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?”


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!



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!

Hills vs. Delina

29 05 2010

Yesterday I got a serious butt kicking by the hills. I’m sure the fact that I let myself get dehydrated didn’t help me, but I had no chance either way. Though in my defense I did manage to make it up one good-sized hill, but the next 6 or so laid the smack down on me. I was so out of breath from the first hill that I could barely walk up the next ones. I was seriously considering just laying down and hoping I’d discover teleportation so I could make it back to the top of the course without actually having to move. If you would like some perspective on how high the hills are here’s a picture of the switch backs I have to go up to get to the top of the course.

Switch backs of death

Of course the dehydration did not help. I have become too lackadaisical  about making sure I drink enough water each day. Which admittedly has been good for my work because it means I’ve been busy and forget to fill up my water bottle, but is not so good when I am running. I was having such a hard time running and I had no idea why until I saw Jaxson drinking from the river and realized that I was so thirsty I wished I could drink from the river like my dog. They say that if you feel thirsty your body is already lower on water than you should ever let it be. So I was definitely not in prime running condition. I could just picture my poor little cells all shrunken from lack of water by the end of the run. Admittedly that probably did not help me get through the run any faster but oh well its too late for that. I will just have to make sure I am better about drinking water, I do not want to feel like I did yesterday on my 14 mile run tomorrow!


12 05 2010

So my ten-mile run is today. I can’t lie I am a bit nervous. After my last attempt at running the ten miles failed so miserably I’m not sure how I’ll do. I know I need to be confident going into the run and I know I can finish but I still have that little bit of doubt in the back of my head.

Because my 8 miler went so well and the only thing I did different that day was eat a huge lunch of not exactly the healthiest food (hamburger and french fries…at least not fast food though) I decided that today for lunch I would for go my wimpy salad or leftovers and eat a big meal. I went a bit healthier this time with a bagel sandwich but I’m hoping that having eaten more I’ll have some extra energy to keep me going throughout the run. I’ve also decided to bring Jaxson along. Though that is primarily out of guilt. I don’t want to go home and then abandon him for another 2 hours after being left alone all day so I’m hoping he is up for the run. He did fine after the eight miler so I think he will be ok as long as he doesn’t get too bored.

Back on track!

28 04 2010

Well since my last post I have successfully completed all my planned runs. And in faster times than I expected. Because the weather has been bad these last few days I have been putting on the miles on the treadmill and though it is tough to stay interested when you are staring at a wall I’ve found that pushing my pace helps the time fly by. I remember when I first started running and running at a 6 mph pace was pushing it for me. Yesterday I finished off my 4 mile run by running at a 7 mile per hour pace for the last mile. It was amazing to me that I could even manage that pace when only 4 months ago I would have been left gasping for air after about a minute. I know that my times won’t be nearly as good when I get back to running outside, since I’ll have the hills and the altitude to compete with but it’s just exciting to see the progress that I’ve made over the last couple of months! Now to keep pushing ahead. July 25th is getting closer each day!

Snake bites and dog chases…

3 03 2010

I know it is cliche but today for the first time running I was chased by a dog. Now it wasn’t a big dog or really a scary one, it was a little chihuahua type dog that managed to jump over a fence to chase be about a block. Other than being concerned it might bite my ankles I wasn’t too concerned. However when I’d ditched the dog I realized that my leg really hurt. I looked down and saw that I had all sorts of thorns in my right leg. According to Elsie they call those snake bites here. I don’t remember running into the plant but it must have happened around the time I was being chased.

Otherwise the run was great. I finished my 3 miles in 28 minutes 8 seconds. Thats my fastest time yet! I’m going to miss running outside and not having to worry about slipping on ice or slushy snow, but I’m excited to go home tomorrow, I miss my puppy!  Maybe I’ll brave taking him on a run again….