Tuesday, March 23, 2010
LA MARATHON 2010
I'm sitting here 2 days after the marathon and I think it has finally sunk in that it's over with and for the first time in 2 days I can actually smile about it :)
I went into this race expecting a much different experience. I went into it with high expectations for myself. You have to, right? If you ever want to get better at something you must expect to do better. During the race I told myself I would never run another marathon in my life. Why on Earth was I putting myself through that kind of emotional and physical pain?
A whole lot has happened between LAM 2009 and 2010. Not quite a whole year between the 2 races but enough time that my life has changed dramatically. I won't go into detail but shortly after running the LA marathon last year, my life kind of fell apart. I quit running. I basically went into a very dark place and stayed there for many months to come. I moved out into my own apartment where I could wallow in my own misery.
I signed up for the LA marathon shortly after registration opened. I wasn't running but I hoped that signing up for it would give me the incentive to start again. Running has always been the one thing in my life that has given me the strength to deal with other things in life. But even though I know this, it was still hard to get back out there and do it. Finally after my birthday in late November I laced up my old running shoes and went for a run. I was determined to start running again.
I've had a couple of set backs along the way but managed to push through and continue running. I trained harder than I ever have for this marathon. It isn't easy to motivate myself training along but I managed to get some solid runs in my training. I had 2 tune up races in which I did great even! I went into this Sunday believing I was ready. I could hold that pace. I could run that far. I would succeed.
The race was a different story.
The week before I made sure to eat healthy and get plenty of rest. I slept at least 8 hours a night all week. Saturday night was a different story though, I could not sleep. I got 2 hours of sleep. I'm still not sure how much that affected my performance.
After tossing and turning all night I decided to just get up and start getting ready at 4:30am. I showered, got ready, cooked my breakfast of whole wheat bread with peanut butter. Rob was driving me to Dodger stadium so we left at 6am to make sure we didn't get stuck in ugly traffic. It took us only about half an hour to get into the stadium. When I got there I tried to contact Eddie to see where he, Dawne and Mike were but they were stuck in traffic on the way to the stadium. I stood around in the cold. Thank god, Rob stayed with me because I was a nervous wreck. The bathroom situation was ridiculous. No port-o-potties in sight (not that I wanted to use one but I thought for once I'd try to be smart and not abuse my bladder by holding it for 7 hours!) The lines for the bathrooms in the stadium were a mile long! I had resolved myself to not go. But shortly before 7:20 I found a bathroom that had a line that didn't look too bad. When I got out I went back to look for Eddie and Dawne. Eddie called me and told me where he was in the corral. When I went out to figure out where to enter the corral, I started to freak out...there was no entrance in sight! And a sea of people! I somehow got lucky and stuck behind a group of aggressive ironman triathletes who were pushing themselves through the sea of people towards the front of the corrals. I managed to find Eddie! But Dawne and Mike where nowhere to be found!
7:50 and the gun went off. I told Eddie we could run the firsts couple of miles and see if we found Dawne and if not, then he should go off on his own and do his thing. I'm very glad he did.
These were honestly the only 3 miles were I kind of had fun. They were mostly downhill and I was trying to keep a steady the pace. The first mile was about 9 min pace which is usually what I do during the first miles to warm up.
I began to struggle after the massive hill coming up towards the Disney concert hall. I had heard there was a hill but I never imagined it would be that steep! I turned to the corner into the street and all I could see was a sea of people climbing up towards the sky! GASP! Hills are not my thing. Yes, I'm totally guilty of not doing enough hill training. I tried to take it easy going up the hill but I think I exerted more energy than I should've and I was beat by the time I reached the top. And then to my surprise, more hills! Up, down, up, down, up, down...
This was pretty much the mile where I realized today would not be my day. My legs felt tired already, my breathing was labored even though I was running slower than I do even during training! I had pains going up and down my left leg. I began to walk the water station with my head down, frustrated, and near tears with 20 miles to go still! I wanted to walk off the course and go call Rob to come get me. I somehow convinced myself I had to try and finish it even if it meant walking it.
They are honestly a blur. I was heartbroken. I tried to run as much as I could but I was pretty much walking every water station and taking walk breaks in between. I keep asking myself why the hell I was putting body through this. I don't even remember looking at the sites we were running through. I don't remember any buildings. Thank god for cheering spectators who made me smile a couple of times! I was feeling dehydrated and like the gels were just sitting in my stomach and not really doing anything because my energy was way low. I still kept taking them just in case but it would only make my stomach feel worse.
