Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Do the Humpty Hump

Last night, LL's newest rescue came to play with Goliath-and finally a worthy companion for Goliath's energy.
Turbo is an 8 month old, Italian Greyhound with a ton of energy and very playful. When they first met , Goliath welcomed him inside and shoved his giant head between his legs and lifted the little fella off the ground. Both of them went back and forth playing, Goliath delicately nuzzling Turbo, and Turbo gallantly prancing atop Goliath.

Turbo was kinda getting a vertical complex, because Goliath was taller. He kept jumping up on the sofa, trying to see how tall he could get. It was absolutely cracking me up. Turbo is getting neutered today, so Goliath might have had ball envy-so it evened out.
Turbz is currently being fostered, and will be looking for his forever home soon. He'll be a great dog for an active family. He loves to curl up on the couch, and also would make a great running buddy for someone training for a 5k PR.
If you're interested in adopting Turbo, please contact LL Dog Rescue

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

That Grind Don't Stop

Sunday was the big day!! My bebe seester ran her very first half marathon-AND LIVED...AND FINISHED! Can you believe it? I can. I had no doubt in her, she's amazing! Anyone who runs marathons is amazing-but my sister is super amazing wonderful! Are you read for the recap? And AWAAAAYYYY WEEEE GO (because I promised her a super epic-legen-wait for it-DARY post):

mmm salty kisses

Day -1: 'Twas the day before 13.1 and all were asleep-but us. We were up and at 'em bright and early, to get our race stuff together. We had an agenda: t-shirts to make, shorts to buy, lunch to eat, dogs to adopt, soccer games to play and packets to pick up. Somehow we managed to get everything done, except: adopting a dog (another story, another post) and we only half way made our shirts. We ran what felt like several hundred errands Saturday getting ready for the big race. We had ideas of grandeur for our shirts, but we bit off way more than we could chew-and ran out of steam halfway through silkscreening. We only got our names on our shirts, and unfortunately it wasn't up to par to our standards-so we nixed the hilarious saying on the back. At least Em, got her name on her shirt-which I forewarned would be magic on the course. She'd just have to wait to see. We had chipotle for lunch, went to her soccer game and had a family dinner. The night ended with us roasting marshmallows at my mom's.

yeah! she finished!!!

Mile -1: This is perhaps my favorite half marathon, why because it's so close to my home AND ANNDDD it's on MY trail. Say where?! Yeah. So Emmers and I met at mi casa, geared up. We walked a little over a mile to the race start, and got there just on time. I shouldn't set this pattern for her-I am AWFUL about getting to races with enough time to stretch. Less the never, we lined up towards the back. For whatever reason, this race does not have a staggered start for the 5k, Half and Full-and from experience I advised that the rear was going to be best for us so we didn't gun it and run out of gas trying to keep up with 5kers.

family portait

Miles 1-3: Like I said, no staggered start. Even lining up toward the back didn't help at all, it was still wicked thick through the front. Emily and I vowed not wear ipods, so we could chat-and we quickly learned that hanging out all day yesterday tapped our conversation supply. I started making jokes and loudly said "This is like a one mile race right?" "We are almost done right?" to which no one really appreciated. Apparently, runners don't get a sense of a humor until the back miles-when everyone is a little loopy and delirious. The front miles people are still focused and set on PRing. After mile three, we ditched the 5k runners and pushed on. The weather was unseasonably warm, and I had already ditched our matching shirt.

Best Mom Evah

Miles 4-6: The miles were really flying by, Emily stated firmly she will not be walking until mile 6. So we trotted along, and I kept trying to talk it up. She was not having it and really needed to focus-so right around mile 4.5 I turned my iphone speakers on to my running playlist, tucked it back into my pocket-and rocked the muscle butt for the rest of the race. It was quite awesome, I must say. It set an ambiance for the whole race. Other runners would come up and hear Usher or Lil John, stop and pace with us to have a little jam session and move on. We'd jokingly dance and rock out. Since this was an out and back course, at mile five we got to see the leaders speed by us. We screamed out butts off cheering them on. It's always motivating to see the leaders, and that gave us some 'umph' to push on.

