Thursday, 18 October 2012

Marathon Recap - The Bad

A huge part of me wrestled with writing this post. And a huge part of me wrestled with sharing it.

I wanted to do my best to ignore my inner negative voice, and to celebrate this year, this achievement, and this milestone. But I would be a liar if I said that I loved every minute of Sunday, and that I left my marathon experience feeling amazing...

So here it is, The Bad...

Anyone who has read even a snippet of this blog, knows that I don't run just to run.

Running is always much more emotional than that. I always run to prove something - to me, to my body, to the world - I don't know...

Christopher McDougall wrote in Born To Run that "when things look worst, we run the most." That "there's a trigger in the human psyche, a coded response that actives our first and greatest survival skills when we sense the raptors approaching".

Well this year they were coming for me, and I literally tried to run away.

Running became my outlet. When times got tough - and they did - I ran. When I needed something to look forward to, it was a race. When need something to drive my recovery, it was running. When I needed to prove to myself that I was stronger and badder than anything my body could throw at me - I ran. Running has become an essential part of me and my go-to coping mechanism.

So running my Marathon, was never about running a Marathon.

It was everything.


I spent months visualizing it. And even longer training for it. I would cross that finish line strong at 4:30, rocking out to girlie-pop music, high on endorphins, all while proving that I am so much stronger than everything life threw at me this year.

But that is not exactly how it all went down.

I dragged my butt across the finish line at 5:20 feeling tired, so very sore, and sad. And then promptly lay down on the sidewalk clutching my medal and cried.

I cried with joy because it was over. I cried because I was disappointed in my time. I cried because I was so mad at my body. I cried because I was damn exhausted. 

I finished my Marathon, but I felt beaten.

Those last 10km brought out everything I HATE about my body. I felt weak. And that weakness was a reminder of all my genetic shortcomings. The pain was a reminder of all the reasons why my body will just never be good enough. All the things I hate about my body were literally screaming at me. And I could not shut them up.

My arms and chest are swollen here
My chest and arms were swollen. My pacemaker was brusing me from the inside out. My legs were on fire. My knees ached. My heart rate was all over the place. And I was just so angry at my body.

As I watched one pace bunny after another pass me, I knew my dream of finishing strong at 4:30 was dead.

My body was aching. I was miserable. And I wanted to quit.


I felt all those things, but I kept going.

In the last 7 months there have been a lot of moments where I have wanted to give up. The frustration, the sadness, and this fight has defined 2012. The medical appointments, the surgeries, the setbacks - there were many moments where I tried to wish it all away.

But in the last 7 months I have run 2 half marathons, 2 adventure/mud races, a 15km race, a 5 km, and now finally a full marathon. I crossed the finish line of my my very first marathon almost exactly 7 months after undergoing a double prophylatic mastectomy and receiving my third cyborg ticker. (they say 3rd times a charm)

And that is what this marathon was all about. Genetics has held my body hostage for almost a decade now, but it cannot crush my spirit. Those last 10km sucked. I wanted to give up, but I didn't. 5:20 was not my ideal time - but that still pretty darn good for all this year has thrown at me.

My body is never going to be all that I dreamed - I got the scars and the shiny robot heart to prove it.

But I am healthy. I worked damn hard for that. And no one can take that away from me. I am a Marathoner.

I will get knocked down a 1000 more times before this life is over, and I will always get back up.
I will always keep going.

This marathon was not exactly everything I dreamed, but I am not finished yet.
I will get that marathon I dreamed about - next time... (*sorry Mom there is gonna be a next time*)

Love your Favourite Darwinian Fail,
Krysten

59 comments:

  1. You are an inspiration to me. Isn't it true that so often we build things up so huge that we set ourselves up for defeat when we actually succeeded?

    I'm so grateful to see the underscored "always" in your post :)

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  2. I'm happy you wrote the post. When you feel these things, they can't be pent up. Let em out. You probably already feel better by letting it out. I'm also really happy to see that there will be a next time. :)

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  3. You are an amazing runner and an inspiration no matter what you finish time was. You gave it your all and you didn't stop or give up. You rocked it this time and you will rock it even harder next time!

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  4. Thank you for sharing. I understand your frustrations, but it seems like you have taken the last few days to process it, and accept it. That is a real accomplishment. I am about to attempt my 5th marathon, because I too do not feel that I have "mastered" the marathon. I still feel that I have a better performance in me. Will I achieve it? Who knows? That is the beauty and the cruelty of the marathon. No matter how great the preparation, it all comes down to that day.
    I will tell you to take some time, rest and let your body heal. Then you can start planning for the next one.
    For now celebrate all that you have accomplished this year. Most people in your position would sit back and not even try. You have the courage to achieve anything you set your mind to.

