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Michelle’s First Marathon

by Meghann on December 16, 2010


I was feeling festive today. Wrapping paper makes for a good placemat, does it not?


December has flown by! It’s a week before Christmas and I realized that A) I still haven’t hung my wreath on my door (it’s been sitting next to my door since Thanksgiving) B) I do not own a single X-Mas themed placemat and it would be kind of pointless to buy one now and C) all those ‘personalized’ Christmas gifts I wanted to order/make are approaching their make by deadlines. Ooppsss….

At least it’s warming up. (Feels good to be back to good Florida weather!) And I have good soup to remind me to slow down and take it all in.


I don’t care what people call my bowl of mush/stew/stoup/cooked veggies…. it’s still soup to me. :P


I had a mini pita on site to soak up the good stuff.



Polar Plunge

I just registered to participate in the 2011 Special Olympics Florida Polar Plunge in January. The ‘plunge’ is an icy dip in one of Aquatica’s wave pools (after the temperature has been brought down to a chilly cold, of course). I’ve set up a donation page with all donations going directly to the Special Olympics. If you have an extra dollar or two I would really appreciate your support for this casue.

If any other Orlando Bloggers are interested in joining my team – let me know! it should be a fun event for a great cause! :)

Michelle’s First Marathon

Hi, everyone! I’m Michelle from Taste As You Go. Meghann and I go way back and not only share a love for running, but also a love for a certain special cookie – the Montana Whopper. Typically, I only write about food on my blog, so when Meghann asked if I’d like to share the story of my first marathon with you all, I jumped at the chance to write about something other than food.

Judd - First Marathon 1 

I never imagined I’d be able to call myself a marathoner. When I ran my first half marathon in Philadelphia last year, I thought I had run far enough. After all, running 13.1 miles was a major accomplishment for me. I wasn’t itching to sign up for a longer race. To be honest, after the race, I was more concerned with regaining my ability to walk up and down the stairs without wincing.

Judd - First Marathon 2 

In early summer, I began warming up to the idea of training and running a full marathon. Maybe it was the fact that I had turned 30 that May. Maybe I was tired of being taunted by those friends and coworkers who had already run one (or more). Maybe it was a combination of those things plus other things not yet identified. Whatever the reason, come October 9, I was going to be at the starting line in Hartford.

At first, my training wasn’t too difficult. Running felt great and I tried not to put too much pressure on myself. I knew that I wasn’t out to break records in Hartford. My goal was to finish. So, I just took each run one at a time and embraced having a reason to get outside, to exercise, and to let go of whatever was stressing me out. I was doing fine until I looked at my training schedule and saw that I had to push through a 14-mile run. 14 miles… Only a bit longer than a half marathon but still completely uncharted territory for me. I had my doubts about whether I could get through that run, and all of the subsequent long runs exceeding 14 miles after that one, but I got through them. Some went better than others, but I remembered my goal… to finish.

Judd - First Marathon 3 

Before I knew it, October rolled around and I was making the trip back to my home state to run my first marathon. The afternoon before the race, my boyfriend Stephen and I drove up to Hartford, checked into our hotel, and then made our way to the Expo. Not wanting to miss out on any part of the experience, I went up and down the aisles and looked at every booth to see what was up. I even allowed myself to spend money (oh, okay, Stephen’s money) on a race souvenir.

Judd - First Marathon 4 

After we finished at the Expo, we met up with my friend Kate for dinner, where I ate three courses of food (pasta, salad, pasta) and drank my weight in water. My nerves were starting to kick in, and by the time Stephen and I got back to the hotel, worries started flashing through my mind. What if I didn’t train enough? What if I didn’t eat enough at dinner, or what if I ate the wrong thing? What if I got hurt during the race? What if I didn’t finish? I tried to stay calm and to take deep breaths, but, less than twelve hours before the race, I started asking myself what the hell I was thinking when I signed up to run 26.2 miles. Voluntarily. I think I got a total of 4 or 5 hours of sleep that night.

Judd - First Marathon 5 

Thankfully, being from New England… I run on Dunkin’. What happened after that was almost a blur. Not because I had suddenly figured out how to run quickly for a prolonged period of time. But because I was so focused on finishing that I don’t really know how I did it! I knew I had to take it one mile at a time in order not to be overwhelmed by how many miles were left. And I knew I had some folks out in the crowd cheering for me. I saw Stephen several times during the first half of the race and managed to see my father, as well. I can’t tell you how much it meant to have two of the most important men in my life out there with me, even if they weren’t running.

