12 Nov 2012, 10:39am
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  • Running: My First Marathon

    How to describe my mental state right now.
    If I’m being truly honest, I feel happy and sad.

    But let me start at the beginning.  I’ve come a long way, baby!!  A long way from huffing and puffing through my first one mile run to running a full marathon of 26.2.  I tried to pump myself up after the cancellation of the New York Marathon.  And truth be told, my excitement was nowhere NEAR my initial anticipation level.  But, I knew I was going to run Richmond as strong as I could.

    Friday night, I set out my clothing, going over and over my gear, making sure it was all there.  Check.

    Slept from 9:30pm until 5:30am.  Made myself a bowl of oatmeal with two eggs on the side.

    We were staying with friends about 15 minutes from downtown.  We left a little before 7, as the race started at 8, and made it to our exit in good time, only time find this…

    Cars. Cars. Cars.  Over a mile of cars waiting to exit off into the starting area.  My heart rate picked up and I started getting worried.  We weren’t moving and it was getting close to 7:30.  Finally, a quick look at the GPS showed us there was a way around all the traffic.  We shimmied out of line and shot over to the next exit.  On our way I saw runners on the freeway, running down the emergency lane so they could get to the start line in time.  No joke.  David dropped me off into the horde and I made a beeline for the toilets.

    It sort of felt like a dream.  There I was with 20,000 other runners.  WhaT??  I spend every run on my own, in the hills and now I get to run with all these people just as crazy as me??  Shoot.  I’ll take it.
    I chatted up two ladies from Kentucky who were there for the half-marathon.  They drove 7 hours to participate because there were no races in their area.  This was their first race.  How cool.

    Start line:  I’m standing there, alone, crunched with thousands of other energized runners, looking around, hoping to catch a glimpse of someone I know.  No one.
    Miles 1-8:  They start us off and everyone is screaming, me included, my hands raised sky high so ready to do this.  I sidle up to another runner and I notice she is wearing the shirt we were given for the NYC Marathon.  We start talking and decide to be race buddies.  Her name was Dana.

    Miles 2-10:  I’m giggling at some of the motivational signs people have come up with.
    *In our minds, you’re all Kenyans*
    *Pooping your pants IS a possibility*
    *Singlet. Check.  Bib. Check.  Toe nails. Optional*
    *Who Fartlek-ed?* (Fartlek is speed training but, go ahead and read about it HERE)
    *My wife is hotter than yours*
    *Fierce Calves*
    *Go. Complete Stranger. Go!*
    *I know you don’t know me, but I am so proud of you*
    *Your marathonG is showing!*
    *Chaffing is temporary, finishing is forever!*

    Miles 9-10:  The running is good and it’s going by fine.  Seems to be taking a while.  I get little boosts of energy from my music and from other runners.  I saw a dad with the words “Running with my son” on the back of his shirt and his son’s shirt said, “Running my second marathon with my dad.”  So sweet.

    13.1: I’m feeling ok, Dana is a great partner, there are a lot of hills (my fav of course) but they are long grades, so it takes a little adjusting and I take my time, not wanting to burn out.  I’m running good and still at the 4 hour complete time pace.  Then, I have to use the restroom :/  NOT in the plan.  Me and Dana part ways, so sad.  That was the last time I saw her…

    Miles 14-17: Feeling good…but my stomach is started to act up a little.  I keep my mind focused and I only glance at the porta-potties trying to will myself forward.  Then, mile 17 and the gummy bears.  When I first heard they would have gummy bears and other junk food on the course, I snorted.  There was no way I’d take it.  I have my Gu.  I’m good.  Uh.  Well, those gummy bears were my little friends for the next few miles.  I was popping two at a time every two miles until I ran out.

    Miles 18: People were standing along the course with bowls of freshly cut fruit.  I grabbed a handful and shoved it into my mouth, sucking out all the juices, tossing the rinds.  Then, there were bowls of cookies.  OMG.  I needed sugar so badly.  Grabbed a cookie and nursed it for a full mile.
    Mile 19: I have to use the restroom again.  At this point, I decide that I truly have to let go of my expectation to complete the race in 4 hours.  It was hard, but I had to get rid of the mental pressure I had created for myself about this.  I am resolved.
    Mile 20:  I see this sign:
    *No, really, you look great!*
    And then, this sign:
    *Smile if you peed a little*
    I try not to smile, because then they’ll think I peed!!  Gosh!  hah

    Mile 20:  I’m looking for “The Wall” everyone talked about.  I’m waiting for my mind to give out and my legs to resist moving.  Nothing.  I feel good.  I feel ok.