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  5. Tears! Such an emotional journey this has been. I just cannot even imagine. But the thing is - you did it. "I felt all those things, but I kept going." <---you didn't quit. No matter how hard it was, you found the strength to cross that line. Maybe not rocking out girlie pop and endorphin rushes, but you made it.

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  6. Well you know I'm new to running and to me the fact that you completed this massive challenge is INSPIRING to me and all us other Darwinian Fails. I feel like you not only did this to prove something to yourself, but to the rest of us.

    Glad to hear there will be a next time. You now know what to expect and you can improve your time. But honestly, the time is just a number. It's not what defines your race!

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    1. Fails together forever! xoxox Thank you!

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  7. Those last 10K SUCK for everyone. I spent them alternately hating my own body's failings (asthma, broken back, etc) and wanting to either cry or punch anyone who passed me (damn hypoglycemia). And, at times, I thought my left left was tearing through every knee ligament from the pain. My gallbladder even flared up (THAT can't happen anymore, though, since they took the little bugger out on Monday!).
    I remember watching the 4:45 pace group leave, then the 5:00... and then, passing mile 23 at 5 hours and knowing I'd be lucky to stay under 6 hours.
    The accomplishment isn't defined by any of those goals I missed. The accomplishment for me was finishing when I've had so many people doubt me or down-right say I'd never be a runner.
    The same is true for YOU. You FINISHED. While you have every right to hate your body, hate the pain, YOU FINISHED. How many people thought that would never happen? You proved them all wrong! You did it!
    You are an amazing human being, a constant inspiration for me and so many others. Keep it up!

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  8. Wow, you go girl! You know what? You rock. You may not have gotten the time you wanted, but you friggin ran and finished a marathon! No one can take that from you. It's a huge mental and physical challenge. You are an inspiration. Keep up the great work! :)

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  9. Very powerful post Krysten. That would not be easy to write or admit, but it will only empower you more for next adventure. Your destined for big things, we are all proud of you!

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  10. I'm reading your post and seeing the words you wrote expressing your disappointment in yourself, but all the thoughts in my head are "oh my god, I can't believe she ran a f*cking marathon. I could never do that." I'm sure a lot of people are going to say "you did great, what are you talking about?" But I really feel that. YOU DID AMAZING. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT??!! I get what you're saying and understand your frustration, but your negative feelings are all about illusion. What you did was real and magical. xo

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  11. You are seriously one of the strongest people I "know." You've had such a tough time, but you didn't give up. You took control of your life, did what you had to do to get healthy and strong, and continue to fight every single day, no matter what the obstacle is. You're an inspiration to the rest of us Krysten!

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  12. Krysten-You ARE strong and amazing. What you have overcome, and all that you still have to contend with-it's unbelievable. You should be proud of yourself for not quitting, for persevering. You will be inspiring me as I train for my first marathon this year. Way to go girl - You did it!

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  13. I think, with time, you will be less disappointed with your marathon and realize just how hard you ROCK! At least I hope you do. I cannot begin to imagine running a marathon with the challenges you've dealt with. Be endlessly proud girl!

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  14. I, for one, am glad you posted The Bad. It's not all rainbows but it's worth it in the end. Thanks for being honest with us.

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  15. tearing up here. You are incredible. You never gave up and fought hard for this! Congrats girl!

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  16. Omg this post gave me goosebumps. Even know I heard it in person - this post is SO strong Krysten. I am SO SO SO proud of you and wish I would be been there for support the day of. The next one, I'm there <3 SO proud

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  17. I'm glad I met you through IG and made my way to your blog. I've enjoyed reading your past few marathon posts. They inspire me to work toward a marathon in the future. I'd love to join in the ranks of calling myself a marathoner. Thanks!

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  18. god so many things I want to say...but mostly I will leave it at this it's ok to have every emotion under the sun about your marathon. Like you said those 26.2 miles represent a whole lot more than running and in the end it wasn't what you pictured which is frustrating, but in some ways that's what makes it so much greater. You didn't just bounce through the day, you dug in and proved that you have more than enough to overcome :)

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  19. Darlin', I am so proud of you and impressed at what you've overcome and accomplished. No need to focus on the bad-- you did something incredible.

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  20. I am glad you posted this, I think this is what every runner wants to read, honestly. That it isn't always puppies and rainbows, running is incredibly difficult, even without half of the obstacles you are up against. So so impressed. Awesome job, you did it! XOXO

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  21. It seriously isn't about a time on a clock. Your body did NOT fail you on this one. It gave you everything it could and you and it deserve a hearty congratulations, a big hug, and a little rest and relaxation. Ryan Hall didn't even finish his last marathon. YOU just FINISHED!!! :)

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    1. xox THANK YOU! I did not know that stat about Ryan Hall?! Is it horrible that this makes me feel way better?!

