Friday, March 18, 2016


This week I was reminded that I ran my very first marathon a year ago (March 15, 2015).  Happy Marathonaversary to me!  I am a firm believer of rewarding yourself for your accomplishments.  (Maybe that's because I was lousy at every sport I tried and still got a participation trophy.  HA!  Oh well.) 

Anyhoo, after last year's marathon, I decided to treat myself to a little something.  I bought myself a ring from Endure Jewelry that has 26.2 engraved in Roman numerals.  I already had the 13.1 version and they're stackable, so I thought it would be a perfect addition.  This year's marathon was a lot tougher on my emotions, so even though it wasn't my first marathon, I figured simply completing it deserved a gift to myself. 

I again went to Endure jewelry, because I love their shirts and jewelry (they don't sponsor me, I just really love their stuff!  Would be open to a sponsorhip though, ;) *hint hint*).  This time, although I really wanted the diamond Minnie Mouse bow ring, I decided to not splurge quite so much and went with the Run Super Hero necklace instead.  Super cute, super nerdy, so perfectly me. 

Another way I'm just generally rewarding my running habit is to pay myself for every mile run this year.  This year happens to have quite a few larger than normal expenditures.  I'm going to Paris for 2 weeks; My niece is graduating middle school and I promised her $500 if she made Principal's Honor Roll all 3 years like I did (yay mini me!); and I turn 30.  I already decided to take less running trips and I'm using my vacation pay to purchase my Paris plane ticket, my bonus will be used for the rest of that trip's travel expenses, and I'm the rest of my normal running travel budget will be used for spending money.  I've been putting a little bit away each month for my niece's prize money since she made Principal's Honor Roll the first time in 6th grade.  But I would like to do something larger for my birthday.  So rather than just adjust my budget and save for a party, I figured I would pay myself $1 for every mile ran this year and use that to pay for my 30th!  This has the added incentive of running more = more money to party!  Plus, I've been aiming for the "1000 miles in a year" goal for about 3 years now, so the thought of having an extra $1000 saved after all my money going away this year would be super awesome. 

Do you do anything special to reward your fitness goals?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Country Music 5k

My alarm went off at 6am on Saturday.  This is normally sleeping in for me, but after having a late night Friday, all I wanted to do was hit snooze.  In the end, I decided that since I had to run anyways, and had already paid the entry fee, I might as well get the medal, cowboy hat, and beer for finishing the race.

This was a small race with free neighborhood parking and had a free concert at the end (which I was not able to attend).  Check-in was super easy and quick and I had plenty of time to take my new cowboy hat back to my car.  I wanted to wear it during the race, but my head must be shaped funny, because it was too big in the front but snug on the sides. I figured it would be smarter to ditch the cowboy hat and run in what I came with.

I got to the starting line and found one of my Ragnar teammates, Jack, and his lovely wife!  Yay for unexpected friendly faces!  And with Ragnar coming up quickly it was nice to chat a bit and that.  I'm runner 3 and he's runner 4, so good to know he's the one I'll literally be passing the baton to (or slap bracelet) after each leg.  But more on that later!

The race was a nice flat, loop course through downtown Anaheim.  Some of it was residential, and some of it was your typical downtown scenery.  Definitely a nice quiet part of town to run through.  My plan was to just run a comfortable pace the whole race and I'm happy to say my pace was pretty close to last week's 5k.  I'm always happy with consistency, especially since I didn't have friends with me to help motivate me to a better pace.  :)

One of the things I try to do at every race is to find someone who seems to be running at a similar pace and stick with them.  This works better at longer races, but for shorter races I'll pick out someone, keep focused on them, and try to match them stride for stride.  I was in a pack of about 3 women for a good half mile and then we get to the water station.  I always walk through the water station and take a good few seconds to enjoy my water, catch my breath, and take off again.  As I'm about to start running again, one of the women I had been sticking with catches up to me and says, "You're kicking butt!  I've been trying to catch up to you!"  She couldn't have been more than a few feet behind me, but it was so awesome to know that while I had a focal point in front of me to keep up with, this woman was using me as her focal point.  Totally all the motivation I needed to push forward and keep up my stride for the remainder of the race.

