I Ran a Half, But Finished a Full

So I did something totally crazy this past weekend – I ran the Honolulu Marathon. Well, I finished the Honolulu Marathon. Because, to be perfectly honest, I did not run the whole thing. This was my second full marathon, all previous races of both half and full being at Disney World, but this was one of the absolute hardest, and my last no matter what. Because let’s be honest, 26.2 miles is just too far for this girl.

Signing up for this race was sort of a last minute decision and done to encourage me to add more cardio to my workout routine. I have rather poor self initiating skills, and I figured that if I was going to run a full marathon, I would have to train and therefore have to start running more often. It was a brilliant plan. With two small drawbacks. The first was that I only gave myself one and half months to train, and the second was that I would have to run marathon at the end of it.

It was effective though. I started running five to six times a week, going pretty far distances each time. The farthest I ran was about 12 miles and felt very comfortable and just fine with that. I had been running five miles every single day when I was really good about working out and felt that I was going to do just fine. I was half right. Literally.

So just to set the stage, the buses from the Zoo to the starting point started at 2 am and being the crazy punctual person I am I insisted on getting there at 2:15 and my wonderful husband insisted that he drive me. I tried to stop him so he wouldn’t have to get up that early, but he said it was no problem. So the night before I went to bed super early, cuddled my dogs, and passed out. The next morning, we got up, I actually drove and we got to the zoo right when I wanted to. He wished me luck, and I boarded the bus where I was quickly surrounded by about fifty Japanese dressed in different Santa outfits. No lie. I swear, that whole bus was me and Japanese Santas. It was quite the way to start.

The race started at five am with impressive firework display (just one though, as opposed to for each group like Disney does), and we were off. And boy were there a lot of us. I heard there were around 26,000 participants and boy did it feel like it at times. Now, I’m not a runner by any means, but I have completed four other races and one of the biggest problems is always the people going slower hanging on the left instead of moving to the right. And man, was that the problem here. I could not believe how many people were just walking on the far left side instead of moving over. I certainly wasn’t running at an incredible pace by any means, but I was consistently running and spent a great deal of energy having to slow down, find a chance to go around, and then speed back up.

We got lightly drizzled on at one point but for the most part it was lovely weather. Remember that drizzle though. It will play a vital part in the outcome of this story. One of the greatest moments of the Disney races, in my opinion, is coming onto Main Street and the huge line of cheering supporters and the castle in the background. I have cried every time and I still cry just thinking about it. It is the most amazing thing ever. But I’m not gonna lie, running up a hill and seeing an overlook over the beautiful Hawaiian waters and hearing a traditional drum group was a pretty close experience.

I was starting to slow a little, my knees are definitely not fans of hills at all, but I hit that 13.1 mark feeling good. I felt like I had accomplished something impressive. My legs felt good, though maybe a little sore. And then it hit me I had to do it all over again. And then around mile 15, everything fell apart. The front part of my shoes are that mesh material so that they are lighter and can breathe. However, because of the rain, this is also meant that I now had wet socks. And this led to blisters forming on the bottom of my foot, around the ball area, which started causing me a large amount of pain at this part. Now I know myself, and I know that I reach a point where if I stop, I won’t be able to get going again. This happened during my first marathon which I proudly proclaim I finished by trudging, but the point is I did not stop moving. I made the wrong choice in this marathon though in that I started walking. And that was it. It was nearly impossible to get my legs to start running, even trudging, again. I referenced bad knees before and they started bothering me. And then at mile 19, I felt a muscle pull from trying to compensate and move differently because of the blisters on my feet. And then I stopped. Fully stopped. Pulled over and sat down. Just for a minute, thinking maybe this will help. It did not. Getting back up was difficult, and getting going, even walking was incredibly difficult. There was a great deal of crying. I’m not proud – there was whimpering and tears.

I texted my husband around mile 20 to say that I was going to be at least an hour later than I had originally thought and that, oh yeah, there is a good chance I am going to just die right here. He got me through it though. Sending texts and voice messages of encouragement. I continued to stop a few times every mile until mile 24 when I told myself I was too close to finishing to just give up at this point and that I was not allowed to stop one more time. Which I didn’t do. I walked, but darn it, I did not stop until about 26.1 to see my husband who was waiting for me with a smile, a hug, and a big swig of juice. And then I finished. Once more in tears, but different tears than my first race. I was so grateful to be done. So happy to be able to sit down soon. And boy was I in a lot of pain.

It took me a full hour longer than I had originally planned, but it is one of my most impressive and saddest finishes. I am sure that training for longer would have helped in that, well obviously I would be better trained, but also I would have less weight as I am carrying a solid extra forty pounds. And then knowing that the main reason I had problems was because of the blisters was also disappointing – I could have done better. But I finished. And we could get all philosophical and compare the race to life, or to getting through a rough time, but honestly, I finished a marathon, and that is enough for me at this time. Cause let’s honest, it is kinda cool.

So yeah. I have completed two marathons and that is good enough for me. I felt so good at the half that I am thinking about just doing those from here on out. And maybe working on improving my pace and time, but honestly, with my bad knees, there is only so fast I can go before I hurt. But today, the day after the race, I limp with pride. I stretch and groan with satisfaction. I hobble with humility! And I spend most of the day downstairs, cause going up stairs is not an option right now. But I look at that medal and I know I earned it. So it will have its own pedestal in my corner of the sky.


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