recap

Gamelands Ultra 50K

RACE Profile: Almost No elevation, great trails with some loose sand and creek crossings-->3 loops of 10.5 miles each

Wow. Wowie. WOWZAS. What a day Saturday was!

How does one remember what happened across 36 miles?...not me but I'm going to do the best I can. I know yall don't want to be reading all day either, so I'll keep this as short as I can ;) 

When I was reading my splits to Tanner, he was like "OH MY GOSH THAT'S SO MANY SPLITS!" hahaha! Yea I KNOW! I never EVER EVER imagined that my little leggies could take me 36 miles and when I woke up Saturday morning, I really had no idea what was in store. I never got nervous once leading up to it...like not even at the start line. I did that thing I always talk about. I just didn't think about it. Tanner would be like "How ya feeling?" and I'm just like "Ah..well..haven't thought about it. I'm sure I'll make it to the end eventually" HAHA!

My pre race meal is EMBARASSING yall (and hilarious). We got to the town the race was in and didn't look it up. It was 8pm and I was like OMG WE HAVE TO EAT DINNER. The only thing in that town (we would have had to drive 30 min away) was freakin fast food so Bojangles chicken supreme combo was my great pre race nutrition. LOL!! IT WAS GOOD DOE. I ate really well the entire rest of the day but just 100% whole foods and carbs only. Two days before a race, I never even think about protein and try to keep fat grams down. If you just straight eat whatever, you'll end up with a lot of fat grams so I try to eat all carb (smoothies, bagels, english muffins, pasta, beans, potatoes, oats, mashed potatoes (ha), fruit, granola, froyo, etc). 

I talked to Tanner on the way...I would start with a 9 min mile then see how I felt. Why do I never listen to my plan? OH well. It worked out. 

The race started. I like IMMEDIATELY moved to second place in the pack. It separated quickly. The guy in front of me runs a 2:42 marathon.  At mile 3, we took a wrong turn that we thought the signs were telling us to do and ended up 0.5 mile (approximately) extra with that. I was so grumpy about that which is HILARIOUS knowing what was to come. 

We caught back up with the group and passed them again. I felt amazing. I didn't look at my watch but when I looked down with the beep, it said 7:37 for one of those miles...ON TRAILS. I was like WOAHHHH. Slow ya roll girlfriend. Did I slow that roll? OF COURSE NOT. 

Ultras don't make you pay for race day photos-haha! Coming into the first loop feeling awesome here!  

Ultras don't make you pay for race day photos-haha! Coming into the first loop feeling awesome here!  

[[I will go ahead and say I was thinking 'I'm totally going to bonk at the end of this with these splits...I'm gonna die a slow and painful death at mile 20..AND I NEVER DID. That's what I always tell Tanner when he gets mad at me for going fast. MIGHT AS WELL TRY because maybe you won't bonk and then you PR!!! lol!!!]]

Mile 4ish I think, Josh caught up with us. He is an amazing person who got me through parts of this race. He has lost 220lbs and is now a plant based ultrarunner and has been on Rich Roll's podcast. Here's his blog. Yall will love it! Miles 5-11, we all hung out (Josh, me and Sean)! Sean and Josh were the first and second place finishers. We all told our stories and kind of what led us to that point, and I tried to ask them questions about ultras and how to handle miles 26+.

[[SPLITS FOR MILES 1-11--> 8:07, 8:02, 7:43, 7:47, 8:01, 7:59, 7:53, 7:57, 7:43, 7:37, 7:54]]

It's a loop course so at 10.5-11, we got back to the start. They both sat down to take fluids and food. I don't like to sit so I kept going. Sean caught back up to me soon after and went out ahead. We had all decided to split up at that point. Tanner took off with me for two miles. That was so nice and I loved just getting to spend a little time with him. It was good to be with him on those splits to slow me down a little and regroup. At mile 12-13, he turned around to run that 2 back and .... then it began. I feel really silly but the signs were little, I look down while I run and being alone running is just a bad combo for me in terms of directions, and my internal compass literally does not exist. I was fine for a while though, and I felt so great. There was an aid station at mile 2.5 and 8 because the course was like a loop inside of a loop so you passed the same one twice (so there was really only one aid station that you hit up twice). Tanner made me promise to stop on the way back (mile 18ish). I had taken a gu while we were together and during my first lap.

When Tanner and I split up, I easily started cruising in the 7:50's range again. It was like time was whizzing by and I couldn't believe I had ran so far. My legs didn't hurt. My breathing wasn't labored. I was lapping people on the course who I think really thought I was actually crazy because they knew that meant I was returning on my second loop. I thought to myself how I knew I would hit a wall at mile 20. I just was preparing myself mentally for that. I can't remember what I thought about...pretty much nothing (except those times I got lost). Like I legit don't remember having one thought during that 5 hours....? I always say I think the trauma represses my memory or something. LOL! Like who doesn't think to themselves for 5 hours? Anyway... 

Tanner took this on the second loop and posted it to my team katiesfitscript facebook group! hahaha! 

Tanner took this on the second loop and posted it to my team katiesfitscript facebook group! hahaha! 

I came to a fork in the road. I knew I'd been there before, and it was a tall corn field. I stopped. I went back and looked at the little sign that was right before that. It had a straight arrow but it was kinda like curved. Just like on many tests I've taken, I had it down to 50/50 ......... AND I CHOOSE THE WRONG ONE! lolol! I went straight. I was supposed to go left. The trails on this course are beautiful and perfect so therefore when I'm off, it's hard to even know because it's not like you can tell by where people have been. I was alone on the course anyway at that point because I was ahead by so much. I was second overall at this point (18-19 miles in). 

That took me on a loop that was about 3 miles extra. I didn't know what to do. I knew I was lost after about a mile and all I knew to do was to keep running in the direction that I was and hopefully eventually I would run into something that would guide me back. I saw people to my left and so I just started running back that direction. I.WAS.SO.UPSET.AND.MAD.AT.MYSELF. 

How could I be doing so well and do something so silly? At the time, I didn't even realize where I had gone wrong. I was just so confused because I though the arrow was pointed straight and I went straight. Where did I mess up? I didn't understand. I asked a few people what mile they were on and they said they were with the 10 miler. I was just trying to get a gauge for how far I was from the aid station because at this point, I knew I REALLY needed something. I felt fine and wasn't foggy headed but I just knew it would happen if I didn't. We were past that though and I didn't realize it. I honestly wasn't even emotional at this point. I was just like "well shoot!" because I had half of a brain to think at those miles. haha! 

I asked the girl how far the aid station was, and they had already passed it so I guess that's what she thought I meant so she said "probably a mile and a half" meaning we were on our way back. At this point, I was around 23ish miles and I should have been done with the second loop by that point so I was like WHAT IS GOING ON!? 

We got closer. I realized the aid station was in fact BEHIND me, but close enough to the second loop that I'd just get stuff from Tanner. When I hit that second loop, I was at 24 miles (should have been 21), I was SO upset and to be fair and honest... mad. I didn't have enough glycogen to think straight so I was mean. LOL!!! Tanner was trying to force me to take salt tablets, drink this and that and I was just in tears. I ate a peanut butter sandwich and just wanted to start running again. I told him I was just going to run the 7, take a DQ because I knew that's what they would do and told him that I knew mentally there was no way I could run that many extra miles....dun dun dun. He sweetly tried to convince me to just walk to finish it. 

[[SPLITS FOR MILES 12-24--> 8:44, 8:15, 8:15 (3ish when T was with me), 7:52, 7:49, 7:45, 7:50,7:51, 7:54, 8:17(lost), 9:13(lost), 8:56(lost), 8:47]]

The whole 24-28, I was in my head so much like "I'll just turn around to make it an even 31. That's what is fair because that's what I came here to do. No, Katie, do the loop. That's like cheating. But it's not cheating because I AM running the 31 miles. No, Katie, that's cheating. I'll turn around to make it an even 31 and then I'll tell Tomas, the race director, that I can't accept first place because I didn't complete the final loop. Maybe he'll be nice and say he understands. No, he won't. I'll be disqualified."

I literally went back and forth and back and forth.

My watch hit 26.2 miles and I couldn't help but look down. I was at 3:25. I had qualified for Boston on a trail. That was a really cool moment to continue to pick one more foot up and know I wasn't even close. Wow. What a moment. 

 I ran into Josh again at mile 28. I should have been ahead of him but because I went that extra loop, he was FAR in front of me. This just made me SUPER emotional seeing that he was on his way back into the home stretch and I was on my way out still. I told him I was going to turn around. He was like NO YOU ARE NOT. YOU KEEP GOING. YOU COMPLETE THIS. I started crying and he just like pulled me in and let me cry. In all honesty, looking back, it's not THAT serious but at those high miles, I got dramatic. But, as I type this, I feel like the biggest drama queen ever. LOL!! It was my first ultra and while I had heard that people get turned around on ultras a lot, I just assumed it wouldn't happen to me. Josh told me that it would make me a true ultrarunner by finishing what I came out here to do and that I could still pull out first place women overall and would do it with 3 extra miles (I haven't gotten to the final 2 yet HA). 

[[SPLITS 25-29--> 10:13 (had a side stitch lol), 9:54, 9:35, 9:31, 10:13]]

I told Josh that I couldn't promise I was going to take his advice and that I might turn right back around soon after. But, when he ran off, I got a second/third wind and thought "YES KATIE YOU DO THIS!! YOU COMPLETE THIS!" At the time, I thought that would put me at around 34 miles which still sucked but I was going to complete the loop and I continued forward. I had decided since word 1 that I would go by effort the entire race so I knew my pace was slowing down into the 9's but it didn't bother me. I had already run 30 freakin miles at that point. Who cared? NOT I! I continued forward, and kept running and running and running. 

At around mile 31 (and thinking I was well on my way back into the home stretch), I suddenly was IN A FREAKING NEIGHBORHOOD. I kid you not guys. There was a house to my left. I literally bent over, face into my knees and started sobbing. Balling. Sobbing. "GET YOURSELF TOGETHER KATIE. WHERE AM I? I'M SCARED. I don't have my phone. Maybe I should knock on this door. How did I miss a turn? UHHHHH HOW ARE YOU SO STUPID KATIE?!!?" 

[[SPLITS MILE 30-32--> 9:02, 9:23, 9:35]]

Inside my head: "Okay, breathe. You can't run if you can't breathe. Turn around. Find where you missed something. You'll find a sign." I started semi sprinting back (because I was scared that I was lost), I hit 31 miles...."the finish line." The time was 4:22:17. I was supposed to be done, and I was lost in the middle of the woods. Wow. "I'll never do this again. I'm not made out for woods. I don't do well with only tiny baby signs and no one in front of me." (of course I'm over that now just fyi) 

It was a straight path back and as I was running, I saw two men take a turn. In those moments, it just felt really good to know I wasn't completely lost and had gone about a mile out (so making 2 extra miles with the turn around). I knew where I had missed the sign. The signs were little pieces of wood in the ground that were probably about the size of two index carbs stacked on top of each other. I look down when I'm running on trails so I don't break my ankle so of course I miss them. That's no one's fault but my own though and I realize that. 

