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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Race Recap - Disney's Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014

This past weekend, Rachel and I took on the first of back to back runDisney race weekends, and ran our 5th half marathon as a team. As you may have heard by now, the weather didn't quite cooperate for a perfectly magical 13.1 miles in Disney, but regardless, we set out to have ourselves a good time.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sara's Running the Army Ten Miler for Team Fisher House

I've joined Team Fisher House and am raising $200 for the upcoming Army Ten Miler in October, and I'd love your support.

As some of you know, my Pop Pop has been battling cancer this year. The disease has progressed quickly since we discovered it at the beginning of the year, and he's been in and out of surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and the emergency room over the past few months. Thankfully, he has received excellent care at the Miami VA Hospital, and through an amazing organization called Fisher House Foundation, Mamajode has been able to stay right next door, instead of having to drive back and forth from Coral Springs to be with him.

My amazing grandparents - Mamajode and Pop Pop in Bunratty, Ireland

Fisher House is an amazing foundation that provides support to Military families during their times of need by building "comfort homes" on the grounds of military and VA medical centers. These comfort homes provide lodging and food for families to stay near their loved ones, and the best part is, it's completely free.

Throwback! Pop Pop, me, and Mamajode at my college graduation.

As more of you know, I'm running the Army Ten Miler this coming October. Recently, I discovered that Fisher House has a race team as part of their fundraising options, which means that in addition to running this classic hometown race, I can start giving back to the organization that has been such a blessing to the family over the past few months. So I've joined Team Fisher House for the Army Ten Miler, and hope to raise $200 by race day, October 12.

EDIT 9/10: I've successfully met my goal of $200, so I'm getting more ambitious! Double or nothin'.

EDIT 10/6: I've also met my stretch goal, and am currently sitting at $503. Seeing as at $600 I get a swanky Fisher House jacket, let's see if we can get there in a week. That's just 7 people making my suggested $14 donation. Help me out, friends!

How can you help? 
Donate! I'm asking for donations of $14: $10 for each mile I'm running + $4 for Pop Pop's jersey number when he played minor league ball for the Brooklyn Dodgers (yup, that's right - he's the coolest grandpa around!).

If you can't donate, come out on October 12 and cheer me on!

For Christmas last year, Pop Pop autographed a baseball for me, and sent it along with a card that said "Derek Jeter wasn't available, but here's the next best thing." (Don't tell him, but I'd rather have this than a Jeter autograph ANY day.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Breath of Fresh Air from Running Disney

The running world is a-buzz today, for what might as well be the lunch break taken around the world: RunDisney registration day for the 2015 Princess Half Marathon weekend. Active links are being shared, long waits are abundant, and people are FREAKING OUT about getting themselves registered.

Fear of not being registered for a princess themed 13.1 miles through the happiest place on earth - not to be confused with fear of being in the starting corral for your very first marathon.
Don't get me wrong - I LOVE running Disney. Rachel and I ran the Princess Half in 2013 for our first ever half marathon, and loved it so much that we turned right around and registered for 2014's Dopey. We had a blast. Running in Disney is incomparable to just about everywhere else. (We're doing it again in November - in Orlando for Wine & Dine half, and then California for the inaugural Avenger's half.)

But for me, I think it's time for some fresh air - literally. I recently discovered a series of races that run just outside the borders of the National Parks out west: Vacation Races. Beautiful bling, my favorite distance, and views that absolutely cannot be beat? Sign me up!

Photo credit Vacation Races
This year, they're running in 6 parks: Zion, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, and Lake Powell.

Earlier this week, they announced a new race coming in 2015: the Grand Teton Half Marathon. And even better, the Grand Teton half is one week before the Yellowstone half next June. Which means it's time for me to start planning a road trip. Full of hiking, geysers, mountains, blue sky, fresh air, and a pair of 13.1 runs thrown in just for kicks.