As I crossed the finish line I was excited to see my buddy Jack cheering me on (and even took the picture to the left!  Thanks Jack!).  I felt so good I forgot to turn my watch off!  Oops.  Was halfway to the beer garden before I remembered.  I got my beer, made a new friend while we finished our drink, and then headed home.  As always, I was so happy to have dragged myself out of bed that morning.  It's not always easy but it's always worth it!

Also, there were a ton of cute race costumes!  Some people even braved jeans and I have to commend anyone who chooses to run 3 miles in jeans.  That sounds like more chafing than I am willing to endure.  But kudos to them for choosing cuteness over comfort!  Anyone do any fun races this weekend?

Monday, March 14, 2016

Medal Monday #4

Happy Medal Monday! This weekend was the Country Music 5k.  I was a little bummed because I was supposed to do this race with a friend, but she had to cancel at the last minute.  I seriously considered staying in bed Saturday morning, but 1) knowing I had already paid for it was a GREAT incentive to get up and go (what can I say, I'm cheap! lol) and 2) I had already written on here that I was going to run the race!  Nothing like knowing people read your blog to keep you accountable!  So if you're reading this, thank you for making me drag my butt out of bed!  I had a great time, and you can read all about it on Wednesday!  Until then, have a great day!


Friday, March 11, 2016

Will Run for Food, Part 2

In keeping with food themed races for the weekend, I ran the 1st annual Champagne Runch 10k on Sunday.  This race boasted a 5 course champagne brunch at the finish line in addition to the traditional race swag of a shirt and medal.  Naturally, I was in.

Now, what I'm about to say may be a bit controversial, but please understand that I was born and raised in beautiful Southern California, where our seasons are green, slightly less green, a little brown, and green again.  Yes.  Be jealous. ;)

Anyhoo, it was forecast to rain all weekend.  And Long Beach got a whopping 0.16 inches of rain!  Trust me, it felt like more.  Since the rain was supposed to finish around 7am Sunday morning, the race decided to postpone the first wave to 8am (originally 7:30am).  And then a few minutes before 8 they announced it would start at 8:30am instead.  We were signed up for the 8am wave, so not a huge deal in our minds.

The race began with a hill over the LA River and into the Long Beach Harbor.  I've run this particular stretch for a few Long Beach races but this was the first time I went through Shoreline Village.  Its just a little pier with your stereotypical pier fare, but it was so adorable and I never knew it existed!

At mile 1.5 they had the official race Carb Station.  This was actually the first of our five courses and consisted of donuts from California Donuts.  I'm not a huge fan of the donut, but i had that pink one with the strawberries in the middle of the picture and man, it was delicious!  Since it was an out and back course, you had to pass the Carb Station again at mile 4.5, so you know, all around a great first course!

The rest of the race was nice.  Long Beach is a really nice place to run in, even for an out and back (which are usually my least favorite races) because there's a lot to see.  My friend and I stayed together, which was also nice since it helped me push myself a bit and keep a steady pace.

The race was definitely a little shy of the 10k mark (by about a half mile) but there was no chip timing, and they had no mile markers (aside from the Carb Station saying "Mile 1.5" on the sign).  They ran out of medals (boo) but we got in line for our champagne so we could have something to sip on while we waited in the even longer food line!

The next three dishes were from The Attic, The Halal Guys, and Restauration.  The Attic served up hot cheeto topped mac n cheese (which I got minus the cheetos, cuz yuck!), the Halal Guys had chicken and rice bowls with pita slices (so. much. yum.) and Restauration had a short rib grilled cheese sandwich.  If you know me personally then you know I'm kind of a picky eater.  I try to eat like an adult, but sometimes I just can't.  So I'm always a little wary of new food places or "foodie" type places because I just like my traditional, 2 year old meals.  Regular Kraft mac n cheese.  Grilled cheese on white bread.  Grilled chicken with regular rice.  I'm weird, I know! (Don't even get me started on not liking my food to touch and eating off a kid's plate that comes partitioned!!)