For some reason, I still thought I was 2 miles from the end. I think back to the thoughts I was having about distance and where I was, and yall, what in the stinkin world? I clearly needed glucose. It makes no sense and was just getting me more upset because I kept thinking I was close to the end when I wasn't. I was running on this straight away and passed a bunch of people again (I hadn't even had food again this lap-I didn't even care nor had I even thought about fueling-I didn't bonk-I just was laser focused on finishing and I was going faster to finish because I just wanted to be done). I asked them how far we were from the finish and they said 4 miles. I was like NO WAIT WHAT? HOW ARE WE STILL FOUR MILES OUT? I'M AT 32 MILES RIGHT NOW!!!!! I was delusional. Of course I was 4 miles out if I had added up all the times I was off, but in those moments that made no sense to me and I thought "this is just straight awful" 

[[SPLITS MILE 33-36--> 9:34, 9:26, 9:46,10]]

It's funny though because I've realized now that you have extra gears after a marathon. You just never work them. If you tell your mind to keep going, it just keeps going. It was cool to see that in action. I'm a little ashamed of my thoughts in that moment but I'm going to tell you: 

"I'm not running again for a long time after today. I'm not going to do the ironman. I'm just going to be normal and maybe I'm just not made for epic things. I can't even do them right. I just get lost. This is silly and I'm just not cut out for all of this." 

This race was not fancy butterflies, fight to the finish boston marathon style. This was different. This was just REALLY REALLY hard. I pulled away from those people quickly (this was the crew that had the second place female finisher in it who is seriously the sweetest EVER and I loved getting to know her after the race). I still felt great (my hips and glutes were tight but felt really strong-insert plug for heavy lifting because it STRAIGHT UP is the reason I got through that race feeling the way I did). 

After the race feels... 

After the race feels... 

I questioned every single step. Was I lost again? I don't even know anymore. I'm just going to keep putting one foot in front of the other. No thoughts other than finishing. Time stood still it felt like. I had a serious "I'm lost again moment" and let me tell you my thoughts because 32+ mile delirium is HILARIOUS thinking back.

"I'll just be one of those stories. I'm going to just lay right here in the grass and they won't find me for days. I'll be glycogen depleted, dehydrated and starved and maybe I'll even just die out here. But if I'm lost, I'm just going to lay right here until I'm found. Tanner will be so devastated when I don't come back for hours. I wonder if he'll be okay." 

HAHAHA!! What in the world? That's just hilarious to me now that my brain works. 

I wasn't even lost is the funny part. All of a sudden I see a guy in a grey shirt running towards me. I thought "Oh thank goodness. I'm not lost. This is someone coming out for their third loop so I'm finally like 2ish miles from the finish. PRAISE YOU JESUS I'M NOT LOST." 

Then, this guy starts doing this wave and I can hear his voice. OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS THAT'S TANNER!!!! He says that when he saw me, he just assumed that I had been running and crying the whole way at this point. I was like NO CRAZY MAN, I STARTED CRYING WHEN I SAW YOU. 

He started yelling "I'm so proud of you. You never give up. I'm so so proud of you. You're so close to the finish. I'll just talk. You just keep moving. Do you want to walk? Do you need water?" 

No. No. No. I don't want to talk, drink, eat, or walk. I just want to shuffle step until I get to the end of this. I tell him I got lost again and he said he knew I had because of the time which is why he came out looking for me again. He said he had prayed that I would just walk if I had to but that I would not give up. 

We round the corner where you can see the end in sight but you still have 0.75 mile to go. He told me he was going to split off to get a picture at the finish line and for me to reflect on this and what I had just done and to be so proud of myself. I tried so hard. The finish line seemed to stretch into oblivion that I would never reach but I just kept putting one foot, one foot, one foot. Shuffle shuffle. That's all it takes. 

YOU ARE WELCOME! HAHAHA! I'm dang proud of these feet! 

YOU ARE WELCOME! HAHAHA! I'm dang proud of these feet! 

I rounded the FINAL corner and was 0.1 from the finish line. Everyone was clapping and I have never been so happy in my life. I had done it. I was still the first place female, I had finished with 36 miles (35.5 per my watch-I actually accidentally hit stop on the final stretch which is why I say 36 when my watch says 35.5-of course I would). I was an ultrarunner. Forever. Nothing can EVER take that moment away and it will be sealed in my memory forever. Not only had I completed a 50k but I had done 5 miles extra. I had just run 36 miles. HOLY STINKIN COW! And the crazy part-I FELT GOOD! I wasn't dying. I wasn't really even emotional at this point. I honestly was just proud of myself....really really proud of myself. 

Not to leave a cliff hanger, but I'll pick up at this point for tomorrow's blog (including more nutrition stuff and post race recovery). This recap has been long enough with all it's un necessary drama!! I'm forever changed, and that's a fact. When people ask me about it, it's hard to explain my emotion. I always feel as if people in my real life will think I'm so crazy so I try my best to not even talk about it. I went to church yesterday and potluck for our pastor and when people bring it up, it's hard to really even put into words what I had just done the day before. So, I just say it went well and I'm happy. Of course they are always like "HOW ARE YOU STILL WALKING OMG WHY ARE YOU HERE?!" hahaha!! 

My love for running is like no other. I never thought I'd find something in life that truly makes me so passionate. I never knew up until a few years ago that there was this thing that I was going to find that was going to mean so very much to me. It's really cool to be able to do something like that every day, and I never plan on stopping. 

As always yall, life without limits. I'm not special. I'm not extraordinary. One foot. In front of the other. You can do absolutely anything you set your mind to and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

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The Full Boston Experience

Why not ride this out as long as possible right? No really, I felt there was so much more I could have wrote about the before and after of how this whole shindig is ran that I didn’t get to include, so I thought I’d include all those details in this blog. How do you qualify? What do you do to get in? Hotels? Expos? ETC ET 

 

HOW DO YOU QUALIFY

Most everyone might know this, but there are qualifying races across the US every year. If you run those marathons, and you get within the time frame for your age and gender then you can apply. There is a select time frame for each year. My qualifying time that I had to get was 3:35. My first marathon, I qualified with a 3:27. When you run another marathon and do better, you can update your time to get a different wave/corral. I ran my third marathon in 3:15 therefore I was able to update, but I can ALSO use my 3:15 for 2017 marathon because it was within that time frame as well.

Registration opens, and you register for a race like normal and they ask you to enter in the race that you did and your qualifying time. You have to wait about one week and then you hear back if they have accepted that qualifying time (basically they have someone to check to see if you told the truth I’m sure). It’s a rolling admission which means that even if your time is within the standards that they set for your age and gender, that doesn’t guarantee entry. They can only allow what I believe to be 30,000 runners and this year the cut off was 2.5 minutes faster than what actually was each person’s qualifying time. So, if you qualified with your time faster than 20 minutes, you got to register first. Then 10 minutes, then 5 minutes, all the way down to 1 minute. Those that didn’t qualify with more than 2.5 minutes didn’t get in. (For example, my age and gender’s time was 3:35 but I needed a 3:32 to get in.

Once you are in, they take your money … lots of it ;) $250 to be exact for this race fee! OUCH. 

THE BOSTON JACKET

I felt like I was doing the walk of shame after the race because I did not, in fact, get the jacket *GASP* Go ahead and gasp again because it’s like forbidden. You MUST BUY THE $110 WIND BREAKER that looks like you just walked out of the Saved by the Bell high school. I was like OKAY KATIE YOU HAVE TO BUY IT! So I went to the adidas store and I tried it on. Nope. Couldn’t do it. I had my wallet ready. It wasn’t the money, but it was kind of the principle of feeling like I was being forced to buy something I genuinely would never wear except while in Boston. I plan on buying a shirt that’s as in your face as possible “BOSTON MARATHON FINISHER 2016!!!” I was thinking actually of getting a tattoo to go across my forehead as well. But no really. I want people to know but not bad enough to look like Jessie.  So, I shall wait for another year.

Here she is in all her glory ha!

Here she is in all her glory ha!

WHERE DO YOU STAY? 

Okay, this proved a very large struggle for me, and here is why: MONEY! Haha! I knew that I could stay at the convention center, but yall, it was $650/night!!!! Isn’t that insane? HAHA! I knew that I could stay in Cambridge, but that made me really nervous with not really knowing about Boston. Now we know how the system works, and I would be much more confident staying outside of the city.

I have a friend who lives in Boston and I messaged him to ask if his apartment was available or if he had any friends. He sent out a big email to all of his friends (so sweet) and there were a few people that responded back. They lived almost on the street that the finish line was on (maybe 0.7mile walk) and the finish line is where you had to be on race morning to take the bus to the start so that was PERFECT!

They left for the weekend, and opened up their home to us. It was the CUTEST little downstairs apartment and they had like a full bar…with a kegurator. HAHA! Too bad we only stayed night 1!!

We ended up using Airbnb for nights 2-3 and moved out to Cambridge. It was an apartment that a girl rents out that no one actually lives in so it was perfect. It had two bedrooms for Tanner and I and then my mom and it was perfect. I recommend Cambridge for people in the future. It’s easy to get on the T (their subway) and get into the city. Many people open up their homes knowing this weekend is huge, so you can look on airbnb early (I waited WAY TOO LATE) and get a good spot I’m sure.

LEADING UP TO THE RACE

So Boston knows what they are doing. They know this week is huge, and they are very organized. I can only imagine how many people they have on staff. They sent out probably monthly emails leading up to it with information on how to prepare and what to expect.

I think it was around 1 month out from the race, they sent us our race information packet which included a little runner "passport" to pick up your bib. You had to sign it and bring your ID with you stating that you are the person who qualified. From what I hear, they mail those to the elite, pro runners and they don’t even have to pick up a bib. Of course ;) This race is huge which means huge running names are there. If you don’t follow marathon running, I won’t name drop but it’s the best in the world, which is why it’s HILARIOUS when people ask if I won or if I planned on it. YEA NO. 

BIB PICKUP/EXPO

The expo opens on Friday but we didn’t fly in until Sunday. The expo includes all the typical vendors that you’d see at races selling things. You find your number and name, they give you a bag with all of your race day stuff and a free shirt. They have an information booth and an outline for you based on your wave and corral and what time the buses would be there in the morning to take you to the athletes village. You have to travel 26 miles to Hopkinton so you have to get on the bus EARLY. Red bibs went first which are the elite and sub elite. My bib was white, so we went next then I think it was black after that.

#dork

#dork

RACE LAYOUT

The race is point to point as I mentioned before, so I’ll drop the course map here so you can see. In the beginning, the race is going downhill overall, but yall it is not straight downhill. There are definite hills in the beginning. The entire course is rolling hills, and not as bad as Thunder road marathon that I did as my third, but it’s not just a downhill marathon. But there’s only like 3 turns the entire race which is nice. You start out away from everything it feels like, but as you come into the city you get closer to the water and therefore there is a breeze (aka headwind). It’s always a trade. Do you want heat or do you want wind? It’s hard to get a perfect scenario. 