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  22. Girl, you are amazing. I too have the issue of setting high expectations and goals. So often they do not happen in "my time". I'm always humbled but realize that it's all part of the journey and that I will meet my goal. This is just another step along your journey. You will meet your goal...and that victory? Yes, it will be super sweet!

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  23. "I will get knocked down a 1000 more times before this life is over, and I will always get back up.
    I will always keep going."

    Way to get out there and kick some butt. You're awesome...keep on doing what you're doing!

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  24. I've told you this before, Krysten. You are a poster-child for why I do what I do.
    I needed some inspiration today myself. After a career change almost two years ago, I constantly feel like I will never reach the level of success that I had in my old life. I wasn't happy, mind you, but I was successful from a professional standpoint.

    I read your post & got my inspiration. I was feeling the same conflict about writing my own blog post today - not wanting to feel what I was feeling & not wanting to share it.

    You always keep it real & you can certainly see how people are connecting from the comments you get!

    Keep it up! You are doing everything right!

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  25. I LOVE reading your posts about your marathon! It's refreshing that you are honest about this amazing experience. And more power to you woman that you want to do another one. High-Fives to you! xo

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  26. Oh man, this made me so emotional. Might have to shut my office door before I turn into a blubbering mess.
    First off, I can SO relate to how you feel about running. It carried me through a lot of shitty times in my life.
    A marathon is LONG way to go. It's never going to be pretty no matter how fast or how slow you go. Your body is going to rebel at some point. I was a mess during my first marathon and I cried at the end of it all too. It certainly didn't go as I had planned either but what can you do. The big thing is that you finished. With everything that you've been through, you finished a FREAKING MARATHON! Hold your head up high and be proud. I'm happy to hear there will be a next time! You keep me posted on the where and when cause I want to be there to cheer you on!

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  27. You are amazing. You are a marathoner! That is something I don't ever plan to push myself to do, and you did it despite much higher hurdles than I have ever faced. I am in awe of you.

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  28. A marathon is no joke! It's nice to put an ideal time frame on it, but when it comes down to it- anything can happen in 26 miles... that is a heck of a long way to go! It certainly does not mean your body was weak. You are one of the very few who will even attempt a marathon. You did it! It's okay to mourn what wasn't but make sure you come back around to being amazed in your body and what it just did. :)

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  29. I have only recently begun reading your blog. You are an amazing woman. Many others would not have pushed themselves to the points you have pushed and you should always be proud of that. I just ran my second marathon of the year, first one (ever) was in May. When I tell you that those two days were polar opposite, I am not exaggerating. The marathon is hard, I am a firm believer that the 26.2 distance teaches you so much about yourself and the heart and fire you have. There is a reason that such a small percentage of the population even attempts them! I know the disappoint you have in the time will be temporary - there is so much more that you accomplished that day, that is the stuff you will hold on to. You are so strong and such a fighter! Keep it up! Enjoy this one and then have fun planning the next one! Truly an inspiration! I can't wait to continue to follow along on your amazing journey!

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  30. You have been on an incredible journey this year, you know that, right? I know that it can be really hard to see that when you are immersed in the day to day and it's hard when we have high expectations of ourselves. But just look at the accomplishments that you've listed over the past 7 months: 2 half marathons, 2 adventure/mud races, a 15km race, a 5 km, and marathon. Are you kidding me?? You are amazing and so inspiring. I look at you and how far you've come and it inspires me to keep working to get back to where I want to be.

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  31. You are amazing. Plain and simple. You will get that marathon time you are dreaming of. I know you will.

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  32. SO SO SO very inspiring! I am so proud of you, YOU inspire me :)

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  33. I have no words other than your post brought tears to my eyes. You are so strong and you are an inspiration. So what if it wasn't all you planned it to be. You DID IT! You are a marathoner. And that's a very elite club to be a part of. You should be proud of your accomplishments (and yes, you should do it again!)

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  34. My first marathon experience this past weekend was almost identical! I had trained well and expected a 4:20 finish but with a knee injury at mile 6 and unable to run at all by mile 19, I finished at 5:20. I was thrilled to have finished but also greatly disappointed.

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  35. I know that your body has been through way more than mine could even imagine going through. I don't know you, but know that you are one of the STRONGEST people I (don't) know, if that makes any sense.

    My first marathon was a disaster. I crapped out around mile 17-18. I was cramping, I was tired, I was over it and just wanted to STOP. But just kept moving. Just kept running when I could and walking when I had to. I crossed that finish line at 5:18. I had no hopes of a time, but I was aiming for something under 5.

    As i said yesterday, your first one is most likely always your worst. But you did it. You ran it. And now you know what to expect. The hard part is done. Now it's just repeating it and making it better.

