2017 Marathon Recap! (Falling in love with the 26.2, and then needing some space)January 3, 2018 / byrunningwhilevegan / Categories : Uncategorized
Guess who’s back, back again?!
It’s been awhile! Mike and I started this blog a little over a year ago and we never had the chance to go forward with it the way that we’d have liked to! It began as a way to chronicle my training cycle (plus my nerves) going into my first marathon, but we kept hitting road blocks trying to get it live, then my beloved MacBook died, plus moves and job changes. I finished my first marathon, the LA Marathon, and it was a really fantastic experience. So much so that I actually ran three more in 2017! Yes, I completed four full marathons in one year! It was quite the experience! I mostly had to walk the last one, because I was spent. But I finished! Six hours, 14 minutes and a complimentary finisher’s jacket. Which is the reason I wanted to fly to San Antonio and run a third marathon in three months – a Rock’n Roll finisher’s jacket. Here’s the longer story of how I got there:
In late spring, I applied to be an LA Marathon Ambassador. They were seeking applicants and I figured I had nothing to lose. I loved the race, I loved the training up to the race, and I was basically already showcasing that love all over my social media anyway. Why not me? But also, why me?
I got it! It’s been a blast. There’s a small group of us, and I’ve learned much already from them about the sport. Everyone’s passion is the same (running) and pretty diverse at the same time. There’s ultra marathoners, international marathoners, pacers, trainers, Disney race lovers, Ironman finishers – it’s quite the group!
As mentioned above, and constantly littered throughout this blog, LA Marathon ’17 was my first marathon. I trained really hard for it, but I didn’t finish with a time I was happy with. Honestly, I was really nervous about running 26.2 miles alone, so I insisted that Mike and I run together. He was against this plan from day one. Mike has been a runner longer than I have, and had already finished three marathons. He was burnt out on running, and although he trained, he was not going at it with the energetic, obsession as this first-timer. I was so sure running together would be the coolest bonding experience, so I only heard what I wanted to. Which he might say is typical, I don’t know, I’ve already disclosed more than I should have!
I signed up for Long Beach Marathon, which would take place in October ’17. Over the summer, I quit my job, started a new one, and moved from Downtownish LA to Santa Monica with Mike. Only a 14 mile move, but if you know LA, and the traffic patterns, it might as well be another planet (although another planet might be faster to get to). With so much going on, I didn’t train for a marathon, but I had some races in September that helped me get into running shape again, after taking a short break to get my life stuff in order. Those races included a Disney half marathon, a Blacklist LA 5k and the first of my LA Marathon/Conqur LA races, the Santa Monica Classic 10k! Oh yea, the Disney Half and the Blacklist 5k were in the same day. Half in the morning, 5k at night. That was super fun! Of course when I realized I had signed up for two races in the same day I panicked, I wasn’t sure I could do it, and then I realized I’m Jenny Bradley, I can definitely do that. Sometimes it helps being a delusional, weirdly-overconfident, yet crippled-in-self-doubt, human.
Long Beach marathon day came and I ran my little heart out. I was hoping for a 4:30, and I finished around 4:56. Sub-5! Stoked.
Now, what happened between September and early October is that I applied to be the LA ambassador chosen to run the French Riviera marathon in Nice, France. We had a contest among us to represent the Skechers Performance LA Marathon at the Skechers Performance Nice Cannes Marathon. We made short videos/DIY commercials for the LA Marathon and mine was chosen! I’m not allowed to share it (yet), but it may be shared on social media closer to the LA Marathon. THAT MEANT IN EARLY NOVEMBER I WOULD BE FLYING TO FRANCE AND RUNNING ANOTHER MARATHON!!!! I found out I got chosen with enough time to downgrade my Long Beach marathon to a half, but again, I am delusional and weirdly overly-confident at the strangest times and wanted to pull off two marathons in a one month span, as well as the Rock’n Roll Los Angeles Half I signed up for on October 30.
I did it! It was challenging, running three big races so close together, and I finished at 5:46 with a six hour cutoff. It was beautiful, and the experience of a lifetime. It will get it’s own post, it’s too much for a paragraph. It changed my life. My 2016 was fucking awful. I’ve never experienced so much loss and grief, personal and career setbacks, all in such a short time. There’s a cynicism and bitterness I am still struggling to let go of, birthed out of that time. The thing that saved me was running. And running brought me to Mike. So 2016 wasn’t all bad – some incredible joy came out of it too. But mostly it was terrible. Then here I was in November of 2017, running a marathon in France. It’s difficult to put into words, but I am beyond filled with gratitude, which is so LA of me to say, sorry not sorry. I am someone who would benefit from being on anti-depressants (and was for a short-time in my early twenties); there are a plethora of reasons I am not on them, but running has helped tremendously. I know I’m not alone in this because so many other runners have shared their stories, which I am also very appreciative of – nothing like anxiety and depression to make you feel so alone in this world! To have be chosen, run and finish the Nice-Cannes Marathon, it changed the way I saw myself in the world and what I was capable of.
Mike and I get back to Santa Monica and we have to move out of our apartment by December 1st because of a buy-out. I also decide that I want to run Rock’n Roll San Antonio because I have one tour stop left on my three stop Rock’n Roll tour pass. It was selfish, and it put a lot of stress on us during an already stressful time. When Mike agreed we could go, I was beyond excited. I also needed the “free” finisher’s jacket one gets when completing a RNR marathon distance, so it looked like I’d be running my third full in three months!
We had a blast in San Antonio! I struggled with that marathon, I just didn’t really have it in me. A half yes, a full no. I finished though! Mike has video of me crying during that last .2; I dug real deep and I finally ran again (which I hadn’t really been able to do consistently since mile 12). It was such a relief to finish. And sit down. And give half my finisher’s beer to Mike, SOMETHING I NEVER DO!!!!! That’s how tired I was, haha! It was all worth it, I can say now, a month later. Just kidding, it was grueling, and I worried I didn’t have it in me to finish, and I’d go so far as to say it’s way more exhausting to walk a marathon – it just doesn’t end. But I loved my time in San Antonio, and wouldn’t take back the experience.
I’m good on the marathon distance for a little while. It’s January, and I’m going to wait til LA Marathon in March to reunite with the 26.2. I have RNR Phoenix half in two weeks, and a week after that, Pasadena Half (part of the LA Marathon/Conqur Endurance race package). Looking forward to the half distance again, traveling this year for races, and reuniting at Pasadena with the other Ambassadors!
Any races or new challenges you are excited for in 2018? Let us know!
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