Okay I cannot get this to upload right, but you can see the elevation on the bottom part that it goes up and down but mostly downhill overall 

Okay I cannot get this to upload right, but you can see the elevation on the bottom part that it goes up and down but mostly downhill overall 

RACE MORNING

So organized! They had so many volunteers directing us all to where we needed to go. We got to the bus area and there was a super long line where they just check to see that you have a bib, and then you get on the bus. There was lines of like 20 yellow school buses, and it felt like we were being shipped off somewhere (I guess we were haha). This was a LONG ride, and then once you get off, you are at the race start. The athlete’s village is 1 mile away to which you walk to the village. 

morning bus.jpg

ATHLETE'S VILLAGE

As you went in, they checked your bib again and they did a full body search of everyone going in. I know this is super cautious but with the past, I’m very thankful they do this. This was SO SO cool. There were tents set up and music playing and more porta potties than one’s heart could ever imagine. HAHA! OH HAPPY DAY! There were bagels and bananas and gus and gels and water. THANKS BOSTON! Everyone was just having a great time with friends on this huge lawn. I loved the athletes village. They call out when it’s time for you to line up to walk BACK to the start. HA! So, we walked our happy butts back to the start. At the start, there was literally a camp of porta potties (seriously probably a field of 500 of them-it was so crazy HAHA)

DURING THE RACE

I think it was right around every 2-3 miles, they had gateraid and water. I actually was very thankful for the gateraid as it was one of the only things that I was able to get down that had calories during the race. It was so refreshing towards the end. They are strict about the guidelines of where spectators can walk and have guardrails so that normal people can't be on the course. However, funny story, there was a guy on the course on his cell phone just walking and chatting like at mile 18 and Bethany straight up was like pointing at him "He doesn't have a bib. He's on the course!" hahaha! It was hilarious.My family had a difficult time finding a place to stand. They found a place that was on a bridge over this underpass that we would go under, and stood there in the shade so it was really cold for 3 hours. I felt so bad hearing them tell me about it just to see me for 5 seconds run through #truelove

POST RACE MEDALS

When you cross the finish line, I guess because there are just so many people, they don’t want to be putting medals around delusional people’s necks so you have to walk another 0.25 mile I’d say where the people with the medals are in a little corral passing out medals. You walk a little further and they are giving out the blankets. There are med tents at the end of course as well as any sort of aid you can imagine and huge bags of food being handed out. 

IMG_8877.JPG

FAMILY MEETING AREA

This was somewhat frustrating but only because you are hurting so bad and just want to see your family. You have to walk really really far (maybe it’s not that far but it felt like it) to this one area that they have marked off based on your last name, but my family couldn’t figure out how to get into this area as they have it all marked off. We walked around aimlessly for a while just trying to find one another on streets that weren’t blocked. I eventually got to them, and of course starting balling. I had wanted to cry into my moms arms for so long but it took me so long to find her hahaha! So, I took that moment to do so. WHY AM I SUCH A CRIER AFTER THESE RACES? GOOD LAWD.

FENWAY PARK PARTY

We didn’t do this, but I heard a lot about it and I have to say I wouldn’t recommend it. The tickets if you weren’t a runner were $25/each so we opted out when my mom and Tanner would have had to spend that. We just went back to our place for me to shower after sitting and talking with my best friend for a while, and taking pictures.

The party at fenway from what I understand was basically paying to get into the park when there wasn’t a game or anything just to be able to eat the hotdogs? Maybe I was confused on this because SURELY NOT but apparently, and the hotdogs weren’t even free. You still had to pay for the food, but it was just a general entry type thing. Maybe they had some music playing? HAHA! I sure hope so. The least they could do for hangry, delusional (I clearly like that word) runners is to play them some music and give them free beer and hotdogs right? Someone said they had to pay $50 to park at the stadium. FIFTY.DOLLARS. Wow. I will say that I can't really speak on this as I wasn't there, so maybe there was more to it.

POST RACE DINNER

They provide a pre and post meal if you want to sign up. I want to say that it costs money and I’m sure it’s a good time, but I knew I’d be with my mom (and originally my step dad was going to come) so I opted out. We went to Cheesecake factory. We were planning on going somewhere specific to Boston. We hate going to the places that we can get back where we were, but we were on the subway and our stop was closed due to the marathon so we had to get off, and I was SO SO HUNGRY so we decided we would get appetizers & cheesecake & drinks at the bar while we waited for a table (45 minutes). I don’t know if you’ve had their loaded potato tots, but holy macral, you have to get them. SO GOOD! I also got the oreo extreme cheesecake. I ate half the appetizer and half of the cheesecake. We got our table and ordered. I got the grilled chicken club and fries and ate the entire thing. I think that my body went into a hyper metabolic state post marathon. I’ve never ate so much and I stood up like “I might get hungry again before bed” which I did so I ate the other half of the cheesecake. HA!

I think this ended up being longer than the recap, but I think it gives more a full picture of the full experience and hopefully can help to know what it will be like for you if you recently qualified or are looking to do so in the future! :) 

 

 

 

 

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Boston Marathon 2016 Recap

Recaps are always long. Buckle your seat belts for this one. haha!

Sometimes you just need a lot of words to explain a day that you've waited for almost your entire life...most definitely my entire adult life. I can't believe it's behind me. Time is such a weird thing. You wait for something for so long. You plan for it. You pay for it, and just like that, in moments, it's gone and the ONLY thing that you have are memories. I can most definitely tell I'm going to have post marathon blues wishing that I could relive it again and relive it when I didn't feel so off. I'll go ahead and preface this by saying I never EVER give up on runs. None of my training runs do I stop. None of my marathons do I walk. No training runs do I walk. It's not even something I consider, so let's begin with yesterdays good, bad and ugly ;) 

To start, let's back up to Sunday. I didn't post about it but my connecting from Washington DC to Boston was missed due to a late flight from Charlotte. PANIC.MODE. I had to get to the expo by 6pm to get my bib to be able to run. You couldn't get it after that. We got to Boston around 4pm and went straight to the expo via cab ($44 for one mile-not even kidding). Bethany met me outside of the bib area and we attacked one another. This was our first time meeting in real life, and it was instant connection. There was absolutely no awkwardness....just perfect friends from word one. We talked about how we planned on "racing tomorrow" (ha). We then went to find the finish line to take a picture were I would be the following day!

We also visited the spot one block from the finish where the bombs went off in 2013. So sad, but it makes the marathon mean even more now which is incredible to see everyone come together. 

We did dinner separate and my mom, Tanner and I went to a little pub close to our house. I got a sandwich and fries. I have decided this is a TERRIBLE pre marathon meal. I always feel like I need lots of calories and carbs, but it's just also loaded with so much saturated fat that I felt GI distress all night long and into the morning. Luckily we had a late start. #nomsayin This is very important in running. We do NOT want to have to stop. 

So, now let's get to race day. 

550 am Clock went off! I had my LONG SLEEVED shirt with bib attached and capris. I get cold easily so temperatures were 45-55 and I thought I'd be good. I saw everyone's posts about wearing tank tops and thought they were crazy but it made me nervous so I decided to switch to my short sleeve shirt. THANK YOU JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH.

615am  I couldn't eat oats due to my upset stomach from food that I ate way too much of. I always stress not eating too much crap and then I did it. I told Tanner I needed high calories so we got a scone at the bakery until we waited on the Uber to take me to the buses.

645am There are buses that take us to Hopkinton. The race is not a circular race. It's point to point which means that you have to get on buses from the finish to take you to the start. It's super organized, and so easy to navigate even though I was scared about that, but the buses loaded at 645am for a 1025 start. YIKES.

720am I saw a girl sitting by herself on the bus so I asked her if I could sit with her. We ended up talking for the entire 26 miles to the start. We hit it off so well, but she didn't have her phone so we couldn't exchange numbers. I hope she finds me on instagram. hahaha! I invited her to hang with us at the Athletes Village, so we talked from the buses to the village (that's over a mile-yall I walked 3.5 miles before the start per my watch. BOO!)

820 Met up with Bethany and her friend Melissa and Mario (@_mr_sure on instagram) and then went to go to the bathroom where I ran into CHELSY!!!! (@fitandfaithfulllc) She was just as much of a doll as you would imagine! Loved getting to hug her! 

9am Walked to meet the runners of my hometown! We got some pictures together and talked about how excited we all were. 

It was toasty at the athletes village, but I felt so confident. No nerves, enjoying every moment..just waiting to go! :) 

930am  They sent off the red bibs (elites and sub elites) and the announcer guy made a comment that if you weren't in that group, maybe you should learn to run faster. ha. ha. ha. ;) Don't we wish! HAHA! 

10am They had us line up to walk to the start. I met up with my client (and friend) Katie West!!! She is an absolute JOY and we talked to the start (a whole MILE-crazy). It was very sunny and I thought "Shew it's going to be very hot" but I didn't get nervous. Whatever was going to be was going to be. We found our corral ( I was in the one ahead but they let me bump back to be with my friends. You can go backwards, but can't go forward).

Nutrition: I was able to get in a scone, White Macadamia cliff bar, and an entire bagel pre race so approximately 160g C but still not enough calories. I drank tons and tons of water though. I knew it was going to be a hot day.

1025am FINALLY START TIME!!! 

Miles 1-2

We knew we had to be conservative and run around 7:35ish/mile because it's so easy to go 7:00 out of the gate and screw yourself over. We both said at the end of mile 2... "Why does this feel so fast? Why is 7:35 feeling tough?" This was a bad sign. I literally thought to myself IMMEDIATELY... "This feels tough. Hmm...that's odd." 

Mile 3-4

We kind of hinted to one another that PRing was NOT going to happen. It was WAY HOT. WAY WAY HOT. (I heard from someone it was 75 at our start and into mile 10ish before we got more shade but then shade turned into head winds). I saw a sign that said "RUNNERS DRINK EARLY. HEAT EXHAUSTION WARNING!!" Oh no. Everyone was fighting for water. Let me just drop a picture of how many people were running right here. It was a crazy fest just trying to get water, but we got it. Someone handed us a water bottle so we decided to hold onto that. 

I mean it's super easy to get to the side to get water with this many people. No struggle at all ;) 

I mean it's super easy to get to the side to get water with this many people. No struggle at all ;) 

Mile 5-6

I could NOT believe my legs were hurting. Was I having heat exhaustion already? What? Like WHAT? This was Boston. Don't PR..jUST ENJOY! That was the plan. We confirmed to one another there would be NO PR as we couldn't fathom running 7:20's in that heat. Everyone was screaming at every single spot of the marathon. So many people. So much fun. So much yelling. WOOO!! Kids lined up with their hands out and hitting their signs that said "Tap here for POWER!" WOO POWER!!! ;) So great! We both decided we were too sick to take a gu already. Soooo, we didn't. 

Mile 7-8

We were running around 7:45ish. I told Bethany I thought she would have to leave me as I didn't know why, but my hip/groin already hurt, I was already feeling dehydrated and I knew I was in for a very long, hard, and dark day of running to be honest. There was never a doubt that I would finish, but I told Bethany something was VERY WRONG. It wasn't just heat. It was different. She told me she wouldn't leave me, and I thought to myself "No no she shouldn't do that. I will hold her back" She never did nor did I her when she needed me. It was a really amazing experience with a best friend. We were already close, but dang it's on a whole new level now. I tried to take parts of a gu, but it was making me sick.

