Monday, April 11, 2011

26.2 miles later

Just in case you have not been keeping up with my blog as of late, let me fill you in on the excitement in my life.  I have been training for a marathon.  I (finally) ran the marathon!  I give myself a B-.  My B goal was to run 4 hours (my American partner totally ran 4:00:21 – you go girl!).  My C goal was less than 4:38.  I was closer to the B goal than the C goal, hence the B-. 

Let me sum up the marathon for you.  The first 13 miles (or 21 km) were wonderful.  The birds were singing, the sun was shining, I was running, I was happy, my running partner and I were chatting.  Life was good.  Maybe we went out a little too fast in our excitement…but life was good.  I was eating my gu, I was a happy camper.
I had one not three
Then we got to mile 14, I was like, “I am feeling good” I am going to speed up a little.  STUPID!  Note to self: next time I say this during mile 14 of a marathon, don’t speed up.  Wait a couple of miles.  Miles 14-18 were pretty blissful.  I was running by myself, but still birds singing, cherry blossoms blossoming, I was still feeling good.  Then I got to mile 18 (30 km) aid station.  I walked so that I could start in on my second gu and some water.  Then the 4 hour pace group passed me.  I was like, bah start running.  Then my running partner caught up to me.  At this point, we were still on pace to hit 4 hours (Thank you Garmin for being awesome like that).  I honestly do not really remember kilometers 31-35.  What I do remember is that I thought I was going to die.  I seriously thought my legs were falling off.  I was in agony to say the least.  I had hit the wall.  I remember at one point looking over (I think I was attempting to jog at this point) and seeing that the curb was unusually high…it looked like the perfect place for my derriere (um, I always thought that derriere was spelled dairyair until 5 seconds ago)   I really, really, really wanted to sit down.  I even stopped running so I could stare at the curb (I tried to look like I was stretching or something other than dying).  I thought to myself, “If I sit down, I won’t have to keep running.”  It was the most beautiful and most appealing thought in the world to me.  I knew eventually someone (a.k.a my Amazing Husband) would find me.  But then I also realized that I would not finish the marathon.  The first thought that came to my mind was, “If you can survive uprooting your life and living in Korea for 7 months, you can run for one more hour Alissa Jo!”

And then

Jesus came (I thought I was going to be at the pearly gates soon after this moment….I was like, “take me now Jesus!”) 

 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” 

I sang the Philippians 4:13 song (from the Donutman) in my head.  I started walking.  I sang the song again and I started running, jogging.  I sang the song again and kept running jogging.  The song was on repeat in my head.

I do distinctively remember getting to the water station at 35 km.  I finished off my gu and started chugging water and Gatorade.  My goal at this point in time was to finish.  Nope, actually, my goal was just to make it to the next aid station for more water and Gatorade.  As soon as I left one station, I would start searching the horizon for the next one.  
Eating chocolate with electrolytes
 To make this long story a tiny bit shorter, let’s just say that I finished.  Finally.  4:14:something. I placed 29th out of 65 women that ran the full marathon.  As soon as I crossed the finish line, I found my amazing husband.  He had some Clif shot blocks for me.  (Note to self, do not eat shot blocks after the next marathon).  For whatever reason, I felt horrible after running and the shot blocks left a weird taste in my mouth…like I was going to upchuck.  So I did the logical thing, I laid down and went to sleep using my backpack as a pillow.  An hour later I awoke to the tent around me being taken down, so we moved to a different spot and I slept for two more hours.  I am not sure how many people lie on the ground and sleep for three hours after a marathon, but you should try it, it really refreshes you.  (and takes away the upchuck sensation in your stomach).

Training for and running a marathon changed my life (sounds clich√© maybe, but true).  I never thought I would find a running partner in Korea.  I did.  I never thought I would run 50 miles a week after college.  I did.  Or do 18-20 mile long runs.  I did.  I never thought I would run a marathon.  I did.  I can all things through Christ who strengthens me!
Marathon running buddy (before)
Usually when I do not hit my time in a race, I get pretty disappointed.  I think it is a natural reaction, but honestly, I was okay with it.  My identity and self-worth is not in the time on the clock at the finish line.  There is this great song that I love to listen to on a nice day while driving with the windows down (not that I do that much driving now days…).  Anywho, here are some of the lyrics: I am not the shoes I wear, I am not the clothes I buy, I am not the house I live in, I am not the car I drive, I am not the job I work, you can’t define my worth by nothing on God’s green earth. my identity is found in Christ, it’s found in Christ.  I love this song!

For now, I am hanging up my running shoes....for an entire week!  I am going to let my body rest and recover and then start training for another race.  I am not sure the distance or the place...but I will race again!

Do you have any accomplishments in your life that you never thought you would obtain?


  1. Proud of you, Alissa! Great job!

  2. Thanks Liz! Good luck on Boston! You will rock it!!!!!!!!