I AM a freaking MARATHONER!!!

Two years ago today I ran my first ever (and only so far :) ) freaking FULL marathon. The whole experience was surreal -

from being chosen by my amazing Coach Amanda of RunToTheFinish to be a part of the Saucony 26 Strong Program which included full sponsorship and all fees paid -

to training with my dear friend Dixie Bachmeier by my side as she trained just as hard for her first marathon as well but on her own without the sponsorship and social media frenzy that I had -

to having my daughter Amanda Rafferty who had planned on running with us until she found out she was going to have a beautiful precious baby so instead sucked it up and trained beside me daily and every single run I went on -


to a very supportive hubs and family and friends. (I still get teary eyed when I think of all of this! How blessed I truly was!)

The training was one of the hardest things I have ever done but yet one of my most proud things accomplished and I couldn't have done it without the support of so many. And thanks to my dear friend Robin Rae Osendorf-Welch, I had a crew of friends and family running beside me virtually during the marathon!!

And, I just knew greater things were coming and that 2015 was going to be my year of personal records, pushing this body to see what I could do and accomplish...run races and I just felt the running world was mine :) I was so ready for more!!! And it started out great...I came back eventually after a very slow recovery from the marathon and managed to PR my Fargo Half Marathon!! And then knew I could do even better!! 

However, I can't say the marathon had the story book ending as I had hoped as THAT SHIT WAS HARD, I felt like giving up at mile 19 {I still feel like I gave up on myself and Coach Amanda was amazing and never gave up on me}, I hit THE WALL, my digestive system was NOT happy with me and made for an absolute miserable last few miles (and many days following-so much that I never did get my Pina Colada on the beach with my arse in the sand like I had dreamt of) and I swear I barely remember crossing that finish line?? Thank God for photos or I wouldn't believe it!! 

(To this day I have not treated myself to anything MARATHON related...I just feel like I didn't deserve it.) 

Why? Being the people pleasing person that I am who just wants to make everyone happy, I tend to worry way too much and punish myself for things that didn't go right or if I hurt someone.

Truthfully, for the first time in a long time I was putting myself first and taking it all in and it felt great!!! (Although this whole experience was so out of my comfort zone I was a nervous wreck a lot of the time in Honolulu!) However, I feel like I let myself get caught up in the flurry and craziness that came with the social media and my Saucony obligations.  I didn't realize it at the time but I let people down, I hurt their feelings and it hit me like a brick wall after and I am still trying to forgive myself.  

So, no the storybook ending was not there...but as I reflect on this today {dang writing is great therapy!!}, I had the storybook ending meant for ME and the story is MINE!!!

No, I did not hit my goal...but man I got to help a teammate in her time of need out on the course...Coach and I didn't even need to talk about stopping to help her...it was a mutual agreement that I will never regret and I am sure Coach does not either.  Did stopping for around 30 minutes cause my digestion issues...maybe.. but it is what it is.  I would do it again in a heartbeat. 

No, I did not get to do some of the things I wanted or spend as much time with those people I wanted to the most...and dang all I want is to go back and sit my arse on the beach with a pina colada for more than 5 minutes with Coach Amanda, my daughter Amanda, Dixie and Scotty :)... and I did not get the chance to introduce Coach Amanda and Dixie to one another!!!! but I got to go to Honolulu and meet some amazing people...and run in a freaking MARATHON with dear friends and my daughter by my side. (Seriously, I keep having dreams that we are on vacation at a beach...and I NEVER MAKE IT TO THE BEACH!!!)

No, I did not get to truly enjoy or savor the after marathon glory...as seriously folks, I was miserable from the digestive issues but I RAN A FREAKING MARATHON!!!!!!!!!!! and although it was not pretty...I hope that I inspired some people along the way by keeping it real and staying true to myself!!! 

No, 2015 was NOT the year I had hoped and 2016 has not been either....the digestion issues have continued to this day, my body has not been the same, my Hashimoto's has been tough to get under control.....BUT I am listening to my body better, I am finally back to run/walking 2 miles 3 times a week!!!! 

My main regret that haunts me to this day...was not being able to be with Dixie at the start of the race as we ALWAYS do and get my DIXIE HUG...and we did not get to see each other at the end of the race or meet up that day at all.  That weighs huge on my heart.  (But, I did get to go cheer her on as she ran her 2nd full freaking marathon this fall...and I GOT to hug her at the start, cheer her on, support her and hug her like crazy at the end!!!!) LOVE YOU DIXIE.

Will I run another FULL MARATHON? YES!!! I will!! But it won't be for a while. Must take care of me and my body, plus life at our shop is so busy I just honestly don't have the time...and my hubs still hasn't recovered fully....seriously friends...when you run a marathon you MUST consider the toll it takes on your spouse!!!  Just keeping it real.  

However, I WILL train again for more half marathons.  Those are my favorite and I am hoping to run one in the spring of 2017!!!!!!! 

As my dear Coach Amanda says... FORWARD IS A PACE!!!!!!! And I AM A FREAKING MARATHONER!!! Time to go find myself something special that says it!! :) 

Much love to you all