Finally....it's been over a year since I blogged. I have so many things to write about but I decided to write about my experience running my first full marathon. Believe me when I say this...I had a lot of doubts in my head after I signed up, can I finish the whole race, what if I didn't train hard enough, did I bring enough to eat, when will I hit the wall? I started running last year after I saw a friend post on his facebook status that he registered for the Disney half.
Here is a link to one of the vendor's I saw at the Disney expo. I love all the sayings and can relate...can you? http://www.onemoremilerunning.com/. When I was running halfs..I got the shirt that said
I checked it out and said why not? I had about 6 months to train so I signed up. Only problem was I didn't completely think it through. I never ran in my life...what if I didn't like running? I decided it would only be for 6 months so I went into training with no real expectations. Can I tell you how expensive running is? Between the proper shoes, dri-fit clothes, fees, garmin watches...I hoped I would like it. And did I know how much training and dedication I would need to put in before the actual race? I had my running schedule marked in my calendar so I knew how many miles or minutes I had to run on each day. After the half...I was hooked. I've read where you know if you are a runner or not after your first race. Either you are glad you did it and will never run another half/full again...or you are looking for your next race. Yep...that was me. But something happened after I ran the Long Beach half. I stayed around for a bit and saw the marathoners coming to the finish line. I would say they were about close to 7 hours into it. Had no clue who anyone was but everyone running inspired me. I had that little thought...could I actually do a full marathon? I could do a half...but now that is only the halfway point..could I carve out enough time for the training? Did I tell you I am a slow runner?? Very slow! If you are a power walker, you would probably pass me...and I am not kidding. And that is with me jogging/running...LOL. Training started and I will not bore you with the details. Let's move to the day itself. During the week leading up to the marathon..I found myself glued to the weather report. Forecast was rain on Sunday. Hmmm...never ran in the rain before. Not looking good. I couldn't back out so now I had to search for more clothing...more $ spent. Note to self...plan ahead. I knew from training that I needed fuel during the race- not just gu and chomps but actual food. So, I also did a first and ran with a backpack. It wasn't so bad and at least I had bananas, oranges, PB, bagels with me. I packed way more than I needed..but better safe than sorry.
LA is a point to point race meaning we started at Dodger Stadium and ended up in Santa Monica. I psyched myself so much I had dreams about missing my shuttle bus. It didn't make total sense but I remember in my dream that I had fallen asleep in the hotel lobby in Palm Springs and when I woke up the shuttle bus had left. I started crying in the middle of the hotel wondering how I was going to make it to Dodger Staduim for the race. I couldn't see myself crossing the finish line no matter how hard I tried...let's face it- I knew I didn't train hard enough the weeks before the marathon and now it would show. I didn't have a time in mind...all I wanted to do is finish and stick to half's.
Race day...I made it on time and didn't miss the shuttle. Still wasn't sure if it would rain...so I dressed appropriately. Thank goodness I had gotten a wind/rain resistant jacket years ago that came in handy. Rain poncho and trash bag on...I boarded the bus. The last available time slot was 4:30 am...so needless to say I didn't get much sleep on Saturday night. Got to Dodger stadium and chilled for a while. Tried to use the "real" bathroom a couple of times before heading out to the start. Finally....it was time. Got in the corral and waited...and waited some more. If you have never been to a race...it's a pretty cool feeling. You see people of all age groups, all shapes and sizes and there is somewhat of an unspoken kinship. Our goals might be different, our trainings might be different but the goal of finishing the race is common.
Finally...the race started- OK after the first mile...had to stop to use the bathroom. Me and porta pottys are friends now. I used to hate using them and would avoid at all costs. Umm...now if you are a runner...and a slow runner at that, when you have to go...unless you find a bush or something, the porta potty will become your new BFF. After a while...they aren't so bad. The race started off OK for me...didn't go out too fast etc and was enjoying the scenery, the people cheering, the bands etc. Then my worst fear happened....I was too slow and they had us move to the sidewalk. They started cleaning the streets and opening the roads. Although I was still determined to finish...I know I mentally checked out. I didn't keep up my intervals and ended up walking. Honestly, I don't even remember what mile it was...but at least I was over the half way point. At some point..I wondered if it was even worth it...and would I ever do another full? Would I even get a medal or had everyone packed up and left? Finally...I finished. Yes...most had packed up and left but at least I got my medal. Did I mention how many times I had to use the bathroom? A lot...since I was drinking at every water station...I was hydrated but wasn't sweating it out. As a runner..you are always wanting to get that PR or at least beat your last time. I was more concerned if I could hold it to the next porta potty...not really but there is some truth to it. After I got my medal...I wondered where is my car and the more important question how far do I need to walk? After getting conflicting answers, I started walking. A few blocks up..I realized I didn't pick up my gear check. Turned around...and said forget it. I could barely walk at this point. Please...God let me get to my car and home was the only thing on my mind. After a hot shower and ice on the knees...I was done. For all of you who are wondering...that night I did make up my mind to do another full...I know I can beat my time.
Now I will need this shirt...
Highlights of my experince..the good, bad and ugly
-dream that I got left behind and missed the race completely.
-thinking trash bags are a running accessory.
-enjoying the crowds cheering
-the wonderful people that had oranges, pretzels, water and snacks along the way
-having to use a lot of porta potties along the way
-walking against the wind and wondering if I would get blown away
-getting my cap blown off my head and running after it.(I just bought the cap the day before and wasn't ready to part with it yet.)
-getting my cap blown off for the 2nd time and running after it again.
-having dri fit underwear was a good investment
-using the porta potty with less than .2 miles to go
-wanting to cry when I realized I didn't know where my car was
-not picking up my gear check and thought about going back but didn't
-finishing and getting my medal
-made the decision to sign up for another marathon.
-a power walker can pass me
-asking the Jamba Juice employee if I was walking the right direction
-having no cell phone with me to call to get picked up
I also discovered how supportive runners in general are. I know I will never be the fastest...heck I was in the bottom 5 in my age group. OK..and I will admit it weighed heavy on me. Am I cut out to run a half/full? I think everyone to some degree...wants to do more, to do better. I am no different. Every person that I shared my time with was very supportive even when they could tell I was getting a little down on myself. I accomplished something that nobody can take away from me. I finished the race.
This race meant more to me than just running. It makes me look at life different. We all put limits on ourselves or make excuses for not doing something- whether it is going back to school, getting that degree, pursuing your dream, your business...anything that is important. God does not put these limits on us, we do. We start believing that we can't so why bother. Here is one of my favorite Bible verses...
If you have faith as a grainof mustard seed, you will say to your mountain, "MOVE!" and it WILL move...and NOTHING will be impossible for YOU! - Matthew 17:20