It’s done.

I FINISHED. I CONQUERED. I AM VICTORIOUS.

Obnoxious, much?

Clearly the fact that you are reading this blog means that Katie and I made it across the finish line of the 2013 Steamtown Marathon.

Which is a fantastic feeling. (Even if the feeling only lasted a few hours before being completely re-submerged into real life. Which totally sucks, BTW. Not my own real life, just the fact that one can get up at a ridiculously early hour in the morning, accomplish a tremendous feat of endurance and then return home a few hours later only to be faced with laundry and dishes.)

My official time was 4:39:09. A personal record. (Hey, I never proclaimed to be a speed demon.) I should be joyful about that, and I am, of course. But I wanted 4:30:00. I try to remind myself that I ran for nearly five hours. THAT IS PRETTY DIFFICULT. Still, I wanted to come closer to a 10 minute mile. Maybe next year?

The Steamtown Marathon was everything I was told it would be. A fast course. Tons of small town charm. Witty race directors. Warm and supportive communities. The perfect small-town marathon.

My only complaint? Well, it was me.

I was wiped at the end. That last mile (UPHILL) completely undid me. Of course, the difficulty at the end also made finishing that much sweeter. That being said, I could tell that my training had not been completely up to par. I should have had more energy those last two miles.

When the announcer singled me out and announced my name (“Welcome to the finish line Jennifer Gerlock!”) I swear I almost cried.

It was my fifth marathon. I knew the drill. I anticipated the challenging patches. Yet, somehow, despite all of my experience on previous courses, this one was my most emotionally challenging.

Throughout the race I kept thinking about how my struggles on the course were mirroring the struggles I felt in my life this past year. There were times of joy and ease, times of optimism and pride and long stretches of uncertainty and pain. There was even a time when I found myself mere seconds away from giving up.

But then I found an inner strength I’d forgotten that I had. And with that strength, I found hope.

So sappy, right?

Sorry. I get sappy when I am made to wrestle my inner demons for hours. Heh.

race

Interested in running the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton, PA?

DO IT. So worth it.

Don’t believe me? Perhaps this review from Runner’s World will help:

Steamtown is the antithesis of the large, loud race. Here, relaxed yet efficient hospitality reigns. You’ll enjoy one of the best staging areas of any point-to-point race. Two rows of cheerleaders greet you when you exit the bus at Forest City Regional High School. A student hands you a bottle of water and directs you inside the warm auditorium where you’ll wait to start. The boom of a Civil War cannon sends runners onto a scenic route that winds through Small Town USA: Families line porches, wave American flags, and bands and cheerleaders try to outdo each other. 

I dare you to run it without singing Little Pink Houses all morning long.