My Journey to becoming a Marathoner

Happy Thanks giving Fit Fam!

I know I have not written a post in a very, very long time. The reason for this is that I thought it was more important to LIVE MY LIFE than to write about it. I have had a great many adventures these past few months.

  • Completed my first olympic distance triathlon – came second place!
  • Took R and E to B.C where we paddle boarded, wake surfed, hiked a HUGE mountain and much more
  • Got a tattoo
  • Tried a variety of new foods
  • Spent many great nights on the house boat living life with great friends
  • Did a back roads trip in a Polaris Ranger with amazing friends from Red Lake to Kenora
  • Finished marathon training and found my strong.
  • Returned to work and have found a new love for education
  • Most recently went on my longest bike ride to date – 72 km/ 45 miles from Red Lake to Ear Falls

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While I could have written about each and every one of these adventures I decided to keep on living them and not take precious sunny day time to write about them.

Now that the weather has turned and things are slower for me I am taking on the little things that I have set aside over the past few months, this includes blogging.

The summer of 2015 was a momentous one to say the least. As Devon said yesterday at lunch –  A SUMMER OF FIRSTS! While I do not want to minimize any of my accomplishments as they were all in my mind EXTRAORDINARY, the one that took the most dedication was by far MARATHON TRAINING.

My road to becoming a marathoner was a long, hilly one. It required a massive amount of dedication, perseverance and endurance. My weekday runs went from my typical 3 mile easy runs to 5,6,7 milers that included hill repeats, intervals and butt kicking tempo runs. I gave up sleeping in on the weekends and faced insane long runs that ranged from 14 miles to 21 miles in some pretty intense heat. don’t even get me started on the bugs!

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I was lucky to have 2 phenomenal partners in crime to help me get through these gruelling workouts. We would start together, motivate each other and finish together EACH AND EVERY WEEKEND!! Together we made the runs fun. We would joke, chat about our week, listen to each other through some personal tough times. It was an incredible bonding experience.

At the end of each run we stopped at our friend’s marina and go for a cool down swim.

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One aspect of our training that really stands out is that we were never limited or stopped living because of our training. We still had a pretty adventurous summer. Devon and I would quite often finish our run, go home shower, nap and then head out for dinner, games, beach adventures, boating, dancing etc. We never once limited ourselves to being athletes. We are far too multifaceted to be defined as a runner or triathlete. We tried out best to pay attention to nutrition but never turned down a drink or nacho night with friends.

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When it came to race weekend I was fortunate to have my BRFs right there by my side. We traveled together to Duluth MN, where we spent the night and had a super fun shake out run. Then we headed to Minneapolis for the expo.

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Walking into the St. Paul Centre I became really emotional, I could not even speak as I picked up my bib. All those hours out there plugging away on the Madsen Hwy battling heat, bugs, blisters, and pain I was finally going to reach my goal. I was ready for my Victory Lap,

A local runner told me that the work was done in the training that the race itself was a PARTY, my VICTORY LAP!!!

She could not have been more right. I approached my race that Sunday morning like a party – to celebrate all my hard work. I was extremely emotional tearing up frequently. I was so proud of being able to stand in that corral, a corral of MARATHONERS. To be a part of the ELITE group of athletes.

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I jumped right in with the 4:45 pace team – I was listening to my coaches and was going to start out slow, really really slow. Knowing that if I held back I would have plenty of gas in the tank for the last 10k (all hills).

I chipped away slowly with the group, until I had to stop and use the port-a-potty. I simply couldn’t wait another few hours to pee 😦

After that, I just ran a comfortable pace, I had no Garmin, my battery no longer holds a charge, and without music. To say the crowds were amazing would be a drastic understatement! They cheered the entire 26.2 miles!!! Eventually I caught up with the pace group again and then left them behind when they walked through a water station.

I hydrated and fuelled properly the entire race, I blame my amazing feeling post race on the 7 caffeinated Gus that I ate while running! Talk about a major sugar high!!!

As the end drew closer and I had past the 21 mile mark, I began to let loose to allow myself to open up. I really feel that my last 10 k were my fastest and best of the entire race. The same 10k that I stressed about all summer long. I could never understand how I was supposed to get through those last miles. Now I know they just happen! Its pretty magical!

I can still remember the feeling I had, tearing up right now, when I saw the top of the State Building peaking through the leaves. Then I tuned left onto Summit Ave and knew that I had done it. I had reached my goal. I raced down Summit Ave and when I saw that amazing American Flag at the bottom of hill being held up by 2 fire dept ladder trucks at mile 26 I was in awe. I ran beneath it and then across the finish line.

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Nothing will ever compare to the feeling of accomplishment I had when the race volunteer put my MARATHON MEDAL around my neck. I was filed with pure JOY!!!

Tim, who had been our support team all summer long, volunteered that morning at the medical tent and therefore was able to be waiting for me at the finish line. I was so happy to see his smiling face!

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I met up with my very speedy friends and we hugged and cried, ok I cried, and toasted to our latest accomplishment.

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We finished our journey with dinner, drinks, dessert and of course dancing!!!

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5 thoughts on “My Journey to becoming a Marathoner

  1. Congrats Jennifer!! You did awesome! So great to hear that your last 10K were the strongest and fastest! Amazing! You inspire me! Thanks for sharing your journey! I hope to do my first marathon in 2016.

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    1. Thank you for your kind words. Becoming a marathoner is an amazing feeling. I hope to be able to cheer you on for your journey in 2016!

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  2. Awesome & amazing Journey! Thanks for sharing. I love reading about these accomplishments. Inspiring and has me even more committed to running another Full 😀 … and, of course, more triathlons!

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  3. You’ve been missed. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about living life and/or blogging. My family is my priority and everything else takes a backseat. Funny thing about finding that balance. You find it. It works. And then it doesn’t. Now you have me thinking about my running journey.

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