Anyway, I'm alive and back in business. I wanted to tell you about my first marathon! If you follow any of my other posts, you have heard me rant and rave about the trials and triumphs of marathon training.
Through the cold winter to the beginnings of our lovely humid and hot summer, my long runs kept getting longer and longer.
Finally, the weekend had arrived. My trainer Beverly and I left for San Francisco on Friday, June 14th. We got in early and enjoyed the sights of the city. We ate dinner Friday evening in my favorite little city by the bay, Sausalito.
Saturday, we got up and headed to the Expo. I love expos! I get all sorts of goodies and swag. I could just go to the races for the expo's. For reals... But let me continue with my story. So we are on the trolley to get to the expo and we knew we had to switch to a bus to get there. We asked the trolley driver where we needed to go to get on the right bus and he points to this bus stop. So we end up meeting 3 other runners who were trying to get on the same bus and we all strike up a conversation. We wait and wait and wait.... No bus. About 30 minutes later, a bus shows up and as we are boarding, the bus driver informs us that we are on the wrong bus. The bus we need is across the street.
Annoyed, we cross the street and wait some more. After about 20 minutes, my trainer (who might I add is only run a 13.1 Half Marathon the next day) insists that we all walk the 1.5 mile walk to the expo. If you've ever talked to a marathoner, you will know that you don't want to walk a lot the day before the race. You want to save your legs. Anyway, we all walked and lived to tell about it.
The expo was grand and like I said, I got alot of freebies and goodies from all the different booths.
We headed back to the hotel, had dinner (Kids Cheeseburger and Macaroni and Cheese, I might add) and hit the sack early to prep for the race.
Race Day. I wasn't nervous at all. I think I got more nervous for some of my training runs than I was for this day. At the time, I knew all I could do was my best and no matter what, I was going to finish.
We headed to Corral 7 to wait our turn to cross the start. 6:20 am rolls around and we are off. The first mile, I'm holding back. Runners can tend to get excited and speed off of the starting line, blowing through their energy real quick. But I knew better. Mile 2 and 3 were a breeze. Around mile 3, my trainer Beverly and I were talking about tapering our miles before a race and all of the sudden, another runner chimed into our conversation. Her name is Kelly and this was her first marathon too! Come to find out, she and I had the same time goal and wanted to run the same pace. Instantly, we became running buddies. She was very knowledgeable in knowing how to handle the first steep hills that we came to in mile 4 and she is super sweet. God sent to her to be my support. At this point, we could see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. I was so in awe of the beautiful bridge that mile 5-9 blew by. Running over the Golden Gate Bridge was amazing. It was sunny day and you could see the entire bridge. It was euphoric.
By the time we got off the bridge we were at mile 10 and headed in to the Presidio. I was feeling great! I was thinking that if this is what I feel like at 10 miles, this is going to be a easy peasy! But then the hills got serious. Around mile 12, we entered Golden Gate Park. It was beautiful, but it kind of dragged. It seemed like we were in the park for awhile. About 5 miles to be exact. Up hills and down hills. I was so focused on not exhausting my legs on the up hills that I wasn't paying attention to the down hills. I was blowing through them. Down hills should be easy, right? Wrong.
At mile 17, we headed out of the park, straight up Haight St. We went up and up and up. Around mile 19, we hit the famous intersection of Haight and Ashbury. The spectators were great! Shop owners came out with tables that had bananas, water and gels. Cheering us on and let me tell you, I needed it.
At this point, my legs were cramping up. Kelly gave me a salt pill, but the damage was done. I wasn't taking salt pills through out the race because I didn't think I would need it since I wasn't sweating as bad as I do when I'm in New Orleans. I hadn't prepared my self for the constant downhills. I never imagined that I would have to. But when you go down and begin to constantly utilize the quads and the muscles over the knees, they begin to get fatigued. At mile 20, I hit downhills like no other. I wish I would have stopped and taken a picture. Because it went straight down, super steep. My knee caps felt like they were going to explode out of my legs.
I couldn't even run at this point. I was really frustrated because I had a goal of finishing at 5:00 hours. I had run the first half at exactly 2:30 and I was trending at a faster pace for the second half.
So I walked mile 20 to mile 22. I told Kelly to keep going and I lost my running buddy. But before she took off, she gave a lucky penny that a friend of hers gave her. Again, Kelly was my life saver. Once I hit mile 22, I hit the final up and down hill. I had 4.2 more miles left and was home free. The rest of the race was super flat. I tried to make up some time by doing some small sprints, but my legs were shot. I came to terms with this fact and found a safe, tempo pace to finish with. My Final time was 5:20. Not what I wanted, but considering that this was my first marathon and that the San Francisco Marathon was rated one of the top 15 hardest marathons in the world, I'll take it. Finishing my first marathon was not only a rush, but a wave of emotions that I can't describe. I would have never imagined that I would be a marathon runner! I'm so proud of myself.
I had made a statement during my training that this was probably going to be my first and last marathon. Boy, was I wrong. I loved it...I'm addicted to it and have already completed my second marathon, 3 weeks after San Fran. My next is the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. in October!
Here are some highlights of the trip and race:
I love this city!
Mile 10. Feeling good!
Mile 24! Still Smiling
Crossing the finish line!
My trainer Beverly and I
My first coaster medal