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  36. You ran for you, and that matters more than anything. But I can absolutely guarantee you that some day someone will come up to you and say, "You gave me the motivation to keep going when I wanted to give up," or "You saved my life because I figured if you could do XXX, then I could do YYY, which gave me back my health." You care about the race time, but those people care that you are helping them face their issues with spirit. You'll see.

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  37. All I can say is WOW. What an inspiration. I ran Sunday too and was also disappointed with my time because my body couldn't hold up, although I felt I was well trained. And I am not battling half the health issues you are dealing with. As I finished the race, my greatest joy was watching those behind me come in. Not because I was faster, or proud of my accomplishment, but more so to see everyone cross the finish, and knowing they had pushed themselves beyond their limits. You should be so proud of yourself. There are perfectly healthy people who will NEVER even attempt what you FINISHED! Maybe because they are scared of failure, or because they are lazy, or because they don't understand what freedom you get from a good run. But regardless, they will also never know the or understand how driven we are as runners to never give up. That drive which moves us to run again.... Best of luck on the next one!

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  38. I'll be in Toronto next Spring/Summer and will be training for Chicago in October again (it's honestly THE BEST MARATHON IN THE WORLD! 50,000 runners / 100,000 people watching). My goal (and what I did all my training runs at) is a a 4:30 too --> Hint hint. Nudge Nudge. Just sayin' :)

    And yessss, I was on pace for a 4:15 marathon in Berlin, and then last 10k tore me down. The marathon is a 30k warm up, for a 10k race.

    Feel amazing about finishing. Lots of people don't!

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  39. I love that you are REAL. The feat you just kicked tail on is one of the hardest things that the large majority of people walking this Earth can barely even think about starting with a body that has not had to endure a fraction as much as yours!

    YOU INSPIRE. And you are so so strong! Congrats again girl, cause you deserve it. Which is why I tagged you on my blog post! BTW - FL is great this time of year! ;)

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  40. Wow. What a post. Congrats for finishing despite all the odds and all you've faced. That's tremendous.

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  41. Congratulations! You are an amazing woman. A true inspiration. You finished and you should feel proud. What amazing inner-strength to finish. I am amazed by all that you do. Congratulations!

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  42. Definitely not The Bad. You kept going not just through the marathon but everything that's happened this past year. You kept going. You are inspiring!

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  43. What you did is amazing. I don't see bad in this, I see strength. And that's what you are, STRONG! xo

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  44. We don't know each other. We may never meet in person but you and I have a lot in common. Feeling like our bodies failed us and maybe even more importantly we failed our bodies. Never worry about time my friend. It's the one thing that is never known for sure when we run. What we do know for sure is that we show up, we commit and we finish.

    That's exactly what you did.

    That's exactly what millions of other people didn't do. You think about that for a little bit. Millions of people will not commit to showing up, to committing and to finishing.

    Well done.

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  45. You are a warrior and true champion of spirit.
    You won the minute you started the race!

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  46. You are awesome - i love your attitude, your determination, and the way you just keep moving forward. You are a marathoner and you inspire me! :)

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  47. Darling, you are amazing and remarkably normal in your "Darwinian" body. Even those of us who appear "perfect" have their own hidden faults and what you faced is what a marathoner will face and you triumphed! You are a rock star!

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  48. You are an amazing person. You have overcome so many things that most people can't overcome. And this marathon is another thing to add to that list. This post is so inspirational, I daresay the most inspirational marathon post I have ever read. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!!

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  49. Wow, You are incredible. And what your body managed under those circumstances is absolutely amazing.

    From every aching step to the crying at the end - you got there. Time doesn't matter. You crossed that finish line. You and your body xx

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  50. You are amazing. Never forget that. Yes, running validates many of us - its a challenge, it's a milestone, it's a Nike commercial that WE get to be a part of.

    Girl you are a Nike Commercial.

    Kiran

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  51. You are amazing. Never forget that. Yes, running validates many of us - its a challenge, it's a milestone, it's a Nike commercial that WE get to be a part of.

    Girl you are a Nike Commercial.

    Kiran

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  52. Krysten,
    I've read about your training since you started and have been rooting you along. I completely understand your dissapointment, but given some distance (no pun intended)from it I hope you will see that the marathon is only the beginning. It is such a huge marker in your life and one that defines you as strong, healthy, and tenacious. I can't wait to see what you do from here, with the strength of this accomplishment under your belt.
    Kara

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  53. I just found your blog and I am totally astounded by your story. You are such a beast! I totally understand the crying, but you deserve to hold your head up high anyway.

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  54. You simply amaze and inspire me! I hope in time you will find peace with your time because I think you rocked it! You've had so many challenges and you never give up - your spirit and strength really are an inspiration!

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  55. What an emotional post. I have had marathons I am disappointed with, but I can't imagine the negative talk you went through. I particularly loved the way it ended. You were knocked down, but you won't stay down. Very inspiring.

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