Anyhoo, asking for plain mac n cheese was the weirdest I got that day and ate everything else as it was served.  And let me just say....SO GOOD!  The chicken bowl had orange rice that was weird for my 2 year old tummy's brain, but was super delicious.  The grilled cheese was a little cold by the time we sat down, but still super yummy, and the mac n cheese was SUPER cold (because it was the first thing we waited in line for) but still tasty.  Dessert was ice cream from The Drizzle.  My friend got the vanilla maple bacon and I got the salted caramel.  Both yummy.

And as if that wasn't enough food, we still had to get our second glass of champagne (because we like to drink and each ordered a second glass when we registered), PLUS a cup of juice, and a cup of coffee.  The juice was from Juicemi Gourmet and coffee was Contra Coffee & Tea.  I forget which juice I got but it was better than a lot of green juices I've tried.  And the coffee was a dirty horchata and so good I took it to enjoy at home to drink later.  
We were so stuffed.  WAY too much food in the best way possible.  Also, I mentioned earlier that they had run out of medals.  While we were almost at the end of the last food line, they announced that they had some medals on their way and to head over to the check-in booth after 10 minutes.  Of course a line formed immediately, so we sat down to enjoy our food and figured we'd give them our contact info on the way out.  Well, imagine my surprise when they still had some medals left as we walked out, so we both got our medals!  Yay! 

Now, as an inaugural race, there are always some kinks to work out, and I went into it knowing that.  So here's what I loved and didn't care for so much from the race.

  •  Lovely course for both 5k and 10k distances
  • Free race photos
  • TONS of great food
  • High quality medal
  • Plenty of port-o-potties (don't laugh, you learn to appreciate them when they're not there!!)
  • Great course support/spectators
  • Photos ops (backdrop on the course and photo booth in the finish line area)
  • Did I mention the food?
  • an AMAZING DJ.  Like, seriously.  Perfect music to chill by the water and drink to. 
  • They ran out of the shirt size I registered for
  • They ran out of medals (Yes, they found some more, but if they had more, why weren't they at the finish line with the rest?)
  • Distance was shorter than 10k
  • They had one of those port-o-potty sinks but it ran out of water before the race even started
I know, I know.  Those "cons" are total #firstworldproblems.  And I agree, they're pretty stupid.  But I will say that this race wasn't cheap.  It was $95 plus a $7 processing fee.  I have an Active Advantage membership, so the processing fee was waived, and we used a $10 promo code I found online.  That being said, minus the $5 extra glass of champagne, I paid $85.  I justified it as a race with brunch included, which is what I normally do after a race anyway.  So I was just paying it up front.  And we really did get a lot for out money.  But when races run out of medals and shirts, it always irritates me. You know how many people signed up, and if they signed up 6 weeks in advance, certain things should be guaranteed, like the shirt size they ordered. 

Ok, rant over.  Overall this was a really great race and I would totally do it again.  In fact, the one thing I wish we had done differently was to wear brunch inspired t-shirts.  There were some really cute ones out there!  And a HUGE thanks to my friend Stephanie for running both races with me this weekend!  I'm so used to running races alone, so it was a great treat to have buddies and great food all weekend long!


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Will Run for Food, Part 1

I mentioned in a previous post that I wasn't going to sign up for any more races until after SF Marathon.  There were two races I had my eye on, but they were 5k fun runs.  So I told myself, I would just do those two and really focus all my attention on SF Marathon.

As you may have noticed from my previous post, that didn't last long.  In fact, last week I actually agreed to do TWO runs that were previously not on my radar!!!  I know, I know, I have a problem.  There needs to be some sort of Runners' Anonymous meetings for people like me.

