Got the people going…
So I ended part 2 (The Show, The After Party, The Hotel) on a not so great note. I’ve gotten quite a bit of feedback about that post. LOL. Hey what can I say….I’m honest. Some appreciate my honesty; some don’t. The great thing about this being my blog is I’m not forced to make shit smell sweet. I can be as candid as I want to be. People can choose if they want to read it or not. If some chose not to because I’ve written my truths, that’s fine. I will still inhale and exhale quite easily. I did not want to give a false impression that the day was filled with roses and sunshine because for me it wasn’t. There were some ladies who had a fabulous experience, PR’d, actually got to hug a warm body at the finish line, and got to wear their medals with pride. And those that got all that—that’s absolutely fabulous. They deserve it! They worked hard for it. They earned it. Round of applause.
My experience was just different from everybody else’s. It sucked. I’m not angry about it (anymore. LOL). I’ve accepted it. I’ve owned it. I’m moving on.
But I’ve also had more time to reflect. Two words/phrases now resonate with me in a different way.
1. Support. Support manifests itself in different ways. I want to be clear that I sincerely appreciate all of the love and support from everyone…present or not. Every message, text, phone call, voice mail….I heard (read) and took in all of it. I have a great support system and I know who the people are that are genuine in their well wishes….my folks, my brother, dude, kid, Katie, Tes, Angela, Cynthia, Mickey, Crystal, LaWanda, Clarissa…just to name a few. But I’m grateful to everyone who has been there through this all.
2. No Woman Left Behind. I struggle with this phrase. It’s used so loosely. And I wish people would admit that this statement is not 100% true. Someone will be left behind…whether it’s on purpose or by circumstance…there will be ladies who will feel the loneliness, rejection, and disappointment. It’s the nature of the beast and it is what it is. Acknowledge it.
The Beginning of the End...
Now the day after the race is when reality truly sinks in. I woke up Monday morning feeling sore. That’s to be expected. I wasn’t in pain though. I was just sore. I stretched and used my stick. I got up and moved around a bit. But I was still extremely tired. This was a different kind of tired though. I had no energy. I wanted to sleep but couldn’t. My mind kept telling me to get up. But I didn’t move. I wrote all day long. I had a few “I hate running” thoughts that morning. But by afternoon, I was outlining my game plan for my next marathon…Crazy…I know. I don’t really hate running. LOL. I updated my blog (Parts 1 and 2). And had my blog link removed from the group that leaves no woman behind…Funny…The origins of this group is a blog. But now their Facebook page doesn’t allow/support other blog pages from the ladies that are a part of the group. I’m sure there’s some inconsistent rationale behind that but hey…it’s not in my ministry to explore all that. I’m able to share my link in other groups anyway so…no big deal.
I finally got up and put some clothes on. I explored the Magnificent Mile area but soon realized that I did not feel like walking around a lot. Went to Gino’s East because everyone kept saying get deep dish pizza…and I kinda wanted some. The wings were great; the pizza was underwhelming. I think that’s because they got my order wrong. I ordered a supreme with pepperoni but I got one with sausage…a very LARGE round sausage patty. It looked gross. LOL. I wasn’t even sure if it was sausage. I was kinda scared to taste it to find out. But they eventually brought me what I actually ordered. It was ok. I think I prefer thin crust. And I’m now convinced that I don’t like pepperoni. Anyway. No I didn’t get any Garrett’s Popcorn. I know everyone was all excited about Garrett’s Popcorn and it’s supposed to be ridiculously good and fresh and all that jazz. But it’s popcorn…seriously…I’m not standing in a line for popcorn. Why? Because it’s popcorn. Maybe I’ll get some at the airport. Maybe not.
I put myself on phone restrictions because snarky Val was still lurking. Only the twin, the MG’s, and my BFF understand snarky Val. I had very amusing inbox conversations with the MG’s and text conversations with the twin. By evening snarky Val was gone so I actually answered the phone. The BFF called. We chatted for a few. I shared my thoughts with her. And then I settled in for the night.
My marathon weekend had come to a close. I was mentally exhausted. I said that I was never coming back to Chicago. This was by far the most overwhelming experience-from the training, to the race itself, to how it ended. There were good moments and bad, ups and downs, highs and lows. I do want to say though, that even in my angry moment (because believe me…I was PISSED) I still attempted to find some good. And I did. I know what I will and will not do for the next one. I’ve readjusted expectations of myself and others. Ah-ha moments are great for growth. I’m leaving Chicago a little different from how I arrived. Yes I’m now a marathoner. But it’s more than that. The marathon experience will test your physical and psychological fortitude. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Before I come to a close, there are a few people I want to give a personal acknowledgment to.
1. Natalie Miles Reed-I’ve said this a few times already, but I’m so thankful that you were there at the finish. That was the best moment of the race for me! Thank you for coming back. And waiting. I know I took a long time and it was a little chilly out (although I was burning up! LOL). I can’t say thank you enough.
2. Tes Sobomehin. She’s the one that got me in to this whole marathon thing! LOL. But seriously. She didn’t know it until a few days ago, but her initial enthusiasm for signing up for Chicago was what sparked my interest. I did my research and next thing I know I’m registered. Her positivity and enthusiasm is contagious…. I need to surround myself with more of that and I’m ever grateful for her spirit.
3. The MG’s. Our conversations keep me going and laughing. The short one with the smart ass mouth. The tall one with the smart ass mouth. The light skin one with the smart ass mouth. LOL. I love those three. Every single “I’m proud of you!” was heard…even when I was being difficult and snarky.
4. Dude. He listened to me moan and groan and complain a lot! LOL. He pushed me out of the house a few times and made me get up to go run. He spent a few Saturday mornings with my kid so I could get my training runs in. He’s not a runner by any stretch of anyone’s imagination. But he was always in my corner…even when I didn’t want him to be there. .
5. My BFF. She’s my person! She’s THE most supportive non-runner and I love her. I think she was more excited about my trip to Chicago than I was! She listened to plenty of conversations about my short runs, long runs, and races in between and is enthusiastic about everything I get myself into. A year ago I told her I’d never run a marathon. Her reply “Yea right.” followed by an eye roll. I guess she knows me a little. LOL. And she’s given me the next topics for my blog series…Stay tuned for that. :). Favorite post race question…”So when you get your medal are you gonna have a party?”. That thought hadn’t even come close to crossing my mind! But after she said that it got me thinking….hmmm.
6. The Twin. She has unknowingly been my #1 support system throughout this whole experience. Every single “That’s a bad idea” was always followed by a “How was your run?”. Every single long run she checked on me. If I didn’t run, she inquired as to why and encouraged me fix whatever issue I needed to fix. She always gave realistic tips and was always honest in whatever she had to say. And her messages always seemed to come at just the right time. Funniest message during the race “Hey Twin. I think we need fat lazy friends to talk us out of doing shit like this. Now go finish!!!” That was hilarious to me. And little did she know, during my dark moments in between 20 and 26 I looked at that message a few times so I could laugh. The next morning I get a text “Valerie?” Figured I’d respond since she called me by my name in text. ”Just checking.” LOL. I was still alive; just sleeping.
So…would I do this again. Yes I most certainly would. It was tough. But it didn’t kill me. At the end of it, I still completed my first marathon. Noone can take that from me. That’s a HUGE accomplishment. And I’m proud.
So what’s next for JDBL? I have an idea…and it’s a big one. Keep your eyes open for it!