Bluenose recap

On May 19th, I went to bed with dreams of running my first marathon.

On May 20th, I set out to make that dream come true.

It’s hard to write a recap of your first marathon (or at least it is for me). Writing about it brings a closure, a moving on, a sense of completion and a “it’s over” feeling. I spent so many months and so many hours laughing, crying, walking, singing, yelling,  getting lost, freezing, sweating, wondering what the hell I was doing running this town that to have it all be over just doesn’t seem right…

And yet 5 hours, 8 minutes and 28 seconds after I crossed over the starting line…

I crossed over the finish line.

I read a lot of recaps and when I sat down to write my very own I had no idea where to start. Do I do a mile by mile break down? Do I talk about the things I really liked about the marathon and maybe even the things I really really really hated about the marathon? Do I explain the struggle to keep going when my body was tired and all I kept thinking about what I really should have signed up for the half marathon? Do I write about how at mile #25 I started to cry because I still felt so far away from the finish line but that before I could see the finish line I could hear it and those cries of pain, frustration, and exhaustion turned to elation because I was crossing that finish line without another runner and all those cheers were for me and me alone?

Sure you want to read about all that.

Who wouldn’t?

But my recap is a little different. I spent a lot of time alone on the route. I didn’t run with anyone. There was a pack of us that “ran together” but only because we were running the same pace. Every once in a while they’d pass me or vice versa and we’d look at each other in that “knowing” way of holy crap we’ve got a long way to go and keep moving. I spent a lot of time without my music (which is unheard of) because I wanted my mind to be clear. I wanted to feel everything during this run, this first marathon of mine. I wanted to spend time with just me and it got me thinking a lot about this journey I’ve been on for the last 2+ years.

I think running the marathon is a lot like the journey of weight loss for many of us.

or maybe just me.

When you get ready to lose weight you have these visions of grandeur. No matter how many times you’ve started, each time you decide to start again you feel strong. The right choices will be made. This will be it. No more “falling off the wagon”, no more late night snacking. Gym memberships will be purchased and you’re going to hit it hard. You’ve dreamed about what you’ll look like and the clothes you’re going to buy. Maybe you’ve even dreamed about all the things you’d like to do that you couldn’t do before: fit comfortably in a seat without having indentations on your thighs, go to the beach in something other than a long pair of shorts and a xxl t-shirt because you’re embarrassed to wear something smaller (and more comfortable), maybe take a spin class or join the running club you always used to see on a Saturday morning while your car idled in the McDonald’s drive thru…

This time would be different.

Then it’s time to step up to that “starting line”

And before you’ve even began you wonder if you’ve got it in you?

When I started this journey of losing over 100 pounds  marathon I felt ready. This was what I wanted. I dreamed of what it would be like to be smaller, thinner, fitter, athletic a marathoner. I’d lost weight run before: 20 pounds, 30 pounds, 50 pounds, 1/2 a block, a mile, 5k, half marathon. But this was different…

Could I lose over a hundred pounds?

Could I run for 26 miles?

(I could with her by my side.)

But truth be told, this life changing journey marathon could only be run by one person in order to make it successful and that one person was me. At 8:00 am May 20th I step over that starting line because while this was about running for 26 miles this was also about taking another nail out what used to be my morbidly obese coffin and earning the right to call myself a weight loss success a marathoner.

I didn’t know what to expect when I started losing weight running this race. I knew what it felt like to lose weight before run this course as I had done it previously but this time was different. This was the real deal. Either I was going to go big or I was going to go home and let me make a little confession here: Going home was never an option. But even with that kind of determination you never know what the journey race is going to be like a few months miles in.

I felt really good for the first half of the marathon. The other distances didn’t come far off the bridge so for the first two (ish) hours it was just me and the rest of those 26 mile runners. It was real quiet since not too many spectators want to see less than 300 runners come ambling by over the course of 120 minutes. Not like the 10k(ers) where the streets were flooded with almost 3500 runners:

Most of whom I ran into as I came back over the bridge.

It was a little bit of a shocker.

But even that is like weight loss. You think you’re the only one on this journey. That no one will understand what it’s like to try and make good choices run for so long. You think that because you have 100+ pounds to lose 26 miles to run no one knows how your feeling. Then you see the faces of those also trying to make the same choices run the same street and you realize that it doesn’t matter if it’s 20 pounds or 100 pounds 6 miles or 26 miles we all understand.

At the halfway mark I was forced to run through the finish line area as that was how the course was mapped out. It took a lot for me to keep running. Hearing people’s names being called out as they finished and the crowd cheering them on was almost too much to handle. They were finishing and I still had another half marathon to run. People reach goal weight, cross the finish line and celebrate their accomplishment and I still  had so much to lose far to run. But seeing them finish made me want to finish all the more. If they could…

so could I.

I wanted to be like those that came before me. I wanted to be able to tell people that I’d lost over 100 pounds ran a marathon and did it  because I was determined to change my life  finish. I wanted those people that were just beginning their own weight loss journey to run to know that I wasn’t born thin, athletic, at the ideal weight, a marathoner…I had to make myself a success story marathoner one step at a time.

cause even those baby steps bring you closer…

and closer

to what makes every step worth it…

The finish line…

29 comments to Bluenose recap

  • This post is BADASS, as are you. I love this. It’s so true, so awesome. Thanks.

