@runningonboba). We nommed on candy the whole way there and in between singing Taking Back Sunday at the top of our lungs, we obsessed over who will be there, how fast, how hot, why did the time change already and omg-I-can't-believe-we're-actually-doing-this.
Our race was in Ventura, The Surfer's Point Marathon, even though we were staying in Venice Beach leading up to the race. We'd never been to Ventura and were realizing in the weeks prior to the race how small of an event it was actually going to be. We were also realizing that, although we didn't exactly train in cool weather, we were about to run in real-life southern California heat just one week after the time change, meaning we'd be finishing the race right around the hottest hour of the day. Cue the panic. The night before we stocked up on Gatorade, Gu, coconut water, sunscreen and, of course, doughnuts and went to sleep at 9pm. All night I dreamt about getting to the starting line late and missing the race/melting to death in the heat, but we woke up with plenty of time to eat almond butter toast and bananas, braid our hair and snap a few photos at the start. From there we started our pre-formulated playlists (here's mine) and began the longest run of my life.
It was 80+ degrees the whole time as we ran along the coast at Surfer's Point -- a 13.1 mile "loop" twice -- so we had gorgeous views of the beach, the mountains and all the other runners finishing their 5ks, 10ks and half marathons as we soldiered on. I walked through all but one water station, eventually taking two cups at a time, one to dump on my head and the other to drink. I was completely soaked by the time I finished, but despite the heat and the zero-turnout cheering section (I did get a few yells as I crossed the finish line, but no one else even knew there was a race going on), my mind stayed positive throughout. After I hit mile 18 (the farthest I'd gone in training), I vacillated between being high on how far I'd already gone, and being terrified that I was going to hit an impenetrable wall. Every time I started to reel at the though of eight more miles (I literally said out loud, "Just eight more miles. YOU can run eight miles."), six more miles (a whole hour??), three more freakin' miles?!, I'd say, "Don't you dare get overwhelmed now."
If you've read this blog for a long time (and I mean looong time), you probably know I'm not always the kindest to myself on runs. I used to be straight up RUDE. I called myself names. I told myself I was weak. I threatened myself when I felt like giving up. I didn't want to do that this time around. Throughout training I didn't worry if I needed to walk. I listened to books instead of songs that would keep my pace up. I ended runs (and sometimes stopped in the middle of them) with boba tea or fried chicken or whatever my body started craving as I willed it to keep moving for hours on end. Sometimes I skipped runs because spending time with friends felt more important. I had fun.
I've loved running for a long time, but it hasn't always been the same kind of love. I think there's a reason I racked up six half marathons before finding the strength to sign up for a full, and I think I needed to go easy on myself. I trained hard, I got stronger and I finished the way I wanted to, but I was kind. I didn't force myself to do more than I was ready for. I didn't (usually) berate myself for missing a run. I didn't say it on here, but my goals for this race were to finish under five hours and to feel strong doing it. My official time was 4:28 and even though my hips are still pretty unhappy four days later, I do feel strong. I'm so incredibly grateful for my body that allows me to run, for Eva who pushed me, inspired me and agreed to run it with me, for all of my incredible friends who texted me, called me, asked me how it went, congratulated me on finishing and didn't unfollow me when all I did was blast social media with marathon updates. Every time I got a message from you guys it made me that much more determined. Knowing that my friends and family believed in me made me believe it, too.
I love you all so much, and I'm freakin' stoked call myself a marathoner.
Which one should I do next? ;)
Here are some other posts I've written on the subject of running: