The marathon is over and somehow I finished it. It was a very strange event as despite my training, driving to San Diego, going to the expo and everything else associated with the race, it really didn’t hit me that I was going to be running this race until I was standing in the corral and the announcer stated that the race would start in 3 minutes.
The expo was really nothing special this year; I assume that has a lot to do with the economy. Vendors were there, but in much smaller ways. Shoe companies that had big displays in the past were now down to about half the size they usually have, and the expo discount that is applied to the shoes and gear was minimal at best. But it was still good to see some new products and events. I did purchase I Halo visor which I must say did a great job of funneling the sweat away from my eyes and to the side of my head.
The weather was good, it was overcast and cool with a very light drizzle which caused some slippery road conditions but it was very doable. Due to injuries and the car wreck, it had been 2 years since I last ran a marathon which was the San Diego RNR so it was nice to be back here running again-almost like a homecoming of sorts. It was nice to know what was coming especially the long hill at Balboa Park, while at times it was good to know what was coming, at other times I was wondering “where in the world is the next mile marker, I must have passed it already”.
I really enjoyed the first half of the race, I kept my pace slowed down despite feeling like
I could have let it go out faster-I have learned this the hard way in the past. I also had to take a pit stop at mile 11. I kept telling myself that feeling like I had to stop would eventually go away, which it usually does, but this time it didn’t. So that added about 3-4 minutes to my time. When I got to 13.1 miles I was about 2 minutes over my “ideal” finishing time which I really didn’t think would happen, but if I was able to keep this pace while feeling good I could pick it up the last 6 miles and get, if not beat, my pre-race best case scenario.
This however, did not happen. About mile 18 I ingested too many calories (Roctane Gel, Cytomax drink, water, Accelerade drink I had with me, and orange slices that a nice neighborhood was handing out to everyone. They must have had 50 cases of oranges cut up, very cool of them. At around mile 19 my stomach started to cramp up. I have never had problems eating or drinking whatever I wanted while running so I didn’t think this would be an issue. It took about a mile until I was able to slowly run, but I had to lean forward to keep my stomach in one piece. The forward lean caused my back to hurt, and then my hamstrings and calves started to cramp. I have never not finished a race I have started, but I had to seriously convince myself to keep going as I really wanted to go to the aid tent at mile 21 and give it up.
I continued on by slowly running and a lot of walking. When it dawned on me that I was not going to be anywhere near the times I wanted, I decided to try and change my mindset and enjoy the race (as much as I could considering). I tried to take in all of the sights, attempted to thank every volunteer on the course, high-fived as many of the kids who were on the sidewalks looking to high-five the runners. In the end it was a very enjoyable way to experience parts of San Diego.
THEN…with the overcast sky and winds my soaked clothing started to chill me to the bone. When I saw my wife at mile 26 she said that my face was a white as it could be, she knew immediately that I was not doing well. With about .2 miles to go a guy was running by told me that I could do it and to run with him and a couple of other guys who were also struggling for whatever reason. We ran together and all finished the race “running’.
All I wanted then was the tinfoil blanket to wrap up in like a baked potato and warm me up. The finishing area was set up so that the sheets were the very last thing you got before leaving the area, which I know they did so the runners kept moving after finishing and did not have all of the blood in their legs and intestines rush to the lower intestines and cause the famous end of race puking. But I really needed that blanket.
So despite the fact that I finished 55 minutes slower than my ideal time which I thought I was going to get, the fact that I kept going and did not give up was probably better for me than if I would have finished 30 minutes faster. It showed me that I was able to pull myself together and gut out a finish. Now for my next marathon I have full confidence that I can get my ideal time, not only that I think that I can beat it by 15 or so minutes. You can do great things if you believe in the power within yourself.