My First Marathon Experience

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Well folks its come and gone and needless to say that it was an experience I will most likely never forget. My gosh was that a doozy. My expectations were completely shattered and blown into oblivion. So let’s talk about it.

Well lets start from the beginning. My race started at 6:30 Saturday morning in Huntington Beach on Pacific Coast blvd. I woke up at 4:30 to give myself time to get up grab some food and go use the restroom. I had a whole pre-run race nutrition and prep figured before the run. So after having some electrolytes and making sure I had grabbed what I needed I left for the race. Check-in was at 5:30 apparently, but when I got there, there were only a few other people already there and warming up for the race. Nobody checked us in, and corralled us to our spots. as time passed more people trickled in and eventually we started at 6:30. I was the fourth wave out.

Before I even get to the start though I have to talk about the weather. To preface this, the race coordinators sent out an email the day before saying that the weather was going to hot. I checked the weather to see how hot we were talking about and noticed that the highest was going to be 82. I thought “oh that’s not bad, Ive run in high 70 degree weather and those felt like my best runs. I will be fine. plus it doesn’t start getting hot until 11 o’clock I should be done before then.” If you could see my face right now as I write this it would be me shaking my head, because holy cow was I wrong.

First off, the run started in 70’s, no too bad but not ideal. Thats not the worst part, If that could even be considered bad. When I got out of my hotel at 5:30 in the morning it was not only hot but humid. Not even a little humid. All of the humid. It was the sticky kind where you feel like you’ve got this layer of heat all over you. My immediate thought, was of Maui, when I trained there. I immediately thought maybe I should’ve brought my water pack to run in.

So starting the race, the morning sun was just peaking out over the horizon and I was already feeling like I had underprepared. But I didn’t want to worry about it too much. I thought, “that’s fine, ill just pull back a bit and I should be alright.. Again I am shaking my head.

I won’t describe every mile, to save time, but I will say that I was feeling okay when I first started. Miles 1-5 were pretty easy, consistent. At mile 8 is when it hit me how much I was sweating. I look down and my shorts are soaked. I immediately realized my mistake. I was soo worried about pace that I didn’t check my HR. My heart rate was heading into the 160’s and when we turned the corner on mile 11 I knew I had made a mistake. Despite my best efforts to stay hydrated throughout the courses 16 water and electrolyte stations I began to cramp and cramp hard.

My heart rate being as it was had caused me to sweat even more than I had anticipated. Having done only easy runs when in Hawaii I thought it would remain fairly consistent. But that was not to be. I instead got a cramp on the arch of my left foot. Stopping was probably the worst decisions for me because even though I felt I had the endurance to keep going my body did not cooperate. All of a sudden, I felt as if my body was now fighting me. injuries I had thought were gone resurfaced with a vengeance. My hips were the worst part along with my knees. It felt as if the muscles had been sapped of strength and all that was left was pain.

The cramps I remember were, both my biceps, my traps, my left hamstring, my left foot, and my right lat. The bright side is that I was able to beat my half marathon time of 2 years ago despite walking starting mile 12. After mile 12 it was all a blur of starting and stopping. My legs feeling like lead, and feet shooting pain through the heels up to my hips. It was excruciating. The hardest and longest miles were miles 20-22. that was the stretch that cover the beach front. on my left side running out was the ocean, nice and serene, while I was contemplating stopping. The sun was beating down on me and my feet never felt so much pain.

Thats when I started getting emotional. All my training, all that work and I wanted so badly for it to be over. I couldn’t quit on myself though I had to see it through.

Getting to the turn around on mile 21 I realized that it was a straight shot to the finish line from there. I had gone so far and now I was in the last stretch. for 2 miles I walked begging the pain to go away but it would not subside. At mile 23, I started to run, I didn’t care how much it hurt. I was three miles away from finishing and I wanted nothing more for it to be done. so I got my feet moving, slow and steady at first, but soon I was up to a good jog. I didn’t want to stop because I knew if I did I would come undone so I kept jogging. I forged ahead counting down the steps to finishing.

I broke once when I took a step too far, shooting pain up my leg. Grimacing, I knew the mental effort to start running again was going to double. A guy I had paced while jogging caught up to me and told me, ” come on just one more mile left.” so I followed suit right behind him until I lost him in the crowd. Finally on the street, finish line in sight, I moved my legs like I never thought I could. Coming up to the last 400 meters I finally saw my dad and friends. To be honest, I felt a myriad of emotions seeing them but I could not stop to slow down I just wanted to reach the finish line.

Finishing the race was one of the most relieving things I could have ever felt but I could not help but feel disappointed by my performance. I was happy to have finished but at the same time unsatisfied, proud while disappointed. I think I placed too many expectations on myself to perform as best I could. I made a few mistakes a long the way. I should’ve been more careful and slowed my pace considerably especially because of the inclement weather. There are many things I can think of looking back I wish I had done. The funny thing is that, it all makes me want to do it all over again.

My time was around 5:30. I don’t have the official time yet, but my watch tells me I finished pretty close to that time. It was nowhere near my goal but it makes me more anxious to do things but do things better.

So what next you ask? why thanks for asking! these next two weeks im just going to recover. no running. It’s actually kind of weird to stop but I know I need to recover. After the race I was in a feverish state. My body shifted from hot to cold really quick. Today even I felt under the weather. I know this is all because of the stress in which body was submitted to. MY immune system, being compromised, has left me susceptible to sickness so I’ve been drinking electrolytes, taking vitamins and minerals and sleeping as much as I can to recover. After I recover I hope to start going on some easy runs at least three times a week. I also want to lift 4-5 times a week and build up some strength and cut weight down to something more suitable to a runner. Im excited for this next chapter and await the next time I face the marathon

Thank you again for following my journey and hearing me rant about running. I hope you continue to follow me in the next journeys in fitness and health. And appreciate all the support!. Anyways thanks for reading this rather lengthy blog! God bless

4 responses to “My First Marathon Experience”

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