Logan had to contain Goliath's excitement...and mine too

Miles 7-9: This is when things started getting pretty tough, but just when Emily was ready to throw up we saw our Mommmm! She's magnificent, ain't she? Always there just when we need her. I tossed her my shirt, and Emily stopped and hugged her. This was on a giant uphill that lied and said was the worst hill of the course. This stint is a square of roads, you turn right and go up turn right again go uphill, turn right and go uphill and finally turn right but go down hill. Logan was at mile 9 with Goliath. There was an aid station right before we met them, and the volunteers were like "dude that dog is REALLY going crazy now!!" hah, it's because he could see us! Logan jogged along with us, I got to run a little with G. We got on that downhill, and got a second wind.

The finish four from L to R: Scott, Eric, Me and Emily

Mile 10-12: We kept seeing this group of guys along the course. Every time we saw them I'd shout "hey we're here! you didn't miss us! don't worry!!" and then they'd go crazy for us. It was hilarious. Emily was about ready to kill me at this point, but if you don't get a little homicidal during a marathon-maybe you aren't pushing yourself very hard. Mile 10 is when the full splits off from the half, and we waved good bye to the really crazy people and started making our way back the finish. We were back on the trail and facing familiarity. Emily almost punched out some super rude running girl, and that was funny. Right before mile 12, a 39 year old man collapsed from cardiac arrest. When we ran by him, he was being resuscitated and honestly-it was really frightening. I won't go into much detail about that, but it totally messed with our heads-especially with all the rumors and talk for the remaining of the race. I could only think about his family waiting for him at the finish line.

Mile 13.1: I made the mistake of telling Emily that after the bridge we'd be at the finish, but there were really two bridges so mentally she was done when there was a little less than half a mile to go. For that she was really ready to kill me, and I allowed her to punch me. It hurt but I think it was worth it. We went under the second bridge, saw the finish line and Emily picked it up. We sprinted the chute and BAM we crossed the finish line AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. How cool is that? Down to the millisecond. This is amazing to me, because this is our chip times-bot the running clock. How cool?

Huge Thanks to the Volunteer of the year, my BFF Megan!!

Mile +1: We walked through the food lines, got our medal and then sat down in the grass. Like I said, it was unseasonably warm-it felt like 60 degrees. Emily's feet were absolutely killing her, likely due to ill-fitting shoes, but I rubbed her feet. We took a million pictures, and then went to breakfast.

Oh and happy Race-a-versary to me! This was the anniversary of my first half marathon!
Gobbler Grind 2009!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sad News

One of my favorite local no-kill shelters is being forced to close their door due funding issues.
As a result, more than 100 animals need to be placed in forever homes with in a week.
The Pet Connection is offering adoptions without fees, and sending the animals home with treats and starter kits.
They have some of the most gorgeous dogs and kittehs evah.
To view their adoptbles please click the following: for CATS and for DOGS
This is your chance to save a life for free.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I'm Ready, Let's Go

This just in: I reinstated Ten Mile Tuesday.

Why? Because I wanna.

Tuesday, I had the day off from work and so I leisurely work up, drank coffee, had breakfast and took Goliath out on the trail. As of late, running means scheduling in mileage and making sure I have enough time to get the miles in-which means pressure and stress to get the miles done. Sometimes pressure is good, but stress isn't. I don't like have exactly an hour to get a solid six miles in, it stresses me out. If something goes wrong, a cramp or a spill I'm screwed and may run the risk of being late for work. Not on Tuesday, we hit the trail with no goal.

I love these tights, new favorite.

I immediately could tell I felt amazing. Nothing hurt. It was phenomenal. A mile in, I decided we were going to push a full ten-and we did. It was absolutely ideal. Goliath really was loving it. It got to this point where I hadn't look at my Garmin for a while and when I finally did I was 4.67 miles in. Saaaayyyywhooo? I haven't had a run like this in a long, long, long time. Getting that mileage down made me feel super accomplished.

