Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Am a Marathon Finisher!

I did it - I ran my very first FULL marathon! It was harder, slower, more painful and more emotional than I ever anticipated - but I did it!
The LA Marathon is a perfect "first marathon" race.  No question, hands down - it's just a great race to experience and be a part of. Everything went smoothly, there was tons of race support and aside from the traffic getting out of Santa Monica - I didn't have a single issue or problem with the race itself.
Ryan Hall on the Asics Treadmill outside the Expo
The day started out beautifully with a cloudy magnificent sunrise...

One of my training buddies Julie
But that cloud layer burnt off by mile 10...

Los Angeles is known for year-round sunshine, but also year-round "unexpected" heat waves.  It just happened to be a record-breaking heat day and that definitely affected how I was feeling.  Volunteers were spraying us with hoses and I kept dumping water on my head, but mostly, there was little relief from the heat.
My sweet tan lines
I had to readjust my goals the warmer it got.  I think I walked all of mile 16 and mile 22 because everything was just hurting.
Not my finest hour...

I've been battling on and off again hip pain since the 20 mile training run a couple months back. I went into the race very nervous about my hips and those nerves ended up getting to me mentally, more than anything else.  I didn't go into the race believing I could do it, it was more of a "I hope I can do this." I just hadn't prepared myself mentally and so early on, I was already doubting myself. By mile 10 I wanted to abandon my 5 min run/1min walk ratio and I forgot the ever-important saying "Talk to yourself, don't listen to yourself." I just dwelt on the pain, instead of rallying and digging deeper.  Mentally, I was just off and lacked the confidence I needed for a strong race.

But I'm really trying to focus on the good and one of the race highlights was running with the Pasadena Pacers. Over 100 of us ran this race together and it was great seeing familiar, encouraging faces along the route. I ended up running with several different Pacers at different points along the course which definitely made the miles pass quicker.

It was also such a relief to get to the mile 20 marker and be met by a volunteer who 'ran' me into our Pacer tent filled with water, snacks, and Dr. Smith to rub out cramps. I nearly cried when I saw the group of people in red cheering for me and waving me over.
Thanks Erika! You LITERALLY saved my life
But, even though at the time I was hating myself and swearing off all of running for eternity, by Monday I was already plotting my next race.  I do need to take care of my hips though and work on strengthening my glutes better before next time.
Despite all the race disappoints, pain and frustration, at the end of the day - I am a marathon finisher and that makes me pretty darn happy. And, since it was my first full I still PR'd! Annnnnd.... since my time was downright pitiful... it's almost guaranteed that I'll PR next time too :)

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