The second run was the one I did on Saturday, the Froyo Run.  Let me just say, I was peer-pressured into this one!  (And by peer pressure, I mean someone tagged me in a picture of their medal on Instagram and I just had to have it!)  Plus, I had friends who wanted to do this one too, and what kind of friend would I be if I turned them down for a fun run?

I know, I have a problem.  We established that already.

Anyhoo, as I said, this was the Froyo Run, which consisted of a 5k or 10k race with, of course, Froyo at the finish line!  And my favorite part....the medal is a spoon!!  (Although I don't recommend eating from it; its far too cute for that).  We did the 5k since two of us were doing a 10k the following day, and had so much fun earning our dessert! 
We got to the venue an hour before our race time, which was great planning, although unnecessary since it was a small race and their check-in process was super on-point!  Race swag included a hat and sunnies, in addition to the yummy froyo waiting at the finish line. 
Fruit punch froyo wth mini m&ms, oreo bits, and almonds...yum!
The race was advertised as, "A flat, fast course being designed with PRs in mind. Journey through a refreshing, clearly marked course across smooth roads and fast pavement, with a beautiful SoCal backdrop." (Taken directly from Let me tell you, while it was a relatively flat course, there was one HUGE hill around a little over a mile in!  And another slight hill around mile 2.25.  And another around 2.75.  So, just saying, not quite the flat course they advertised. 
It was a super gloomy day but thankfully no rain.  I don't mind running in the rain, but I wanted my friends to have fun and plus eating froyo in the rain didn't exactly hit the top of my list of things to do that day. 
My friends and I agreed to go at our own paces, although we started as 2 twosomes.  I was intimidated by the first hill but luckily I include a similar hill in my normal route so I tackled it feeling fairly strong.  I had wanted to use this race as a training run and go at a nice easy pace.  Thankfully or unfortunately (depending on how you look at it) I felt really good and went WAY faster than my intended pace.  Like, over a minute per mile faster.  Which is great!  But my legs were super crampy the following day so I think a little slower would have been smarter.  Oh well, its definitely great to know that my training is paying off and I felt a lot stronger than I have in awhile.  Having some rest time and training smart is starting to show and I am so excited to see how far I can go in the coming months!
Definitely the first medal I've wanted to eat off of =)

Monday, March 7, 2016

Medal Monday #3

Happy Medal Monday!

I had the pleasure of running with 3 awesome ladies this weekend for a total of 9.3 miles!  I rarely run with buddies so these were extra fun and I can't wait to share my race recaps with you!  For now, let's just enjoy the beautiful medals I earned this weekend.


Monday, February 29, 2016

Medal Monday #2 & Race Recap

Conversation from 2/8/16
You know that moment when you weren't going to sign up for any new races this season but at the last minute decide to do one since your training plan called for 6 miles anyway?  No?  Just me then.

Friday night I decided to run a small local race the following morning to support a family friend who helps puts it on.  I've done this race twice before.  Its in Norco, CA and runs along the Santa Ana River, so a whole lotta nature.  They only give medals to those who place in their age group, but will usually give a ribbon or pin, or something like that to all finishers.  This year it was dog tags!

The race is about half rolling hills and half flat, with the steepest hill at about a 7% grade.  The last portion is the relatively flat part, so while its nice to get the hills out of the way at the beginning, you have to also save some energy to finish strong.

When I say this was a small race, I mean it.  With only 100 people in the 5k and 30 in the 10k, its definitely the smallest race I've ever been a part of.  This pretty much meant that as a back-of-the-pack runner, there were very few people around with me.  I had 2 women in front of me and 1 man in back of me for pretty much the entire race, and I must say, that was really good motivation to keep moving.  I tried to keep the distance between all of us steady, which was difficult during the hills.  Once you hit mile 2.5 there's a half mile of uphill that turns a bit at the top so you can't see the top while you're going up it.  And you only go back downhill about halfway before you turn and it levels out again.  And then the stretch before the mile 4 marker....oh man!  At this point the 4 of us were at our closest to each other, but it was also a moment of truth for all of us because it was the steepest hill of the race.  I was determined to not take any walk breaks, especially since I didn't want to fall behind.

