"Shut yo' byotch azz up!" - RnRAZ Marathon

5:32 PM
the 2017 RnRAZ Marathon, like most of my runs, was an unknown due to a hectic work schedule.  Ten days before race day I discovered I would be able to be home for this event. 

So I find myself the night before gun time with a mind running rampant.  Worried about that nagging pain my right calve muscle.  Worried about the change in my shoes that I haven't put any long distance miles in.  Worried about recent pains in my back from sitting so much during the day.  Worried about how to get to and from the venue.  Worried about a lack of sleep of late.  In short... worried.

These worries plagued me into the morning.  Up at 3:30am.  A necessity when you truly want to prepare for a long run. 

The odd thing is that I've learned to quiet my mind with running.  But now my mind has turned against me worried if I could tow the line a full 26.2 miles or 42.195k. 

So I went to sleep in the hotel lobby near the race start on this cool Sunday morning.  I awake 10 minutes before gun time.  Perform some simple stretches and hit the corral. 

Full of emotions, I sent out a frantic and emotional tweet, along with a facebook rant.  My mind stressing again about how to pull this off without injury.  I haven't been running on the street, I'm a trail runner.  WTF am I doing?  This is cra....  When an inner voice comes through from deep within, "Shut yo' byotch azz up!  You've been training for this day for five fvcking years, since you had the courage to do something about your fvcking health!  Now do what you do.  Enjoy the run and chill da fvck out!" 

I smile to myself as the corral moves forward.  I'm now at peace.  My mind is quiet.  There is joy within.  I know I'm going to finish and that is all that matters.  Take one mile at a time.  Take one step at a time. 

And that's what I did.  I treated this road run like a trail run and ate consistently beginning at mile 3 through mile 18.  Took in plenty of salt and liquids.  Limited sugar.  And started ingesting caffeine and sugar at mile 21 for the final five push through the wall. 

Executed the fueling strategy to a T!  No wall.  But plenty of pain.  And pain is something I've learned to live with in the long run. 

Mile 14 is when the discomfort began to set in.  Mile 16 is when the discomfort became a nagging pain.  Mile 18 is when my inner voice yelled out to my body in similar fashion "Shut yo' byotch azz up!  This ain't shyt compared to the pain at mile 60!"

It was mile 13 when I realized a PR may be possible.  It was mile 19 when I knew one was within my grasp.  It was mile 23 when I had to ask myself, how bad do I want a PR and push through some discomfort to make sure I arrived under 4:52.  It was mile 24 when I knew I was going to PR and I had to ask myself how bad do I want to shoot for a sub 4:40.  Apparently pretty bad as the final 2.2 miles were the fastest miles of the entire marathon after dropping dimes (10'ish min miles) all over the place!

Finish time?  4:39:41 officially.  With cardio and body mostly intact.  And another 52 dollars raised for the Arizona Make-A-Wish foundation.  Marathon #7 in the books. 

Who'd a thunk that all that training last year for the Javelina Jundred k would bring benefits over two months later for a marathon I didn't train for!  I'm a little beat up, but no where near as bad as I've been in the past (I couldn't walk for days after my first marathon). 

RnRAZ holds a special place in my heart.  I haven't missed a year since I ran my initial marathon here in 2013.  I did drop down to a half marathon in 2014 due to a lack of training (should have pushed through then).  It is also run near Dr. MLK Jr's birthday. 

As a southerner who remembers a segregated world, it means a lot to me to see a sea of people enjoying the festivities of life as part of the human race.  The kindness of strangers of all ethnic backgrounds supporting one another on a common quest.  Symbolic as the quest is an individual one, yet fueled by the experience of a joint effort by many. 

As I neared the finish, I decided to break out the phone and live stream the final .2 miles to Facebook.  Thinking back to the days when I could barely run 20 yards, I filled with emotions as I crossed the finish once again to celebrate the chance that I was given to overcome my health crisis almost five years ago. 

Since discovering my health issues in February of 2012, I've had many challenges.  Many fears.  Many learning opportunities within myself.  I've crossed many bridges.  I've had many failures.  I continue to have my faults.  I'm still an emotional wreaking ball.  But I have learned to quiet the world and quiet my mind and enjoy the moment when I run.  Especially after I tell myself to "Shut yo' byotch azz up!" 

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