Let me start this off with this one point... finding someone to take a journey with you allows someone to bear witness. They see you at your highs and your lows. They see things that others may never even notice exist within you.
You may be sitting there wondering why I let this go really deep really fast but it's my lesson I learned from the last 4 months. Training for the Shamrock Marathon was scary. Not in the normal way that one would look at a marathon. This was scary because the OBX Marathon was an okay experience...not great. I had a bad running day mix that happened. This was scary because the year before while training for Shamrock Marathon I got injured at week 9 and had to push down to the half marathon. This was scary because I had moments through the training that my body felt like it was giving out on me. I've been on a path to finding what is wrong with me...finding that I have Hashimoto's Disease. Cold weather training has been brutal. The cold has caused my feet and hands to go completely numb & hard to grasp things. My body has gone through horrible inflammation. I've been bottoming out on energy and my immune system has been withering away. A lot of that has since eased but needless to say...this has been scary.
We arrived at the Expo on Friday. It was enough time for me to run in grab my packets, check the Shamrock gear and run back out. My running partner and I were doing the Whale Challenge which was the Townebank 8K on Saturday and the Yuengling Marathon on Sunday. Had no time to waste although I desired to walk through the entire building...twice...to look at all of the runner's goodies!
My family and I headed to Little Creek Navy Base to the lodge. Unloaded and started to relax. Ordered pizza and prepared my clothes for the next morning. Shannon and I were heading to the 8K alone the next morning so the families could rest and enjoy the breakfast from the lodge.
We rested up that night and I woke early to head out the door. Met Shannon in the lobby and we headed out into the cold. I had my Stroller Warriors jacket on but that wasn't nearly enough. It was beach cold. You would think that after all the training I would have really thought about how cold is "cold". Anyway...we got lucky that morning with parking. Walked over to the start and readied ourselves. The crowds and everything were awesome. People were everywhere even in the cold.
The race went by fast but I fully believe that was simply because my mindset had already been settling into the fact that tomorrow was more than 5 times this. We kept it slower than our shorter runs. This was our shakeout and that was the way I needed to look at it.
After the race, we headed back to the lodge and went off with our families. Adrian and I went back to the expo to enjoy it all! He's readying for the start of Marine Corps Marathon training. I had a list of things I was wanting to get and found them all! It was fantastic! Even made the trip out to the Lululemon store in Virginia Beach to snag the ruffled running skirt I have been dreaming about for about 2 years now! Can I just say...I'm over the moon excited for warmer weather now!
After all of that, we grabbed food from Wawa. I couldn't not go. I mean come on. That's my childhood. It wasn't some convenience store. That's was our meeting ground. Our late night binge place on the way back from who knows where. Their food brings back memories of home. Total sidetrack.
Got back to the lodge and prepared for the next day. Sat my butt down and forced myself to rest up. I slept easy that night. Woke early to help Adrian pack the truck. His plan was to check out while I went off to the start line with Shannon and her family. He had stops that he wanted to make along the route and heading back to do all that with the 4 little ones just wasn't going to happen.
After being dropped off, we hurried to the bathrooms and bag check areas. The weather was much nicer than the day before. Now it was simply us and 26.2 miles. The race started off well. We headed down the course hitting patches of humidity and patches of wind. I really didn't feel settled into the run until about 5 miles into it. That's kinda normal as of late. It seems to take me that first bit to shake all of the stiffness out or maybe it's my body's give up point. It realizes that I'm not going to stop so might as well give in to me.
We saw both of our families by the 10K mark which was pretty awesome. I didn't get to see mine during OBX until right before the terrifying bridge at 22 miles. We pushed on through the whole first half of the course. Passed through the midway with "Ice Ice Baby" playing for the 3rd time during our running weekend. You cannot help but smile no matter how you feel when you hear that song!
So something happens when I get to the point of climbing the miles up to 20, I give in to the soreness. It's not new anymore. I say I want to stop running but I know I won't. It's more common ground talk with Shannon and I. Don't really want to keep feeling the muscle soreness but never going to give up. 13 to 20 had a nice surprise at the end of it. A Stroller Warrior manned Power Gel table with my husband and children waiting. It was surely a nice sight.
After that, we made our way onto Fort Story then down the blocks to the finish. I was tough. The sun was out and it was pretty warm by this point. Saw my husband one more time around mile 24. I choked up completely hearing him yell across traffic "you got this babe". We kept shuffling on down the road. Periodically asking if the other was okay. Our time was on point. We had already PR'd our half marathon time and now we were on track to PR our marathon time. Just had to make it to the finish. Finally we began to weave our way on to the final stretch along the beach and I could feel every pain all over again. It was like my brain had blocked it all out till this very moment. I told Shannon that I couldn't keep her quickening pace...she slowed. We got closer and closer to the finish. My feet went numb. I couldn't even make out the words to tell her but I knew she'd know...I began to push out every last bit I had. She pushed the same. I told her I could feel my legs were going to give out. We crossed that finish line and it was amazing.
So now I go back to this one point... finding someone to take a journey with you allows someone to bear witness. They see you at your highs and your lows. They see things that others may never even notice exists within you.
I'm blessed. I'm blessed to find someone who just knows when to ask, when to push, when to hold back. I'm blessed to have someone that won't judge me when I need them to open my Clif shot or zipper my jacket because I've lost the function in my hands to grasp things. I'm blessed to find someone other than my family to help me when I am most vulnerable. The point is...God put her in my life. I'm forever grateful for my running partner, Shannon.