This is a little spot on the trail, that the photograph doesn't do any justice. The picture looks warped but it's a steep slope followed by a steep hill. It's totally brutal in the winter, but on Tuesday Goliath and I went half way down, took a left and explored around it.

I want to live in these homes, how lucky they are to live right on the trail.

There really are no words to adequately describe how perfect this run was, so I'll just leave it at that. We finished ten miles, and collapsed on the couch. I'm so excited about the weather right now too, fall is beautiful. During the fall, everyone is a runner.

So there that is: Ten Mile Tuesday

In other news, Goliath's Gang is looking pretty awesome! I got a lot of families added the other night, and I'm still working on it, so take a look-and make sure you email us your story.

Total Mileage: 10:03
Time: 1:30:14

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Invest Your Love

Saturday was the Fall Girls on the Run 5k, I signed up to volunteer. I
swear if I don't run this as a coach, I will always be volunteering.
If y'all don't know what GOTR is google it or look up the Spring 5k
recap in the blog history.

It's an amazing organization, that I really wish I had the time to be
more involved with. For now, I will just have to be a course monitor
twice a year. It was wicked cold, the wind was absolutely frigid. If I
hadn't promised to be there I would not have been outside, let alone
running in it. More than half of those girls looked absolutely
miserable. Lucky for me, the runners had to pass through my
intersection three times. The evolution of misery as the miles passed
was such a beautiful metaphor. On their third pass, they were in the
finish chute-and seeing them realize "hay! It's over and it wasn't
THAT bad!" was totally legendary. Why? Because no matter how many
races you do, no matter how good you get: you always feel that way in
the chute.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Let Love Grow

I am seriously in love with this song right now.
What song are you in love with this very second?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

My Heart Stumbles on Things I Don't Know

Holy Moly, has it really been since October 29 since I've updated. I apologize to all 113 legit followers and 100+ anonymous daily hits. You guys know the story, it's the same old same old-I was just wicked busy.

Well what can I say? We are a little over a week away from the Grind Half Marathon. I am SO excited. It's going to be so fun. It's on my home turf, it's with my best friend-my sister, and we've been having the best time training together. Our long runs have become "Miles and Bagels" Saturday. We are having a hard time picking out what we should wear? Suggestions? We want to match, and we want to get a little crazy. If you suggest something, and we wear it-you'll get a prize. So get to online shopping ;)

Speaking of costumes, are you guys ready to hear about my next marathon? Ok you are?

Why yes, it's is the OZ Marathon right here in the heart of Kansas.

Why yes, I will be wearing a costume.

Why yes, I will be dressed as Dorothy.

Why yes, my sneakers will be ruby red.



There's no place like the finish line.

There's no place like the finish line.

FYI: If I see anyone at the start with MY costume and MY shirt idea, someone will die from idea infringement.

Keep the emails coming for Goliath's Gang! I'm trying to catch up, but my email is jammed!
Once I get caught up, we'll move on to the next giveaway-but in the meantime if you have any questions or post topics you'd like to see discussed on TBB please email us at our newly set up and totally official blog email:

When we get our own domain, it will be more official, but this will do for now.


Friday, October 29, 2010

Problems in Your Own Head

Well, now that the road to physical recovery is semi-ending it was time for me to refocus and get back out there. Other than some residual pain, like a bruised heel-I felt good enough to run a week and a few days after the marathon. My ego was still really suffering though, any time I thought about the marathon this black hole started eating my stomach, and made me feel empty.

