Hello wonderful people, Ellane here, this is our final Rookie blog for year 30 the Vermont City Marathon!

Wow what an amazing journey we have been on. Rookies, supporters, fans, Can you believe it is happening? Our journey together has been full of the ups the downs, the blisters, and injuries. Successes and loses, a once in a lifetime experience. No matter what comes for us in the future we all have this.

My goal from day one was just to finish, to be healthy and to do something not many do. I was fortunate to also be able to be a rookie, with my Aunt Kimber, my older sister Chantel, my second cousin Angela and one of my closest` friends Sarah Springer. Our journeyed all began the same and changed throughout this journey as you were able to see throughout Our Family Rookie blog. We all had different ideas of how the race would go, how training actually went for us, the journey we had ahead the day of the race. Yes, it was me whom inadvertently challenged, invited, and convinced each of them that they could do this, the 30th Vermont City Marathon and the experience they would have here would be unlike any other.

This brings us to Race weekend, everything we have been training for. If you have kept up with the blog at this point you heard about Kimber’s set back from an injury that changed the race she would run, went from a Full marathon to the Half & Half with me as her first half partner. You also know that Angela was doing the Half & Half with Ryan Gilligan. Chantel, Sarah Springer and myself running the full marathon.

Here is my perspective on my race. There was a battle going on in my head, and also one with my body. I did my training, I am confident and I have this marathon. I start off as I usually do, slow and steady. I am working that first couple miles, cheering in Sarah Gentley as we are going. The spectators are amazing, as they always are. I am moving along doing my thing. Up Church Street I go, I see so many people out supporting us. The volunteer are out there working hard sending words of encouragement. I see friends and family. I pose for picture, give and receive high fives and hugs. This is going pretty good I am feeling pretty good. Off to the belt line I go, if you know me the belt line is the worst for me the slant and curving of the road the never-ending of it all. The race coordinators, volunteers and spectators do an amazing job keeping us all hydrated and upbeat, but that road is just a killer for me personally. I knew this and I kept telling myself just get this done this is the worst part for you and you got this, somewhere between miles 8 and 10 I managed to roll my ankle, and my mind space wasn’t great coming off the belt line, but I had a Half and Half partner waiting for me. I soldiered on, I had a goal to get to Kimber and I did, 13.1 done, now my second half, that’s it just halfway to go, my ankle still bothering me, I kept at it. Here comes my “Assault on Battery Hill”, as it has been so named by many of the running community. I work my way up, Sarah Springer is there and a couple more of my friends cheering me on helping me. I continue meeting a bunch of wonderful, strong, people running, walking or something in between. I am heading up toward Leddy Park, at this point my body has taken a turn and a snowball effect has happened. I am working through this pain, trying to do right by me and my health, mile 20. Yes I reached you, only 6.2 more we got this. Body you can continue. Mile 21 where are you? This is really becoming awful, my body is becoming more and more mad, the injuries and increasing in pain, making every step, harder. Volunteers are really seeing the pain I am in and are checking on me often, love me some volunteers. I am now faced with the hardest decision I think I have had to make in a very long time, Do I risk my health further and the possibilities of an extreme injury or do I stop and risk utterly disappointing myself and others. Come mile 23, I made my final decision, and the Best decision for my health, I stopped, this was enough for today. Without the support of my friends and family I may not have done the best thing for my health, I may have been a stubborn, ego driven person and really injured myself to a point of no return. That was not the marathon I set out to run, from Day 1, I wanted to run a marathon and finish healthy and strong, training got me where I needed to be to do this race, people and support around me, from Coach Sam, all the way to my sister's husband, helped me to make the right choice for me. I will move forward and run another day, this just wasn’t my day for 26.2, IT WAS MY DAY, for 23 hard earned miles.

This journey this experience will be one I cherish for the rest of my days! I have learned so much about myself, about my family, the strong, beautiful women we have become and are becoming, and about all of the supporters & volunteers. Vermont City Marathon is one of the best places you can come Memorial Day Weekend. I am so pleased and proud to have been a part of it all!

Let’s hear from the rest of the Rookies!

Kimber here, So,  I had difficulty sleeping the night after the marathon, I couldn't get comfortable.  Everything I tried to do seemed like such a daunting task, like picking up a fork.  The next day I was pretty stiff in my hip-flexors, glutes, and hamstrings, but not to terrible.  I was foolish enough to get on a plane, however, and when I landed back in Washington, DC, I had stiffened up more during travel.  I did not have to resort to any pain relievers, fortunately.  I made sure to drink a lot of water to rejuvenate the somewhere deep inside I knew my mind and heart would be ready even if the rest of me wasn’t. Once race day was upon me I had the reassurance from family and friends  that carried me to the start line with excitement for the unknown. I was going to make the most out of the situation and take each mile as it came without thinking too far ahead. I was so in the moment! I felt so much support from people I didn’t know and In a place I wasn’t even from or familiar with. I was inspired by everything around me! The cheering, clapping, music, signs and high fives, coming from everywhere! The community was there! I hit a wall around mile 18 and I found myself lingering a little longer at water stations and grabbing ice pops and maple syrup packs that I had previously skipped over. The struggle was real at that point. Walking hurt just as much as running but once I got out of rhythm it was really tough to get it back again. Mile 22 was when it started to get mental. I was so close I could almost taste it. I could also see those around me braking down as well. There was more walking than running going on and each mile came slower than the last, but there was no stopping at this point, I knew was going to make it because I could finally see the end was near and there was no way I had come this far to just stop. As soon as I heard the cheering and music getting louder and I could see the running clock I just thrusted my body forward and let the moment just reel me in! I crossed the finish line just as I had started, fully engrossed in the moment.

It’s Angela, So for me and my partner, Ryan Gilligan, of the half marathon relay, we decided that Ryan would run the first leg and I’d run the second. Honestly, I was extremely nervous walking into this race that I didn’t think Ryan would run as fast as he did, especially knowing that he was working on a recovering from a hip injury. I was also worried about my shins and knees. But the funny thing is, we did way better than I expected. Ryan took off and ran his half in about an hour and thirty minutes. Funny thing is I didn’t start my half until after he got to the halfway point because of poor timing and trying to support my family in the race. But when I started I started out pretty fast, for me on a long run. Well a little faster than normal. So I thought I was going to be walking by the end. But what really happened was I ranged between 8-9:55 minutes per a mile. Which averaged around 9 minutes per a mile and led my time to be about two hours and 10 minutes or so. I was able to jog to the end with my shins only bothering me a little. I have to say it felt accomplishing and was a great experience, even though I didn’t run the full. It was also nice to talk to people on the way. Having this run under my belt now I’m excited to run a half marathon again. Although I am not sure if I want to run the full because it seems like a lot, we will see.

From all of us Rookies to you, thank you for this experience, the time we have spent together and the journey we all have done is one we never imagined having. This was a priceless event, that has changed us for the better and touch each of our souls! We will treasure these moments for the rest of our lives!

For that alone, we are eternally grateful, much love, very respectfully,

C.Ellane Austin, Kimber Smith, Chantel Montes, Angela Moore

Until we meet again #familyfun