Judd - First Marathon 6 

When I reached Mile 25, I saw my father again. We exchanged high-fives as I ran by, and he told me later that he couldn’t believe how great I looked. He said it was as if someone had dropped me off at the corner and I had just started running. That was good to hear because it was right around Mile 25 when both of my ankles started hurting and I could feel my feet swelling inside my sneakers. After I crossed the bridge and made my way back through downtown Hartford toward the Finish Line in Bushnell Park, I started feeling really excited. I was almost there! I nearly started crying when I saw Stephen and my friend Mary, who had run the Hartford Half Marathon, running toward me and then running with me, encouraging me, telling me how I could eat whatever the hell I wanted after the race because I earned it.

Judd - First Marathon 7

As I approached the final turn, they told me they’d see me at the Finish Line. I started pumping my arms and started sprinting as hard and as fast as I could. Like in Philadelphia, I wanted to finish strong, with power. And I did! In 5:16:01, well under my goal time of 5:30! (I wasn’t going to set a goal time since I just wanted to finish, but I did in order to pace myself better.) What everyone had told me about that minute after finishing a full marathon was true, and I knew that nothing else was ever going to match that feeling.

Judd - First Marathon 8 

While I entered the lottery to run the 2011 New York City Half Marathon in March, I’m not sure I’ll sign up for another full marathon. We’ll see if I’m selected to run in March and then take it from there. ;-)

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kate (What Kate is Cooking) December 16, 2010 at 2:20 pm

I entered the New York lottery too, but if I don’t get in, I don’t know if I’ll run another either… it was HARD! Congratulations on yours!


2 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 9:58 am

Thanks so much, Kate! I wasn’t selected to run the NYC Half, so I have to pick another race. It was disappointing not to be selected, but there are plenty of races out there for me to choose from!


3 Emma (Sweet Tooth Runner) December 16, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Wow great story Michelle! I love hearing people’s marathon stories- so inspirational!
Hope you get the NYC place! :)


4 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

Thanks, Emma! I’ve loved reading people’s running stories on Meghann’s blog, so I couldn’t wait to throw mine into the mix. I didn’t get a spot in the NYC Half, but I’ll be looking for another race to enter!


5 Matt December 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I am in the NYC lottery!


6 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

I didn’t get selected for the NYC Half. Did you, Matt?

(I think using my NYC address was a strike against me.)


7 Matt December 17, 2010 at 10:02 am

Sadly I didn’t :(


8 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I withdrew my number from the potential second lottery. Maybe you’ll have better luck if they draw more names.


9 Katy (The Singing Runner) December 16, 2010 at 2:45 pm

This is a great and inspirational story! :)

Meghann, how do you choose these stories?


10 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:01 am

Thanks, Katy!


11 Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday December 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Woot Woot! Way to go Michelle.
I love reading these recaps because it’s getting me pumped to do my own marathon. Or maybe nervous.


12 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thanks so much! Being nervous is part of it… Just don’t let the nerves overwhelm you. You CAN run a marathon!


13 Jillian @ Reshape Your Life December 16, 2010 at 2:50 pm

That is so exciting! I’m planning on running the Hartford half marathon next October! It’s awesome to hear about someone running the full! Congratulations!


14 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:03 am

I was so surprised by how many people came out to run in Hartford in October! The field was really impressive, and I’m so happy I can say I’ve a) run a marathon and b) run a marathon in my home state. If I run again in Hartford next year, we’ll have to try and find each other!


15 Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat December 16, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Great story Michelle! Congrats on your accomplishment :) I love reading these Meghann, keep em coming! :)


16 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

Thanks so much, Angela! I’m enjoying the down time now but am starting to get excited about choosing my races for next year.

Oh, and the shopping for new running gear. That’s always fun!


17 Brittney December 16, 2010 at 3:14 pm

I can’t get enough of marathon recaps since I’m training for my first one right now! Awesome job Michelle!


18 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:04 am

Thanks, Brittney!


19 Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) December 16, 2010 at 3:20 pm

AWesome story and job, Michelle!

The pics of you are full of JOY! and happiness!

and lovin’ those cookies too :)


20 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

Thanks, Averie! (Beautiful name, by the way!) I’m really happy with my performance in Harford — and even happier that the pictures showed how much fun I was having. Sure, there were moments of pain and uncertainty… I just managed to have them when a camera wasn’t around!


