Officially A Marathoner

October 13, 2009

I have no idea how to start this post so I guess I will just write. I would also like to add that this is a long post. Sorry, but there is lots to share! 🙂

First, I want to add another thanks to all of those who supported me by donating to my fundraising, by providing me with amazing words of encouragement, and by just being there for me. I appreciate every single one of you. You are truly amazing people.

And now onto the marathon…

My first marathon. 26.2 miles. I can definitely say that I could not have picked a more perfect place to run these miles. Victoria, British Columbia, is one of the most beautiful, clean, fantastic places I have been to. The colors of the trees, the historical buildings, still in perfect condition, the immaculate streets (and entire town for that matter)! So clean. The air is completely fresh. No pollution anywhere. And the weekend weather could not have been any better either. Although it was crisp and in the 50’s for most of the time, it was sunny the whole time! Awesome place. I will be back (and probably for their next marathon.

Again, this was my first marathon and that said I did not do as well as I would have like to, nor did I do as well as I KNOW I can do and WILL do. My overall time was 4 hours, 12 minutes, 28 seconds (4:12:28). And yes, I did finish, but I did end up walking a quarter of a mile around mile 23- NOT what I wanted to do but I listened to my body. My goal was 4 hours. I did encounter a series of events that were not ideal. But next time I am finishing under 4 hours. I will be ready, more prepared and know what to expect. And with that said, this leads me to my overall comments before, during, and after the race.

Before:
Excited. I was amped! I could not wait to start the marathon! There was about 4 of us, myself included, from our Santa Cruz TNT group that started at the regular start time (options were early start for 5 hrs and over or regular start time of under 5 hrs). We all huddled together with our coach at the start line, wrapped in white garbage bags (pics coming!!!!), trying to keep warm. It was around 40 degrees around this time.

During:
So the race started. A couple seconds later I crossed the start line and I pushed start on my Garmin and wouldn’t you know, the damn thing decided NOT TO WORK!!!!!!! Yeah, I was mad. This was my lifeline. The thing that tells me my pace, my mileage, and my time. Nope, not today. After trying to restart it about 5 times (while I’m running) I gave up. Instead I tried listening to the people around me talking with each other on what mile or pace they were at. And those Canadians, they like their Kilometers. I am not too familiar with kilometers, nor do I want to do math while I’m running a marathon. So again, no luck there.

A marathon running strategy, or so I am told, is to run the first half slower than normal and end strong, giving it your all. Well this is where a watch telling your pace is so helpful. Well, I may have done just the opposite. My time for the half way mark (half marathon, 13.1 miles) was 1 hour, 55 minutes. A mere 30 or so seconds off from the half marathon I did last weekend. Not so good for the rest of the 13.1 miles. haha!

Mile 19 is where I started to feel what my coach warned. It hurt. I quads were becoming sore and those “rolling hills” were more than rolling. They were up then down, then up then down, then MORE UP! Most of the course was hills! Continuous hills. Rough for my first marathon but oh well. I survived.

After:
During those last 6 miles I have to admit that I could not remember why I wanted to be doing this. My body was tired. I was thirsty. I did not have enough nutrition. My feet ached. My quads screamed! I felt horrible. And now looking back, it was amazing. When I finally crossed that finish line (“running” so slowly for me!) I started seeing black spots. I was also starving! I hobbled over to the food station and grabbed two cups of water, downed two cups of Gatorade, inhaled two orange slices, and stuffed two large chocolate chip cookies into my mouth. And then grabbed a banana for a little later. I needed that food! Then I proceeded toward our TNT group’s meeting area and sprawled out on the road. And there I lay for about 20 minutes. So much pain but so worth it. How quickly I do forget the pain though, because I’m pretty sure I called my mom and dad and boyfriend about an hour after the finish, telling them, “I am NEVER running a full marathon again!”… now I’m planning for my next one.

Much After:
That night we had a Team In Training Victory Dinner at one of the local restaurant/bars, Canoe with the most amazing food ever! We had drinks and great food and got to be around all of the half and full marathon champions! It was the perfect way to end the day.

Thank you for reading. Pictures are coming! I promise!

If you have any comments at all, PLEASE do comment! I’d love to read all of them!

(here is the email that I sent everyone on my emailing list. Enjoy!

Hard, amazing, horrible, painful, rewarding, aching, (SOOOOOO) hungry, thirsty, etc. That pretty much sums up the marathon experience for me. Well, not quite…

Excuse the term, but it sucked SO BAD around mile 21-26 but looking back, it was great… well, finishing it was great. I’m looking forward to my next one! I’m an addict now. That was by far the most difficult thing that I have ever done. Hands down, hardest. Some do compare it to child birth. It’s so painful but you soon forget about all of the gory, painful parts and you suddenly can’t wait to “have another.” Well, I want another. I cannot wait to do another half marathon in November and then researching another marathon to complete.

Thank you to all of you!!! Thank you for the encouragement! Thank you for the donations! Thank you for the ‘Good Luck’ ‘s! Thank you for reading about my adventures into running land! And thank you to Team In Training for giving me the experience of running my first marathon with others (on my team) whom were the most amazing people. I would not trade any one of them for anything. They helped me so much along the way- ESPECIALLY during the race- that I may not have finished (mentally or physically) without them. My coach was amazing too. He offered so much support and honesty and knew what he was doing. And thank you to the Honorees that came to our track practices, attended meetings, shared your stories, and gave us all something to work towards. They are the reason that most of us ran this marathon. They are who all of you helped by donating.

Thank you 🙂

What a day.

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