Today, I ran my first marathon.

It was





I am sore in places I didn’t know existed. I am chaffed in places I didn’t know made contact. I may not be able to move tomorrow.

But I am completely



Heading to the bus stop at 6am through dark, drizzly Istanbul, I was cold. I was nervous. I was wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into.

Standing in line shivering and waiting for the shuttle in Taksim, I wondered again, “Cassandra, what what what are you doing?”

Getting to Asia and the starting line, after peeing for about the 20th time, I thought, “My God, I actually am insane.”

The first part of the race is a blur. I was on autopilot simply putting one foot in front of the other, not thinking of pace, simply enjoying the sights and the energy of the people surrounding me. They were wonderful. Never have I been cheered for in so many beautiful languages.

Alone with my thoughts, I was peaceful enjoying every second for what it was.

I laughed at the fact that for the first time in my life, having only 15K to go was actually exciting. Why that’s only 3 5K races! 

Then it hit me, after a pee stop, a few Cliff shots, plenty of swigs of Nuun, everything hurt. And I mean everything. As I sit here, my legs, my back, even my abs are still crying.

But I know they’ll thank me later.

Still, I talked myself through.

If you run just 10 more steps, you’ll be fine. It’s almost over.

The last 10K, everything hit me. A wave of emotions smacked me head on.

I was doing it.

Doing it for me.

For awkward 10-year-old me showing up to her first day of track practice in jean shorts, sneakers and her favorite butterfly t-shirt.

Buy some running shorts, you silly kid. 

For middle school me, running across the street with her friends at meets dressed in huge basketball shorts and a white jersey to purchase sandwiches and ice cream in the days when food was just food.

You eat that thing, girl. Ok, maybe that wasn’t the best idea 30 minutes before race time. Ouch that stomach cramp sucks. 

For high school me freaking out when the pressure was on. Running to the bathroom every 5 minutes, exhausted, hungry, frazzled.

It’s ok, you can tell them that you can’t run that 4th race today. That you haven’t eaten since 5am. That the world is spinning and you’re just so, so tired. Don’t do this to yourself anymore. 

For early college me, uncertain, afraid, feeling way too young to be there, uncomfortable in a completely changed body.

You’ll get it down eventually. You’ll find balance. Patience. Don’t let them get to you. 

And for me today.

You’re having the adventure of a lifetime. You’re alive. Your life is yours and yours alone and don’t you ever, ever forget that again. 

Crossing the finish line, I could hardly contain it. Grabbing the apricot juice handed to me, I downed it in 3.5 seconds. I blinked and blinked and blinked back tears. Dear God, I’d done it.

As soon as the race was over, my legs became like stiff tree trunks. I knew the absolute worst thing to do would be to sit down. So, collecting my things, I walked

and walked

and walked some more.

I downed water like it was my job. I noshed on a big ol’ bag of trail mix, bread and more bread. A banana because that potassium is so important, you know. I attacked a giant bar of dark chocolate I picked up in a market along the way.

And, man, was every bittersweet, rich bite glorious.

I obeyed my hunger. Hell, I had just run 26.2 miles. I don’t think I knew what true exhaustion and hunger were until today.

And I can’t wait to experience it again and again and again.

I’m hooked.

91st female. 39th in my age group. 4 hours and 18 seconds. Nothing to brag about. There will be faster, better races in the future, I can promise you that. But something tells me that this one is always going to be my favorite.





20 Responses to “42.2”

  1. you are a fucking BEAST. i’m so proud of you!!!

  2. !!!!!!!!!! not only are you amazing, but you are an incredibly talented writer!!!
    ❤ Jenny

  3. 5 lucy

    You make me smile !!! Soooo proud of you!!!!! xoxo

  4. so maybe my eyes watered a little… wow…

    not to rain on your parade, and you know so much more about this than i do, but the idea of you becoming a serious marathon runner just makes me a little nervous… are there any of those folks who haven’t needed hip replacements by 50?

    • Awww you’re cute!

      Haha. Don’t worry, I’m not doing another for awhile. But the Nike Women’s one has hot firemen hand you Tiffany’s necklaces at the finish soooo I think it’s a must. 😉

  5. Cass you didn’t answer the question!!!

    • oh noes…

      • Haha. I think many have made it ok. But I’m not thinking about that too much right now…currently, walking up the stairs to my room at faster than 1mph would be an accomplishment. lolzzz

      • well i’m glad to hear you’re struggling up stairs. haha jk jk i just hurt for those folks who work so hard at being healthy that they make their bodies fall apart, ya know? there are a few in my family, and they just don’t age as well as they could

      • Haha. It’s a delicate balance.

  6. 14 alizeh

    uh cass…you’re da kewlest person ever. skype date today was glorious.

  7. 16 David

    I’m so proud of “the little world traveler”

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