Meet Jessica, who has been one of my virtual training partners this year. Jessica completed her first marathon in June. Below are her reflections. Join me in congratulating her for pushing past some tough moments in the race. Great job, Jessica!! And good luck in Portland in the fall.

As you know, I fell out of my training circuit for a bit while dealing with….life. Go figure. So given that 15.8 miles was the furthest I had run before my marathon, I knew I had my work cut out for me on race day at the Seattle Rock N Roll event.

I think my official finishing time was 6:02. Clearly not the sub 5 hour goal I was aiming for… but… I finished. I’m still trying to embrace that, even though I feel like my disappointment is really preventing me from relishing in the fact that I am, indeed, a marathoner.

I hydrated the week prior, introduced sodium back into my life and stretched and then stretched some more. I only drank when thirsty on the course, consumed 7 packets of GU total (my favorite is the Mango flavored Roctane!!) and mentally felt AWESOME!

My first 13 miles went great. My split was 2:25 so I was on track to hit my 5 hr goal. And then mile 17 hit, and I started to get a nag of a pain on the outside of my knee. I toughed through it, because in my mind I felt our bodies aren’t made for running such long distances and eventually mine would complain but I could finish…. I knew I could complete my first marathon!

I think the cause that I run for helps carry me a lot through my tough times. I always say to myself, “Well, it isn’t 100+F outside surrounded by sand, gunfire and hostility… and I’m alive. If those soldiers can carry on then so can I.”

I’m sure you have seen my posts on FB about it, but “wear blue: run to remember” is very dear to my heart, and every time I would pass another runner (to or fro) wearing blue, we would yell out “go blue” to each other, and I would feel myself fill with pride and get a little extra bounce in my step. It’s an amazing group. Everyone should look them up.

But then, mile 20 hit and my knee completely gave out on me. It felt like someone stabbed me in my knee. So I slowed down to a fast walk and the pain went away–only to return any time I would muster up my energy to jog/shuffle/whatever it may be called. So, with tears in my eyes, I finished the last 6.2 miles by walking. In the rain. And the wind. On the elevated part of hwy 99 for all to see. Sigh. I think between miles 23-26 I had a breakdown. How could I go so far to only be struck down the last 1/5 of the race?

After a few weeks of rest and light running, I went and saw my doctor and was told I have a small tear of my meniscus. The good news is, with rest, ice, and a supportive knee brace, I have been cleared to begin running again as my body permits (and have been urged to keep cross training and making sure not only my quads and hammys are balanced, but my adductors and abductors as well).

Now, a few weeks later my knee is feeling pretty good. I have only done a few small runs lately and plan to run/walk a half marathon on Sunday (See Jane Run). I have just under 90 days until Portland and have no doubt in my mind that I will beat my 6:02 Seattle time.

I feel like I will be able to focus more on training this time around barring no life catastrophes (knock on wood).

So, what’s a girl to do but accept what is IS? At least I have a bar set to beat when I run the Portland Marathon on Oct 7th. Yup, marathon #2 is on the calendar.

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