27 07 2010

That’s right I am officially a finisher of the San Francisco Marathon.

After six months almost of training and focusing on one goal I can finally say that I accomplished what I set out to do. It’s an amazing feeling. In all my life I don’t think I’ve ever managed to stick with such a physically and mentally challenging goal. Honestly I can’t believe I actually managed to stick to this one.

Now that the training is done I look back and don’t feel that different from the person I was when I started. But I am. I am now a person who sticks to her guns. I know that if I am dedicated I can accomplish anything.  That is a very powerful feeling. I just need to decide what the next worthy challenge will be.

Before I get started on that here is the nitty gritty about my 26.2 mile run this weekend.

Saturday I got into San Francisco and drove the course so I could get an idea of what I would be running. I’d watched the online videos running through the course but it just wasn’t the same as seeing it in person. After that I just focused on getting my rest and staying loaded up on carbs and fluids.

Sunday morning started for me at 4:50 am. My official race start time was scheduled for 6:20 am so I needed to be up and eating early enough to digest before I started and then get dressed and down to the starting gate.  We left the apartment around 5:45 and I got down the gate with no problem. Of course we didn’t end up starting at 6:20 so I was waiting around for what seemed like the longest 20 minutes of my life before I crossed the starting line at 6:40 am.

The run itself got off to a slow start. My bladder decided right away that I need to make a bathroom stop and of course there was a huge line. While I was waiting for the bathroom the pace groups I wanted to stick with passed me and I was left to try to figure out my pace without anything but my body to go off of. In the end that was probably a good thing but it made me very nervous.

The run went pretty smooth for the next 10 miles or so. When I got across the Golden Gate bridge I had a clock to check my time against and realized that I had been running really really slow. Apparently all those overweight runners that were passing me were not just speed demons in disguise I was running about as fast as my parents can race walk. After that I picked up the pace a little so that it didn’t end up taking me 6 hours to finish the race.

Around the 10 mile mark I started to have different body parts start to hurt. Not anything excruciating but just annoying. I powered through and when I hit the halfway point in Golden Gate Park I was still feeling pretty good. Every so often I would get tired but nothing a little visualization couldn’t handle. Mile 18 was where the pain really set in.

At this point I had run as far as my longest run, and up more hills than I had ever forced myself to do in one run. My hips were in serious pain. Every time I stopped to walk I was seriously concerned I wouldn’t be able to get back into the running  easily. But instead of giving in I just kept focusing on making it to the next mile marker or aid station. Each little cup of water and sports drink I was handed was like a temporary relief from the race and helped me work up the motivation to make it to the next station.

Miles 23-26 were the hardest physically. Mentally I was good. I never hit “the wall” as they say and ran out of energy. But at this point I really really hurt. The burning in my hips had moved to my glutes as well. All of the hills had taken their toll on my muscles. I started to allow myself to walk more often at this point. Instead of making myself keep going for a mile I took breaks probably ever .75 miles instead. Each mile marker I saw I just thought about how few miles left I had to go. I was so close.

When I hit mile 25 I knew I had made it. Only 1.2 miles to go. I could do that! I picked up the pace. I just wanted to be done and I was going to do my best to get there as quickly as possible. That strategy lasted about 5 minutes before my body protested, so I slowed it down again. But it didn’t matter I was almost there. Seeing the mile 26 post was the best. The race wasn’t over yet but I could see the finish line. As I got closer they called out my name “Delina from Reno this is your finish line” just typing that now makes me tear up (I’m a girl I know).

At 11:44 am I crossed the finish line of my very first marathon. It took me exactly 5 hours 4 minutes and 49 seconds to finish. As I walked through the aftermath I was given my medal by a young boy who was competing with two other children to have the chance to put a medal around my neck. And then I got my picture taken me smiling and exhausted holding up my medal.

Still today it feels surreal. I am a marathon runner. Who would have ever guessed I would say that? Definitely not me, the girl who hated running all through school. The girl who dreaded the mile run because she couldn’t even run a mile without having to stop and walk.

So there it is. I went from a non-runner to a marathon runner in less than 6 months. I can do anything I set my mind to. So here I sit, at the end of my story, the only thing I have left to say is “Now what?”


8:47 per mile!!!

15 07 2010

That’s right I ran 3 miles in 26:26 which averages out to right around 8:47 minutes per mile! I can’t believe I could do it and still feel good afterwards. I mean it was challenging because I was slightly dying of heat stroke in the 90 degree weather, but otherwise it wasn’t bad. I didn’t feel out of breath or like I couldn’t keep going. A year and a half ago I probably could never have even run a mile in 8:47. I’m so amazed at how much I’ve improved since I started 🙂

It’s Official!!!!!!

12 07 2010

Today I officially registered to run the San Francisco marathon!!!! I can’t believe it is less than two weeks away. I do not feel prepared. I know the training book said if you can run 18 miles you can run 26.2 miles, but now that’s all I have left it doesn’t seem possible.

It doesn’t help that I have sucked at staying motivated these last couple of weeks. I don’t know how I went from running 16 miles in awesome time to having no motivation to even run 5 miles. I know in part it was because I had people visiting me which made running a chore I needed to get done so I could play instead of the thing I look forward to each day.  But my lack of discipline was still inexcusable. Because of it, I am now missing a week of taper because I needed to make up my long run. Hopefully this won’t hurt me too much.

