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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Thoughts on Becoming a Marathoner

Here it is...6 days post Marine Corps Marathon...and I still can't wrap my head around it all.  I'm not sure I can find the words to do it justice.

I completed a marathon!

I completed a MARATHON!
My first marathon...
I did it!


That means I am a marathoner.

Me...a marathon finisher...a marathoner.'s still sinking I have to say it a bunch of times...

I.  Am.  A.  Marathon.  Finisher.

A Marathoner.
A Marathon Runner.
26.2 can adorn the back of my car.

I had 26.2 miles of spectator-lined streets...
fall foliage...
the pounding of feet in front of, next to, and behind me...
and the majesty of our nation's Capitol.

I ran, with 30,000 other people, in the streets of Washington, DC, along the banks of the Potomac River, among monuments to presidents and memorials to those who lost their lives defending our freedom and museums displaying artifacts of our about awe inspiring, motivating, incredible, take your breath away, unbelievable...

And what I discovered is that I should never say "never" ever again.

Quick review here...I figured I would never get married.  I figured I would never be somebody's Momma.  I am pretty sure I said I would never run...much less run a marathon...

Here I am...Momma to my love...and married to my other love...a runner...and now I have completed a marathon.

So, the word "never" should be stricken from my vocabulary.

Someone remind me of that the next time I say I will never do something.

Unless it involves eating liver...
because I will NEVER eat that.
Or be happy to see a legless lizard.
Yeah...that will NEVER happen either.

But other than that..."never" should be stricken from my vocabulary.  :)

And now for some shots of "The Hackers Go to Washington" for your viewing pleasure...

We toured the White House on Friday morning. 
(We also visited multiple monuments and memorials, as well as the National Cathedral...but I was not a good picture taker over the weekend.  Most of the memories from this trip will have to live in our heads.)

Friday night, we went to the MCM Pep Rally.
Got some "first timer" bling.
Listened to some speakers.
Ate some appetizers.
And took pictures with some mascots.
Because who can't resist mascots?  

Saturday was a quiet day for the two runners.  Gloria had fun in DC with my mom and my cousin.  They visited one of the Smithsonian museums and took a moonlight monuments tour.  Brian and I laid low at the hotel...I finished my report cards while he watched some football.  Then we headed over to VTS so he could see where I spent many summers taking classes.  An early dinner and the search for my gluten free Eggo waffles rounded out our evening before a relatively early bedtime.

Flat Merrill, ready for the 4:30 A.M. alarm.

Our usual pre-race selfie.  This became our tradition somewhere along the way.  We almost didn't get this one since the security lines were so long and we were making the mad dash to the starting line just a few minutes before the howitzer was fired to start the marathon.

One of the biggest highlights of my run was seeing Mom, Edie, and Gloria, as well as Brian's cousin, Natasha, out on the route.  To hear my name being called from the crowd and to look up and see familiar faces, get a hug and words of was incredible!

They were able to cheer on some of the 10k runners at the corner in front of our hotel before taking the metro into DC to cheer for us.

Around mile 13, I looked at my phone to discover texts from many of my friends who live in my phone (AKA Facebook) as well as Facebook messages and comments.  Y'all...those were amazing!  What a pick-me-up, keep on moving, "I can do this" feeling this gave me.  Some of those messages moved me to tears...which makes running a bit challenging...but I cannot begin to tell you how appreciated those messages were...from friends near and far, old and took my breath away to see them all.

Around mile 17...our own personal cheerleaders were there...I knew they were out there somewhere, just didn't know when I might see them.

 And again around mile 23...

 What an emotional finish the Marine Corps Marathon, at the foot of the Iwo Jima Memorial, and be saluted by a young marine before he placed my medal around my neck...This is my "I'm going to cry and laugh and be a hot mess all at the same time because my emotions are a disaster right now because Oh. My. Goodness...I just finished a MARATHON!!!" picture.

Brian had finished just 12 minutes ahead of me and was still in the finisher's area when I got there.
More crying and then our finisher's picture

I had texted Gloria shortly after I crossed the finish line, to let her know I was finished.  Her reply made me laugh...

One more mascot picture

And back at the hotel...I think we look pretty damn good for just finishing a marathon!

Here it is, a week later, and it all seems so surreal.  We trained for this, it was the focus of most of our free time, and something we talked about often over the last six months.  I ran in the heat of the summer and slogged through the rain, all in the name of the ever longer "long runs" each weekend.  My vocabulary included things like "easy run" and "speed run" and "intervals," "fueling" and "hydrating."  I learned where water fountains and restrooms are located along my city running route as well as along the greenways we frequent.  

And I learned about myself...

That I CAN achieve a goal, even when it seems daunting and scary and I am tempted to give up.

That bumps in the road might be rough, but they can be overcome.

That being a marathoner is really for me.
Not anyone else.
Just me.
No one can take that away from me.
Because I did it.

And it was freaking AWESOME!!!!
(And it makes me a "very awesome, marathon running mom.")

And I might have said I would do one again....

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