Living with that let down for a week was hard enough, so I knew I couldn't wait long to race again. Luckily, my sister and I already were planning on running the Gobbler Grind Half Marathon on November 21st. Having a race lined up is pretty key in getting over a bad race, but there's more to it. I've outlined some of my personal tips in getting over a poopy race for all my lovely readers:

Julia and Goliath's Ways of Getting Over a No-Good-Terrible-Awful-Downright-Bad-Race
1. Sign up for another: We went over this, but this will give you something to look forward to. It takes the edge off the sting because you KNOW there's another, which means another opportunity to rock.
2. Talk about it: When people ask you how your big day went, don't be afraid to tell them. Especially if they are runners, everyone has had a bad race. The beauty of being a runner is that every one's training peaks and troughs. Our troughs aren't what we tend to share, we are inclined to fudge our times, our mile splits, etc-but when you can look someone in the eye and honestly say "I didn't do my best," it gives you the vulnerability to accept comfort and advice.
3. Wear your shirt: Weather it was a 5k or an Ultra, wear your shirt the next day. You deserve to wear the shirt because you STARTED, not because you finished. Half of the mental race is getting the balls to get your but to the starting line. On lookers will see a runner in a race shirt, not someone who struggled to finish-and will envy your back full of sponsors.
4. Treat yourself: To a meal, to a massage, to a new pair of jeans. Anything. This may be some sort of instant gratification, but allowing yourself to splurge a little to overcome your mental anguish is pretty priceless isn't it?
5. Do not look at your training log more than once: Your inclination will be to look at your log and figure out where you went wrong. You'll agonize over every mile, every minute before the race-just trying to figure it out. Let it be. Look forward. Plan ahead, look at your next race as an opportunity to a clean your slate and succeed in training. Yes, it's important to evaluate and identify mistakes-but do not dwell on them.
6. Run: When you're ready, run again. Fall in love again. It's natural to be discouraged, and paralyzed with running fear. Find the motivation to just run again, for one mile or a few. Chances are you'll remember that you're not running for glory, it's bigger than that.
7. Cry, if you have to: Hey, it's a big deal. Don't be afraid to shed a tear. You looked forward to this day all year, you trained for six months. There's no shame in letting it out-silently, alone in a dark closet. No, I'm kidding-cry, real women cry. You're only allowed to cry once for a marathon: so chances are if you didn't cry at the finish line, you can do so later.

So there that is. Rest assured, I have tried all the above. They seem to work for me. Especially, number six. My first run back was a four mile, easy run with Emily in preparations for our half. We promised to take it slow, easy-but like that ever actually happens? We did a typical TBB out and back on the trail, without gadgets and just talked. It was pretty magical. I was totally gushing about my trail to Emily the last time we ran, and promised her she'd fall in love with it.

Sho' nuff. She did. There is just something about that trail, it totally has my heart. Other than my bed, it's my favorite place to be. Lucky for us, our upcoming half is ON THAT TRAIL! win. Love.
Everyone have a magical weekend! Don't forget Goliath still needs people for his Gang, so email us your doggie picture and story!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Know I Know How

Julia's Marathon Experience Part IV
So it's been a week. A full seven days since 26.2-and despite what Runner's World says: I feel fully recovered. I'm going to give you a run down of how my recovery week went though.

Immediate after the race: Collapsed in the grass aside the finish chute, I stood up and walked myself to the car. My mom drove me home, and walked me into my home. I stretched, not much-I should have done more. Showered. I watched a movie, and laid around until five. My husband took a three hour nap, and I gimped and paced around. Uneasy and uncomfortable, and unable to rest. I was tormented by my performance, and just by how things went. I desperately wanted to feel good about it-but I couldn't. I still don't. I'm embarrassed. Don't write me off, ok? I know it's ridiculous to feel this way, I finished I frickin' marathon-but I didn't do it the way I wanted to nor the way I deserved. I knew I not only could do better, but I DESERVED to do better. Not four hours had passed after crossing the finish line, I had already registered for another. It couldn't go down like that. I couldn't sit on this time, even though I swore I'd never do it again around mile 24.

Logan took me to Red Robbin that night, I totally maxed on the biggest burger of my life and bottomless steak fries. We talked about the race, he told me he was proud and I attempted to be happy about. After passing out for a few hours, I woke up at 3am scarfed down an oatmeal cream pie and sat up in bed just thinking about everything. I went through every step of training. I identified some mistakes and evaluated what I needed to do better for my next one.