On a more positive note I did run 18 miles yesterday, and while I didn’t rock it like I did the last 16 miler it was still pretty good. I finished in 3:11:17 which averages out at 10:37 minutes/mile. Not bad at all. I am aiming for somewhere around 11-11:30 minutes/mile at the marathon since I know I’ll need to conserve energy for those last 8 miles.  The other good news from yesterdays run is that I have a much smaller patch of skin missing from my back this time than I did after the 16 miler. It may be a small accomplishment, but I’ll take what I can get  🙂

Anyway, this week my running schedule should be pretty simple. I run 3,5,3,8. I admit it will be nice to not have to plan for 3 hours of my day being taken up by running. I miss my little 30 minute runs.   Now I will leave you with the wisdom of a much more accomplished runner: “Do the things that you used to do without fear. Take the risk. It’s all right to fall down and scab your knees.” (Side note: while its okay it definitely hurts…can you tell I’m still a little bitter about Jaxson tripping me…)

Ah the power of rest….

20 06 2010

…or cheese which ever you prefer. I think I would have to go with a combination of the two. But for now I am just happy with my decision to listen to Jay and rest last weekend. I don’t like that I had to miss a long run but I can see the difference it made this week. I was able to run every day this week without experiencing any pain in my leg. After running I had the normal aches and pains but even they were less severe than before. Then to top it all of today I ran 16 miles in 2:39:44 seconds. That is less than a 10 minute/mile average!!! Admittedly only by a second, but still. It was a huge improvement over my last 16 mile time.

I don’t know if it was all just the rest and me getting better, the weather was about 10 degrees cooler today, and I switched from GU powder to Gatorade, so it could be a combination of things that made it so I was able to run so much better. But all I care about is that it happened! I was able to run the whole time except when I stopped to drink every 20 minutes. There were no unscheduled walking sessions. And by the end I knew I could have kept going.

The only minor problem from todays run was the Chinese Water Torture that my water bottle inflicted on the center of my back. I mean it wasn’t actually water but the water bottle itself hitting me over and over again but I think that counts. I now have a 1×2 inch spot on my back missing its top layer of skin… I am going to have to do something about that for next week, but honestly if that is the worst thing that happens to me because of my running I can’t really complain 🙂 Now it is time to ice the knees!


I put my new shoes on…

12 06 2010

…and everything was not suddenly all right. Actually they made everything very wrong.

After spending an hour in the shoe store researching and trying on running shoes, I finally put on a pair that made my feet feel like they were in heaven. I was so excited to get to run for the first time in them Tuesday. The run when slower than usual but I chalked that up to having to stop while the dog played with other dogs on the trail. Then the pain hit. My right leg hurt so badly I was limping. It lasted for days. I tried running on Wednesday and it hurt so bad I couldn’t then again I tried Friday and while I was a little more successful I was in serious pain and running about a minute per mile slower than usual. The only thing I can think of that could be causing this is the new shoes. It’s the only thing that has changed in the last week. Of course now that I have used them I am stuck with them but I am going to go back to running in my old shoes at least until my marathon is over in July.

Because my leg is still in serious pain I will not be running my long run tomorrow 😦  I am hoping that it won’t hurt my ability to finish the marathon too much. I am only skipping one long run and still have another 16 miler after tomorrow before I jump to 18 miles so it should be ok. I just hope that when Tuesday comes around my leg is back to normal. It would be so disappointing to come this far only to fall short of my goal.

Wish me luck and send good vibes to my leg! 🙂

Tired Feet

6 06 2010

Well I did it. I finished 16 miles in 2:52:12. That averages out to be 10:46 a mile. Not bad. Especially considering last weeks 14 mile fiasco. Todays run was tough. There were several times I walked and my leg muscles felt so tired I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it another 4-5 miles. But I just kept going. I walked when I felt like I needed to. And by the time I hit 15 miles I knew I was going to be able to finish strong. I ran the whole last mile at my normal pace!

Now after stretching and the drive home, here I sit and honestly the only part of my body that is really tired/hurt is my feet. They feel like the entire bottom is bruised. Which I guess makes sense since they have been pounded into pavement for the last 3 hours or so, but I guess I can’t complain my feet will easily recover and I’d rather them be tired than any thing else.

After 16 miles I only go up in mileage one more time before I run the marathon. I can’t believe how close it is getting. Its only 7 weeks away! But I’m not going to think about that right now. For now I am just going to relax, ice my joints, lay in bed watching tv, and celebrate the fact that I ran 16 miles today. I think I’ve earned it 🙂


4 06 2010

My last two runs have been pretty uneventful, so I guess that’s good, right?

I found a new trail head and so Jaxson and I went exploring today. The first 2 miles were pretty much straight uphill and so I did pretty awful. I managed to run some of it but ended up having to walk a lot. I don’t know what is up because this time it wasn’t that I was out of breath going up the hills like before, but my one calf burned so so so badly. It was pretty much unbearable. I managed to run 3 miles down hill and flat in the same time it took me to run the first 2 miles. I also managed to take a wrong turn on the way back and ended up about 1.5 miles from where we had started. Thank god I had my phone and Google Maps or I could have been wandering around a strange neighborhood for a long time.

As for the stitches that have been making an appearance, I think I have decided they are due to poor running posture. I am going to have to start doing some core exercises to make it easier for me to maintain the proper running position throughout my long runs. 16 miles will be miserable if I have to deal with pains in my side the whole way!