Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Sunday, September 8th, 2019 is a day I hope to always be proud of. I qualified and was accepted to the 2020 Boston marathon. I have wrote previous blog posts that I encourage you to read about my dream to run the Boston Marathon.
Basically if you are a runner, this is the optimal goal! Last year I qualified at this same race but than missed out by 7 seconds. It was so crushing. I really debated stopping racing. What was the point? The point was I found out how much I enjoy being on that course, surrounded by people who come from all areas of life, paces but we all share the same joy. In addition, gives you new knowledge and experiences you wont get from training runs.
My last 2 marathons were not pretty due to GI distresses killing me on my race. Doing another marathon was not exciting to me because I had done the training before and prepared but on race day, things happened that I wasnt expecting. Twin cities last year, my body gave out at mile 8 and Grandmas mile 11. Granted I did make it to the finish, it was exhausting and defeating.
Over the next few months, I continued to train with group running which was new to me but didnt really attend to run a marathon outside of Twin Cities in October. Even that one, was t for a specific time I just want a good race. I had signed up Sioux Falls back in January not actually planning on running, but a just in case if I wanted to make 1 last attempt at Boston.
My training went well but my GI stress was still interrupting my runs and I was experiencing more and more light headedness with runs. I continued to waste my time going to doctors that dont believe me and wont help me. I have been bleeding in my stools for a year, experience deep stomach pain all day, put on a lot of weight despite taking amazing care of myself, but apparently docs just think Im making it up. Running ironically is the one thing that actually frees a lot of my pain. I also have chronic constipation and running is the only thing that pushes it out safely.
We raise our kids to follow their dreams and chase them. What kind of a mom would I b if I didnt give my dream one more shot? I had to try right? My mind was playing devils advocate. Its just a race, it doesnt matter in an eternal purpose? Get on with your life and make an impact and stop worrying about some dumb race. I was going to get on with my life after one more chance.
Going into the race, I had an odd calmness I had never had before. I think I was so rea and pdy to just put this behind me, I was like lets go lets do this. Being my 9th marathon, and really only 1 good 1, I knew all of the ways I had felt during the previous marathons and my mindset was to try and prevent as much as I could. I ate more than I usually did, likely overfilled with electrolytes 1-2 days ahead of time, ignored my usual prerace pains knowing they were nerves, and really just tried to relax. I kept my breakfast way more simpler than usual and showed up just excited to run not race but Run!! It was a shitty day with weather but it didnt bother me, I just was happy to be able to run the race marked before me.
I will spare anybody reading this the step by step details of the whole race, but I started with a pace group that was above my goal pace and kept them in my eye the whole time. I needed a 3:40 to qualify, but aiming for 3:35 for a buffer. The pace group was 3:30 so my goal was to keep him in sight but not stay with him. After teetering with him back and forth, at mile 15 I felt comfortable at where the group was and I stayed with them telling myself, Tracy you still have 11 miles to go and you havent used the bathroom yet so just chill. The group really saved me and I encourage anyone to find a pace group that is manageable for you. The pacer told us where we were timewise and coached us along the way. I felt like going faster at times and I was like no, save it for the end. My urge to go to the bathroom increased but I didnt want to lose the group, my goal was to persevere as much as I could. My stomach was actually being really calm which was surprising to me because I broke the cardinal rule of not trying something new race day and I switched up my gels. Mile 20,I started to feel dizzy and thought the worse. Well Tracy, you went to hard, youre done, bye Boston. I just kept running and focused on finishing that last 10k as best as I could knowing I ran a hell of a race. The wind picked up and so did I. Grabbed an extra shot of gatorade and kept going. I wanted to be done so bad and I tried to just keep perserving. Mile 23, I said to the pacer, well Im not sure how I am going to finish but I met 1 goal today, I have never gone this long without using the bathroom. At this point, I will pee my pants. We chuckled and I paced everything I had left to make sure I finished strong. The rain picked up and gave me some energy and I sprinted across that finish line at 03:27:52. An over 12 min buffer.
I told myself ahead of time if I actually qualified I would probably be crying but I couldnt help but scream. I left the stadium and just screamed and my husband was on the phone congratulating back!! I was all smiles and cheers. I left the stadium to get in my car and I just broke down in tears before God.
This wasnt just about qualifying for a race it was celebrating who I had become. 3 years ago I had heart surgery, I could barely walk let alone run, i was unhealthy, fearful and just settling for what was before me. I wasnt chasing dreams I was just going through the motions. I had dreams but I never believed I would reach them so I didnt try. As stressful as running these races has been to me, it has changed me from a settler to a seeker. Every one of those finish lines whether big or small, I made it! It wasnt always pretty, the way I wanted, but I perservered and crossed it. It has pushed me in my own life. My degree is in nutrition and I have not practiced in 16 years. Over the years, I have settled for jobs that would help pay bills but not push me careerwise.
In January, I told myself, Im sick of settling and working these jobs I dont care about. It may take time and I will likely be rejected,but I have to try. My passions are running and nutrition and this is what I want to do. With the support of my husband, I pursued my dream of run coaching and obtained 2 coaching certificates, USATF and RRCA. Learning about the ins and out of running was so exciting to me, I couldnt get enough knowledge. In April, I went out on a limb and quite my job, to give me time to start a coaching business. In my head I thought it would come easy and I quickly learned, it wouldnt. Starting my own coaching business was hard, and competive. Being so out of practice from nutrition, I didnt have a lot of confidence of people giving me a job, so I pursued my personal training and nutrition coach certification. At the end of the day, I may not have a job but I was going to have a lot of credentials. I was lacking the experience. I obtained a few coaching gigs, but I needed money at this point. I was slacking on applying for nutrition jobs and told myself I had to get with it. I went back online and found a few openings. I received 2 offers from different companies, and as of July I am now working clinical nutrition with the end goal of obtaining my RD by Christmas.
You cant make up for lost time but you can make the most of the time you are given going forward. I feel like since Ive refocuswd my thinking, I feel like I have to do all this stuff to make up for the years I wasted. I need to be home and make every meal, I cant miss an event for my children, I need work as fast as I can to cleat my bucket list, the list is endless honestly. The title second best is a title Ive worn frequently. I seem to always come short of that full title but I will keep trying to catch that title!!
Running has essentially given me a new birth and drive in a healthy way. I hate the person I was and have so many regrets, but I cant change that. All I can do is make the most of today! I fail everyday, struggle an abnormal amount of pain, and still get pretty down on myself but I get back up again and keep pushing forwards as a Christian, mom, coach and runner pushing towards that next finish line. My kids are pushing for their goals too because mom is. Whats your goal? As moms we tell are kids how proud we are of them but when your 9 year old says it back to you, you know you re doing something right.
Stay strong and persevere!