[04] Higher. Further. Faster.

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This has been a much overdo post on the Disneyworld Marathon! All in all it was a very fun experience if very painful. I told Alex afterwards that this is the last race I’ll run injured for a while. The course was a lot of fun; I loved the constant entertainment and everyone cheering along the way. That part REALLY helped and boosted me up when I was feeling pretty defeated about the whole race. Loved the character pictures along the way, seeing people in costumes and I loved Alex and I running as Inferno Squad!

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It was a crazy way to end about 5 months of intense training + racing. Injuries I had flared up big time and I had some unlucky accidents on the way that had nothing to do with running and affected it. I did the best I could do. I did all the right things in terms of recovery, stretching, icing, mobility, etc and what my body really needed above all was rest.

So after this race I’ve been off for 3 weeks, letting everything really heal properly. It’s been well worth it. I was at my peak in terms of conditioning but I think those nagging injuries plus worries about my heart just wore me out. I entered the race not really being able to walk that properly and after one mile I was already feeling totally worn out. I made it to 5 miles and then thought well I’ll try for the half and then I’ll just bow out.

But the strangest thing happened and I just….kept going. I kept going because I was fucking insane to keep going and I wanted to just…keep going.

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Out of everything that makes me a person, my ability to endure is probably my proudest and strongest trait. It’s why long distance and I have always been friends. First with swimming, now with running. I always told myself I wouldn’t race injured and there was a point near mile 22 that I was in the real danger zone. I used the med tent several times for some biofreeze and that seemed to help. I was never really in danger of being dehydrated or too hungry. It was just my goddamn foot that was screwing everything up.

But the atmosphere was contagious. Running with my favorite person was so much fun. I just…wanted it. So badly. I wanted to finish. So fucking badly. I wanted to see HIM finish for his first marathon. I had spent weeks training, weeks worrying and everything about the day went perfectly to plan with the exception of my foot issue. No stomach issues this time that knocked me out for miles. Nothing like that.

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I took everything mile by mile. I got up to 23 and knew well shit, here it is, I’m actually going to be able to this.

I can’t explain to anyone properly why I do these things and how much they mean to me. Sometimes I think why do I even have a journal here anyways because so many of these OMGICANDOIT feelings can’t even be properly translated. I’ve contended with so many things with my body over the years and while I don’t want that to be my identity: Overcoming Illnesses and Injuries, it’s just the reality. Running injuries are different. They’re annoying but they make sense. It’s been all the other things: the heart valve leak, the lyme disease, the gallbladder issues, the hernia, the IBS, the depression, the anxiety that have all been these massive things I’ve had to deal with while also trying to have a functional, productive, good life.

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Running sort of encompasses so much of who I am. In a training run, a race, you name it. It’s allowed me to feel strong when I felt so weak. It’s allowed me to focus on goals when everything else wasn’t making sense. It’s been this thing I can just count on. And while I always say swimming is the sport that truly saved me from some dark times, running has brought so much joy and value to my life, I just always want to give it my all. I want to give MYSELF my all.

I thought a long time about what I wanted this entry to be about. If I wanted to go through and do a breakdown of every mile, everything that went through my head. Initially after I wasn’t happy with the race. I wasn’t proud of myself for putting myself through unnecessary pain all because this part of me said “keep going”. I couldn’t look at the medal for a while. I was also just in a lot of pain post-race. But it wore off after a few days. I came home, I settled into a new, exciting and somewhat nerve-wracking manager position at work. I immediately fell into the steps to wear a heart monitor for 3 days, get ready for my TEE test procedure and get my tooth filling replaced after 3 weeks of eating on my left side (lol). Life just swept me back up and gave me some time to reflect.

So I’ve come down to this: I don’t regret it. It was probably harder than I expected but goddamn I don’t regret it. I had a blast, I loved doing it, I loved training for it, I loved running it with Alex and I would absolutely do another marathon. I’m proud of all of it.

Moving forward, racing at least is going to take a bit of a backseat while the rest of my life takes place. I’m getting married, I have this new job, I need to get a replacement for my old role because doing two jobs at once is tough!, we’re going to be moving at the end of the year to an actual house, we’re probably getting a dog, and I just have so many more goals and plans outside of running I want to achieve. Hell, I really do want to swim again and I want to finally have some more balance with that.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to run very hard and train a lot. I have my mind set on a half PR near the end of the year. I have a run coach for the first time and I’m very, very excited to have a coach again. I learned so much from my coaches through swimming, it’ll be so exciting having someone for running. I want to focus on this time goal, getting stronger, growing more muscle, going vegetarian and building up my nutrition (and cooking) knowledge.

One thing about me is I don’t back down. Have been worried about my heart? Absolutely. There was real worry for a while that running this intensely was having a negative effect on my heart. I had flutters for the first time in my life (that I can recall). My mitral valve leak has gone from mild – moderate to moderate – severe. There was always a chance at some point in my life, I’d need to get the valve fixed. But up until this point I’ve been able to do a lot without having issues. This Friday I see my cardiologist to talk about everything. The fact that he hasn’t called with some sort of “you need to come in ASAP” is encouraging at the very least.

For now, oh man this race was crazy guys. So good. So fun. So painful. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I went from thinking “oh man the marathon is too far” to doing 2 in a year. WTH self lol

It was worth it. I learned a lot. I will cherish this one for a long time. I couldn’t have done it without Alex there encouraging me, sticking with me when I needed it and helping me every step of the way. I’m so proud of it. I’m so happy we ran it together in style.

 

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