This has been one transformative year! I didn´t mean to leave the blog stranded this year, but 2018 kept throwing challenges my way. But I´m happy to report things are looking like they are finally making a turn for the better (fingers crossed)!
Where do I start! In February, which feels like years ago I successfully completed my first marathon. Yeah, a whole 26.effing 2 miles I conquered all on foot! The event I choose to take on was the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA. The setting was everything I love to set my eyes on like ocean waves, surfboards, and a VW bus show during packet pickup. What made it even better was being there with the people I love, my Mom, best friend, cousin and my love of 20 years Chad.
We were all enjoying our time in SoCal, especially since we came from temperatures ranging from zero to five degrees back in the "good life" state. Whoever thought that one up apparently didn't do that in February! The day before the race we did so much sightseeing, I had arrived at the starting line with tired legs. Something that is not recommended, but it happened. I remember being incredibly mind blown that I getting ready to do one of my favorite activities along the ocean in Surf City and it was the dead of Winter!
Since I was off to a rough start before the race started, I set my playlist to some chill beats to make sure I was taking a relaxed pace in the beginning. There were a few things stacked up against me such as tired legs, not fully acclimatized to the warmer weather, and there were a few mild hills. I was under the impression it was flat, but their definition of flat differed from my Midwest version of flat I had envisioned.
I cruised right along at turtle pace because I needed to finish this race. I had way too much training and travel invested not to. But I was also a bit troubled in my mind. Chad did not make it to the race that morning because he felt very ill. Knowing his health history I had been very concerned, but he insisted he was fine but could not make it. This was very sad and disappointing for both of us. He had been to most of my races, and he had been looking forward to hanging out in HB while I ran for as long as I had trained. He sent me encouraging texts through the run, and I also kept asking him how he was. He merely said hurting, but I´ll be fine and would send something encouraging like a good job! Or you got this!
It was a long journey home traveling with someone that is so ill. He was in such bad shape, the airline ticket agent gave us all TSA Precheck. But we did finally make it home, which meant off to the hospital where we found out he only had maybe 6 months but probably closer to 4 to live, and ended up being around 2. Looking back, it was one of the longest darkest 2 months I had ever spent.
But the good visits are fond memories and goodbyes will always hold a special place in my heart. I went to one of his paracentesis procedures, and as he was being wheeled around, he would tell the nurses I ran a marathon. He made it seem like it was a big deal, but I know the pain he endured by far exceeded my finishing a marathon in 6 hours.
A full marathon is no joke, it´s so far, such a long trip and words just cannot describe the feeling of crossing that finish line. But after hitting most of the aid stations for gels, and sports drinks along with a shot of beer around mile 22 or so from the tailgaters at the beach I finished! It´s kind of a shock when you reach the finish line, maybe you get an extra dose of endorphins that rush in once your body stops and mind processes you are done. I'm not sure what exactly happens but is so surreal like a massive, slowest yet fast rush you could ever feel. It's intense but very short-lived, although you do ride the afterglow endorphins aka "runners high" for a while longer.
The things a marathon and training will teach you will change your life forever. You get into a place in your mind where you are nothing, just a being floating across the earth with your feet. It´s a form of ego death if you will. Sadly but also grateful for this marathon timing that prepared me to deal with one of the most significant losses of and transitions of my life. Chad passed away on April 12th after a 7 year battle with liver disease and a struggle with addiction that nothing could change.
I wouldn’t wish this bittersweet marathon experience upon my worst enemy, but it's the cards I was dealt so I had no choice but to face the tragedy, survive and come out stronger counting my blessings.
What did this teach me?
1. Time passes quickly, cherish the present because soon all you will have is a memory.
2. Life knocks you down, but you'll stand up on a stronger foundation.
3. Change always happens, adapting is not easy but once accepted is the best thing for your peace of mind.
4. But there are some things you can never change.
5. Running a marathon will change you because you have so much time to yourself in training. It will not be easy but you will get through it, and it's the best feeling in the world!
I'd love to hear about your marathons, (running or non-running related) that changed you this year!
And I am going to be rolling out some new things on here to help you run further and stronger in races and life. Be sure to hit join so you don't miss out!