I. Can't. Wait.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Happy Father's Day/ A reason to run

A Father's Day post from Rachel.

I've mentioned it a few times here on the blog, but my father was the reason I began running.  Not because he loved running (he hates it), but because he inspired me to go after something I thought impossible. As we approach Father's Day I thought I'd write a bit more about that story. This Sunday I will spend Father's Day with him and probably go on a bike ride where I will let him ride ahead of me...because he will be beating me....

Family Photo, circa 2007
Back in 2007/2008 I did not run. I would occasionally get on the elliptical, but I did not run and I did not think I was capable of running. Sure, I was active between dance and pick-up volleyball, but nothing beyond that.

I envied those who could go for a run with no problem, I yearned for what it felt like to just throw on running shoes and go for a run. Every time I tried to run I just felt my lungs burn and just felt defeated.

Growing up my brother was by far the athletic one and I was the dance/theater one. We were an active family, hiking, playing volleyball, or body surfing in the ocean, but bike rides were for my father and brother. My father would take my brother along on his weekend bike rides. Every weekend without fail (well, no winter rides) he would go on a bike ride, sometimes 20 miles, sometimes longer. I never did this as biking even 3 miles was torture to me.

Arizona in 2012 with my sister-in-law and my father's travel hat.
My father was someone I constantly looked up to. A man who gave his all at his job and then could come home and give is all to his family. Whenever we traveled we always joked we needed a vacation after our vacations because of how many activities we would crammed into a small amount of time.

On March 8, 2008 he was T-Boned by a Ryder rental truck. The driver of the truck was texting. If you ever wanted to know why you should NEVER text and drive or why I always wait when the light turns green...this is why:

This was my tiny Honda Civic. My world stopped. Here was a man I had looked up to and saw as invincible, and now we were unsure of what the future held.

He spent 6 and 1/2  weeks in the hospital recovering...and miraculously 6 months later returned to work. The rescue crew, doctors and nurses were all amazed by his progress. If nothing, he is determined and when he sets his mind to something he accomplishes it. He wanted his life back and fought to get it back. He wasn't without scars or lasting health issues. Suddenly, he was winded climbing the stairs because his vocal chords were too closed off due to vocal cord stenosis, but he climbed stairs. He worked so he could get back to the gym and back on his bike.

I watched all of this and suddenly realized that if I wanted to run...then I should run. Why let something stop me? I watched as my father's will found a way.

So I started...slowly and cautiously, but soon I signed up and ran my first 5K. My parents drove up to watch it. They always went to my brother's triathlons, and here they were to watch my little 5K.

Captured by my father.
It took longer for the racing bug to really bite and for me to pursue my running passion, but this is where it started. All because of one man who showed me what it was to go after what he wanted and to not let anything get in the way.

They still travel to races. I even got them to come to Paris!
I now go on bike rides with him, but he smokes me EVERYTIME. One day I'll catch up to him, but I'm happy to follow his lead and in his footsteps.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Historic Half-Marathon Race Recap

Rachel is really good at signing up for a bunch of races and not training.
If you are keeping track:
April 6- Marathon
April 27- Half-Marathon
May 18- Half-Marathon

May 18 was not in the schedule for 2014, but I wanted  help my friend Julie celebrate her birthday. Julie and I signed up for the Marine Corps Historic Half along with our friend Devin. They were going to run their first half-marathon and I was along for the ride...err, run. CrossFit brought us together and we even have a nickname four our friendship: 

Doesn't everyone have a shirt marking a great friendship?

Well in continuing with a theme of "Oh, I have a race?" I didn't train at all. I rowed a few longs distances...but nope no training runs. I also did deadlifts the Friday before the race resulting in sore hamstrings, well, we can't all make smart choices all of the time. The night before the race little sleep was had- I even performed in an improv show and then got in my car and drove down to Fredericksburg.

Spoiler- It was another good race even though I tried to sabotage myself.