    Mile 21: I glance off to my right and double take.  I see a mom with her son.  He is no more than 12 and my eyes water.  They are running this marathon together and all I can think of is my son and how I can’t wait to run something like this with him.

    Mile 23:  Finally, my legs give out.  They cramp so badly that I can barely walk.  I’m feeling horrible inside.  I’m WALKING IN A MARATHON!!  Then, I see someone else, and then another, and another, but I also see that they will.not.stop.moving.  In spite of the pain, we kept forward.  My heart is just sick that I’m reduced to walking, but I’m not alone and certainly not the first.

    Mile 24: There has to be some way to finish this race running, but my toes are killing me and my legs are a little floppy.  I gimp along.

    Mile 25:  I don’t care, I am running this last 1.2 miles.  And run I did.

    Mile 26:  I start crying.  Full on, legit, tears, bawling, covering my mouth, eyes squinting trying not to trip.  I round a corner, then another corner and I’m sure the finish line is there, but it’s not.  I’m still crying.  Raw emotions gushing up from somewhere deep, telling me, “You did it, you did it, you did it!”  Some lady on the side lines starts yelling, “Just one more corner, you’ve got this!”  And I started sprinting, heaving with tears, full of emotion, a runner next to me turns to stare and I don’t even care.  She has no idea what I’ve gone through to get here.  She doesn’t know that I’m running for 11 children in Africa, for my parents, my husband, my children, my sponsors, for myself…for myself…

    26.2:  I hear screaming and cheering.  Is it for me??  Maybe.  I think some of it is.  I raise my hands up and cross the finish line.  I.did.it.

    I ran a marathon.

    Then, the smiling faces of my husband and babies.  Hugs so sweet.  My family.

    I’m exhausted.  We head into the crowds and I refuel with a slice of pizza and a banana.  I don’t even taste it as it’s going down.
    As I’m coming down from my emotional finish and trying to stretch it out a little, Cylas says,”  Mom, I kept thinking that I wanted to run with you, but then I was thinking about how sweaty I would get.”  How cute is that??  So, we talked about running and decided that we’ll start training for a 5k.  My and my baby boy running together would be amazing.

    I finished in 4 hours and 28 minutes.
    Now, why am I happy and sad?  Happy because I finished, sad because I missed my goal time.  It’s ok.  There is always next time.
    Oh, you thought this was the only one I’d run??? hah.  Nope.  Can’t wait to start training again…

    Later, when we’re heading to the car to leave the race David says to me, “It looked like you were crying when you finished…”  I looked at him, “Yes, I was.  I bawled like a baby.”

    12 Nov 2012, 11:16am
    by Amanda LaBoube


    Best blog ever. Aaron and I just read it! I’m so proud of you. You are such an inspiration. I ran 6 yesterday for the first time. I want to do a half marathon. I would love to get my son to run a 5k with me too. You rock skirtgirl!

    So proud of you Misha. Great job! I look forward to many more running adventures from you :)

    Oh my gosh, this totally made me cry, well once you stated you were crying. I could just feel what you were going through those last few miles. What an accomplishment! You must be proud of yourself. Even though it wasn’t the marathon you trained for, you still followed through and ran a marathon. 26.2 miles of running. Amazing. I’m proud of you. Thanks for sharing your journey with us.

    12 Nov 2012, 2:05pm
    by Julia Bogdanets


    Loved reading this Mish! So happy that you completed a huge goal that you had! The blog was SO interesting! But then again, which of your blogs aren’t? ;)

    Great Job!! I didn’t believe it when someone told me, “the only goal for your first marathon is to finish, don’t worry about the time.” I had no idea how long those final miles would be. But YOU FINISHED!!! Congratulations, Marathoner Misha!!!!

    13 Nov 2012, 7:01pm
    by Heidi Lucille


    I’m so proud of you Misha!! I know I’ve said that so many times – but honestly, I truly am. Way to go you. I’m glad you didn’t give up, during the race or any point along the way before race day. You did it. Thanks for sharing your story with us so openly…yet again. Hugs!

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