New Personal Distance Record-24 miles! I choke up a little bit ever time I run further than I have ever run before-I know, I’m a sap. I thought it would be pretty chilly at 6 in the morning, so I bundled up in a long sleeve over a tank with gloves. Although it got pretty hot around 8, the gloves were a nice addition so I didn’t have sweaty hands. I think I might wear them to the marathon even if it’s not cold. I kind of liked the long sleeve top too, it kept my body warm even when the sun was coming out. Maybe I am getting used to running in cold weather? Well, I ran when it was snowing a little in Oregon, so California weather is nothing compared to that.
I met up with my 8min pace group, and was happy to see everyone there, although I was the only girl running with 8 other guys, I am glad to say I have become good friends with most, if not all, of them. They are all very supportive and friendly, even though there is probably one guy who is remotely close to my age, I enjoy the long conversations I have with the other guys. It’s nice to talk to people who understand what your going through and listen to any advice they have, since all of them have run marathons before and can relate to my burned out feeling. We went north for 3 miles then turned around and headed south for the 21 miles ending in Playa Del Rey. I felt pretty good the whole way there, and even led the pack of 9 guys for a couple miles in the Marina (but, that quickly changed when 2 guys passed me up and led the pack, oh well). Somewhere, we lost our mentor along the way, he is going through a bad injury season and must have turned back by himself. He’s suppose to “lead” the way, but most of the guys already knew the route, so we kept going without him. At the turn around point, another guy caught up to us and said he was going to walk home because he couldn’t go any further. We were all feeling pretty good at the turn around, and kind of grouped into pairs of 2 for the last 11 miles since there was only 6 of us left.
I felt okay the entire time, great for the first 13 miles, but I think with all the stopping for water, my muscles started to contract and hurt more every time I had to start up again. During the actual marathon, I don’t think I will stop, if anything, I will slow to a jog, but never completely stop because it hurts more to get back in the motion. My foot was really numb the whole time, toes were cramped and aching, but I suppose that is normal, I may need to try different shoes. I felt my best when it felt like my body was detached from my legs. It’s hard to explain, but it felt like my legs were moving on its own and I couldn’t feel them running, and I was able to go pretty fast. It felt so good because nothing was hurting! Not sure how I can re-create that, but someone told me to run from my hips, so it puts less pressure on my legs.
Having a positive mentality also got me through this long run. A lot of times, I would wake up early on Saturday and think “not looking forward to the run, we are doing the same route we have been doing the past 3 months and all there is to see is the ocean” and it goes on. But I woke up this past Saturday, excited to see the other runners I haven’t seen in a while and thinking of all the positive things about running along the beach and the marina, and thankfully it wasn’t freezing either.
My partner, Juan, and I finished first in our group and stretched out while we waited for the others. It was great congratulating everyone and giving each other support. Apparently we lost another runner on the way back, because I never saw him finishing. I think he had cramps and was doing 8:1 (run 8 minutes, walk 1 minute). It’s funny running with all guys because after we were done, they were all talking about stuffing their faces with Tommy’s burgers and hot dogs, I felt a little nauseas just thinking about that.
Oh, I also ran with the Garmin Forerunner 405. It is AMAZING. I never knew a watch could do so much, and puts my cheap $40 running watch to shame. The distance was accurate because it has a built in wireless GPS, and tracks your heart rate, pace, time, mileage. THANK YOU JIM & KIM! What’s even cooler, is that you can plug it into your computer and your computer will download all the data from your watch, all your past running activities and it will map out where you ran, the elevations, your max pace etc. It’s also really good for keeping a tally on your total distance, so you know when to change your shoes (after 300 miles). However, it doesn’t work on a treadmill obvi which is where I do my training on the weekdays, oh well. It even has a feature where you can see yourself moving on the map, well not you literally, just a dot, but it shows your pace and elevation change.
This is my last long run before Surf City (2/1), we have a 12 mile run this Saturday and 7 miles the week after. The last week before the marathon, I’m going to cut my mileage in half. I strongly believe in staying active before the marathon, even the day before. Maybe not running more than 10 miles, but to give your body a warm up for the big day. Sometimes your body might go into shock on race day because it’s been inactive for a while resting. I will probably do more x-training, shorter runs and weight lifting sessions to help my knee. My knee didn’t hurt either during the 24 miles! Hopefully, my trainer will help me with more strength building exercises to build a stronger knee. This post has been way too long, and it’s not even the full marathon recap yet! Stay tuned
Updated to add:
This was probably the most exciting thing that happened during the run, and I forgot to add it! I finished the 24 miles in 3 hr 20 minutes, leaving me 20 minutes to finish the last 2 miles in an actual marathon, in order to qualify for Boston this year. Granted, during my marathon, I go the same pace, hopefully everything will be smooth sailing! I’m trying not to hype it up too much, in case I get disappointed, but I was on cloud nine when I finished in great time.
I also read this weekend how running a marathon treats everyone like a winner. There is no winner, well there is, but those are the elites, and there defintely are no losers. Whether you finish in 3 hours or 6 hours, everyone is a winner for just crossing the finish line. I realized this is why I love running, and how I strayed away from competitive tennis. Back in the day, where I used to play tennis tournaments for money, the organizers of the match would love to match ‘lower’ ranked players (you had to win a certain number of tournaments to be ranked in Southern Cali) with the top ranks in order to weed out the lesser qualified early on, so the end match would be exciting with the top players battling it out for the grand prize. They would also put you on center court, which was embarrassing to say the least. I left many tournaments feeling ashamed, defeated and embarrassed. I didn’t have any urge to improve on anything and there was a distinct loser and winner. Clearly, playing tennis should not be about winning money, but instead a fun competitive sport, which I still love to do. Nowadays, I play for fun and serves as a great workout for those days off from running.