  • There are moments you think are going to be EPIC. This was one of them. And I’m so freakin’ proud of you I can’t contain it. (I guess that’s why I keep looking at you in random moments and saying “You ran a Marathon!”)

    In the end it wasn’t so much the moment of you crossing the finish line that was monumental. It was what came before.
    Meeting you with a cow bell and forgetting your banana the first time you ran 19 miles…
    Telling you to get your ass out the door and run the days you were hesitating…
    Cheering you on at every point on the marathon course I could…
    those were what made it all together incredible.

    You’re my marathoner mate now T. And I didn’t doubt for a second that you would do it.
    Congratulations and all my love. xo

  • Rachel

    The finish line picture made me cry. Thank you and congratulations at RUNNING LIFE. <3

  • Great post Tara! Great accomplishment, you are an inspiration to me- even from the beginning of both of our weight loss journey’s. I am totally signing up for that half now.

  • This was the BEST marathon recap I have ever read…tears.of.joy!

  • Why do you always make me cry? lol. I’m not a crier…at all!
    Great JOB! You rocked it.
    And now I want to run another one! 😉

  • Amazing. All of it.
    Congratulations.

  • mary

    Wow oh Wow oh Wow.

    I am sitting at my desk crying as I read your recap. What an amazing story, Tara. I so appreciate your analogy of this marathon to your weight loss journey. One of your many gifts is your ability to so succinctly share your thoughts and to simultaneously motivate. Rest those tired piggies (toes to my kids!) and revel in the joy of being a marathoner! As great as an accomplishment running your first marathon was, I believe it pales in comparison to your greatest accomplishment of living YOUR life. Kudos to you Tara!

  • Wow. Just wow. With lots of tears for you, T. So happy & proud of you!

  • What a spectacular recap, great job, Tara! You are such an inspiration. I just registered for my first marathon and I am definitely inspired by your journey to that starting and finishing line!

  • Congratulations, Girl!!! I am so happy and proud of you!! You EARNED this!!

  • Kim

    CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so thrilled for you, and ALL that you have accomplished!! You are amazing! 🙂

  • Jenny

    So excited for you!! Congrats!!

  • SO SO SO proud of you and excited for you! You are so inspiring! Welcome to the marathon club girl!

  • Paula

    Wow, this is truly incredible. I hope you are very proud of yourself, you have come so far!! I am on my own life changing journey right now… I ran the 5k on Sunday (my first race), hopefully one day I’ll run a marathon as well. You rock, congratulations!

  • Big big congrats 🙂 I’m so inspired by you and proud of your dedication and accomplishment 🙂

  • Maura

    CONGRATULATIONS! Tara, you aren’t aware of how many people you touch with your honest blogging of your life and emotions. I’ve been stalking following you since CK.

  • THIS is the marathon recap I wanted to read, because it came from your heart. I am so proud of you and it still makes me shake my head and smile to know that you did it! And you will do it again! And all those time you doubted yourself, you kept putting one foot in front of the other because that’s what you do. And that’s how you do life. One food in front of the other. One step at a time. I can’t wait to see where the next steps take you.

  • This post? Amazing.

    You? The amazingest badassiest marathoner.

    Congratulations on conquering it.

  • Every word of this recap was amazing! I am so proud of you and so thrilled that we were able to experience this epic accomplishment at the same time. I have never met you in person but feel connected to you all the same! I still need to write my recap – I have put it off, mostly because I have been out of town on work travel, but also because it feels as if it will be officially “over” if I write about it. I thought that I was being silly until I read that you were feeling the same way – thanks for making me feel not so crazy! I am actually jealous you have another one planned already – I was thinking about doing the Twin Cities Marathon in October, haven’t decided for sure yet.

    You are such an inspiration to me – the love that you and Meegan share is so amazing, it’s beautiful to see two people who complete each other so perfectly!

  • I love you, girl & I am SOOOO proud of you!!

  • shelb

    CONGRATS ON YOUR AMAZING LIFESTYLE CHANGE, and your commitment is inspiring

  • […] ran her first marathon in Fargo.  I sat in a car in California and hit repeat endlessly, tracking Tara as she ran her first marathon in Halifax.  I read blogs, of friends who are training and people […]

  • Loved the race report and seriously well done for completing the marathon!

    When I ran my first one I felt like collapsing mentally and physically at the same time but I pushed on through!

  • […] is what happens when life gets in the way and instead of posting recipes you’re off running marathons, going to work conferences, flying across the country to see family and friends, returning home via […]

  • […] I set out to run the longest I’ve run since completing my first marathon back in May. I woke up early and got everything packed up and ready to go. JOLT filled (check), running gels […]

  • […] Saturday (Marathon). I’m not nearly as freaked out this time around as I was back in May for the Bluenose so the extra time on my hands is leaving me a bit irritated and with the downpour happening outside […]

  • […] of time stalking my local coffee shops for free wifi and running a shit ton while training for my first Marathon and subsequently my second and third marathon. I was lonely. I felt like a burden and to know me […]

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