 However, I should mention that I may be the worst person to be around pre-race. Antsy doesn't begin to describe my feelings. I like to arrive in enough time: pee, check any items, pee, stretch, pee, check out the corral, pee, pee, and stand in the corral (contemplating if I need to pee again).

For the Historic Half parking is a bit of a zoo as they close down roads and parking lots, we parked a good mile from the start line, the race started at 7:30- we were parking at 7:15. Cue PANIC .

Following the National Anthem (Gorgeously sung, and a moment of stillness). I went on my fast pee journey, as the race had started by this point. Seriously, the race began as we walked towards the start line. I left Devin and Julie and started on my journey. 

About a mile in I realized two things 1) my water bottle was leaking  2) my hamstrings were sore (hey deadlifts) and 3) My Clif shot gels and melted onto themselves. I just had to laugh at the situation.

The course was good, but let's talk about course elevation 

It seems that the first 9 miles of the race is all downhill....this is a LIE. Mixed in are a ton of small, but steep, neighborhood hills. There was barely a flat moment, and if you went downhill you were soon greeted by a hill. 

The course runs through a commercial area of Fredericksburg and it is a bit of a bore. However, Miles 3-9 are through neighborhoods and into Historic Downtown Fredericksburg.  Along the course there are Marines to cheer you on and encourage you to pick up the pace.  It provides for great inspiration and motivation to keep going.

The weather was perfect, but it definitely got warm on the course. One house has set up their sprinkler for runners to run through and I was quite grateful. I passed on the tequila and fireball shots.

Around Mile 9 I realized that I was pacing ahead of schedule and somehow on track to PR...again. WHAT? I should also note that the thought of "Oh man, the race is almost done" crossed my mind. I was having a fantastic run and really enjoying the race. 
"Proof" of a fun race.
I decided to not tackle the PR for a few reasons, 1) I wanted to still be able to train the coming week and 2) I still had yet to conquer Hospital Hill and wanted to save energy for that climb.

Hospital Hill is notorious along this course. Look back at the elevation map and see if you can spot it...yup 2 miles of uphill climbs from Miles 10-12. BRUTAL. 

As the ground short legs did as the best they could. To say the hill demolished my legs is a bit of an understatement and there was still another 1.1 to go. At this point I was out of water as my handheld had leaked and I skipped a water stop or two along the course. So I crested over the top sweaty, tired, but full of pride.  I should note that a tutu- clad man helped me conquer the last few feet. Thank you, tutu man, wherever you are.

Attempting to pick up the pace for the final mile was a laugh, as Hospital Hill tanked my legs. I just accepted the pace I was running at and started a dance part. Soon the finish line was in sight. There is such a rush coming around a corner and seeing the finish line. I dug in an picked up the pace...if only because it meant I could get water faster. My father was apparently shouting my name, but I did not hear him...I had one focus WATER.

He did snap this awesome shot as I neared the finish line and I forced him to take a selfie. 

When I finally crossed the finish line I looked down and discovered I was only 7 minutes off my current PR...what??? How did that happen? I blame you CrossFit. 

As I chugged my water and ate oranges slices (seriously the best) and waited for Julie and Devin, I reveled in the fun I had while racing.  

We all met up and took many photos, drank beer, and brunched. As mentioned in the previous race recap, brunch is a KEY component to a good race.

After 5 months of racing I'm officially on a hiatus until November. This first few months have tested me and seen me conquer more than I thought I could (TWO MARATHONS???). As hard as some of the races were (Dopey and Paris), I wouldn't change a thing. I'm thrilled that I finally got my groove back and look forward to getting back to racing in November and planning for a marathon in 2015.

So time to recharge my running battery and get ready to tackle Disney Wine and Dine, and the Avengers Half-Marathon in November!

