When my friend, Melinda, convinced me to try cross country at McLoughlin Junior High about 15 years ago I doubt she knew she would be affecting my life this much.
I gave cross country a shot that hot day on the track in 7th grade and I’ve inconsistently been a runner ever since.
I don’t really know what hit me in July 2012, but I decided that it was time for me to reach a goal that had been percolating in the back of my mind… I was going to run a marathon.
I was a little nervous because after two previous half marathons I’d hurt my foot training for a marathon and it had kept me from running for a solid year.
I took out my trusty training schedule and plotted it all out on my calendar.
Then all it took was four months of solid running (and it came to feel like all I did was run the closer I got to the marathon.)
As I got closer I realized that choosing the Seattle Ghost Marathon might not have been the smartest idea I’d ever had. Seattle in November is RAINY. I started to get really scared that I might have to run for hours and hours in the freezing rain.
However, two days after Thanksgiving, we got up early and drove up to Seward Park on Lake Washington where the race started and finished.
I could not believe how lucky I was!
The weather could not have been more perfect. It was cool, but not too cool and the sun even came out! I fell asleep in the car on the way up and so instead of spacing out a ton of calories over the drive up, I just chewed a protein bar up quickly and jumped out to get my packet and race number.
Can you believe that sunrise?
I was so ready to go. For some reason every other race I’ve run I’ve been so anxious for the race I nervous peed at least 5 times before the race begin. This time though I just decided that if I had to pee sometime during the race I’d go ahead and stop– this race was not one I was running for time.
I started with the majority of the half marathon runners and I even beat a lot of those people as they ran. Up until mile 16 or 17 I was doing absolutely fine, felt great and just pretty much loving life.
Then I turned down some fuel from my parents who were out walking the course and I started to regret it. So I called them from a couple miles down the road and had them come bring me a protein bar. I think I was about 3 and a half hours in at this point and I was starting to really feel it.
The protein bar gave me more energy and I even had to chuckle at the signs my aunt and uncle posted along the route — cheering me on and making me a little bit embarrassed that everyone knew there was someone named Kyna and someone named Beans running this race. But I did love it.
I hit mile 21 and I thought I was going to cry. I just hit a wall, I think this is where my lack of pre-race fueling really caught up to me. Luckily right around the corner was my family waiting for me!
My little brother Ryan ran the half mile up and back to the turn around point with me and I came back to the fuel station where my family was. I ate a potato dipped in salt (probably the best tasting snack I have ever eaten, EVER.) And then my other brother, Ty, and my sister-in-law, Kelli, told me they were going to run the last 4 miles with me.
I honestly don’t know how long the stinkin’ race would have taken me if they hadn’t run with me. Ty kept pushing me along and Kelli made me feel like I was a rockstar, saying all these supportive things and pretending like I was just an incredible runner.
All of that family support meant so much to me.
I crossed the finish line at 5:14 and was so happy to be done!
During the race I had run with a woman who was part of the Seattle running club and she runs a marathon every other weekend. No joke. I don’t know how she has the time to run that much, but she was legit. She was only running the half the day of my race because she was running the full Seattle Marathon the next day. She was so excited for me and that I was running my first marathon that she waited for nearly 2 hours to see me finish the marathon. I don’t even remember her name but she was so nice! It made me remember why I love races. Even if you’re not fast, not official and a stranger, being out there on that same track means you belong.
After the race I grabbed my medal, took my shoes off, rolled up my tights and waded into Lake Washington. That cold water was… COLD. But it probably really helped my feet and calves recover.
We all piled into the van and headed over to Aunt Orlene and Uncle Stan’s house for a post-race lunch.
Before we filled up on potato salad and sloppy joes (on specailly-purchased gluten free buns), I made everyone take some pictures with me.
Then I jumped in the shower and washed away 5 hours of sweat. I don’t know if a shower has ever felt so good.
I spent the rest of the day relaxing, stretching and my fantastic mother gave me a massage both that night and the next day. Because of her sweet, sweet hands I barely felt sore at all! I guess my training did pay off!!
Everyone has asked me since if I’ll ever do another marathon. I don’t know if I’ll ever do a full again. I’m not completely opposed to the idea, but I think I’ll go back to half marathons for now!