The next day: I woke up after a long night of sleeping, and much to my surprise I wasn't sore. Like at all. Except for my jaw. I guess I sucked too much-ha get it! No I actually clinched my jaw through the whole race, and it was sore. I made pancakes for breakfast, cleaned up and watched football with my family. Logan and I took Goliath to the dog park later that afternoon, and met with some friends. I did some light stretching, and taped up my blisters. I ate a ton at dinner that night-post race carb loading is just as important as pre-race carbo loading!

My finisher shirt!

The rest of the week: I took it easy for the rest of the week even if I didn't feel like I needed to. I went to yoga on Wednesday, and did lots of walking throughout the week. Friday, I went in for a deep tissue sports massage-and that was more painful than the actual race itself. Apparently, my lactic scars are pretty intense. The therapist worked the crap out of my calves. Hilariously, I was more sore from that than the race the next day. Saturday, I volunteered at a 5k/10k race and got all energized to run again.

I have a half marathon in less than a month, that I'll start "training" for today and I'm already plotting out the next six months of racing.

After this post, we'll get the 12DoGA back up and running!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

This Isn't Over, the Pressure is on

Julia's Marathon Experience Part III

Ok, here you go-perhaps the most anticipated part of the marathon experience-and definitely the longest: RACE DAY.

Where did I leave off? Oh right, trying to sleep. I tossed and turned all night long. That's not surprising. I was anxious about missing my alarm, and being late-since I've been known to do that before. Turns out you don't need an alarm when you don't sleep. I don't normally have anxiety issues, but my heart rate was just through the roof and I absolutely could not shut off my brain. Finally and frustrated, I got out of bed at 4am and let out Goliath. I stood barefoot in the freezing dew and thought: Today, you run a marathon. I made myself some coffee and oatmeal. While each warmed up, I got dressed and stared at myself in the mirror. TODAY, YOU RUN A MARATHON.

I sat at our computer reading the news, and surfing trying to distract myself. I had hours to kill before I needed to leave. I woke up Logan, so he could get to work and take care of his weekend assignment before the race and not miss anything. He kissed me goodbye and said he'd see me in the first three miles. I sat back down, and blankly gazed at the monitor and tried to choke down oatmeal. Too nauseated to eat, I drank some water. Then, Logan called thinking it was him being sweet and wishing me luck I answered only to hear "Uhm can you come outside? My car is dead..." Sweet. I walked outside to see Logan's Acura stuck in the middle of the lot. It's a manual, so we thought we could give it a rolling start to get it to start. We pushed it up a hill, and then I'd push it down while he ran alongside. All in vain. It was dead. We both panicked, what are we going to do? This took a considerable amount of time: he had to go to work and I had to be at the race. He just told me to drop him off at his Mom's and he'll figure out how to get down there, he kept telling me not to worry-but like that was going to stop me.

I dropped him off, and ate a cliff bar on my way to the race since there was no time to eat my oatmeal. I tried to shake off nervous energy to some songs, but a mile away from my exit I found myself stuck in traffic-which hey happens with 11,000+ try to get to one place. I had originally planned on leaving earlier to avoid this situation, but the dead acura foiled me. I inhaled and exhaled and said Today, you run a marathon-it's going to be ok, you'll get there. I sat there for 45 minutes just trying to get OFF the highway. Then Eric texts me that parking took forever, and that's when the real panic set in. It was now 7:00, and I wasn't off the highway and guntime was in 30 minutes.

By the grace of God, I finally exited but only to sit at more lights and I knew I wasn't going to have enough time to park in the designated lot so I cruised downtown KC looking for an open spot on the street. Of course most were taken, so I resolved to park in a spot that may have been illegal. I geared myself up, threw my belongings in the trunk because I knew I didn't have time for bag/gear check and took off for the start line which was about 2.5 miles from there. I arrive, out of breath and more nervous then ever. Did I mention 30 minutes ago I realized I had to pee? It's now 7:20 and almost all the runners are in their corrals and lined up with their pacers-but guess who's frantically searching for port-a-potties? me. I couldn't find one and the anthem was starting. Crap. I had found Megan and Sofia, they wished me luck and I resolved to just use a bathroom along the course and take the time penalty.