Now, I should say that while my training plan did call for 6 miles, it called for an "easy" 6 miles.  I don't think these hills exactly qualified as easy but I figured if I was going a comfortable pace, I would be fine.  And being my longest (and fastest) run since LAM, I must say, I was proud of my pace.  I felt super strong until mile 4.7 when the course had been flat for about a half mile and I started feeling the pace. I didn't hit a wall by any means, but I definitely started to feel the heat of no shade and was ready for the race to be over.  What got me through it?  I told myself, "Megan is running a full marathon right now, get over yourself and finish!" I picked up the pace and got moving. 

My last 4 miles were negative splits (meaning each mile was faster than the previous one) which was super awesome and had me feeling stronger than I have in awhile.  In fact, I got 1st place in my age group, which means I got a medal!!  Super awesome since last year I got 2nd in my age group! Next year I'll be moving up an age group, so definitely have a new 10k goal. As a slower runner, I know my chances of placing are beyond slim.  But small races are a great way to improve those chances and give yourself a great boost of motivation.  Its not about the medal or winning, but getting a little something extra for miles I had to run anyways is always nice. 

Monday, February 22, 2016

Medal Monday #1

Happy Medal Monday!  Although I didn't run a race this weekend, I actually received two medals at the LA Marathon finish line!  The first was obviously for the marathon, but the second was another special one that I was super excited about receiving!  It was the Golden State Double Medal challenge medal given to those who completed a California Ragnar event in 2015 (or selected 2016 Ragnar events) and the LA Marathon.

I love getting extra medals for running multiple races, especially when I truly feel I've earned them!  Last year's Ragnar Relay was my first Ragnar and I'm running it again this year.  For those of you who aren't familiar with the race series, its a 200ish mile relay race done with 12 people in 2 vans over 2 days.  Its challenging because you run, then rest for a couple hours, then run again, then rest a few more hours, then run again!  It messes with your food and sleep cycles and although you get time to sleep, the adrenaline rush of making sure you're in the right places at the right times really hinders the whole sleeping thing.  Plus, although you get very detailed maps and there are signs, I was terrified of getting lost.  Like, seriously.  Especially during my night leg. 

Anyhoo, an extra special medal for two challenging races and I'm so in love with the design.  Here's to my 3rd challenge medal of the year!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What's Next?

The last 5 months have been insanely crazy for me.  I've had races 18 of the last 23, for a total of 23 races.  And sure, I'm tired.  I "slept in" yesterday and today (which means 6:30am for me, but trust me, I'll take it!) and have thoroughly enjoyed having no races this weekend and knowing I have no races next weekend either.  My next race is the Champagne Runch 10k in Long Beach, on March 6th. Yeah, that's only 2 weeks away, but it'll be a fun run since I'm doing it with a friend and it includes a 5-course brunch complete with glass of champagne (I paid $5 for an extra glass, hehe) AND still comes with a medal.  In fact, my next 3 races are fun runs!  Saturday March 12th I'm doing the Corral Country Music 5k with my bestie (in Anaheim) and the San Diego Hot Chocolate 15k the following weekend.  

I am a huge fan of fun runs and while I think all runs are fun, themed runs with friends are a great way to shake up the training a bit and keep things exciting.  My mom will be doing the Hot Chocolate 5k (her 2nd 5k ever!) and I'm so happy to have her participating in this event instead of just spectating!  Granted, she's doing it for the copious amounts of chocolate you get at the finish line, but that's besides the point.  

I have spent the last week recovering from the LA Marathon, which included rest, easy walks, and a nice long massage.  The week was also spent mentally processing the race.  As you may have read from the recap, it was an emotional one, and a week later, still stings a bit.  But I've allowed myself the down time and am ready to regain focus and look ahead to what's next!  

