It’s been roughly 2.5 years since I ran my last marathon. This is not counting the 15 miles of the 2011 LA Marathon I ran and dropped out of due to injury. The last marathon I ran was the 2011 Surf City Marathon the day after my 23rd birthday. I’m now 25 and ready to hit the marathon hard, working to break 4 hours!
Danica and I have been training for the race since the middle of May, but then 2 weeks before the race she had to drop out because she got the AMAZING opportunity to go to Hawaii for the Ironman World Championships in Kona! I told her she HAD to go (like she ever thought twice about it) or I would kick her butt. So alas, I was now running my 3rd marathon solo. I made myself put in a solo 20-miler to get my head around the distance since I’d been training with a buddy for so long, and I definitely think it helped me during the race.
I went into this race with a “this is a training run” mindset. I hadn’t run a marathon in so long I wasn’t sure what I could do and I wanted to set a benchmark for the next 4 marathons I’d be running from now until March. The best part of the race was that I can literally see the start line from my balcony. The BF and I live in Downtown Long Beach and the race would be running right past our building! So Saturday we went for a short shake out run and then walked over to the convention center to pick-up my packet, say ‘hey’ to the people at the Ragnar booth, and snap some pics to send to Danica in Hawaii to tell her I wished she was here! BF also picked up some snazzy Yurbud headphones, since his always fall out, (so far he loves them!) we went home, I cleaned up the house, made Drunken Noodles for dinner and laid out all my marathon gear. I packed a back pack for BF too since he would be “crewing” for me riding his bike and meeting me at predetermined spots to hand me whatever I needed during the race. Then it was off to bed!
5:15 am came bright and early after a decent enough night’s sleep, and I crawled out of bed, got dressed and ate some peanut butter and honey toast. BF and I check we had everything and then he walked me to the start line. The race started about 30 minutes late and I worried I would get hot, since I’m sensitive to the heat, but the weather was so perfect the entire time! BF stayed with me until the gun went off, telling me I’d rock it! Then the air horn went off and the race began!
The first 6 miles were a blur, I was running way too fast and I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up the pace (about 9:05) but I felt like I literally couldn’t slow down, I felt so good! I took some GU at mile 6 just kept cruising to mile 10 where I met BF for the first time. I managed to spill water all over him as he refilled my bottle for me, whoops! I ran off and pumped up my music still feeling good.
I saw him again and 13 and felt a little tired but still strong as he handed me a honey stinger waffle. I kept cruising trying not to think about that I was getting tired and was soon struggling to mile 17. Between mile 16 and 17 is one of the few hills on the course through CSULB and it took a lot out of me. I was tired, my legs hurt and I needed a break. My pace was slowly decreasing with each mile and I started to walk when I saw BF at 17.5, he gave some more food and refilled my bottle. I kind of felt the wheels fall off mentally, but he kept encouraging me I only had 8 miles to go! Luckily mile 18 started with a downhill; to me down hills are like a mini break since gravity does a lot of the work for you! I was starting to feel more normal as I approached mile 20 and got back into a groove.
Then between miles 20-21 I got the weirdest tightening cramping sensation in my right quad, only on the interior side. I’d never had a problem with cramping before it was so bizarre. I stopped to walk and to stretch and it wouldn’t really go away. I met BF at mile 22 and tried some Clif Shot Blocks since they have a lot of salt in them to hopefully stave off the quad cramp, but it would just not stop tightening up. But off I went to finish the last 4 miles of the race, down gorgeous Ocean Blvd. BF kept yelling “FOUR MILES TO MIMOSAS!” as I trudged along, which definitely made me smile through the pain!
I was really bummed because mentally and physically I felt like I had burst through the wall of mile 17 but the cramp in my leg just wouldn’t let me run the pace my mind told me I could. I ran as much as I could the last 6 miles and picked up the pace significantly for the last 1.2 miles, I wanted to finish strong, thinking in my head, “Danica will kill you if you walk in the last mile.” I was passing people on my way to the finish and crossed at 4:22 and some change. I gathered up my medal and took some obligatory finisher pics before we walked home to our apartment. I celebrated being done with some bacon, a mimosa and an ice bath.
It was my slowest marathon and I was glad I was done. I was definitely looking for a faster time, but for not having run a marathon in so long I was happy to have just finished! Reflecting on this race I know I went out way to fast, I had talked with my dad about aiming to have negative splits, but the excitement of the race was too much, and I definitely paid for it starting at mile 17. I also know I need to work on my nutrition, the cramping in my leg tells me I’m not getting enough salt, since I sweat so much when I run, I need to work on replacing those lost nutrients. I have some kinks to work out before Santa Clarita, but each race is a learning experience and makes me even more excited to run the next one!
This was a great race and I’m proud of my finish, but I really couldn’t have done it without the BF. It was so great to have him to look forward to when the miles were getting rough, having a “crew team of one” was seriously the best! I love that guy.
I’m definitely looking forward to the next marathon in JUST THREE WEEKS!! I’ll be running that one with Danica and she is great at helping me push myself and stay on pace! This marathon fall is just beginning!!