I know what you’re thinking. Two months and nothing. And now you just show up and think we can just start back up like you never disappeared?!

Well. It’s true; I disappeared from the blog for a while. Too long. I don’t have any good excuse except pure laziness. So kill me. It happens. But I’m back now! I can’t promise I’ll be posting nightly or anything but I am going to be making an attempt to post much more often than once every two months.

So. What is there to catch up on? Well, I finished my first marathon! My official time was 4:41.45. I’m so happy I did it. I didn’t walk right for four days afterwards but it was worth it. It’s such an awesome feeling of accomplishment.

So here’s how it went: I started off at a decent pace (just under 11 minute miles). I was chatting with a woman I met at the beginning of the race. She was running her first half. I stuck with her for the first couple of miles. Then we hit an incline and she slowed down and I didn’t want to so I went on my way. FORESHADOWING: I probably should have stayed with her a while longer. Anyway, I felt great. I ran the half course last year so it was all very familiar. I sort of slacked off in my training a year ago and then crashed and burned during the race (cockiness on my part) so every time I saw something I remembered from last year, I also remembered how rotten I felt from mile 8 on. And so I was so happy to feel as strong as I did this year in the same spots. I felt unstoppable at the halfway mark. Un. Stop. Able. That was not very long-lived. By the time I got to mile 15 I was starting to hurt. By mile 17, all I could think was “Oh my god. I still have to run 9 more miles. oh. my. god. What have I gotten myself into?! Motherf*#@&?.” And so on. When I rounded a corner somewhere around mile 18.5, I was in pain. And then I realized that I would be running head-first into the wind for the remainder of the race. For those of you keeping track, that meant 7.5+ miles straight into the wind that was coming off of the river. I’d rather run up and down hills all day long than endure wind like that. Wind is the devil. At least when running. Anyway, from then through mile 24 or 25 I had to stop and walk quite a bit. Even that started to become challenging though, as every time I stopped to walked, it was exponentially harder to start running again. Somewhere between miles 24 and 25 I just resolved to keep running no matter how slow I was going. This is because I was worried I’d be unable to start back up again. But hey. Then I saw mile market 25. And I thought to myself what I always say to my running partner towards the end of runs. “It’s just a mile. It’s nothing. You can run a mile with your eyes closed.” So I went. And then there was mile marker 26 (I lied to myself at mile 25. I had 1.2 miles left; not just one). And when you cross mile market 26, you can see the finish line. And suddenly you want to beat everyone you can see around you to that finish line. So you reach deep down into yourself and muster up any energy you have left. And you sprint. Or maybe in my case it wasn’t an all out sprint in the purest sense of the word but it was just about everything I had left. I almost cried. And then, just like that, I was a marathoner. Amazing.

As soon as it was over, I told JW that I wanted to stick with half marathons. I said I might like to do another full someday but that maybe I was better suited for the half distance. Now I’m two and a half weeks removed from it and I’m wondering when I’ll do my next one. I want to do better. I want to pace myself better (those miles between 3 and 14 – turns out when I was feeling so unstoppable I was going way too fast to sustain). I want to be able to finish without thoughts of how lovely it would be to lay down in the gravel on the side of the road. Also, training for a half now seems so short. I really loved the super long runs when I could listen to a podcast or music and just clear my mind and go.

It’s funny because I’ve been running for a little over two years now but I haven’t really ever thought of myself as a runner. I don’t know why. I guess I just thought of it as something I did; not something I was. But I was wrong. It is something I am. I am a marathoner. I am a runner.