21 Christin@purplebirdblog December 16, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Congrats, Michelle! And can I get somma them cookies mailed to me? Man they look good! ;)


22 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:06 am

Thanks, Christin! The next time I make the Montana Whoppers, I’ll let you know. One recipe certainly makes enough to share!


23 Lisa (bakebikeblog) December 16, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Congrats to Michelle! What a stellar effort!


24 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:07 am

Thanks, Lisa!


25 Hannah Hawley December 16, 2010 at 3:50 pm

I too am participating this year in the Penguin Plunge, but in Vermont! Brrrr…. If you want to really plunge into some icy water, come join us ;-)


26 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:08 am

Oh gosh… I don’t think I’m ready for a Penguin Plunge. I’m a wimp when it comes to cold. ;-)


27 Stacey December 16, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Well you fooled me with the wrapping paper, I thought it actually was a place mat! Great marathon story. I always love to read about people’s achievements.


28 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:08 am

Thanks, Stacey!


29 Amy December 16, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Awesome job! And Connecticut’s my home state too – so nice to see a few glimpses of Hartford! :-)


30 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:09 am

Thanks, Amy! Even though I grew up in Connecticut, I was surprised by how much Hartford has changed since I was a kid. It was a lovely course and I really got to see the city! (And the middle-of-nowhere, East Hartford…)


31 Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life December 16, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I donated to a few friends last year when they did the polar dip! It’s a great cause! Thanks for sharing Michelle’s story!


32 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:10 am

I was so grateful for the chance to share my story. Thanks for reading, Kjirsten!


33 Kiran December 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Michelle is yet another inspirational to us all! Congrats on completing the marathon :)


34 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

Thanks so much, Kiran! I still blush a little when people say my story is inspirational. Training was hard work, but that feeling when I crossed the Finish Line was worth it!


35 Laura (Starloz) December 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm

congrats on finishing the marathon michelle


36 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:12 am

Thanks, Laura!


37 Amalfi Girl (EatRunHaveFun) December 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm

I want to do Philly next year! Glad to see you survived :)


38 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:12 am

Philly was a great race! I’m hoping to get back there to do the full marathon soon. I’m giving my boyfriend time to sign up for a race there first… Philly’s his home territory. ;-)


39 Katie December 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Great post! I have been toting with the idea of doing a marathon… I have not run more then 7 miles ever. But now am thinking of starting with the 1/2. It’s always good to hear a story of someone who is as nervous as I am finishing! Good luck on your next one!


40 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

Honestly, Katie, I think my nerves really helped me through the race. Feeling nervous forced me to take the race one mile at a time to avoid being overwhelmed. It really worked!


41 mary December 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Oh, Michelle. I’ll be working on you to run another.

Reading this reminded me of when I first crossed the finish line of 26.2 after running through the arch in Hartford not so many years ago. It also really brought me back to that day. Waiting in a sunny spot and seeing you crest that hill for the last half mile was awesome. I’m still so proud of you for taking that one!

2nd one is easier. Promise. 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th too! We’ll chat about the 7th in Feb:)


42 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:16 am

You won’t have to work too hard. A coworker just gifted a one-year NYRR subscription to me for Christmas. So… I have to run in at least three races to make her investment in me worth it. ;-)

Side note, thank you SO much for being there when I finished in Hartford. I didn’t think I’d need you to run with me at the end (oops), but it really meant a lot to see a familiar face. As for that hill, I *knew* I had to make it mine. I finished Philly in an all-out sprint… I couldn’t finish Hartford without the same effort!


43 Alex December 16, 2010 at 9:21 pm

My brother has Down Syndrome and Special Olympics is such a huge part of my family’s lives! We look forward to our Polar Bear Plunge (in Arkansas) every year…thank you have being involved in such an amazing cause!


44 Allie December 16, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Michelle’s story is AWESOME :)


45 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:16 am

Thanks, Allie!


46 Kelly December 16, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Looks like soup to me! :)


47 Hannah L. (Hannah Lives) December 17, 2010 at 12:03 am

I literally tear up every time I read someone’s marathon story, and this is no exception!


48 Michelle @ Taste As You Go December 17, 2010 at 10:17 am

I admit it — I’m the same way when I read about other people’s stories!


49 Lacey @ Lake Life December 18, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Good luck with the plunge! They hold an annual “Polar Bear Plunge” every year on my lake to benefit the volunteer firefighters. The water is usually around 35 degrees.


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