Monday, January 30, 2012

Chevron Houston Marathon 2012

I DID IT!!!!
26.2 miles
Give me a second to take this all in...
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Okay, lets start at the beginning. That would be January 2, 2012. One of the worst days of my entire life. You all know why. Did I feel like running?  Heck no. But I did anyway, and it wasn't fun. 
I'm not afraid to admit that I've struggled with depression before.  I know what it feels like and I can see it coming from a mile away.  Despite my awareness of this, it's still one hard S.O.B. to get rid of. While Tyler was home, I did next to nothing with my training.  My longest run in that ten day period was 4 miles. As soon as he left I felt nothing but anxiety about this race. I even let myself begin to ask questions like, "Am I still up for this?". This was very un-Jessica like of me. I have a strict no-giving up rule. There's no turning back now. I've worked too hard. 

So, like I said I continued running anyway.  The week before the race I'd come home from a short 2 miler completely gassed. I mean the works- red face, panting, cramps- everything! I'd make it to the driveway and start bawling.  I thought, "How in the world am I going to run 26 miles when 2 is giving me a hard time?" I was psyching myself out- big time. 
Running is all mental. Really, it is. It doesn't matter your age, weight, if you're blind or disabled- you've just got to have your mind right. If you think you can do it then you can. And man was I having some "stinkin thinkin"

So, I faked the best attitude I could muster. Then it came.  The day before the race.  I ate 2 breakfast burritos, a bowl of pasta, two powerbars, 6 bananas, another huge bowl of pasta, and about 5 liters of gatorade that day. I had to go to the bathroom all night long! haha, too much information? haha. I read a few emails from friends that reassured me that I was going to survive and talked strategy with my Dad. And of course, I got a pep-talk from my sweetie too.   

Finally night turned to day- It was time.  My Dad dropped me off downtown and I made my way to the Expo to start stretching.  I made lots of friends right before the race. Angels I tell ya!  I didn't feel alone at all. When people learned that this was my first marathon, they automatically began encouraging me and telling me I'd do great.  Someone even let me have some of their chapstick. haha! I was so grateful to be around so many friendly people.  I think everyone could tell I was nervous. I'm not very good at faking it.     
Here I am about to leave the house... Unfortunately the last pretty picture you'll see of me...Did I really expect to look good while running 26 miles? A girl can hope, right? haha!
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Waiting in the port-a-can lines... I used them 4 times before the race.  I didn't want to waste any time using the bathroom during the race so as soon as I was finished I headed to the back of the line again. haha. Here's my "what in the heck was I thinking" face, followed by my "fake it" face. 
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They blew the horn! See those bright lights up there? That is the real start line. It took me about 10 minutes just to begin! There were so many people! 7,637 Finishers total. I wasn't sure where to pace myself at first. I didn't want to overdo it and wear myself out too early, so I stayed with the 11 min. mile pacers for a while. 
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"HEY DAD!!! Look, I'm running!" This is at the 8 mile mark. It was about at this time that I realized I could definitely pick up the pace. All throughout the race there are pace teams that carry big signs with balloons attached to them.  On the sign would be your goal pace- I started with the 5:15 group and by about 12 miles I passed the 5 hour group. I think I had the goofiest smile on my face the whole time. The miles were just flying by!  Gosh, there were people everywhere! Live bands, Elvis impersonators, belly dancers, people handing out candy, bananas, oranges, and course the all the water stations!!! It was insane, and so much FUN. I was definitely overstimulated.  It was a stark difference compared to nothing but cows and stray dogs for entertainment.Photobucket
On my bib was a microchip that measured my average pace.  At 10k, half, 20k, and 30k a text message was sent out to my friends and family with my time.  I ran with my phone so that I could answer if Tyler called. This also allowed me to receive text messages. Every time someone texted me my arm would buzz. I think I ran a little faster every time I felt the buzz!  Thanks everyone- it helped so, so much! Tyler called me 3 times during the race to see how I was doing.  I'd just put the phone on speaker and we talked while I ran.  It was everything to get to talk to him. It felt like every time I started to feel the burn, someone would be there for me. My Dad was at mile 8, 12, 17, and 25.5, Grandpa and Wylie were at mile 10, Susan was at mile 22, and my Mom was at the finish line with the girls. I felt so blessed to see their faces during the race. I just can't describe the feeling of having someone be there for you in a moment of need. Sure, I would have been fine on my own, but that's not the point. The point is, I wasn't alone. I can't express my gratitude!  
Feeling strong at mile 17 and coming in for a big high-five! By this time I had caught up to the 4:45 pacers and decided my goal would be to stay in front of them...
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Here I am with only about a mile left... I was determined not to loose my pace... thank goodness for those people handing out oranges and bananas.  I sucked on that orange for a whole mile.  It was fun wearing an orange slice smile! Wish I had a picture of that one! I never stopped to walk. That really surprised me. I was feeling really beat up at mile 23 and decided to walk, but after about 5 steps I knew it was a bad idea.  I was getting stiff way too fast, so I decided to continue to stomp through the wall...
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I DID IT!!! At the finish line!!! I am very pleased with my time, however I feel like I could have done even better had I started out a little faster.  But that's okay, I did it. And I did good!

