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?”




2 responses

28 07 2010
Very Proud Mom

I am so proud of you, Delina! WOW! Just reading your last few entries made me cry also. I wish I could have been there to see you cross the finish line! That would have been awesome. I knew you could do it. I have always known that you have no problem doing what ever you set your mind to. From the time you were a small child, you have always been very determined to follow your own mind and will. You have made me a very proud, or should I say, “prouder” mom.

Love ya lots!

2 08 2010

I love you and am so proud of you!!! This made me tear up! Xoxo!

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