Friday, May 20, 2011


Sorry it's taken me a while to add the conclusive entry to my blog. In summary, the marathon was AMAZING!

I was so nervous the night and morning of, yet strangely calm. I was mainly worried I hadn't eaten right or slept enough. But I kept telling myself it would be okay, it would be fun and I could slow down if I needed to.

I went to the last corral there, E. It was the 4:45, 4:50 finish pace section. I talking to some other women fidgeting around saying this was their first marathon too. I was in a see of runners, foggy gray skyscrapers overhead. I didn't feel as scared or alone anymore. I felt peaceful, for lack of a better word. And then the start was announced- a tad after seven- and we raced off! Well, not really, we sort of slowly walked forward until there was enough room to jog. So many people, once I started passing them I started to worry. Everything I had read and been told said to HOLD BACK. But even going what I considered slow I inched forward.

I still maintain that the single digit miles are the scariest. Simply because you have so far to go and you think "is this tiredness I'm feeling, it's only mile two!" or "mile four and a half and I think my foot hurts!" and you have time to let doubt sink in as the race expands along the rainy city streets before you.

So I started praying about Isaiah 40:31 at every mile marker. And then all in between I prayed too. About my nerves over the race, for friends and family, for other runners. I felt all the love and support of my friends who were praying for me and wrote me letters to read before I ran. As the miles started to pass by I remembered something the nomeatathlete book had said: "Relax and enjoy the fact that you are doing something incredible!"

Thinking this, and with various pop songs playing in my mind I realized: my goal- I was already achieving it. I was enjoying the marathon!

And I continued to love every step of it. I broke it into chapters in my mind, the first seven miles, then 7-14. The hills everyone had warned me about felt easy and smooth under my feet (I didn't even realize I was ascending the big scary mile 11 hill until I saw the "Kill the Hill" nike banners wrapped around it). I prayed my way all the way up that hill, conscious of the metaphor this race bore to my Christian one. 

Then came miles 14-20 and the final six. Each new chapter had its own textures and emotions. I kept waiting for that inevitable midteens wall of exhaustion. But it never came.

Having KATE! printed on my shirt helped so much; complete strangers lined the race cheering me on! I got such a surge of energy from them, especially all the high-fives! My checks started aching from smiling.

As I neared the end of the race, I ran into my one friend who came to watch me. He told me my splits were negative! Each miles I was getting faster! I had only a vague sense of time from my own stop watch, but this news encouraged me even more. I wasn't just going to finish but finish well! I passed the 4:30 pace group, then the 4:15 and 4:00. My body was starting to ache as the miles passed...21...22. My thighs hurt, which had never happened to me before. I kept asking God "you said I wouldn't be me believe your promise!" And though my body ached (and still does a bit actually) my soul never did.

The last part of the race was the hardest. I flew down the big downhills, passing lots of fellow runners and cheering them on as I went by. But the final two miles HURT like I have never really felt before. Everything in my body started to get angry at me. I pushed harder, having given myself the goal now of 3:40 and watching the seconds tick forward on my watch. I pushed myself up the final bridge and picked up pace, my mom cheering me on from the side of the course. Then the lane seemed to extend itself, the road stretched out before me. The nomeaytathlete book said the .2 of 26.2 were the best part: "Revel in the last few moments of your accomplishment as you are steps from becoming a marathoner."

Well, they hurt like hell.

But crossing the finish line I couldn't believe it. I was exhausted and in pain but done! I did it, I did it. I kept telling myself as I stumbled over to a walker who led me out of the finishing area. I made eye contact with a midforties volunteer and he gently reached out and placed the medal over my neck. I have it on my bed stand now, it says "KATE THOMPSON 3:40:30" in the gold shiny surface. I just slipped in under the time to qualify for the Boston Marathon!

I loved the marathon. I loved every minute. I have a renewed confidence in myself, my body and my abilities. I kept telling my mom as I wobbled about after the race I needed to find my next one to register for.

I'm typing from my dining room table this morning. It's on and off rainy and sort of cold. I'm going for my first run since the race later today. Monday I could barely walk. Today will be a nice two or so miles. And I'm okay with that. Not every day needs to be a hard and challenging one. The rest times are important too.

Thank you everyone who supported me.
Hypothesis to the Mile 27 Experiment: confirmed!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hyped, Psyched and Ready to Go!

I'm in the hotel room now, full of a Chipotle rice and bean burrito (yay complete proteins!) I've drunk so much water today and all this week I might as well be swimming on the inside. Well, I was swimming with nervousness, but now I feel a sort of "peace that passeth all understanding."

From friends and family, from my running buddies at PSU to my mom who drove me all the way across the state to run, I feel so loved and supported.

Part of me is nervous, for the pain. For the doubts. For any mistakes I might make. Too many "what ifs"- I don't need them. I know I can do this.

So more of me is excited! Tomorrow is my special day. Next time I write this blog, I'll be a marathoner.
More than anything I feel the need to fill up on positive and confident thoughts. I've work hard and trained. I'm rested and strong. I'm doing this for fun, for an adventure. I'm hyped, psyched and ready to RUN!

Wish me luck & PRAY!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Why Ignorance Isn't Bliss

So now I'm done the training, and waiting for Sunday is starting to make my stomach turn.

all this... not running... is giving me time to worry about mistakes I might have made or will make and everything in between. And another thing: I've realized I've avoided a lot of resources that might help me. In the beginning I was afraid (yes, that's not an over-exaggerating adjective) afraid to look up more about marathon theory. Namely because I thought it would be intimidating, that I would not be able to train as hard as plans suggests or want to challenge myself to that extent. Now I'm discovering that the more I research the better I feel. Knowing the mistakes people make before races is soothing my worry by helping me not make the same ones. All the tips and training ideas, they sure would have given me more comfort earlier. I don't know who I thought I was helping by hiding under a rock for this e-wellspring of information we call the internet.

I want to do this right, so would it really hurt to sneak in a little extra last minute research? Any suggestions?