I saw a downed runner on the side of the road. Paramedics were trying to resuscitate him. It scared the crap out of me and I prayed to God that he would be okay. I continued to pray for him throughout the rest of the race. I kept shuffling along with terrible form, cramps on both my legs, and a dead spirit.
I don't remember much of mile 19 either because my gaze was mostly looking down at the floor because I could not bear to look up. I had seen my dream get farther and farther away since mile 3 and I was feeling completely hopeless at this point. I was sure I wouldn't even be able to PR because even though I was still 10 minutes ahead of my time last year, I knew I had no energy left to push through the last miles. The hills in mile 20 sucked. But again, they're mostly a blur now because I tried to block it out.
People had been saying before the race that the last 6 miles down San Vicente were going to be the easiest part of the course. Sure, they would be if you hadn't just run 20 miles through rolling hills before that and your legs weren't cramping up!
My legs were cramping up, I cried several times both from the pain and from the frustration of how horrible this race had turned out for me.
I took my last Gu at mile 22 hoping it would give me a boost to finish. BAD IDEA. I immediately got a side stitch on my right side. I tried to run it out and it wouldn't go away. I tried to walk it out and it hurt so much. So it was run, walk, run, walk...cry. I kept thinking at this point that maybe I'm just not cut out for the marathon. Maybe I should just stick to half marathons. I promised to never again try to convince a friend to try running a marathon! What the hell was I thinking?! This was madness. Why on Earth did I put my body through all this pain!
Still kind of a blur. I tried to push through it and run most of it since it was so close to the finish.
I made the turn into Ocean feeling completely miserable and defeated but knowing I had to push through the last mile. I did not walk any of it. I just wanted to be done with it. The crowds lining up Ocean were incredible and definitely helped push you through to the finish. But I just could not bring myself to look up ahead. I kept my gaze down to the pavement because seeing how close yet so distant the finish line was, it was destroying me. I passed under the 26 mile marker and it was the last .2 to the finish. I tried to run as fast as I could.
I crossed the finish line. Stopped my Garmin at 4:15:05. Walked over to get my medal. I cried yet again. Grabbed some stuff and my heating blanket. The race was finally over. A PR of almost 4 minutes but far from the goal time I went into the race hoping for.
Rob found me really quickly and before I even exited the finishers area. Thank goodness because I really just wanted to exit and go crawl into a ball and cry my eyes out somewhere. He hugged me and walked me through the rest of the finishers area. We then found a spot of grass where I collapsed and whined about a terrible race experience. He massaged my legs and we sat around for a while 'til it was time to try to find my friends and my mom who was at the pier somewhere. I managed to meet up with Tracy and Eddie briefly and took a couple of pictures. Then I found my old co-worker John who did amazing with 3:15 during his first marathon and only a couple of months of marathon training! Amazing.
I also saw Zach briefly down at the beach party area. Then my mom finally found me and I spent some time with her. She and Rob helped me through collecting free samples of stuff I didn't want to consume at the moment. By this time it was around 1:30 or something like that and I was dying. My phone died and I didn't know where my friends were going to celebrate afterwards. I was still pretty upset about the race and I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed.
My mom gave us a ride to my car and Rob drove me to Bob's Big Boy because I wanted junk food. But then I couldn't even eat anything when I was there. We finally got home at around 4 and I was happy to jump into my shower and then curl up on my couch with my puppy who is the sweetest thing on Earth.
The rest of the evening we celebrated with food, beer and a Dexter marathon. Thank god for Rob because I probably would've been an emo mess if he hadn't been around. Then I slept for like 10 hours. And I could not move the next day. Haha.
So although this was a disappointing race and I was hoping to have a much happier race report. The one thing I realized yesterday is that if anything I should be the most proud of finishing this marathon because it was so difficult and because I struggled so much through it. Finishing this race was a huge accomplishment after wanting to give up so early on and through most of it.
So here I sit and I can finally say I am content with finishing my 5th marathon and although I said I would never run another one, I'm already looking into what the next one will be. I'm thinking Avenue of the Giants in May.
Next up: Ragnar Relay SoCal at the end of April!