Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Houston Marathon in a nutshell

Tomorrow marks 2 weeks since I ran 26.2 miles. It honestly feels like a lifetime ago. I still can't believe I actually did it! I find myself driving around Houston reminiscing about portions of the race route... It feels SO strange to drive on the same streets that I shed my blood, sweat and tears on just a few short weeks ago.

For anyone out there who is considering running a marathon (or any race for that matter), I'm here to tell you...DO IT NOW! What's holding you back? What better time than NOW to sign up for a race and run it? I could have thought of 4,798,379,822 reasons not to run the marathon, but it was a goal of mine and I put it on paper, then I signed up for the race...and did it! Now that's what I call accountability! Thanks to lululemon and our culture of goal setting, I set my mind to running my first full marathon within one year of giving birth to my child, so while I was pregnant I entered my name into the lottery for the Chevron Houston Marathon. Don't kid yourself...I was 99% sure that I would not get picked to run it, so I thought I had an easy out and at least I could say "I tried". Imagine my surprise when I found out 1 month after my c-section that I did, indeed, get "selected" to run the marathon, and so did Blake.  WHAT!!  You mean we're actually supposed to do this!? What was our excuse now??

So...6 weeks after having Briggs I got cleared to start working out again and I slowly began jogging, and let me tell you, 3 miles felt like a marathon in itself! I could not fathom how on earth I would be able to run 26.2 miles in just a few short months. I knew I had to really get my butt in gear if I was going to pull this off, so  in October Blake and I, along with my BFF Samantha, started a 16-week training program. The running schedule was manageable but time-consuming. We stuck with it and we put in the miles. We were ready.

January 15th arrived sooner than any of us expected and it was time to put our hard work to the test. I can honestly say that running that marathon was one of the hardest things I have ever done...but I accomplished my goal...I RAN 26.2 miles within one year of having a baby. In fact, I ran it 7 months after having my baby. This ranks in my top 5 proudest accomplishments in my life.

This was the dialogue in my head during the run:
  • Miles 1-8 = all smiles, high fiving and shouting at people in the crowd. FEELING GREAT!
  • Miles 8-10 = sudden outbreak of hives all over my body. TERRIBLE itching. WTF!?
  • Miles 10-13 = panic setting in... WHAT is going on!? Am I dying??? --> Mom to the rescue with Benadryl cream!!
  • Miles 13-15 = Ok, I can do this. Must. Keep. Breathing. (and running).
  • Miles 15-18 = HIT MY WALL! Why so soon? 8 more miles!? F*#K you!
  • Miles 18-23 = Seriously how am I going to carry my dead body over the finish line??
  • Mile 24 = lululemon TO THE RESCUE!!!  I love you all!
  • Miles 24-26.2 = I did not just run all this way to DIE before the finish line...Must. Finish.
Once I got that medal around my neck I felt a sense of accomplishment, but my exact words were "I will NEVER do this again". I had just endured the most brutal beating my body could withstand. That was the most physically and mentally challenging 5 hours I had ever endured. And then I puked my entire body weight. 5 or 6 or 7 times....

Nobody ever said running a marathon is glamorous, right? Rewarding? Yes. Shiny, sparkly and glamorous? No. BUT I DID IT. And for that, I felt like an Olympian. But I also decided that I was retired from running marathons. One and done. Or so I thought...

Within a day or two of the race what I call "runner's amnesia" set in and I sort of forgot how brutal it was. Kind of like childbirth, you magically forget all of the pain and suffering you endured, and you focus only on the magnificance of the event and the satisfaction you get from saying YOU DID IT. So, just as quickly as I went into retirement, I came right back  out and decided that my marathon running days are not over.

Goal: I will run a 4:45 marathon BY December 2013!

I'm giving myself some time before my next full marathon, but I will do it again. And I am actually looking forward to it :)   So, I challenge you to sign up for a race, even if you hate running and think you could never do it. If I can do it, you can too!

Blake, Shan and Sam...all smiles BEFORE the race!

"Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength".


  1. Shannon, what training program did you use? What did you do with Briggs while you were training? Why did you break out in hives? And what the hell does lululemon have to do with rescuing you during your race?

  2. Niki, I read the book "The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer". It was great. From that, my friend Samantha put together a training plan for us on an excel spreadsheet. We basically ran ~4 times a week for 16 weeks. Our long runs were on Saturdays, and we got all the way up to 20 miles before tapering. As for the hives, I have NO idea what happened. I think I had an allergic reaction to something...but it may have been a heat rash. My tongue swelled and it was difficult to swallow for a little while. I literally thought I was dying on the course!!

    AND, I work for lululemon and every year at the Houston Marathon we have a huge "Inspiration Station" at mile 24. We have our whole team plus tons of friends/fam all there dressed in the same color, holding up BADASS signs, and a DJ playing fun music. When I got to mile 24 and saw all those amazing peeps SCREAMING their lungs off for me I felt like the coolest person in the world. They really gave me the boost I needed for those last 2 dreadful miles.

  3. You're awesome. Some day when I'm done making babies, I want to run a full. I've only done halves :)