I pushed my way to my 4:15 pace group, inhaled and exhaled. I was lined up with a gentlemen who had a giant foam cowboy hat on and suddenly realized this was suppose to be fun. Duh! I smiled and then the gun went off. I still had to pee, very badly, but I said just stop at the first available. My pacer was a lady named Carol, who has paced me in several other races. I knew if I just stuck with her I'd be ok and maybe my nagging bladder would go away.

The first mile seemed to crawl by and I still couldn't shut off my brain. There were so many people who I knew running this race, and I seemed to run into them every so often, they clinch my shoulder or wave to get my attention-wish me luck and then pass me. In the second mile, we made our way up a hill that according to my garmin was a ascent of 504 feet. It just seemed to go on and on and on. I confidently forged this hill, I remember thinking "uhm yeah hill repeats what's up." Atop the hill there were hundreds of people gathered to cheer, the hill we had just climbed was Kansas City's famous Liberty Memorial Hill. With all these people, and balloons it seemed like some political rally. Overwhelming really, I looked at all the faces. Now, it's all blurry but running through it I could see everyone so vividly. I scanned each face, looking for a familiar one. Then I saw bathrooms...then I saw the line. I decided I could wait and pressed forward.

Remember that hill Megan and I were joking about? Well turns out we had to run the opposite side. It's that hill of infamy from Hospital Hill Marathon in June, the one that we approached at mile 12 that stopped us dead in our tracks. There it was. We hiked it, and our pacers stopped to walk and said "We'll need this energy for later" Little did I know how right she was. This was about the time when an old high school class mate passed me with her mom. We picked up the pace, and mile three was done. Thirty minutes were behind me, three miles complete and I felt okish despite my nagging bladder. I saw my husband, elated I waved and he pointed to the opposite street where I saw my mom holding a giant sign.

This is about the time where I started to really panic. My stomach started to hurt because I had been holding it for so long. I started asking volunteers where the next bathroom stop would be, but no one seemed to know. Mile five was approaching, and it had nearly been an hour of running with a full bladder. There were plenty of businesses along the route, but I wanted to stop in a race sanctioned stop, ya know? So I just kept going and going. Finally, it got to the point where I had to pee so bad that running was nearly impossible. I stopped because the even a jog was putting an immense pressure on my bladder. Of course the second, I stopped running I lose momentum. I knew in my head if I lost my pace group, I probably wouldn't recover either so it was so hard for me stop-but physically I had to.

The second I stopped, I saw my mom and husband again who just looked at me like what the heck are you doing?! I yelled at them why and I hoped they understood. Coming up on the course I knew there a few gas stations, and I KNEW I had to stop. I pulled to left, out of the pack and ran up to the station store, upon entering I saw two other racers in line. Dang it. We stood there for about five minutes waiting on someone else in the bathroom. Frustrated and adrenaline pumping all three of us decided that if whoever it was didn't emerge in 1 minute we would knock, and finally that time came around. The girl first in line knocked to see if the occupant was ok. The response we got was less than desired, especially after waiting for what was now nearly 10 minutes. The lady screams (not even exaggerating) "I'M IN HERE AND DOING MY BUSINESS I'LL BE OUT WHEN I'M DONE!" Well alright. Nothing like getting yelled at while someone is clearly having pooping issues. I waited another five minutes before giving up and moving to the next gas station, which was a Quik Trip less than a block away. I got there and it was basically the same situation, I waited another five minutes there and finally had relief.

The damage was done though, the grief from holding it in for over an hour had fatigued my abdomen and used a lot of energy. I tried to recover quickly with a GU, and luckily there was an aid station pretty quickly thereafter. Mile eight was approaching, and I was still on target for a 4:20 finish, I saw my cheerleaders again who got a wave and an emotional nod. Now, I have to mention that even though I was still near my target time at this point my attitude was miserable. I wasn't feeling "right" something in me was internally irritated and irrational, like the sun got in my eyes and it pissed me off-or a song on my play list that I love would piss me off. The big 8 passed and I was looking directly into the sun, and had a headwind. I just got angry. ANGRY. I felt my jaw tensing, my lips pursed and then the weird phenomena: my arms went completely numb. My hands weren't purple so I couldn't blame it on circulation, it was my tension.

