Hey there, runners & readers!
Hopefully you have not been waiting on the edge of your seat for this post…because I am just about one month late. RunVermont, Leandre and Zpora- I am sorry for being a slow poke. My tardiness was a combination of not knowing what to write, feeling sad in recognizing this was my last responsibility related to the race, and frustration after the blog program ate a portion of a draft. Those things aside, I am thrilled to report that I am officially a KeyBank Vermont City Marathon finisher (4:38). Haha! Can you believe it? I couldn’t. In fact, just last week I found myself driving and shouting, “I RAN A MARATHON”! It’s pretty wild, and a big reminder to me (and hopefully you, reader) that there are plenty of things we may not view as possibilities in are lives, yet are totally achievable.
As anticipated, I spent very little of the night before the marathon sleeping. Most of the night was spent trying to slow my speedy heart rate, peeking at my phone, and rechecking the race day items that I had placed on my desk and chair. Morning came quickly, and I slowly ate 3/4 of a bagel with peanut butter, along with sips of Gatorade, water and some coffee. I gave myself enough time to casually hang out in the bathroom, got dressed, popped some arm holes in a trash bag, and made my way to the rainy starting line with one of my closest friends from home. My race day outfit was just as I had planned, with the addition of a long sleeved shirt I had cut a slit in so that I could Hulk Hogan out of it should my body heat up enough.
To my surprise, I saw a number my buds at Battery Park before the race began and was lucky enough to link up with my friend Kim for the first 13.1 miles. My cheering section (many shown below) was outrageously supportive, and made it their mission to see me in as many places as reasonably possible. Seeing my friends (both running and spectating), family, co-workers and classmates was so exciting, and felt really great.
Some miles were much more challenging than others. After I made my way up the Battery Street hill, past my friends and family and to mile 15, I knew I was in for a struggle. My body felt spent and I had been without a running buddy for two miles. I found myself with the 4:30 pace group, and next to a Saint Mike’s classmate. While this was a helpful momentary distraction, I wasn’t in the place to coherently contribute to a conversation. I felt weak and anxious. I also realized that I had to urinate. Badly. I knew that if I stopped- to squat or sit on a toilet- I would not get back up. Hoping the urine would transform into sweat (gross) and somehow escape my body, I decided to ignore it. At one point out of frantic desperation, I asked the people around me for help. I told them that I was feeling awful and needed someone to talk with. As much as I appreciated the encouragement of the pace leaders, I had a hard time believing what they were saying. I struggle with hearing compliments as it is, but I felt myself getting mad at the kind things they were saying to me. Silly doubt monster.
This is about the time I ran (ha) into Evan. Evan, his story, and the interactions we shared from miles 19-26.2 are absolutely what pushed me to finish, and finish strong at that. He’s the oldest of eight, a native Vermonter, and had intended on running the VCM with one of his sisters. His sister ended up with a medical issue that did not allow her to complete training. On leave from the Marine Corps and away from his base in California, Evan decided that he would run the marathon anyway. He told me that the longest training run he went on was ten miles; I imagine it was our mutual struggle that facilitated the connection between us. By the time we got to the bike path, we found a way to ignore our physical discomfort while we cheered on every person who we passed. It was awesome.
Also around the time we got to the bike path, I found myself becoming emotional. A few tears snuck out when I passed a close friend and his family, but thankfully I was able to reign it in before I lost hold of my breathing. Leddy Park, North Beach, secret beach, dog park, skateboard park, FINISH AREA. It felt surreal. Surreal and exciting. Evan and I crossed the finish line within a second of each other, and I gave him a gigantic hug before guzzling my chocolate milk. Thank you, Evan. The next time I find myself in a challenging spot, I know that the memory of our last seven miles will be meaningful reminders of the power of human kindness and determination.
I’d like to keep things gushy for another minute and thank the people in my life who supported me, with encouraging words and accompanying footsteps, through the past five months. There were plenty of moments when I had a hard time believing in myself, and was able to keep running forward because your faith and love pushed me to tie up my laces and get on with it. So, friends, family, folks at RunVermont, and those of you who have read and commented on this blog, thank you.
My running future remains slightly blurry beyond August. I’m psyched to have been asked to fill a hole on a 100 on 100 team, and am looking forward to what should be a fun and exciting, sweaty and scenic day (if the trochanteric bursitis on my right side chills out). Looking a bit farther ahead, I hope to register for at least one half-marathon in the fall months. To respond to folks’ question about if I will set out to complete another marathon, I’m not quite sure. Overall, training was a positive experience but, combined with school, the schedule pushed me into a zone of busy-ness that I wasn’t always comfortable with. I will say that, as the amount of time between the marathon and the present increases, I find myself thinking more about taking on the challenge a second time.
I like Running; she helps me take care of myself, keeping my brain clear and body tight. She’s a reliable companion to explore and adventure with, lending an ear like no other in helping me process the whirlwind of thoughts in my head. And you know what, I think she likes me too. But, I don’t love her. We’re just not there yet, and that’s okay with me. We’ve spent some time together at summer kickball and softball games, but it’s been one month since it was just the two of us. Maybe I will collect enough courage to ask her out sometime later this week.
It’s been enjoyable for me to keep this blog. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity as well as continuing to inspire and push me to do things I truly never thought were possible.
Happy summer to each of you. Take care and respect your bodies.
xo, Krysten Farrell