Maybe I'll train for those, just maybe.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Race Recap - 2014 Rock & Roll USA Half Marathon

In keeping with my goal to run one organized race a month in 2014, I took a stab at two new (to me) distance events. Both were right here in DC, which was a new experience to me, having only run out of town events in the past. The first was March 15's Rock & Roll USA (Half Marathon).

Flat Sara was ready to run St. Patrick's Day weekend!
The second of the Rock & Roll series races I've taken on (first was Philly back in September), I signed up for the Rock & Roll USA last fall, when I decided against the Nike Women's due to the high registration fee. When the course maps were released for both events in December, I wondered if the challenging, hilly course I'd run in R&R was worth the cheaper sticker price.

Promising myself that I would add hills to my training plan, I went back to worrying about surviving January's Dopey Challenge. After my first marathon experience, however, I made the unwise decision that I had trained enough, and could basically coast from that marathon into running the R&R USA two months later. Needless to say, no hill reps for me. Not training? Big mistake.

Seriously - check out the elevation changes around Mile 6. Are you kidding me?!
The expo was great. After feeling like I hadn't fully experienced the Disney expo in January (in favor of getting off our feet as soon as possible to rest up for those 48.6 miles), my mom and I took it easy through the DC Armory, stopping to look for freebies and deals at every booth after I picked up my packet. in addition to my bib and official race tee (tangent - I really love the Brooks tees that the R&R Series gives out - the designs have been great for both Philly and USA, and they're quite comfy for every day wear and running) I came away with info on a bunch of local races over the next year, a pair of new Sparkly Soul headbands (in rainbow and Redskin colors), and a pint glass with the R&R USA logo on it for my celebratory beer. Mom and I grabbed dinner before she dropped me off at home to lay out my gear and hit the sack.
Crack of dawn pre-race selfie with my best friend.
Early Saturday morning, I jumped in the car with my best friend, Allie, who was surprisingly excited to be up at the crack of dawn to see me off at the start line, and cheer me on along the way. We found a parking space downtown, and made sure to make our way past the start line before finding bag check, port-o-potties, some touristy photo ops on the National Mall, and (eventually) my starting corral.

Great excuse for tourist-y photos in my hometown!
The race started, and off we went. I maintained a fairly easy pace, with the goal to stay energized for the duration. One of the biggest issues I had with running this race in the city where I train, was that I knew the territory. I found myself dreading the big hill at Mile 6 for the entire first half of the race - I just couldn't shake what I knew was coming!

Fortunately, the biggest upside of running a local race was the fact that my friends could come out and cheer me on. Allie left me at the start to hustle to the other side of the startline to wave and film my first steps. She then met me for hugs and encouragement at Miles 4 and 7 (before getting horribly lost with all of the road closures so she missed me at the finish). I gotta say, hearing her scream at me was amazing - especially when it was a milemarker I didn't expect her at!

At Mile 4, just about to head into Rock Creek Park. I think I nearly knocked her over with this hug :)
Rachel was also cheering loudly, cowbell in hand, around Mile 4, and at the tippity top of that dreadful Mile 6 hill stood Andrew and our friend Bedlam. I was so tuckered out at the top of that hill, but coming up over the crest and seeing them standing there made me kick it into gear and sprint the last few meters to get a big hug.

Spotted by Allie around Mile 7, with my buddy Sherill in pink in the background!
With The Hill behind me, I kept on trucking through the DC neighborhoods I know and love. I had a blast running past the adorable, colorful row houses, as well as through some neighborhoods I only know for their night life. There were people hanging out on their porches, offering up free beverages of choice (I saw signs for Guinness, margaritas, Natty Lite, and sangria - it was a drunk runner's dream!). Being St. Patrick's Day weekend, folks were all definitely out for a good time.