Mile 10

We ran into Victoria Phillippi so that was so fun!!! She ran with us for that entire mile and Bethany talked to her. She said how she didn't plan to PR either. I told them to go ahead and leave me behind. I couldn't hold 7:45min/mile (for reference to my normal this would be VERY easy. In my last marathon, I was holding 7:10-7:15 with ease on hills and this was downhill). I was baffled. She insisted on not, and Victoria went on ahead. There were kids passing out icy pops and I grabbed one of those and was able to get the entire thing down which I believe is the same carb as a gu.

This energy is fake. hahaha! 

This energy is fake. hahaha! 

Mile 11-14

I remember thinking many times... "Katie...please soak it in. This is Boston. This is everything." We were going around 7:45ish still-8 and it was a blur. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. I RUN THAT MILEAGE EVERY WEEK. WHAT WAS HAPPENING? "Katie LOOK AT THE PEOPLE YELLING FOR YOU. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD. GEEZ LOUISE!" 

Let me stop here. IT WAS NOT THAT I CARE THAT MUCH ABOUT TIME. I wrote about this before. Competitiveness is not what this is about. To be honest, I was scared. My body was like reacting very odd VERY VERY early and I was drinking at every stop. I didn't know what was going on and I already found it hard to talk while running which I can always hold conversations and laugh and cut up while running even 7:20 pace. 

Mile 14

Bethany says "MAN SCREW THIS! I need to stop at a porta potty. Are you okay with that?" I was like "Yea WHO CARES" by this point so I waited for her and texted Tanner, telling him it was awful and hot and I couldn't explain what was happening but that I wasn't right. He was sad I didn't feel good but of course just told me to finish smart. I took another gu here.

So that's what we did. I'm not going to lie. I thought during the marathon ... "REMEMBER THESE MILES! DON'T LET ONE GO BY!!" and yet I felt very delusional and couldn't focus at all. The only thing I could focus was the shuffle/run I was trying to keep in pure exhaustion. I felt sleepy and felt it difficult to hold open my eyes. We had taken off our shirts at mile 10, but I had to put mine back on because I wasn't sweating anymore. I felt cold. My body was in a bad place, and it was only halfway done. Oh.no.

Mile 16-18 I think we stopped one more time at a porta potty for Bethany who had some GI distress but other than that, we were still running constantly. At mile 18, we decided the walk/run situation would begin. I HAVE NEVER DONE THIS IN MY LIFE WHAT THE HECK? We talked so many times that the only reason that we didn't just start crying was because we had each other to know we weren't alone. 

Mile 18

ONLY 8 MILES RIGHT? THAT FELT LIKE A LIFETIME! PEOPLE WERE SCREAMING EVERYWHERE!!! Can I be honest? I felt as if I was going to come out of my skin. I was delusional from heat exhaustion, my legs literally felt as if they were going to just explode from constant throbbing pain and people were screaming at me. I felt as if I was in some sort of weird dream I can't explain. I couldn't speak. Bethany could. She talked. I could barely breathe. I just picked up my feet as I like drolled a little. HA! Legit, my mouth was like hanging open. Who knows what I was about to do next? You just lose all sense of pride at this point. HAHAHA! 

Mile 20ish

Coaching myself "Okay Katie, you can do this!" I said to Bethany "How about we try for just an 8:30 pace" to which she laughed "Katie, would you believe that we would have to try for an 8:30 pace in the freaking Boston marathon. What is wrong with us?" but that wasn't even happening. I felt as if I was SPRINTING and my body was going 9:00. I could not believe it. We had to walk some more up the hills. People screaming and we are walking. To be quite honest, I was so embarrassed I really did want to cry so I did a little. A girl ran up and said she followed both of us and we were WALKING. hahaha! I was like "So inspirational huh!" but I'm pretty sure I just thought it because I couldn't speak. 

Mile 21-22

HEART.BREAK.HILL. And we walked half of it. Just being real with you. I'd love to say we even shuffled but it just wasn't in the cards :( 

Still delusional. Still walking/running. Bethany still talking. Me still open mouth breathing. People yelling "YOU CAN DO IT. YOU'RE ALMOST THERE. DON'T WALK NOW" --> Bethany: I'm going to throat punch the next person who says that to us. HAHAHAH! Good lord I love her for being my mom when I need to be told to hydrate and smile for cameras and saying all the things out loud that I'm thinking ;) 

Mile 23

Okay let's try to run to the finish all the way. PEOPLE GOING BUCK CRAZY WILD. I MEAN BUCK WILD OUT OF THEIR MINDS. hahah! It was actually quite comical, and fun. 

Mile 24

Bethany asked me who I was running the last 2 miles for. I dedicated 25 to my grandmother who was just in the hospital and mile 26 to all of my other grandparents. 

WE RUN INTO MEREDITH(She's a good one to follow @mere1118)! She follows us both, and is an absolute JOY. I had literally just said to Bethany "I'm going to pass out. My body is shutting down." and the next thing I know Meredith is hugging me and it like brought me out of it. She said she had an awful day too and was just wanting to finish. We decided to walk through the last water stop then make our way to the finish. 

 

Mile 25

I see Tanner, Brandy and my mom at the top of the bridge coming under the underpass. OMG OMG They have signs. I started crying. I'm ALMOST DONE WITH THE BOSTON MARATHON!!!! IS THIS REAL LIFE? Oh, I love them so so much. They are my whole world I swear. We also saw the Citgo sign which is the mark that you are one mile from the finish!!! YES!!!!! 

Mile 25.5

AHHHHHHHHHH "RIGHT ON HEREFORD LEFT ON BOYLSTON!" I was about to do those very steps!!!! We round Hereford. Bethany keeps saying "THIS IS IT. SOAK IT IN. TAKE IN EVERY MOMENT!!!" I just keep looking back and forth listening to the screaming crowds. It's electric. My whole being just one big delusional cloud of almost passing out joy and happiness. 

We take the left onto Boylston. We can see the finish line. I start crying. They start running harder. I wanted them to have their moment, but I was literally seconds from passing out. Everything was going black. I whispered "I'm so sorry please don't sprint. My body is shutting down." Bethany said "WHO CARES? THERE IS THE FINISH LINE!" I dug into something I didn't know I had and somehow didn't pass out. (I feel like such a whimp admitting I said that on Boylston haha) She said "HOLD MY HAND AND SMILE! YOU HAVE TO SMILE. FAKE IT BUT SMILE!" I was crying but smiling. 

WE.WERE.DONE.

My body had to catch up. I couldn't talk. I just had to focus on breathing and not throwing up. Bethany and Meredith were chatting it up and I'm not really sure if there were speaking to me. I don't really remember anything but how I was just a little nervous that I still couldn't talk. We had to walk like another 1/4 mile until we got our medals. WOOOO. They hand us a bag with food. None of us can eat at this point or much at all during the race. This guy asks us to take a picture because we are "so pretty" HA! He really was with Dole pineapple, and wanted us to take a picture for their stuff. It was odd, but we got our modeling debut with Dole so you could say things are getting pretty serious. I was shocked he didn't cut us a check or write up a contract right there. Bethany asked someone to take a picture of us to which she looked at the picture and said "Dear God we look like monsters" HAHAHA! So if you see us make jokes about being dole models, or looking like monsters, it's from the post marathon delusions. 

Okay, now let me say, I feel as if this sounds so dramatic when reading over it. That annoys me at myself. I mean I know we all love a good story, but really, this is ridiculous. Marathons aren't THIS hard. I think it's pretty clear it was a sucky race day for all, but also clear that I had some other junk going on as well. I don't know what. I wish I had an explanation, but I don't right now. I'm so happy though. I'm so thankful. I'm SO DANG SAD IT'S OVER. AHHHH!!!! LET ME DO IT AGAIN!!! Now that I'm out of the moment and looking back, it was by far one of the best days of my entire life. I will never ever forget it. I also know now I have more in me than I even know....something deeper to be able to push. What an awesome feeling. I know I can do anything. Some people never get the chance to run Boston, and I'm forever grateful. Believe me Boston, I will be back. And I will conquer you next time ;)  The joy of the finish line ALWAYS ALWAYS out weighs everything...always.

 

 

 

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Thunder Road Marathon Recap

Recaps are always long so bear with me, but yesterday was so fun with so many details to share so fasten your seat belts and here we go!

The night before, I always set everything out. I am a very forgetful person and so I knew that I needed to have it all ready to go. I wore DonaJo running pants, Walmart long sleeve shirt (no shame), old Asics shoes (because I love my ragged old ones), and Marc Jacob’s active vest (which we all know I got from Marshalls because let’s be real lol). I took 4 gus (Salted Caramel yummy yum until the 4th one and I was more like gaggy gag). I set out my Garmin 920XT, and Body glide…

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I forgot my Garmin on the kitchen counter. When we were in the car on the way, Tanner noticed my wrist and said “Do you have your watch?” and I panicked and started looking through all of my stuff to realize I had left it. I shouted profanities because I get so so mad at myself. I always feel awful after I do this though so I apologized to Tanner and he admitted that those words aren’t so pretty coming out of my mouth. It’s just that I work so hard, and I just get so upset at the silly details I miss! I had to come up with another option though, so I downloaded Mapmyrun on my phone. I didn’t have an arm band for my phone so I knew that I was going to be carrying it but I had to have something to pace me.

I met up with the girls from Shelby doing the full, and we chatted and stretched. It was getting close to time and they were waiting on 3 other girls, so I decided to go ahead to the start, and I got there right in time. I walked straight to the 3:20 pacing group, realized my vest was too much for the weather, took my bib off frantically switching it to my long sleeve shirt, called Tanner to come get the vest, took the picture above, uploaded it to facebook (ha), and the gun fired. I was OFF and no time for nerves. SWEET! 

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There’s so much to share so I’m going to go mile by mile in groups.

Mile 1-I came out of the gate flying. I knew this was stupid, but my body felt SO good. I caught up with the 3:10 pacing group. I knew that wouldn’t last.

Mile 2-I was STILL going way too fast, and I told myself I was an idiot if I didn’t slow down. Mapmyrun told me my average pace was 7:05 so I was like UM NO.

Mile 3-I slowed down to 7:28 and was like “this feels so slow. What is going on?”

Mile 4-A bike pulls up beside me and says “I was told to come find you.” And in my head, I thought that again I had done something silly and that I was going to be DQ’d for something. She says “I came to inform you that you are in third place overall for the females in the marathon right now.” I laughed so hard, and asked her if I could take a video of her saying it because I wanted to savor this moment that wouldn’t last long. I told her I was going way too fast for me, and that I’m sure I was going to have to back off soon.

Mile 5-9- We chatted the whole time. She was so nice (her name was Diana), and she has done some tris in Shelby. I took my first gu starting at mile 5 and slowly took it over those 4 miles. My hands were really cold, and she helped hold my other gus. I texted the video to Tanner and my mom because what else do you do during a marathon, right? I was holding steady at like 7:05-7:09 but progressively getting madder at myself. I slowed it down from 7-9 to 7:20 pace. 

Mile 10-I knew I was going to see Tanner in one mile so I just didn’t think and ran. I somehow managed to turn my sound off at this point to which I couldn’t figure out how to know my splits at this point so I told myself I was screwed and just to run what I could and enjoy the race.

