saddling up.

courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway.  - john wayne.

i was insecure about my physical training going into the austin run but mentally i was comfortable. i've decided two things can make a run significantly more difficult, no matter how much i've trained; the weather and the course. i've never had the impression that running a marathon would be easy. but i seem to forget how emotional they are. i forget the pain and depression and soak in the pride and sense of accomplishment. i know that many people run marathons and they are much faster than i am. i am not going for speed but it is hard to get a slower time than anticipated. while running, the lowest of low feeling is having to stop and walk. physically having to walk and watch others pass and eventually disappear. my negative attitude emerges and i hate myself for walking and force myself to start going again. i remind myself to suck it up - that if i don't push myself, no one will. each and every run i learn more about myself and the willpower i have developed. i want success. i want to feel success. i want to feel satisfied and complete. and proud.

at one point during the run a woman said to me she was depressed with her time. that she had run the marathon last year and had a much better time. she said the course was more difficult and that her knee hurt. my reply, without hesitation, was "no one gives a sht what time you cross, but you". she laughed and whole-heartedly agreed. the thing about that statement is i only believe it half the time. the other half i still fear that people will judge me for not being fast. basing their approval on time, not survival. i try not to be insecure but i am. i think it is only natural when you put so much of yourself into something.

i think i've set a negative tone that i'm not intending. i love to run. i am so glad i went on this trip. i am proud what i accomplished. i pushed my self to the point of tears and came across the finish line smiling. i conquered this run despite my fears and the challenging terrain. this is the first run i've ever taken my phone along for the ride and i'm so glad i did. and this is the first time i've ever called someone during a run! truth be told, i've seen those people and thought what are they doing?? i don't know what they were wanting but i was seeking encouragement. jenn and i parted ways about mile 12 and i found myself lonely. and hurting. we went shopping the day before and my feet were sore from the start. i was hoping that the pain would go away but it just continued to increase as the miles persisted. i was told at a water stop around mile 17 that the course was downhill from here. i was looking forward to this point all day...until mile 18 came and i could see no decline. i could see no relief in sight. my feet hurt and all i could see were inclines. incline after incline. it broke me. i called mr. h at mile 18 crying. crying crocodile tears. i was crying bc i was slow. my feet hurt. i wasn't trained. i wasn't running to satisfy my needs and i still had over eight miles to go. we gave me encouragement and assured me i could do it. i pushed on and started sending pictures and texts throughout my journey. i started getting encouraging texts and the miles were shrinking. i would finish. i saw more and more people at the aid stations waiting to be driven back to the finish line but i never thought i would have the guts to quit. to go and sit there while others gave everything to finish. if people thought i was crazy for crying at 18, they would have thought i was a lunatic sitting at an aid station bawling like a baby. i'm not a quitter. i didn't drive, okay ride, to austin to quit.

the miles came and i kept running (it was more like jogging at this point) and i just pushed through. i tried to ignore my pain and know that i could stop as soon as i crossed the finish line. by mile 25 i started to find comfort in the fact that i was close. this run would end and i would make it. i would pray and i would find comfort in knowing that i had completed something far more physically challenging than i thought possible. was ignorance bliss? absolutely. if we had driven the course, i would have been scared to death of all the hills. i don't know if i would have signed up to put myself through h*ll but i'm glad i did. doesn't that sound crazy?

after i crossed the finish line and got my hot banana and gross gatorade recovery drink, i tried to find some place to sit in the shade. i was sunburned and tired. my body ached and i wanted to hug someone. anyone. i didn't. if i had, i would have been a big, crying baby and a pile of mush. i called my husband crying. i told him it was so hard. that i wanted to be at home and i don't know why i would put myself in that position. people - i am not a crier. i'm really not. this was just an emotional struggle for me. as i was crying, i knew that i would run another. i knew this would not be my last marathon. i knew i wanted to feel the runner's high again and i would, in fact, run the full marathon in okc on may 1st. i know this may sound nuts but after the hurt went away, my pride set in. i am so proud of myself. i am so proud of the ramsey girls and what we did last sunday. i'm not ready to give up. i've got eight weeks to become a stronger, non-crying, runner for my next chance. next time i hope to be more like lightning mcqueen and less like mater. i may cry but i hope it is tears of joy, not tears of pain and fear.

as hard as i am on myself, i know that few people attempt a full marathon and i should take pride in knowing that i've done three since november. pride in dedication and determination. and i am proud (so proud) of this last run but yet i don't know if i feel satisfied. i gave everything i had but i'm ready to give more. feel more happy thoughts and less negative ones. i suppose the more you run, the greater chance you have of catching a bad run - if you're a runner, you know about a bad run. they just happen. it sucks but the good definitely comes with the bad. the aching body, sore muscles and missing toenails. maybe i should take up a new hobby. like cooking or knitting. both sound good but i'm not ready to give up yet.

of the sold out 6,000 marathon runners, twenty percent did not finish. i was not one of those people. i did not give up. and by gawd, i gave my all and then some. i ran across the finish line and i proudly received my medal and finisher shirt. i didn't even see lance (the event was sponsored by his livestrong organization) but i know that he only ran the half marathon. yep, for one day i out ran lance armstrong. to me, that is something to be proud of.

please excuse the grossness. i just finished 26.2 miles.