I ran a marathon. A whole, legit marathon. 26.2 miles.

As previously mentioned, a lot has happened since I last updated this blog. I'll take the biggest things in the order in which they happened.

I ran a marathon.

Let me explain why this was such a big deal. It occurred to me, the other day, running a little piddly 3 mile run, that it took me a loooooooong time to start loving running. I started running in 2005, when I realized that I was going to be "the fat bridesmaid" at my best friend's wedding, and I decided I didn't want that (yes, it's a totally stupid reason to get active, but it is what it is, and whatever the original motivation, I'm glad it happened). I stopped eating meat and junk and drinking soda. I started running, for the first time in my life. I hated it, but I did it almost every day. The first year I ran, I didn't run a single race - I was too embarrassed. I didn't think running races was meant for people like me (out of shape women with low self-esteem).

Then I lost 65 pounds.

I started thinking that maybe... just maybe... maybe I could run a 5k. I kept telling myself how much I didn't like running, but I kept doing it. I ran a 5k in downtown Madison without telling anyone. And it was awesome.

I ran incredibly slow. I wasn't even close to a decent finish in my age group, but I ran the whole thing, it was easy, and it was fun.

I went to grad school. I got a master's degree. I moved to Green Bay. And all of a sudden, I ran FIVE MILES. All in a row. At the same time. I blew my own mind, because I realized after the first 3 miles that I was going to RUN 5 miles. I was going to do it. I did it. And loved it.

I ran my first half marathon in 2010. It was in the town where I went to college during Oktoberfest. I'm not sure exactly why I decided on this as my first half, since there was a 2:30 time limit (they had to start the Oktoberfest parade, you know), and I fully anticipated not finishing, but I was going to TRY.

And I finished in 2:05.

That's not a fast half-marathon time, and I didn't finish near the top of my age group (I've accepted that this will never happen). But for me, it was unreal. I ran half a marathon! Who does that?

Then I moved back to Milwaukee. I'm not sure what the initial spark was, but in January of 2012, I registered for the Lakefront Marathon, and a few days later realized I was going to run a marathon in October. I was going to run the hell out of the Lakefront Marathon.

Which is exactly what I did. I ran the hell out of the Lakefront Marathon.

I wrote a long, probably very boring race recap the night after the race, but in short, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect first marathon. It was slow, but I ended with six miles that were by far (about a minute/mile) my fastest of the entire race. I hit the wall at mile 20, and finally discovered what people mean by "runner's high" shortly thereafter when I got to my neighborhood and realized... I was going to finish a marathon. I was going to finish a marathon in a neighborhood I loved and had already run countless miles in, in a city I adore. It was amazing.

Not sure I'll ever do it again, but definitely recommended at least once. :)

Next time: I got engaged.

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