Mile 11-I see Tanner (which is where this awesome picture came from), and my friend Justin was joining up to pace me, or rather to keep me company. I told him I was third overall women (which he didn’t believe at first LOL) and that I wanted to try to hold that if at all possible. We settled in at 7:15 with ease. My times from Mile 10-13 were on the dot! I took another gu at mile 12.

Mile 14-Another friend, George joins up with us! YAY! More friends! I was so happy to be running with them. George’s watch had stopped working that morning, my phone had stopped telling me pace, and Justin didn’t have anything. HAHAHA! We just ran but I could tell it was fast, and when I looked down once at my phone (it didn’t tell me mile splits but I could see pace in the present moment) and it said 6:56. I was like HOLD UP FELLAS! That mile was 7:03, but still felt great. 

Justin-selfie taker George-to the left clearly not interested in our selfie ;)

Justin-selfie taker George-to the left clearly not interested in our selfie ;)

Miles 15-18 were a blast! There were some other guys that asked to pace with us, and I was like on top of the world with running. I really did yell out “WHO LOVES RUNNING” and no one answered me so I said “I LOVE RUNNING!” hahaha!

The crowd…I just can’t even explain. I’ve never experienced being at the front of the race, and so everyone is very fresh to cheering. They scream like CRAZY for you. George and Justin kept having a ball with the crowds, and were like pointing at me and telling them I was in third. HAHA! I was still holding 7:10-7:20 pace with ease. I took another gu at mile 17. Gus were not tasting good at this point.

Mile 19-20-I just kept running. Justin decided to split off because he didn’t have the endurance built up to finish the rest, and so that left me and George. Those two miles we did at 7:08 and 7:00. How in the world was I still going so fast? I was anticipating the abrupt wall.

Instead of slowing down, I decided to hold what I could. Only 6 miles left right? I can do anything!!! I was on top of the world. I was smiling from ear to ear. I told all the guys, I was in awe I was able to do this.

Mile 21-22- 7:02 and 7:07! My plan was to back off miles 23, 24 then turn the power on the final two miles and do like a 6 min/mile. Haha that didn’t happen!

Mile 23-24, my “backing off” was 7:16 both miles which was not enough.

I decided “what the heck? I’ll turn on the gas anyway! I feel kinda awful but George was encouraging me…I could do this. We were passing so many men! Haha!

Mile 24 was 6:51. DUN DUN DUN….

Coming into mile 25, I hit a wall….hard. George kept saying “This is the times that you’ll never forget. These are the moments that make you a marathoner. See that guy in front of you. You’re going to pass him.” I kept saying “George, you don’t understand. I can’t do this anymore. Something is wrong. I can’t breathe.” But of course gasping in between all of this.

I’ve never felt this before but my chest legit started tightening up. I knew I only had 1 mile left which I had run 25 before, but I had nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was crying and running, which meant even less breathing. George wouldn’t stop, and for some reason that propelled my legs forward…inch by inch. I was almost getting mad at George in my delirium. STOP PLEASE. I CANT.

George: DO YOU KNOW HOW SMALL THE 4TH PLACE TROPHY IS? (haha) IT DOESN’T EXIST. YOU ARE THIRD. YOU ARE GOING TO BE THIRD. PUMP YOUR ARMS TO GAIN MOMENTUM. You’re not stopping!

Diana: In all the times that I’ve escorted someone, I’ve never seen someone so positive and love running so much! This is your time. You’re so close!

That was the longest 1.2 miles of my entire life. I’ve never felt such delirium and pain and inability to breathe. It sounds dramatic, but I’m so serious. HAHA! That mile was 8:34. I have no pictures at this point because I was NOT Smiling! HAHA!

I saw the clock say 3:14. I was crying but smiling. I was like THIS IS IT. MAKE IT IN 3:15 and I started sprinting. Diana (who was still with me on the bike) yells out “YES I KNEW YOU WOULDN’T GIVE UP! YOU GO GIRL! RUN YOUR HEART OUT!”

So I did. I hit the finish at 3:15:20 and started sobbing. I wasn’t even like happy sobbing. I wasn’t hurt sobbing. They asked if I needed the med tent, and I said no. I didn’t understand why I was crying so much but I couldn’t stop. Tanner was on the side, and he hugged me and I just cried into his chest. HAHAHA!

I swear I’m not a drama queen, but these marathons will do you in when racing them for time. 

Of course at that point, the pain in my legs set in. I always get that. They start aching so bad that it makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I elevated my legs to let the blood flow back in and Tanner gently massaged them so that helped a lot. I laid there feeling really nauseous and pale for about 30 minutes until I started feeling normal again. 

Real cute I know ... look at that salty face?! YUM!

Real cute I know ... look at that salty face?! YUM!

It was then time to wait on the other girls to cross that finish line. My mom was tracking them, and so we knew they would be coming in around 4:30! It was so so fun to watch all of them cross that finish line…some with smiles…some completely exhausted…even more with smiles! I just love marathons. I love how they change people’s lives…always. 

The thunder road course is very challenging. It's full of rolling hills. I'm very used to that with living in Shelby, but the final two steep climbs of miles 21 and especially 25 were really really tough.  I don't mind hills and a good challenge, but this definitely was just that. It's known to be a tough course, so I'm glad to have conquered it.

Then, it was time for the award’s ceremony. The top 3 placings in men and women got a REALLY nice frame that says our place with a coffee mug! YAY!

I tried to keep this short, but of course that didn’t happen. I just have one thing to say …

You will never run a marathon that doesn’t absolutely change you from the inside out. You will never look back on finishing a marathon and think it wasn’t worth it. You will probably not see someone who loves marathons more than me. I’m in this for life, and I’m officially on a road to chase sub 3! Up next: Charleston Marathon Jan 16! 9 weeks until go time! :) But for now, I'm gonna go lay on my couch and watch season 2 of Scandal on Netflix! K BYEEEE! <3

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Beach2Battleship Half Ironman Recap

So, I feel like I can't walk away without a good story to tell! It's a little more difficult to write this recap, but I will say that my wrist feels better than it did yesterday which almost makes me think that it is not in fact broken, but I'm going to figure out today! 

Recaps are always long so let's get started. 

Beach2Battleship aint called a battleship for nothin ;) Really though, it's so organized, the volunteers are absolutely amazing, and I've heard nothing but amazing things about this race. The temperature was wonderful with a high of 70 (which made for a chilly morning but a great afternoon). 

Swim (39:18)

We swam in a channel so there was a current which is nice. We took a bus from the bike start to the swim start at about 7:45am but my wave didn't start until 9am. I think those are the worst moments to be honest because I had to leave Tanner and just stand in the cold for an hour until we get in the cold water. I was like dreading the cold water but it turned out to be warmer than standing outside. Wet suits are cool. It's like the water activates them kinda then it like suctions to your skin and keeps you warm. This was my first time in a  wetsuit so I was a little concerned about range of motion is my shoulders and I felt very claustrophobic but I got over it.

Before the swim started everyone kept commenting that there were white caps and choppiness like crazy. THEY WERENT LYING! It didn't make me panic but like when we would come up for a breath, you get hit in the face with a salt water wave. I swallowed more salt than I ever want to again. We all started treading water and actually said a few times "What do we do?" because forward motion seemed difficult. I started doing back stroke. This was able to move me pretty quickly until a wave would hit my back and I'd swallow more. Once we got to a certain point (probably 1200m) in, the waves subsided which was nice. I swam by my watch 2300m when 1.2mile is only 1970m so I don't even know if my time actively reflects my speed but nevertheless, race day they don't care your route, it's when you touch the dock. 

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Transition 1 (7:32)

I always love T1! You're not tired. You're feeling awesome knowing you got the swim done (which is really the easiest in my opinion-not that I'm the fastest but it's just not that hard) and you know you have a long day ahead. When you get on the dock, the volunteers are great. They unzip your wet suit and then you move to the wetsuit strippers (I wore my tri suit under), and so they help you get it off fast. If not, it would probably take a lot longer. We had to run a pretty good distance to our bikes, and I took my time making sure everything was good to go. I was able to give my swim stuff to Tanner as he waited for me on the perimeter. I put on a long sleeved shirt because riding has the wind and I get cold. SO SO THANKFUL I did this. I ate a sandwich really fast (I struggle to eat on the bike) and drank some water.

BIKE (4:25:32)

The bike time is so clearly not accurate of what I can actually do. I expected around 3:40 as I know I can hold about a 15mph easily.

Miles 1-15

I started out way too strong going like 20mph. The bike is my weakness and I was embarrassed seeing everybody fly by me on their crazy expensive bikes looking all professional. I had too much of an ego and my legs were immediately on fire and by mile 5, my upper traps were already hurting (I am going to figure this out because its not normal). They say this bike is 100% flat. I'm going to tell you thats a lie. Haha! It's not that it's hard at all but unless I hallucinated, we seriously did an uphill for 10 miles. It was not steep at all so I guess like a flat hill, but honestly I'd rather do a hill and get it over with. By mile 10, I knew it was going to be a long day with my traps. They were already cramping (UH).

Mile 15ish, I decide to stretch them. I hold with one arm and stretch behind my back. I do the next. I decide to stretch my neck down, so I look down at my tire while stretching my upper back area. I look up. A cone is left of the ones in center. I'm literally RIGHT on it. I know I can't go right or left, so in my head I almost envisioned myself in a car and thought "hopefully I can just run right over it" (don't judge my split second thoughts HA!). Because I hit it dead center, my bike and I went flying into the air. I just remember being so high and thinking how I've never broke anything and was so scared about how bad it was going to hurt to break all these bones. I actively made the decision (which tells how high I was) to aim the side of my arm. I can't really figure out how I landed but my elbow hit first, ripping my shirt (which I'm convinced saved me from much more road rash) and then I rolled. I immediately started screaming, and literally within 2 seconds people were carrying me to the side of the road out of the bike lane. I remember thinking "WHY ARE YOU MOVING ME? WHAT IF MY NECK IS BROKEN?" hahah!!

Things got crazy. They were shouting CALL 911 and I was like NO PLEASE CALL MY HUSBAND FIRST! So, they did. My volume must have been down, so they couldn't hear him. They hand the phone to me. I'm like almost yelling/crying frantically that I think I've broken my elbow and wrist (couldn't move either one that moment). I couldn't hear him. The lady says "Paramedics will come and then we will call you back." On the other end, from Tanner's side, he was upset because he didn't understand why we couldn't hear him and then "she hung up on me while my wife just had an awful crash and I can't get to her." 

Sooooo, anyway..... at that point, things started getting fuzzy. I went out for about 2 seconds and came right back to consciousness, and then got really nauseous so I turned on my side and threw up a little (didn't have anything on my stomach really). We waited a long while there until paramedics arrived. Those bikers (2 women and one man) were angels. They sacrificed their time to stay with me because they saw the entire crash. I'm forever grateful. 

When they got there, I sat up because the other people didn't want me to in fear I'd hurt something. I was feeling a lot better by that point. I still hadn't moved my arm, and he asked if I had range of motion. I moved my arm, and it went out just fine (HA). I was like "Oh wow!" Then he says "So are you going to finish?" HAHAHA!! I was like Uhhh I didn't know that was an option. Let me call my husband and ask. 

I called Tanner. He immediately said "You're gonna finish right? You'll be so upset later. Is your legs okay? Is your bike okay?" So, I was like "Well I GUESS IM FINISHING!!!"