My feet are BOTH off the ground! Running past some of my favorite row houses in Columbia Heights, having a blast.
By the time I got to Columbia Heights (sometime between 7 and 8), I was really feeling fatigued in my untrained legs. Fortunately for me, I spotted my friend Ric on the sidelines, and ran over to say hello. Ric, it turned out, had other plans in mind, and had come to run with me for a few miles! I couldn't have been happier to have a buddy - and to be honest, he's definitely the one who kept me running for the next few miles. I would have been walking much more than I wanted to without his company. We jogged along as he encouraged me to make it to the next stop sign or landmark, chatting about the buildings and streets we passed by. As we made the turn down North Cap, with the Capitol Building in sight, Ric turned off to run home, and I was alone again to finish what I had started.

Running solo and determined, finish line in sight.
At this point, it was just a mental game, telling myself that I was so close to the end. I ran down H Street, alongside the Trolley car tracks and past more of Andrew's and my favorite late night spots. Then finally, we turned toward RFK Stadium, where the finish line, my parents, and Andrew were waiting for me. Down the finishers shoot I went for the last few meters, picking up the pace and finishing strong. Sure enough, I crossed the finish line and spotted Andrew waiting with my parents, bouquet in hand for me! After hugs, we parted ways as Andrew and I made our way to his football game, where I basked in the sun, had the most delicious beer I've ever drunk, and cheered on his team.

Finishing like a rockstar!
Overall, I enjoyed this race. The on-course support from the Rock & Roll Series was, as always, excellent. The medal was spectacular - one of my favorites, with the Washington Monument and some Cherry Blossoms. The course itself was interesting, but definitely a challenge with so many hills - the dreaded Mile 6 hill, but also some smaller ones along the way. I'd certainly be up for running it again, but with way more hill repeats in my training plan. The weather was perfect - March in DC can mean anything from a foot of snow on the ground to 70 and sunny, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it perfect shorts and t-shirt running weather.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Nike Women's Half-Marathon... Because I'm Happy 13.1

I admit a decent amount of these recaps involve something going wrong. May I now present to you
"How to try and sabotage yourself and run the happiest race ever!"

So if you read the blog about Paris, you know that race did not go according to plan and while a great race I finished defeated and dehydrated.
Two days post marathon, ready to traverse Berlin (yes, the medal was in the bag)
After I spent a week traversing Europe, once I could move and eat, I flew back to the states and realized I had a half-marathon to run on April 27, yup 19 days after a Marathon time for another half.

I will be honest- I had no intentions of training and no desire to run. I have been interested in Olympic lifting so my focus shifted to that once I came back to working out. I did everything I could to get out of running during CrossFit, not interested in running. 

The week of the race I was jokingly offering my bib up to anyone who wanted it. I knew I would run it, but I just was not mentally in the game. I mentally attempted to sabotage myself by working out the day before, staying up late the night before, and not running. Three weeks of zero running and I was going to run 13.1 miles, oh yes..I was setting myself up for failure.
The message I received as I walked into the expo (the timing chip clued the wall ).

As I was falling asleep the night before I realized that I was going to be running tomorrow along the routes I trained for my previous races. These paths have been cursed at and had blood, sweat, and tears shed on them. Tomorrow I was going to race along them and tomorrow was going to be my 5th half-marathon. A year ago, running 13.1 miles seemed impossible; now it was just a Sunday run (a long run, but just a run). I went to bed happy and willing to accept whatever tomorrow held.

I knew that Sara would be on the course to cheer me on, so that was something too look forward to, in addition to post race brunch with another friend Zoe. Seriously- plan brunch after a idea!

The poof makes its' running debut.
While the countdown for my corral began the sun rose over the capital building and I started crying ( with it). I realized the journey I had taken to get here, from no running at all, to completing two marathons and stetting up to finish my 5th half-marathon. At the start line I  made sure that I let go of every apprehension. In that moment I found the joy of running again, that joy of lacing up your shoes and just running.

Off we went. The weather could not have been better. I clipped along and around Mile 3 I saw Sara for the first time and delivered a sweaty hug (not sorry).

