thank you without saying it and he kept on running. It’s funny because I was having such a hard time finishing the race and wanted to walk too but knew he had been working really hard the whole race.
We were finally on the side of the capitol building and passing clubs that I once use to party at and now am running races past. There was a women who had been running the race by me for miles and she started to walk. Again, I tapped her and told her, “Do not walk, you got this and you are almost done!” She looked at me and asked me “Are we really almost done?” I told her, “You see those lights over there and around that corner that’s all you have left” and off she went. They both passed me and I was proud of them. My friend Abby screamed from behind “TIFFANY!” I was so happy to see her. She encouraged me to keep going and not stop and that I was her motivation, I looked at her and said “today you are mine, go girl!”
Approaching the finish
Out of nowhere my legs started moving. I noticed if I hurried I would make it before 4:30 which earlier I didn’t even think was possible. I was pushing and not going to let anything stop me from finishing. I turned the corner and gave every last ounce of what I had left. I heard my family yelling my name and looked over to them and cheered with them. The woman who I encouraged to not stopped, gave me a hug and thanked me. It was truly one of the best moments I have ever experienced at a race. At that moment I knew that running had taught me something very special. I met my family and told them the stories about the people I helped encouraged along the way and they all had tears fill their eyes. They were so proud of me.
I am truly blessed to have such a supportive family. We cried, we hugged, and we took lots of pictures. They knew it wasn’t the race goal time I had wanted but still made me feel very special and for that I will always have lots of wonderful memories.
What I learned
This marathon taught me more than I could have ever imagined. In the past when things get hard or I don’t like it anymore I just stop and go on to the next thing. But running has always been the one constant in my life. It’s made me realize I am much stronger both mentally and physically than I had thought. It has taught me that I can do anything and that my purpose in life is to help others and encourage them to do their best too. When the woman thanked me and gave me a hug suddenly everything made sense to me. Today wasn’t about pace or PRs today was about being the best version of myself.
Thank you all for all the lovely comments throughout my training and today. I write for you and hope to inspire you to run for carbs and be the best version of yourself! xoxo