I sent Tanner this picture and said "I'm a badass and not stopping without a fight" #ImCrazyIKnow They made me sign paperwork, and then the bike crew came. My handlebars were really screwed up so they bent them back right, checked all my gears and said it was good if I was.

I picked up a cliff bar that had flown out of the packaging, been run over and ate it off the interstate. I had lost all of my food in the crash and it was delicious. 

Miles 15-35

The first few miles were scary. The orange cones were still there and haunting me. I was shook up. I wanted to make it to the next aid station before I stopped to tell Tanner I was okay after riding but after 20 miles it didn't come. My wrist had started throbbing, I had road rash on my right hand so I was relying entirely on my upper hands which puts pressure into my traps again. The bike hates me. I'm determined to figure this out. I stopped to stretch and eat something. I called Tanner, and told him I'd made it 20 more miles and was fine. 

Miles 36-46

These were fine. I was really hungry so I was trying to eat but I knew I just needed to tough it out until the next station. That was mile 46. I stopped (again uh I hate stopping) to eat and pee. I ate two bananas and a cliff bar. I couldn't get my tri suit off with my bloody elbow and wrist so I had to get a girl to help me to even be able to go to the bathroom. I didn't really care about my bike time at this point. I just wanted to make it before the cutoff because I had been down so long.

Mile 46-56

Oh, I was so happy. Everything was hurting so bad. When I would try to move anything, everything hurt so I just didn't move. But, I knew I was going to finish at this point because obviously I could run. 

start of the run (all the pain lol)

start of the run (all the pain lol)

Transition 2(2:52)

They have it set up so well. They take your bike for you. They have your bag set up for your running needs, and a changing area. You hand off your bag and are out the door.

Run (1:49)

I have never ran post long rides. I knew what it felt like but not like this. Holy moly. My whole body was like ALERT ALERT! hahah! But, I knew it would go away. There was one of the top guys who had just finished his full bike ride and was so sweet and started chatting with me. He was like "You're such a strong runner. Why are you this late?" That made me feel really good, and I kept up with him for the first mile. Bike must have been his specialty because I was feeling strong and told him I was going to pull ahead after my legs got worked into running.

The run went by in a flash. They have aid stations on every mile. I would just grab like 6 grapes at every stop and one time a pretzel stick. You do 6.5 miles out in this BEAUTIFUL park with over hanging willow trees and then 6.5 miles back. I wasn't trying to make up time because I knew I was so far behind, but just wanted to do what I loved most. I sank into the run going at  a pace that was SO easy for me to maintain. I felt awesome! So many people kept yelling "You look so strong!" "You don't even look tired!!" "You run like a champ" and of course all of those people made it even better. This is a prime example of people having no idea how much of an impact they have on someone. Encouraging words are so amazing during something of this length.

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The final 4 miles, I thought "I've been doing this all day for 7 hours and I only have 30 minutes left. This is awesome!! So, I sped up. Then at 3 miles, I was like "Woah Katie. That was too much" and felt like death so I slowed back down. Haha! At 0.5 miles out, I knew I was finished. I started sprinting for some weird reason. I was done. I started crying then of course. Tanner got an awesome spot and came to pick me up for a hug. I was like NO NO NO, I hurt so bad and medical relief heard that and of course whisked me away. Blah. LOL!

Fun fact: I was 3rd in my age group for the run! HOLLA! (and last on the bike because #duh)

Post Race Clean Up

None of my wounds had been cleaned at this point. My elbow was caked dried blood from hours ago that needed to be cleaned. That was one of the most painful things. I ended up vomiting from pain. My legs were awesome. I hardly felt fatigued but my wrist and elbow was swelling so they gave me ice. 

From there, they had pizza and coke and oreos and goodies. I can't ever eat post race. I always feel nauseous so we just walked back to get my bike at this point.

I was on cloud 9! I didn't care about any pain because I was so proud of myself. I was proud of myself for completing a half ironman but also for pushing through my crash. I know a lot probably think that I'm crazy but finding the depths and capacity of your spirit is like nothing I can explain. Every single time, it leaves you wanting more. Every training moment, every pain in my body was made worth it in those moments. 

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For awhile after, I sadly thought "Maybe I'm just simply not good on the bike and need to give it up :(" I tried all the advice about positioning my body and posture and nothing helped. I'm thinking maybe I need to have some adjustments made to the bike fit (I was fitted but its not bullet proof). I told Tanner "I want to do a full so bad, but maybe I'm not cut out for it." He admitted that I'm going to HAVE to figure this out to be able to do one.

The next morning, I had a change back to my normal spirits (aka I can do anything I set my mind to). I want to do a full next year. I will train appropriately. I WILL figure out the bike. I will spend hours upon hours on this bike to figure out proper posture and fit so I don't have this unnecessary pain. I want to do another half (thinking Raleigh 70.3 in June) before the full which I'm looking at Ironman Oct 9, 2016. They do sell out, but I don't want to sign up just yet. I'm going to focus on my marathon that's November 14 (4 weeks) in Charlotte. I don't expect to PR this race but I wanted to do it. I plan on doing the Charleston Marathon Jan 16 as well which is a more flat race (which I like of course lol)

Hope you enjoyed my dramatic half ironman!! Never underestimate the power of your mind!!!

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Grandfather Mountain Marathon Recap

Is it really time for me to do a recap on this marathon? It's crazy how time works like that. {Warning: recaps are always long}. Tanner tells me that literally every time I'm about to start a race. He always says "You are so nervous but just think, in less than 6 hours, we will be on the way home and it will all be finished and I know you'll complete it." 

This was one of the scariest things I've ever done to be honest. I didn't train a lot of hills to be quite frank, and I had some minor "injuries" going in that I just never mention because I don't want people to think I'm crazy. I was having some serious pain in my achilles and my hip flexor so the week before the marathon, my taper was on the elliptical. I would do the amount of time that it took me to run whatever mileage I had planned (and oh my gosh it was so annoying hahaha). 

Long story short, I get a lot of questions of like "HOW IN THE WORLD?" or "WHY IN THE WORLD?" and honestly, I just don't think. I just do. It's such a simple concept that works so well for me. If anything hard is in my life, to be quite honest, I just push it out of my brain. The night before, we went out to eat and I just pretended it was a normal date night and yea I had waves of butterflies but there's no way I was going to work myself up. That's just too much stress to me. 

Anywho, we were to be at the start at 6:30 so we left the house around 6:10 as we were close but I got to the start line like RIGHT on time but I like it that way. Again, don't think, just do. 

casually applying anti chafing cream and laughing because Tanner decided to document it

casually applying anti chafing cream and laughing because Tanner decided to document it

We were to run around the track twice, and then we head down from the stadium, out to Rivers street, to the Bojangles (for those that know Boone) and then we turned right to go out into the mountains. I geared up for what was going to be a long long day. I turned on an Elevation sermon and that lasted all of like 20 minutes before we went out of signal. I have no music saved on my phone and always just use pandora, so I literally was like "WELP it's me and silence for the next 26 miles." What should I think about? Hmmmm.... 

{{I have no idea why and it's ridiculous but my first thoughts are always my to do list that seems never ending and new business ideas but then I had to be like 'okay NO stop thinking about that' haha}}

The first 13 miles were rolling hills and honestly sometimes the downhills are just as bad and can trash your legs so I took those very carefully. Here is the course map: 

I think because I was like envisioning Mount Everest in my head, I kept expecting the worst. I was like "okay this hill isn't THAT bad" and I just kept saying that to myself. I laughed at mile 7 because literally everyone started walking. I can't walk. I just don't like it and it makes me not want to start back up. However, I had advice from someone who runs ultras and trails that if you flush your legs with lactic acid, then you are going to be walking a lot longer than you want to be from trashing your legs so walk if you have to. So, at mile 7, I walked for maybe 30 seconds as I felt a crazy burn and it was way too early for that. Everyone was walking so I didn't feel bad. From there on out, I didn't walk a single step. Yes, that 13-19 mile incline was shuffle stepped for lack of a better word. People just can't fathom how I ran the entire time, but honestly I just had to dig deep and do like a slow jog/shuffle or I would have felt all the pain {that instead came at the end}. 

Marathons are weird. It was 4 hours alone. I didn't have music. I didn't have signal. I didn't have anything saved on my phone to listen to. It was me, and the mountains, and I can't remember what I thought about. I didn't pray. I didn't think about really anything. The only thing I can remember thinking about is how much I loved running and how much I was weirdly enjoying the hills. It made me feel so powerful and so I would kinda think about other tough marathons, the fact that I could maybe be an ultra runner as I loved the wilderness so much, etc. But, that's about it. 

I found a friend at mile 17-18 so we chatted that mile but there's only so much to talk about however she will be my friend for life. She's been running for decades and this was her 8th GMM. She came up to meet Tanner after the race, and said how my energy kept her alive when she was down. It made my day. I have no idea how but at 18 miles y'all, I was like WOOHOO I COULD RUN FOR DAYS! hahaha! I kept telling myself I was an ultra runner, and that 26 miles was easy peesy stuff....childs play ;) 

At 20 miles, my body always breaks down....always. The glycogen stores are like DONE and the aching sets in. Your body starts saying ALERT ALERT and I'm like "Legs calm down, it's only 6 more miles. Just hush and run." So, one step at a time, I kept shuffling (I seriously would call it a shuffle which is why my time still absolutely baffles me). I genuinely had no idea of my time at all. I thought I was running like 10-12 min miles up these mountain hills. Random: I can't remember exactly what mile but I think it was 16 that they gave us watermelon and it was EPIC. I was like HECK YES BEST MARATHON EVA! 

At Mile 22, you hit the steepest hill of the entire marathon. Like....a climb. I couldn't believe how incredibly steep they expected me to go at 22 miles in. I wasn't even upset about it though. I just was like "Heck yes, I'm about to show this what I'm made of." Everyone started walking. Again, I just couldn't. *Shuffle shuffle* Picture like an old man thats just like taking the tiniest little steps moving forward. That was me up these hills. You would get to a semi flat section, then up up up again. Finally, at 25 miles out, you could hear the bag pipes. The end of the race was at the Highland Games (the largest Scottish games in the US-2nd largest in the world). You turn into the games, and then up this gravel hill and into the stadium. When you do the last 1/4 mile around the track. all of the spectators start cheering for you. Tanner was standing at the top of the gravel hill, and I just started balling. I was like "Tanner it was so hard. I made it. I made it." People probably thought I was crazy. Hahaha! 

The crying moment

The crying moment

When I finished, I had to go to the bathroom and when I got up, I immediately felt really sick. My legs started aching. I don't mean just the general post marathon ache. I mean like "Something is wrong. I need a med tent ache but of course I'll never go to a med tent ache." I told Tanner, and he brushes it off because I really don't think he realized how bad it hurt. We weren't to the marathon tent but I asked if I could just sit down. So we did, and I seriously have never felt so much pain in my life. Tanner said he read about it (of course) that when you are putting forth all of that effort, all the cells in your body are going towards fueling that running and when you are running you are using those toxins that are entering your legs for that exercise. When you stop running, all of the toxins continue flowing into your legs but you aren't able to flush them out because you are stopped. Your body is like over compensating, and it took like 30 minutes until it went away. During this time, I should have been eating but I was in too much pain, so then my blood sugar bottomed. 