Mile 5 saw me crossing the Memorial Bridge that KILLED me the first time I attempted to run across it. Not today to day I ran it and full of joy and vigor.

I knew to expect Sara again at Mile 11, but she surprised me at Mile 8 with a grumpy cat stuffed animal and a sign that read:
I tried running once, it was awful.
She knows me so well.

While I have been running in D.C. for a few years I have never run along Haynes Point, so it was exciting to run around and see all the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. 

Around Mile 11 the 2:20 pacer passed me- I had no idea I was running that fast (as an asthmatic runner, 2:20 is fast for me). Rather than keep up, I just held pace but vowed to keep her in my sight line.

I saw Sara for the final time and gave her I giant sweaty hug and went into the final mile and half.

The race was almost over and it felt like it just flew by for me. I was laughing and smiling..for all 13.1 miles. I didn't need my inhaler and didn't need to slow down to catch my breath.

I crossed the finish line triumphant and happy. 
So happy...and with an accidental PR!
I found my groove in those 13.1 miles, I got back to the joy I had when I first started running, and I felt free

So here is to the good and bad running day. Both will happen, but the key is to appreciate the good ones and let the bad ones go.
Zoe and I treated our bling to brunch.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Paris, Je t'aime...I think

Well now that it has been over a month it seems like a good time to recap the 2014 Paris Marathon!

On April 6, I ran the Schneider Electric Marathon along with 3 improv friends from around the United States, but before I get to the race I should back you up to my 'training' which I call "How to mess up your training, be saved by a coach, and somehow finish a Marathon in 3 weeks."

After I finished the mammoth that was the Dopey Challenge (which included my first marathon), I was done with running. Not just sore, but DONE. I had no desire to head out for a run, let alone train for one.

About 3 weeks out from Paris I received an incredibly stern chat/Come to Jesus talk from my coach Pablo. I will spare you the details but a few key points came out of that chat

1) If I wanted to run a marathon I needed to focus on running, not lifting.
2) I needed to believe I could run this race and that I was capable.
3) I needed to start training with an altitude mask because the air quality in Paris is horrible and as an asthmatic....that was a recipe for disaster.
Want to earn strange looks and Bane comments? Get an altitude mask.

So armed with a plan full of running, rowing, altitude mask, and yoga,  I made the most of the final 3 weeks of training. I would be lying if I said it was easy and I'd also be lying if I didn't bemoan it almost everyday. 

As a thank you I turned a joke into a t-shirt and as requested- I wore it in front of a monument. 
Inappropriate? Maybe. Worth it? Yes.
My 20 mile run crushed me, thankfully my friend Allison was willing to pick my rain soaked muddy butt up from the middle of nowhere so I didn't have to do an out and back. Have I mentioned I have a great group of friends?

To Paris

Finally the day of my flight arrived. In true fashion I found the other marathoners on my flight to Paris, and we all bonded as we stretched mid-flight. 

First mission in Paris was to find my cohort Rene and get to the Race Expo. I have to say Paris has one of the best Race Expos I've seen, as well as awesome shwag. I mean a headlamp? YES! 
Rene and I living the dream
The next day (April 4) the other half of our group arrived. 

Team Bane accounted for: Bill, Betse, Rene, and some crazy chick

Saturday morning two members went on an official 5k shake out run with the Paris Marathon group and myself and Bill stayed to do our own runs around our neighborhood.  This was just a 2 mile loop, but it was a FANTASTIC run. The best I'd felt in a long time, the weather was perfect, my stride was on track, and I felt back to me.
If I could run here everyday I would.

We settled in for a bit of Star Wars watching and foam rolling for the rest of the day. I laid out my outfit and prepped myself for the 26.2 tour of Paris. 

6am came too soon. I was a bucket of nerves as I warmed up/mobilized. We all geared up in our superhero shirts and headed to the start line. 

