Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Scenes from 26.2

Last Sunday I ran the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach.  It was my 2nd marathon--most know I did one about 3 1/2 years ago.  By comparison this one was great!  3 years ago I was injured during training (a torn plantar fascia).  I was stubborn though and ran the marathon anyway (with the help of lots of cortisone shots!), despite suboptimal training.  I finished it in 4 hr 31 minutes, with the last hour or so in excruciating pain.  I was disappointed in my time and while I was happy I did it,  the entire experience was not a positive one.  I wasn't sure if I would ever try it again.  But like childbirth, the pain fades and one decides to try again (although it took me 2 years to think about another one!)

I can honestly say I enjoyed my training this time around--other then some minor muscle strains I had no injuries or significant pain.  This time I have been part of an informal running group that has made the runs very enjoyable.  They also have a lot of  marathon experience that I have learned from. 

I had 3 goals for this marathon.  First was just to make it to the starting line without significant injury.  My time goal was a dream time of 4 hr and a reasonable expected time of 4 hr 15 minutes.  Third was to enjoy the race (as much as possible) and not feel like death for a week after.  So how did it go?

I was excited to see our bibs had our name printed on it!  I am used to just a number.

The race started at 6:30 am.  My mom dropped me off, then went back home with the boys. As always I enjoyed looking at all the runners around me.

Yes, this was a man!
This man was wearing a skirt and had bare feet.  Truly bare feet, not the finger shoes!  Not sure how he did, but he ulitmately ended up way behind me.

I was touched to see this Marine carrying quite a large flag.  He flew by me.  I saw him again at mile 18, literally stumbling, being held up by a friend, still holding his flag.  Not sure if he finished, but I think it was unlikely that he did.

The views were beautiful.  It was a gorgeous day at the beach.  At this point in the race (this was about mile 10) we were across the street from the ocean.  We went back along the beach trail later in the race (but I was too out of it by then to take a picture!)

I saw my mom and the boys at mile 12.  Because of the traffic and time to get out of the house, she wasn't able to bring me a banana, which is what I ate on training runs.  I figured no big deal, I was feeling fine.  By mile 15 I wasn't feeling so fine.  I had honey packets that I was eating, but too many of those make me sick to my stomach.  I panicked and was scouring the spectators looking for a banana.  I would have had no problem asking a complete stranger at that point for their banana!  The water stop at mile 17 did have bananas and I was able to eat one.  It helped some, but by that point I was pretty depleted.  I saw my mom and boys again at mile 21, and had another banana.

Mile 22 I hit a wall.  Boom!  My legs actually felt OK, but my energy was just gone.  Right then "Till I Collapse" by Eminem came on my playlist.  If you haven't seen this tribute to the Ironman then it is worth a watch.

How could I not feel better listening to that and thinking about that video?
I tried smiling because I knew my aunt was taking the picture.  But I felt like that lady behind me!

I powered through the last 4 miles.  Another woman just ahead of me was going through the same struggle.  She would stop, I would pass her, then I would walk, she would pass me.  We started pushing each other, literally.  If she walked I tapped her shoulder and told her to keep going, and she did the same for me.  And we made it.
Right here I am thinking "Don't barf!"  I did later anyway.

My official time was 4 hour 10 minutes.  21 minutes faster than my first!  I accomplished a majority of my goals.  I made it to the race, I mostly enjoyed the race (no one enjoys the last 6 miles--that is just a given!), and I fell within my goal time range.  And 3 days later- I feel great!  I can walk and actually am ready to run again.  Am I completely happy?  No.  I should have been able to be come closer to 4 hours.  I screwed up my fuel plans.  I need to figure out something else to eat, or just carry a banana.  Will I do another one?  Of course-- I am looking at upcoming races to see what I can fit in my schedule.  There is one by my house this May that I really want to do (if I can figure out how to do my long training runs with the boys' baseball season!)

Why do I want to run marathons?  I get asked this a lot. I know my fellow runners understand, but it is hard to articulate the why.  I will jokingly say because it feels good to stop.  It is a physical challenge like no other for me.  I feel like I have mastered the half marathon.  It is easy.  I can run one on a whim and feel fine after.  Of course I could always work on speed, but that is not a goal for me.  My PR for a half is 1 hr 51.5 minutes (down from 2 hr 6 min 3 years ago) and I am satisfied with that. I have not mastered the full.  I know I can break 4 hours and will continue until I do (and probably continue after that anyway!)  Running is my passion and is what keeps me sane.  People ask me how I do it with a full time job and 4 kids.  Know what I say?  I couldn't do my full time job and mother my 4 kids the way I do without my running.

So who wants to do the Western Pacific Marathon with me on May 5?

relaxing in the sun after the race


Katie said...

Awesome race! And yup, you can definitely break 4 hours, no doubt! I usually feel sick to my stomach the last few miles and the whole rest of the day. I fuel well and practice my fueling strategy during long runs, but I still feel extremely sick. It's so yucky. Great job! I'm running a marathon on May 6th! We could be virtual training buddies!

Suzanne said...

I have so many wonderful thoughts about you running this race. I am super glad you were able to make it, run it and kick it!

The medal is very distinct. You are going to have quite the collection. Can't wait to see what you do on your next one, because I know you well enough to know that you are just on the beginning of your 26.2 journey. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if you morphed into a marathon maniac.

Michelle said...

Katie-I forgot you were doing another on May 6! I am going to look at my boys' baseball schedules (Spring gets a little nuts around here!) and see if I can can swing the training. The one I am thinking about it TINY--only 67 people ran it last year!