Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bayshore Marathon Recap

On 5.23.15 I crushed my Declare It Day goal by running my first marathon in 4:35:33 (10:31 average pace) while wearing the green flower


A year ago, running a marathon was a dream I was too afraid to admit having. Since having my Will, though, I realized I had much more courage, strength and a burning desire to grow than I ever thought possible. 

Throughout the postpartum training I grew to be deeply grateful for my body—appreciative of how God created me and what He has allowed me to do. Training was going better than expected, and even the 20 mile run was great despite being boring after mile 17! At that point I had shifted my goal to having fun and simply finishing to finishing in under 4:20:00.

A few days after the 20 mile run (2.5 weeks before Bayshore), though, I got mild plantar fasciitis which meant it hurt to walk. Honestly, it was really discouraging, and I felt very disheartened and anxious...none of which I had previously felt during the months of training. 

After moping and pitying myself for too many days--and feeling every emotion under the sun (panic, fear, excitement, hope, frustration, confusion)--I focused on cross-training and shifting my attitude back into a positive one. I was going to run Bayshore no matter what, and my goal was still to finish. 

I ran the first half of the marathon at a 9:10 pace which felt good but ended up being too fast. By mile 12 my right knee was starting to hurt, and by mile 16 my knee had given out twice. At that point I had to alternate between walking and running. (Come to find out, lots of people do this in a marathon!) I ended up running with a guy, Adam, who was an amazing source of encouragement. I just limped on up to him and started a conversation--desperate for some inspiration. I truly think the Lord knew what I needed, and what a blessing Adam was. I learned about his life, how he's done other marathons (and an Iron man!), and he helped me shift back to thankfulness that I am able to and will finish the marathon.

Around mile 19ish Adam encouraged me to go on, and I ran with an Australian guy for a bit, but then ended up running/walking a few more miles with a guy named Chris. I felt like Adam had "coached" me in a sense, so I was able to self-talk with/coach Chris. Together we decided when we would walk and run. By mile 22ish I continued to move forward on my own...being deeply grateful for those guys!

Although my knees felt like they had been run over by a semi, I was close. I continued to run/walk but with more running. I received Corey's sweet (and silly) words of encouragement, saw my baby, saw Jen cheering for me, and then heard my mom and other friends yelling my name. I was able to run the last half mile and even sprint the 0.2 across that beautiful finish line!  It was a precious moment, and I cried like a baby when I crossed because I was so relieved to be done.

And because I was truly proud of myself.

I did not get the time I wanted and the race did not go as I anticipated, but it happened just the way it was supposed to. I finished and had a closer bond those lovely strangers and to my wonderful support system--including my dear friend, Renee, who drove up that morning to surprise me!

After reflecting on the experience, I've decided that I probably won't run another marathon until after our next baby (no, I'm not pregnant). If/when I do, I will run my slower/goal pace to start, stretch WAY better after training runs, and hopefully run with a friend. Although I made friends along the course, I would absolutely love to start and end the race with someone I already know. My friends Jen and Kim have run the past two years together at Bayshore, and it is a beautiful thing to witness :)

I have been surprised at my times for my half (at Gazelle Girl and Bayshore). That part of the process has also been encouraging, so I think I may focus on setting a new PR at the Grand Rapids half marathon in October as that is a more manageable distance for my knees and feet right now...but we'll see ;)

In the meantime I still have these race experiences to look forward to:

June: 5k girls weekend in Madison, WI
July: 10k with Corey in Chicago
August: 5k with a friend running her first race ever!
September: possibly the 8 mile Mackinac Island race
October: Grand Rapids half marathon 

Running is a sacred time for me, and as I continue my journey, I hope it inspires someone to verbalize an uncomfortable dream, find accountability from supportive friends or family, and discover how God can change you in running, in relationships, in other areas of life. I am eager to see how He continues to grow me as I take leaps of faith…remembering I run because I get to. 

A special thanks to the incredible support I received from my 4 parents, Stac, Renee, our small group and other friends and family...but especially Corey who was such a fabulous husband. He took care of Will while I ran for hours every week, never complained about me being gone, and was excited for and encouraged me every step of the way. I also owe much gratitude to my dear friend, Jen, who believed in me before I believed in myself. I won't forget that car ride last summer that initiated my training when she said, "You can totally do it. I know you can." 

And that was enough.


*Pictures to come later this week*


Stacy Hoeksema said...

Just got a chance to read this for the first time. Amazing and inspiring. :)

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