This is actually coming up on mile 20

I can't tell you how irritating it is to have two limbs you can't feel. I need my arms to propel me forward, and I just couldn't even feel them. annoying. So there I was: Mile 8.2 pissed to hell because of a rude runner in the bathroom, fatigued as crap already and with numb appendages. I convinced myself that I should walk a bit to calm down, regroup and pep up. I closed my eyes, shook out my arms and inhaled then exhaled. We ran through the beautiful plaza for the next two miles, y'all have seen a few of my races down there (trolley run, dog-n-jog). Then this wave of indescribable sickness and pain hit me, I was approaching mile 10 when it happened. It was like getting struck with an emesis lightning bolt-but as quick as it hit, it was over. I clenched my tummy, bent over and hurled just missing my timing chip. My mind couldn't help but focus on what other people were thinking, they probably thought that I was under trained or over ambitious.

I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Logan "i just puked mile 11 is coming" and he responded he'd be at mile 14. I started getting really overwhelmed, Today I was WALKING a marathon crept into my head. I just kept trying to put on foot in front of the other, and then I remembered my dedication. I looked up and "Waka Waka" by Shakira came over and I had this minute of inspirational push. I gritted my teeth, and felt this urge to cry due to abdominal pain but tears wouldn't come out. I knew if I could let go of the tears, I could move on. If I could just let them out maybe I'd be able to get over the anxiety and pressure and just RELAX.

I kept curling over in absolute agony, as pace group after pace group passed me. I started hoping that Eric would catch up with me, so I wouldn't have to be alone anymore. I quickly went from finishing in under 4:20 to just finishing. Sure enough, I started up another hill when I looked down and saw Eric. Heavens to Betsy, relief. I was comforted to be able to have just someone there. He could see the agony in my face, asked me if I needed a hug-apparently I looked like I did. We tried to push the next few miles with a walk-jog-run-walk combination. At this point, I had stopped sweating and couldn't really walk a very straight line. We crossed the threshold of the half way point. As we were approaching, there was this couple who held hands and asked a stranger to take their picture in front of the mile marker. It was really sweat, their first marathon together.

After mile 13, Eric told me to go ahead my legs were turning to stones and I knew walking wasn't doing me any favors. I struggled onward, it kept me going knowing that Logan and my mom were ahead somewhere. Then it hit again, the emesis lightning bolt. Numb arms, bent over perpendicular to the group and revisiting my strawberry-banana GU, if you know what I mean. I stood back up, walked if off and kept going. All these stops, all these attitude adjustments-all these things were totally harshing my marathon experience. I kept wondering: Where's my magic? Where's my emotional breakthrough? I wanted to be able to soak every ounce of this, every inch of the 26.2 and all I could focus on is how I wanted this over. I so badly wanted it to end, but it was a marathon-they are like never ending, and that's kinda the point.

What killed me was that at mile 13.1 we didn't turn around and started heading toward the finish. That makes sense no? Apparently that's psychologically too easy. We had to run another 4 miles south and make a hypotenuse like return to the origin. That messed with my head so bad, it's so easy for me to mentally tackle a split on an out and back-but for some reason I just couldn't do the math on this. Yeah, I had reviewed the course before but it's a whole 'notha story once you're out there. Mile 16 came and this is when things started getting really real. The crowds had thinned, but there were still people along the way: high school cheer squads, volunteers and neighbors-everyone. The runners now were more spread out, and now each time you'd pass they could see your bib and cheer you on personally. I felt like the most pathetic celebrity alive, they'd say my name and it felt good and shameful at the same time. These strangers kept telling me to keep going and sharing in one of the most vulnerable moments of my life. I have never ever felt so weak, so tired and so sick and here they were telling me I was strong and to take it home.