I knew exactly what that felt like, and I start slurring my speech and thinking I was going to be one of those stories of the people that die at marathons. I was so confused because I felt so strong on my finish. I started grasping for anything I could get my mouth on. It hit a fudge round first. I lay out on the grass, and Tanner tells this man that my sugar was just low and he said "Get her some peanut butter so she can get some protein." 

1. I did not need protein

2. Peanut butter is a fat source with quite minimal protein.

3. I needed sugar aka carbs.

Now that we've dealt with that comment...moving forward: (ha)

I finally get all this DRAMAAAAA post race settled and Tanner says "I think you might have placed. The women before you were definitely older than you too." I was like "No way Jose. Maybe like 10th if anything." So, he starts asking around to figure out. He comes back smiling, and I said "Did I place or something?" and he holds up one finger. I was like "DUDE SHUT UP. NO WAY!" And he just laughed and said "YEA YOU WERE FIRST!" I said "SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! YOU'RE LYING!" hahaha! I had ZERO expectations for that nor did I ever think that would happen. I was stoked. So, they gave out little glass plagues and I got one! Yay! :) 

To wrap up the day, you have to ride a shuttle back down the mountain. We were up high with no signal, and so I knew my entire family would be anxious to hear from me as well as my friends but I couldn't text anyone as we had no signal. 

I keep getting comments like "You're my hero" or "That's so incredible" or people telling me they "never could" or "aren't good runners" and all I can say is this...Yes. You. Can. 

You absolutely can. I am a firm testament to the fact that when you want it, it's obtainable. You put your head down and you dig deep. Your body WILL NOT stop unless you tell it to. Train. Train slowly. Train consistently. You will get better. Do not tell me you aren't a runner because 4 years ago, I started with a 2 miler gasping for air hating running. One year ago, I would have told you I hated hills with a passion. Two months ago, I would have told you I might not make it to this finish line. I'm not a hero. I simply am someone who refuses to give up. Ever. In anything. I'm a small person and I don't really have the look of someone who is tough. But they just don't know about what goes on in my head. I have been given something from God (because that's the only thing I can come up with) that I just will not stop. Once it's started, it is finished. Life without limits. Never ending passion bleeding through my veins. Shuffle step to the top but you'll have to peel me from the pavement to get me to stop. 

NEXT UP-HALF IRONMAN OCT 17TH with some small races before 

and then hopefully Thunder Road Marathon in November! 

With love and races, 

Katie

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Over the Mountain Tri-Race Recap

I always like to do these race recaps so that I can look back later and see how each one went. It's fun! Today's will explain the full story of what happened! haha!

The distance of this race was Olympic (1.5K swim (~0.9 mile), 45K bike (~27miles), 10K run(6.2miles)! I never made it to my favorite...the run. 

The race started the day before in my opinion. I won't lie. I didn't really train for this...at all. I actually thought it was a sprint tri until like Wednesday and then realized I've be biking 27 miles, not 15. Ha! And swimming almost the distance for a half ironman. I was a little afraid to say the least but I thought I'd at least give it a whirl. 

My bike didn't fit, but Tanner had ordered a new stem. My bike is a knock off, but I was determined to make it work. The day before, I got everything together. If you have done a tri, you know this is a lot. Below, I have listed what I used for each part: 

SWIM
=========

Sunscreen
Flipflops
Cap and Goggles

BIKE
=========

Helmet 
Water Bottle to wash off feet
Socks and Running Shoes (I don't have biking shoes)
Flip Belt (filled with gus/gels/quest bar)
Biking Glasses (to block bugs and sun)
Arm Band + earphones
Towel 
Bike (duh lol)

RUN
=========

Running shoes (remember I already had those on) 
Racing bi 

My race was point to point which made it more difficult. I went to the meeting the Friday before at 6pm to get all of the details. Point to point means that the race doesn't loop back to the same spot, so you have to make sure that you have everything that you need at each spot. I was going to drop my bike off that night, but decided to do it the morning of. I was glad I did that. It gave me things to do that morning which keeps my mind off the nerves. 

We left the house at 6am, took my bike to the end of the swim. There was a marked off area with your number that you could leave your bike and also a trash bag (this bag was for your towel and other belongings that would be taken to the end of the race so you could pick it up and not have to worry with it during the transition). 

You can see the lake in the background. We had to run up this hill after getting out of the water to where our bikes were, and exit there onto the bike course.

Once we got set up there, we headed to the race end. This is where we got our chip that we tied around our ankle. This would track you along the way. This was also where you dropped off your stuff that you would need for the bike to run transition. I had nothing to drop off here though. We headed out to the start of the swim at that point. This was at the dock at Moss Lake. It was so awesome for me to be in my hometown. There were athletes from ALL OVER. Apparently this is a really big race (known for it's hard bike course-WHOMP! haha). We were marked with our numbers, and then could warm up in the water. Personally, I get too cold so I didn't warm up. 

We had waves, and I was in the third wave, indicated by my green cap that they gave us in our packages. My wave started at 8:10, and we swam out to a certain point to the start (because the water was so shallow otherwise) and they blew a horn when we could go. I let everyone swim ahead of me because I knew I would be the slowest swimmer, and didn't want to get kicked. It was my first EVER underwater swim, the first time I had ever swam not in a regular pool, and the first time I had went further than 750meters at one time (in like 8 years). However, I ended up passing people. It still baffles me, and don't know how I did that because I really am a slow swimmer. I kept smelling/tasting exhaust. I realized I was swimming too close to the boats that were meant to be there to guide us to stay on track. I heard someone yell "Katie, you are going so crooked" so obviously someone knew me in the boat but I still have no idea who it was! HAHA! 

I started doing this thing where I would swim and then look up every minute. It was annoying but I could NOT stay straight to save my life and this helped me. One time in the water, I started panicking and breathing really fast then realized I was not even tired but more like hyperventilating in fear of having so far to go. I relaxed and finished with ease. Once I relaxed, I just loved it. It was so soothing, but so cool knowing I was in a race. I didn't think about what was ahead and just did each stroke. I wasn't tired at all getting out of the water so maybe I could have pushed more? 

There were really pointy rocks, so that's why we look like we do! haha!&nbsp;

There were really pointy rocks, so that's why we look like we do! haha! 

I then headed over to my bike. I really did not care about time, so I took my time drying off, putting on my socks and shoes and getting my nutrition in. Then, I headed out.

When I got on the bike, I face timed my mom! HAHA!! I know, I'm ridiculous but it wasn't a race to me. I just wanted to have fun. We only chatted for like a minute but I wanted her to know I was done with the swim, moving into the bike. That's when the awfulness began. Y'all...this. course. It was literally 99% uphill, and I mean STEEP. The only parts that weren't uphill were the downhills on the other side, but at the bottom of the downhills was the next steep climb. I moved a snail's pace. It was pitiful. I didn't really care, but it was hardly enjoyable to be honest. Haha! The scenery is beautiful but I'm just not an experienced enough biker and my quads were on fire because of all the climbs. I kept asking the volunteers what mile we were on, but they never had a clue. HaHa! I knew when I hit 14 (half way) because it was a water station. So, there was this really really steep hill and I moved up it like probably at approximately 1mph and when I finallyyyyyy got to the top, I felt my handlebars go the complete opposite direction than in front of me. This is why I didn't get hurt. I was going so slow because of the hill right before. 

I had no idea what was happening, but I got off my bike and tried to tighten my wheel. It was my stem that had come loose though. The guy behind me didn't have an alan wrench which was all I needed, and told me I couldn't continue through this steep hills with my bike. I started crying. #hormones #imsuchagirl

Tanner finally caught up to me after 35 minutes of waiting on the side of the road, and he had a wrench. It didn't really matter at that point because even though my bike was fixed, the guy that was with me told me that it would have to be unofficial if I decided to continue on my own. 

I had to take my timing chip back to the start, and get my bag that I had left at the swim finish. It was super anti climatic, and I cried a lot. I'm not even really sure why because it's not like I trained some super crazy amount. I just felt really defeated. I cry on long runs, so I get really emotional about this as I'm really passionate about training. But it's quite comical. Haha! But, then on the other hand, I get over it really quick because I was fine like an hour later. If it had been a marathon or a half ironman, I would still be grieving. 

I learned so so much about tris, and how much I loved it. The reason that I did this race was for the experience, and that's exactly what I had. I was using this as a precursor also to see if I liked it. As much as I didn't love the bike, I know that this is known for a really challenging bike course, and not all races will be this way. I'm fired up and was already researching more tris in my area when I got home. I also know that I need a new bike. I went cheap (really cheap) but I know if I'm going to be serious then I need to invest in a bike and clips. For now, I'm going to just keep training for my marathon in July, and my half ironman in October!

Race recaps are always really long, but I hope you enjoyed it! 

With love and tris,

Katie

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NYC Half Marathon Recap

Normally, I would think that a recap wouldn't be that eventful. This one was a different story.

I have a lot to tell about this half marathon. First and foremost, I ran one day while we were in Europe. I simply say that to show others that honestly, training is wonderful. If you are diligent with training though, it's okay to take a few days off (even a week) and you'll still be okay. You can still run your races. Life is going to happen, so you just gotta roll with the punches. 

The race start time was 7:30, and you were supposed to get there at least 30 minutes early in Central Park. I live in Battery Park on the opposite end of the island so that meant I had to wake up at 5am to be able to get fueled and make it there on time. There were TONS of people going so I had no fear of getting lost (HA!) and I was able to just follow the crowd. We were all searched which I think is great after what happened in Boston. 

I was like RIGHT on time. When I got in line, it was like 10 more minutes until we started running which is how I like it. While you stand there, all you do is get cold and your feet turn to rocks and it's boring and you're nervous so yea. haha! 

I had put my finishing time as 1:35 which was a JOKE to me. I knew I could never finish that fast, however I felt dumb because I was in line with people who could go that fast so I at least wanted to keep up in the beginning. My first mile was 7min 2 seconds. I was like WAIT WHAT? SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! 

I have mapmyrun on my phone so it tells me each split time. Each mile, I was shocked. I never really think about my pace too awful much during a race. I just go! I was like doing a partial jog/sprint and I just knew I was gonna die by mile 10. HA! I knew I was going too fast, but I was just going to see how long I could keep it up. 

The first loop was central park. Tanner and I have run this loop many times on our long runs, and it sucked just as much this time too! HAHA! It's LOADED with hills, but I just focused on those around me and keeping up with them as I knew they probably knew more about what they were doing. The competitor in me could not be left in the dust! HAHA! {{Funny story-I totally read a book by it's cover. This lady like had no shirt on, and I knew she was serious. Only serious runners can not wear shirts in 40 degree weather, so I kept up with her! HAHA!}}

WOOHOO! Times Square running! Haha!! We passed Carnegie Deli and this was Walgreens that I worked at 3 years ago!

WOOHOO! Times Square running! Haha!! We passed Carnegie Deli and this was Walgreens that I worked at 3 years ago!