My next 3 big races are the Ragnar Relay So Cal on April 1-2, the OC 1/2 Marathon on May 1st, and the SF Marathon July 31st.  I think they're spaced out enough and offer a good bit of variety (3 totally different race types and distances) that I can remain focused on SF and finish strong that day.  I think part of the problem with LA Marathon was that I was burnt out.  That's a lot of races with very little recovery time, and although I made sure to rest when needed, having so many races simply took a lot out of me.  I want to take it down a notch this year with the race schedule and really focus on quality training and running.  Training starts back up tomorrow and I'm so excited to regroup and get going again!  As much as I don't mind being a "slow" runner and really try to enjoy every step of the journey, I have some strong goals this year and want to see what I'm really capable of!

Monday, February 15, 2016

LA Marathon 2016: Race Recap

I ran my second marathon yesterday.  After I had finished the first one last year, and reunited with my family, my dad asked, "So you gonna do it again next year?"  I told him to ask me again in a week.

The thing is, the marathon is not my favorite distance.  It requires a lot of time to train; about 6 months and many weekends of double digit miles.  I was always a little unsure about it, but figured it was something I needed to cross off my bucket list.  At the end of it, I was exhausted but so proud of myself.  I decided to come back and try again this year, albeit a bit reluctantly.

In the past 6 months, I've had an insane race schedule, with 23 races over the last 23 weeks.  I've spent the last month focusing on LAM, coming home from a race and doing additional miles to ensure I got my long runs in.  I was super nervous the last two weeks, but come race morning, I knew I was as ready as I could be.

It was supposed to be much warmer than usual for February, although slightly less hot than last year.  I had plenty of carbs and fluids the days before the race and I approached the finish line nervous but positive.  I had a clear goal in mind, as well as a plan B goal.  Now, it always takes me 2 miles to get into a groove, no matter the race distance.  Although I tried to hold back, the first two miles in the race are pretty much straight downhill, so of course those were my fastest.  Unfortunately, I never quite got into the groove.  Every step was a struggle, and I kept telling myself to just be patient and move forward.  Mile 5 it was apparent that the runner's high wasn't coming.  I had a pretty steady pace though.  And this race has the best course support I've ever experienced.  Literally people cheering around every corner.  People passing out pretzels, orange slices, bananas, water.  So I was feeding off the energy of those around me.

Miles 6 through 10 I was cruising along pretty nicely.  In fact, I think those were my best miles.  They weren't easy, but I had enough mental focus to push through.  Mile 10 was along Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and although I've run that stretch of road in at least a dozen races, it's one of my favorites because of its familiarity.  You've got the Museum of Death (morbid, I know, and also a really odd spot to put the Port-a-Potties), the Pantages Theater, El Capitan, Madame Tussaud's, etc.  You know, all the Hollywood touristy stuff that you see in movies but rarely go to in real life. (Even though I've been to all those places in the last year, but that's besides the point =P).

Anyhoo, one of the IERC pacers passed me at this point and asked if I wanted to stay with them.  I was fading from my current pace and was so thankful for the company.  That group really saved me.  I stayed with them until mile 15ish when they lost me.  We had been in a huge group of people and a small gap turned into a larger one until I couldn't see the pacer anymore.

At Mile 16, I was moderately relieved, and Mile 17 brought about better spirits.  That's about where you run through Rodeo Drive, which is simply gorgeous.  Then I got to the first IERC support tent and it was great seeing some friendly faces, getting a PBJ sandwich, and an ice cold towel.  Spirits renewed, I took it one mile at a time from there on out.  Mile 17 was a mental bridge I was all too thrilled to pass because it meant I had single digit miles left.  9 miles.  I can do 9 miles.  Then 8 miles.  Then 7 miles.  However, as we approached Mile 20, I was forcing myself to run.  My feet hurt. My quads were feeling tight.  My calves were threatening to cramp at every moment.  Luckily IERC had a support tent at Mile 20, and right before the turn into that mile marker I was given a chocolate milk and applesauce pouch.  I hate milk so the fact that I was happy to get that can tell you how delirious I may have been at that point.  More PBJ's at the support tent, along with a new ice towel and I was off.