I kept trying to think of certain monuments to look forward to, to keep me going. I knew where people would be and knowing that would keep me running temporarily. I couldn't hold my pace for very long, but every time I'd stop I would at least try to start again. Right after 16 passed, I saw my family including my sister in the distance. They all had signs, they were screaming their heads off. I wanted their energy. I wanted it refuel me but more than anything I wanted to stop and let them sweep me off the course. I kept going, anyway-but I admit, I really really didn't want to.

The next few miles were about the same, equally tough but I started a new battle with fatigue. I literally started falling asleep while running. I would forcing myself to run, and my eyes would droop and I felt like I could just nod off. I fought this giant internal war to not take a nap, you can not nap and run and finish a marathon. The muscle fatigue in my core was no better even, and right around mile 18 I started feeling full on muscle failure in my obliques and transabdominals. They vibrated like they were receiving texts messages, and holding myself up became a chore-but throwing up a third time was even more of a chore. Mile 19 came, and I saw volunteer friend Scott who I think could see things weren't going right. I tried to choke out that I've been puking to offer up an explanation-but I'm pretty sure my face was reason enough. He told me to take it home and I started to count down the miles.

I figured that once I saw mile 20, maybe I'd be able to just have this complete out of body experience and have the last SIX MILES flash forward. FAIL Worst assumption ever. Mile 20 is when things only got really more realer. My family was starting to get worried that I wouldn't finish in under 6 hours, and until that point I had never even thought about it. They shouted at me how much time I had left to get those last six miles in-and I thought Today, you FINISH a marathon. I had to finish, but I couldn't help be discouraged. How did this happen? How had things gone so wrong? How did I go from a 4:15 to worrying about making the 6 hour time limit? This is what I had trained for? This is what the last three months had been all about?

This is The Man, Steve!

Mile 20 marked my BFF Megan guarding a street. I had waited the whole race to pass her by, and all I could feel was shame. She waved at me as a motorist tried to get through on the course. Miles 21-24 were lucky enough to contain my fourth puking episode and I was lucky enough to meet a fellow struggler named Steve. I noticed we were both following the same pattern of agony, so I asked him how many of these he had done. It was his 5th. We shot the poop for the next mile or two, and the conversation was distracting enough to get to mile 25.5. I gave him my laundry list of go-wrongs and he laughed and said "Yup, you've had a bad day" I quickly told him that I don't think I'll ever being doing this again, half marats were for me. He again laughed, knowing the certainty that this could not be my only and last marathon. He encouraged me to stop by the medical tent WHEN I finished. When? Oh that's right? He then said "Guess what? In less then 6 minutes you'll be able to sit down" Glory!

We turned a corner and I saw Logan and Emily running toward me, screaming my name. They were saying the finish line was just here and I have 15 minutes to finish. I picked up, and according to my garmin I pushed that last quarter mile at an 8:30 pace. I don't know how. Megan, came in the shute with me and people were just screaming at me. I couldn't hold my head up, and halfway there I doubled over in pain. I heard a "NO! GET UP!" and I did. I saw the blue mats, then I saw my feet touch the blue mats and then I stopped. I was done.

Finished. That was it. Where were my tears? I still just couldn't let go. I think part of it was I didn't want to waste my tears on such an experience I was totally unsatisfied with-but I think it was largely due to dehydration. I gathered my medal, my finished shirt, and some food that I knew I wasn't going to be able to eat. I walked away from the shute and found the closest patch of grass and just laid down.

It was finally over. I finished in 5:48 and some change, a full hour and thirty minutes off my goal time. I did everything right in training a prep, but when you mentally wear yourself down and your luck plays out like a series of unfortunate event, it happens. I wanted to badly to be happy with finishing, but in my heat I felt cheated. I wanted better, and I know it's natural to be slightly disappointed. I knew I had to do some major reflection on accomplishment and the like. So I returned home from the race to do so.

This concludes Julia's Marathon Experience Part III, if you read this whole thing you're the best thing ever.

Up Next: Julia's Marathon Experience Part IV: Recovery and Reflection