Upon seeing the Arc de Triomphe it hit me, I was really about to run in PARIS. 
Yes... we mixed up our superhero universes. We do not care.
Standing in the start line we all just oddly shuffled around. I was the only one in our group who had finished a marathon before, but that didn't make me any less nervous.
I'm in the back, just look closely
Soon we were off running. Cobblestones underfoot and fans cheering on all sides pushed me to a fast first mile (oops). I found Beste and we grabbed hands as we both had shit eating grins on our faces. That first 5K was a blur of sights and people everywhere. 

We arrived at the first fuel stop and I decided to fuel with fruit rather than my own. Paris only provides fresh fruit and sugar cubes on course. Let me tell you...those orange slices were the GREATEST things I've ever tasted. The nectar of the gods. Fueling on oranges would lead to a bonk later in the race, but I was only focused on eating and not slipping on the orange and banana peels.

Betse and I were keeping a steady pace and decided to just stick together for the race, however the race was going to take a down turn pretty quickly. Just before mile 8 we hit a steady hill,  and as often happens I will be a bit out of breath at the top. But as we crested I realized I was struggling to slow my breathing and realized I was wheezing.

Yup...Mile 8 asthma attack. I run with my inhaler so it wasn't a worry and we slowed to a crawl. I then realized that this race was about to come crashing down and then I started crying. This is when I owe the race to Betse. She wouldn't leave and run ahead no matter how many times I insisted she leave. She did her best to keep me positive and would hear no negative talk from me. However, I had a battle going on in my own head.

We battled on for the rest of the race. Looping back along the Seine provided some lovely sights, including Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. I was slowly loosing steam and bonking- turns out oranges do not sustain me, as filling as they feel. We switched to a 3/1 run/walk ratio as I couldn't even keep a consistent pace.
Photo stolen, though I did feel like laying down.

Did I mention I was done? Betse just kept going and dancing along and having a party. I trailed along head down body killing me. 

Mile 20 appeared and as much as I wanted to power through the last 10K. I had nothing left in me to go. My camelbak was out of water (oh did I mention it was hotter than I anticipated) and there were no water stops in sight. I should also mention that I ended up dehydrated. I would realize later that my down fall was those delicious oranges, not eating my fuel, and not hydrating well. OOPS

By Mile 22 I was contemplating stopping. Some part of my brain realized that this was an effect of me bonking. That small part of me kept me going. 

Around here I finally sent Betse on her way as walking was painful for her and I couldn't keep pace with her. Honestly, spending the last 2 miles was the best thing because I had to fight for myself. Marathon running truly is a mental battle and if you aren't willing to fight, you won't finish. Finally, I saw the finish line and I bawled. I knew my parents were there to see me finish a marathon and I saw Betse there...waiting for me.

I ran across the finish line realizing I'd done it again...I'd finished a marathon and I finished it 1 hour faster than my previous race. Was it the time I wanted? Nope. Did I fight for the time I got? Yup. Does that make it okay? does. 
These photos were taken less than 10ft apart. Confident to cry in 10ft or less. 

Soon after crossing the finish line I interviewed by a French Radio French. If someone finds that audio please send it to me. I am 90% sure I spoke horrible French as trying to even think after a marathon is hard enough. 

We got our shirts, ponchos, and medals. We found our group and hugged.. We had done it. We ran Paris.
How we all really felt at the end.
 I bawled when I found my parents, who flew over to watch me race. 
They also brought champagne to the finish line.
My mother then massaged my legs as I was a cramped mess. Our group collected ourselves and ambled, waddled, and moaned our way back to our apartment.
Once we cleaned up and figured out how to walk we went out to celebrate our accomplishment and plan for future adventures. We did it- 6 months after Rene proposed this crazy idea, we ran Paris. 
A mighty fine view if I do say so.
Marathon 2 is now in the books and while I have a few half-marathons planned for this year I think two marathons in 4 months in plenty for now. 

See you in 2015 26.2