La chica is a marathoner

by lachicaruns on

Thanks to God, a slew of friends and family, and Dr. Awesome, I finished my first marathon today.

Here’s photographic proof:

marathon finish line

I am even prouder because I spent the three days before the race at a work conference that involved walking up and down hills and very long days. Oh, and I took a nasty fall that made my arms and hip hurt. I do not recommend it.

That all said, I prepped my gear the night before just to make sure I didn’t miss anything since I’ve been known to forget things like shoes, socks and headphones. Ahem.

marathon gear

Race day morning was perfect. It was in the 40s and sunny, meaning I started stripping layers about three or four miles in.

marathon with Brandess

My friend Brandess dressed as a rock star for her pace group, the Mullet Crew — the party in the back.

marathon with BGR

Black Girls RUN!

My pacer was awesome: 71-year-old Arlen on his 97th full marathon despite having a hip replacement less than a year ago. He also climbs mountains, does ultra marathons and tris, and did an Ironman just a few years ago.

marathon with arlen

I felt really good for the first half of the race and kept a decent-for-me 13-minute mile pace.

marathon selfie

I got to enjoy the gorgeous day and beautiful scenery through the Michigan State University campus farms and fields. But the best things I saw during my run were my friends who turned out to cheer or who came back after they were done with their own half marathons plus messages my friends wrote for me in chalk.

marathon message

Fast forward to about mile 20, when I start to slow down a bit. I was still running, fueling every four miles and drinking all of the water and Gatorade offered on the course.

No big deal. I figured I could run 10K no problem.

Then miles 23 and 24 came. My nemesis. I had a peek into what I’ve heard people call “the wall.” I couldn’t feel my legs. I was shuffling more than running. My mind was alert and I knew I would finish, but my body was just plain tired.

I kept moving with Arlen giving me encouragement, just concentrating on moving forward. I must have muttered “trust the plan” dozens of times.

And then I saw a bunch of my Black Girls RUN! Lansing friends. I can’t imagine what I would have done had they not been there.

marathon near death

That’s Brandess’ butt.

My training partner Janet even joined me for the last two miles, sporting a green tutu (she was a pacer for the half) and giving me the strength to just keep going. I won’t call it a second wind, but it was a boost and for that I am forever grateful.

As soon as I saw the chute, I knew I could draw some energy reserves only available to pigheaded women. I high-fived them, then saw my husband, daughter and youngest son, waiting near the finish line. I smiled and finished strong.

marathon high fives

In the end, I met most of my goals: I ran at about 13:27 per mile pace, finished in under six hours (5:52:50) and didn’t die.

I’ll call that a win.

Marathon with Janet
With most of la familia.

With most of la familia.

Now what?

Have you ever run a marathon? Did you hit the wall? How did you recover?


Written by: lachicaruns

My name is Gisgie. It's pronounced geese (like the birds) and gee (like the letter). Now that we've met, I'm glad you're here. I'm an injury-prone runner who manages to find reasons to keep coming back to the road despite ongoing challenges. Most recently, I've struggled with piriformis syndrome. I'm currently winning. Most days.


Lynn Schense

You are amazing! Congratulations! You look terrific crossing that finish line!


Aww, chucks. Thanks. I am thoroughly exhausted and proud.

And as much as I enjoy going to work and eating, I may have to spend the next few days up in my bedroom to avoid the stairs.


Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment like no other. It takes mental and physical strength. Everyone can do it but only a few finish. I’m proud of you. Congratulations.

Sue Nichols

WAHOO! Well played and an awesome testament to not giving up! (And, I suppose, a lessen in listening to those docs). You killed it, and also did a heck of a job sharing it with us. Kudos!

But really, how DO you run for nearly 6 hours. I propose that as an upcoming blog post. I am mystified.


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