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I finally made it to my babies!!! So good to see those beautiful faces.
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I love this picture.  Maggie is as cute as can be, and Rachel is telling me that her tummy is growling. Believe me, mine was too.  This was where I began to wonder how I was going to chase these girls around for the next few days, not to mention just standing back up. After a steak, some Dr. Pepper, and a long bubble bath I was as good as new! Those things work wonders for this girl! haha. ;)
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I am now going to share my testimony with all of you.  
I know without of shadow of a doubt that my Redeemer lives!  I know that Jesus is the Christ and that he came to this earth to take upon himself the sins of this world.  Not just sins, but weaknesses, heartache, and sorrow. He has felt it all.  He knows each of us, and loves us more than we will ever know.  I have felt His love as I have struggled with my own sins, weaknesses, heartache, and sorrow.  And He has never abandoned me. I know working towards good goals can bring us closer to Him. Faith is action. This was definitely true for me while preparing for this marathon. I never knew that I could do something like this. But He did. He knew all along. 
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12 comments:

Krysta said...

Congratulations! That is a HUGE accomplishment. I am glad you had so many people cheering you on! What a great example of doing hard things.

Britney said...

You're amazing! Seriously..l don't know you that well but you're my hero. :)

Caitlin (& Billy) said...

Jess I love this. You are seriously so inspiring. (I also love the post below-- i couldn't decide which one to comment on :) ) I keep telling myself that I could never do a marathon and that I don't even want to, but I know deep down I secretly would love to run one! what an amazing accomplishment. Maybe someday I will run one...thanks for this post girl! Love ya.

Nathan & Holly Larson said...

Oh. My. Word. I cannot even begin to tell you how uplifting this post was! You are such an amazing woman Jessica! :) I am constantly amazed at how many things you accomplish and how strong your testimony is!! Thanks for always lifting me up! :) And congrats on the marathon!!

Pop and Nana said...

That a way to go Sugarbear! Eat nails and crap thunder!!! I told you that you could do this and you did! At your core there is a deep love for family, and for the Savior-all very renewable sources of energy! Your Mommy and I are so honored to have you as our daughter!

Tyler and Jess said...

I am so proud of you Jess. Every time I look at the blog I think "Hey, thats my woman!" Im honored to call you wife.

Megan said...

Truly inspirational! I am so impressed!

Sutherland Family said...

Tears! I just have tears! I KNEW you could do it! But, more than that, I KNOW you can do HARD THINGS! You're kickin it, girl! One day at a time (one mile at a time). So proud of you!

Heather said...

I'm so proud of you Jessica! That's incredibly impressive! After reading this I went in to Ryan and told him I want to run a marathon (if only my body would let me ha). Running a marathon takes so much perseverance, discipline, stamina, and mental strength and you've got it! Great job and thank you for the extremely uplifting post!

Kate said...

Oh man, I have been waiting for this post for a long time! Aren't the spectators at a race the best!?! And having family there is such a plus. I'm so so so proud of you!

Mary Anne said...

INCREDIBLE!!! So awesome. Looks like it was a really fun race with so much support...what a great memory and accomplishment! You. Look. Fab.

Jeni said...

OH! I cannot believe that I have not been to your blog in such a long time!! I am so so so proud of you Jess!!!! You are amazing!!!! I want to be like you when I grow up. :) LOVE YOU!!!!