At this point, I was really discouraged.  I was an hour off my goal time and I kept having flashbacks to last year's Mile 20 moment.  Last year that had been my defining moment.  I knew if I could just get to Mile 20 I would have no problem finishing.  I had been so excited to be there and to see my parents at the support tent.  I remember giving them both a hug, getting a quick drink, and taking off again, so excited to be so close to the finish line.  This time, there was none of that excitement.  It was too much of a struggle and comparing the two races was such a huge mental mistake that I just couldn't stop from happening.

The view from Mile 2
A mile later, there was a group giving out shots of beer, which wasn't a lot, but gave me a great mini boost of energy.  Super boring portion of the race, but oh well.  I found myself saying, "Shut up legs, you're almost there" over and over again.  Literally.  Pretty sure I said that every step of the way from mile 21 to mile 23 where the last IERC tent was.  The great thing about running with a group or having spectators is that they see you wearing the club shirt and even though they may not know you personally, they are so happy to see you and offer help.  That last club tent gave me more food, soda, and happy faces.  It was just what I needed.

"26.2 miles of Single Awareness"
I wish I could say that with only 3 miles to go that I knew I would make it and was finally on a roll.  But no.  I was still questioning my ability to cross that finish line.  It just seemed so far away.  I kept telling myself that my feet didn't hurt.  That my legs weren't cramping.  That they hurt but if they just kept going for a little bit longer it would be over and they could rest then.  I told myself I was stronger and prepared.  That I could do this.  That I would finish and get that medal.  And I ran.  Slowly.  But I couldn't allow myself to walk because I didn't trust my legs anymore.  So I pushed and pushed and pushed some more. One lovely lady looked over at me as I ran next to her (she was walking and we were at the same pace.  Oh well) and said, "Good job.  I can't believe you're running.  I just don't have the energy.  You're doing so great."  I could have hugged her.  Totally what I needed to hear at that moment.  I still had a mile left at that point, but it was probably the first time in the whole race I knew I would finish.

Turning onto Ocean Avenue was emotional for me.  You can see the ocean and feel the breeze and although you can't immediately see it, I knew the finish line was near.  As I got to the end of the finish line spectators I heard my name being cheered on and saw Tracy (a friend from high school) with a couple of running club ladies cheering me on.  And then I crossed the finish line and proceeded to let the last emotions I had left stream out in the form of tears.  Literally could not stop crying.  I was so spent emotionally and physically, and crossing that finish line was the end I wasn't sure I would get to see.  I found a spot to sit and wait the tears out, which is where I finally took a picture to share on social media.  Seeing it after, I'm surprised I was able to conjure up a real smile in that moment.  I was so proud of myself for finishing but also feeling so stupid for having that reaction.  A marathon will do that to you though.

By the end, I was definitely hurting.  I had that post-marathon swagger down.  I went and got my additional medal (more on that next time) and then found my parents and sat down to process a bit.  I had 2 goals for this race and missed both of them.  By a lot.  But you know what?  It's really not about that.  My real number 1 goal was to finish.  Because when you start a marathon (or really any race) finishing is not a guarantee.  It doesn't matter how many hours, weeks, or even months you've trained for this thing.  You set out and all you can do is try to do your best.  For me, my best was finishing when every fiber in my body was telling me to quit.  So, it may not be a distance I love, or even like. In fact, I may very well hate this distance.  But I'll be back.  LAM may have kicked my butt this time, but I guarantee I'll be stronger for the next one.  Only 397 days until LAM 2017.  ;)

And you know, 167 days until my next full marathon.  Because apparently I enjoy this kind of torture. <3