Mile 6-7 was in Times Square after exiting the park. This was the best part. The energy was INSANE!!! All the lights and all the people! I just couldn't stop smiling and I took a lot of videos that were just terrible so I deleted them. Haha! This is the single reason you should try to do this run because of that mile! SO COOL! I was snapping pictures and not having a care in the world and my split was 6:50! I was so shocked, but excited too obviously. I knew it was gonna get bad past 10 (it did haha). 

I would say it wasn't awful until mile 11. Remember, I'm in training for an ultra. I should be able to easily run 13 miles and I could have, but not at this speed. My body started to crash. I was so jacked up that I hadn't even taken a gu and I took it at that point. I knew it was too late! HAHA! It's so crazy how awful 2 miles can feel. The worst part is when you are not on course. I ALWAYS run the long route, so my GPS on my phone was showing that I was 0.5 mile ahead of what I actually was on the course which for time, is really really frustrating. 

We started through the Holland Tunnel which was fun, and then when we got to the other side, my GPS said "13.1 miles" and gave me my pace so I just took my phone out and stopped the GPS so I could get a real picture of what my half time was even though I wasn't at the finish. I wanted to know my true speed. 

That's not my official time though. My official time was 1:38. I know everyone is like "but that's awesome too" and I get that but it took my average pace from 7:05 to 7:30 and no matter your speed, if your average pace is decreased by 25 seconds per mile based on the fact that you ran 14 miles versus the routed 13.1 then it just stinks a little. OH WELL!!!!! I'm so proud of myself nevertheless!!!!! I'm competitive, what can I say? HAHA! 

When I hit the finish line, I really thought I might pass out. My legs were completely numb (like tingling) and I had this wave of nausea hit me and you know when you can't see, and you think "oh lord, I'm about to go." This has never happened to me before, and it should have been a sign of my day to come (which was miserable). My friends came to watch me which was absolutely so exciting for me. It seriously meant so much but they had to fight crowds to get down to me so I waited there for about 20 minutes on them to get there. They had made signs-so so cute!!!

I had this little thing called DEHYDRATION! I had drank a lot the day before, but obviously not enough and I hadn't supplemented electrolytes. I know some people may think this is stupid but honestly, I run these distances and don't do this stuff. I thought I would be fine. But normally, I don't run them at 7min miles so that was the difference. If you have never experienced severe dehydration, I wouldn't recommend it. Your gut wants water and starts to pull from everywhere. It feels like you have taken 10 laxatives. It hurts so so bad. So of course, this made me not want to eat. I wanted to go out to TJMaxx so we left, and while we were there it kept getting worse and worse. I didn't know what to do because I was out already and I was afraid to leave in fear I was going to pass out. My speech started slurring and we realized I was experiencing serious blood sugar plummeting and had to get food fast!! We got home and I got a banana in me, and like IMMEDIATELY felt better. My stomach was still in so much pain but I forced down a chocolate muffin. 

The rest of the day was terrible pain and nausea and blood diarrhea. I have learned my lesson!!! FUEL AND HYDRATION ARE SO VERY IMPORTANT AND CAN'T BE FORGOTTEN!!! 

Back to the half though, it was an incredible experience. Every race I do leaves this imprinted memory with me forever. I love it!! I officially love racing and I can't wait to do more and more!!! There is absolutely nothing like crossing that finish line! If you can get into this half, DO IT!! It's one of the best! 

With love and half marathons, 

Katie


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Philadelphia Marathon Race Recap

I'm so excited that I officially get to do a marathon race recap that I actually ran! 

It's so cool to actually say I'm a marathoner now. Man, I just can't even describe it. I've said I wanted to ran one my entire life and now I have and it's just .... surreal. 

I had a friend who equated it to childbirth (stick with me), and it's so true. In the middle of labor, you are probably thinking how awful and painful it is and that this will be your last child and then when you see that baby, all the pain is forgotten and all you can focus on is how much you love the baby. A marathon is the same way in that at about mile 20-26 you are asking God why in the world he would let you do this to yourself, but then when you cross the finish line, it's everything you could have dreamed and more. I'm addicted, and this is only the beginning. I'm going to be running these things for the rest of my life. I wanna be like 95 running a marathon.

This was mile 13 right after the halfway point when I was going 7:38 pace. I couldn't believe I felt good doing this pace but I did so I just kept going. So, let's begin: 

The start of the race is a gorgeous experience. All of the runners are corralled into their different areas ( I was in the black area). I was trying to look around and see someone that I thought looked experienced (such as a man that had on an Ironman finisher shirt on) and get behind them. The sun was just coming up, and I just took some deep breaths and prayed that my foot would not hurt ( I sprained a week and a half out) and that I would just finish. I had no expectations of time. I wanted that originally but I let it go because I didn't even know if my foot was going to let me finish. God had other plans... 

My feet felt like rocks for the first two miles because I had gotten stagnant in the morning, and it was so cold. I've never run on frozen feet so it was a weird sensation. At mile 2, I got a sharp pain in my foot and thought "Please no! Not this soon...." Tanner told me he was going to be at mile 6. I was looking for him and the roads had some dips in them just from wear and tear, and at mile 5, I rolled my ankle. I yelled a cuss word (sorry, it happened) but I was fine. It just scared more more than anything. 

Tanner jumped on the course at mile 6, hilariously, and ran with me for a minute asking me if I was okay and I told him that I was in pain but was just going to get comfortable with that level of pain and hope it didn't get worse. He told me my pace was fast and just to be careful with my pacing (he totally thought I would burn out lol). Shoot, I did too.

This course was mostly flat, but there were tons of little hills the first half and one massive hill at mile 10. I don't know why, but the way that my foot was in that position felt really good so I passed SO many people on the hills. I was like full steam ahead and then you have the down side once you get up the hill so then you are cruising. I went 7:24 that mile. In retrospect, #rookiemistake because it made me super winded for a good bit. However, I'm SO thankful that I was speedy in the beginning to make up for my ending, but it's also a catch 22 because maybe I hit the wall at the end because I went fast in the beginning 18, but who knows. It's all a learning game.

Mile 9-13 were fun just going through the city and people cheering on all the sides. It makes the time go by so fast, so I really don't remember much during this time. I was anticipating Tanner being at mile 13, so I just looked forward to that. He spotted me and yelled, and was able to get the pictures of me running. The picture below is hilarious. I felt awesome during this time. My foot pain was still the same, but I realized that it was probably going to stay about the same and I could deal with that.

Miles 13-16, I felt strong. I could tell that the aching in my legs was starting but it was fine and I was able to keep pace. My pace was all over the place in the beginning, and that's just inexperience in my opinion so I found a lady that I could tell has run many marathons and was looking at her clock so I knew I could pace behind her. After following her for about a mile, I let her know that I was pacing with her and I was a marathon newbie and if it was okay. She was the sweetest lady and encouraged me so much that I was doing incredible for my first marathon. If you look at my splits above, this is when I was the most consistent. There was another man that was running with us. We passed each other like 15 times during the race going back and forth, and ended up finishing basically at the same minute and it was super cool to bond with these people through the pain that was about to come.

Mile 16-18, I was just thinking how I was about to reach the point that I had never run before, and that scared me. That was basically my thoughts for the entire 2 miles.

Mile 18 was fine, but I lost pace with her. I couldn't really keep up, and I wanted to keep a pace that would allow me to finish. I told her my legs were aching really bad, and she said to take another gu so I did at the next water station. The issue was, Gatorade is normally given first then water. This station was different and they were all mixed, so I missed the water. I was honestly so upset because gu makes you super thirsty, so you will see my time was 8:06 this mile. This is where the pain started that I wasn't prepared for, and have never experienced. 

Mile 20-22, I would like to call the lost, dark miles. My pain in my legs was so awful, and it messed with my mind so much that I was like "I LITERALLY JUST CAN'T EVEN" #whitegirlprobz 

I decided I would walk for just a second to get my feet back, and so I did and this girl named Katilin that goes to UNC Med school (I found this out as we were running together), yells at me "COME ON COME ON, YOU'RE IN LINE FOR BOSTON. DONT' STOP. 6 miles, you can do this"

Want me to tell you my real thoughts? 

1. "Girl, I'm running a marathon here, can I have a hot second to walk" (Remember, my mind is unclear in these moments)

2. "I know I'm tougher than you, so why are you yelling at me?" (I'm so dang competitive, it's embarrassing)

3. "If you only knew about my foot you would think I'm less of a loser"

4. "I would never yell at someone I didn't know in a race."

5. "You are a God sent. Let's just freakin do this"

So, then we continued. I told her I was going to lose pace with her because I just didn't want to hold her back. That was at about 23.

Mile 23, there was a girl that had a sign "Make these last three miles your b***" and admitably, it inspired me. hahaha! 

THREE MILES. I AM GONNA FREAKIN MAKE BOSTON. GLORY TO GOD. SERIOUSLY! I knew by my time, as long as I didn't bonk, start walking and just kept moving, I would make it.

I must have gotten faster because I ran into Kaitlin again at mile 24, and she was like "Oh thank goodness, I needed some inspiration right now" and so we ran together some more. 

At 1.5 miles out, my phone said I was at 25 miles. I knew that I had run the long portion of the race or something and was confused on why but didn't care because either way, I was so close. You'll see I ran 0.5 mile further which actually added 4 minutes onto my time, but whatevs! haha

I hit the 25 mile mark by their standards, and I was like literally gritting my teeth. The people on the sides were saying things like "Katie, you are almost there. Don't give up now" My entire body felt like it was on fire, and my calves were like locking up. I had NOTHING in the tanks...at all. I ate some more candy (I ate lots of candy during the race and 3 gus).

I saw a clock that said 3:31 and I was 0.4 mile away from the finish from what I could tell. I started to panic. I did NOT work this hard to miss Boston ( I was so just delusional at this point because I KNEW that the clock was not right for me because I had started like 5 minutes after the guns went off just from the amount of people at the start and they clock that ). But, nevertheless it lit a cannon under me. I can't describe the pain but I was sprinting. I can't wait to see my finisher picture because that's when the tears began. 

I looked at my phone and Tanner was FREAKING OUT through text because he had gotten the text that I made Boston with a time of 3:27:53. It took me a long time to get to him because I had to walk through tons of people, and my walk was more....a waddle. This race official asked me if I was okay because I probably looked like I was dying as that's how I felt but I was crying with joy so he was like "woah, crazy lady on deck"

The best thing about this race was that normally I have recollections of all the thoughts that went through my mind and I have tons of topics that I cover in my head from my to-do list to my goals in life to prayers just because you get bored and pass the time, but this was different. I have no memories of thoughts other than mileage thoughts, calculations of where water stations are, calculations of if I was on track to make Boston, calculations of when I would see Tanner next, or calculations of how many minutes I could spare in the end if I lost steam.

I've never been so proud of myself in my life, and can't wait to do it again. Spoiler alert: Tanner and I are thinking about doing a 30 miler through the Adirondack Mountains on April 25th, his 27th birthday. We just want to finish so walk some, run some, and become ultra marathoners together! 

I'm hoping to run NYC Marathon next year, I'm looking into doing probably about 3 marathons next year (crazy I know). I have a half marathon scheduled for January, and in the meantime, you know I'll be lifting like crazy too!!! I love this life, and wouldn't have it any other way. My heart is so full.

With love and love of marathons,

Katie

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