distance: 26.2 miles
(to read about my pre-race prep, go here.)
i woke up at 3:45 am excited. not nervous, just excited.
i drank some water, got in my race outfit that had been set out the day before, and ate some prezels. i wanted the nervous energy to come, but it didn’t. not only did i have everything, but i even had backups and contingency plans if i forgot something.
my dad and i left to drive to dodger stadium at 4:45 am and arrived around 5:15 am. (we would have gotten there earlier but instead of going with my gut, i decided to ask google maps what the best route was. this took me on the 2 instead of the 5 (yes, very californian to talk about freeways like this) and we ended up having to turn around due to street closures. but even amidst all of this, still no nerves.)
i immediately found my group and we hung out until it was time to go to the corrals. we took turns going to the wonderful (and plentiful) porta poties, (and stop reading if you don’t want to know about my digestive system) but i still couldn’t bring up the nerves to get my gi system… moving. if you know what i mean. i even had the girls bring up things that could intimidate me, but nothing brought those butterflies to my stomach.
at 6:15 am, after a group stretch, huddle, and pre-race pep talk, we went down to our corrals. erin and i were in the same corral together (and amy and jimmy were in theirs together too), so we all had friends to hang out with up until the start. erin and i sat on the ground and stretched, talked about running fashion choices, and prepared for the race to start.
i crossed the start line a few minutes before 7 am. i kept reminding myself to take it slow and run my race. i kept a close eye on my breathing and heart rate.
at mile 2.5, i ran into amy. it was nice running with a familiar face and seeing how she was doing. we both had to pee at this point.
my having to pee, while uncomfortable, was a nice distraction from miles 3-9. from about mile 5 on, it was all i could think about. i would get excited when i saw a porta potty, but when i saw the line of people in front of it, my stubbornness kept me going. i wasn’t going to waste my running time waiting in line. at mile 7, i realized i had to pee because i needed to start drinking water. i started to get desperate. i would look down alleyways and parks, thinking, “if guys can jump off the course and pee, why can’t i?” (don’t worry, i didn’t). at mile 9, i happened on the most miraculous thing. a subway restaurant with an “open” sign. i ran in, asked if others had used the restroom, and before the woman behind the counter could answer, i jumped in the bathroom.
at mile 11, my right foot started to bug me. not plantar fasciitis sharp pain, but more than i could feel blisters forming under my toes. i stopped to tie my shoe, but it didn’t help. i just accepted it and figured my foot would be bloody by the end of the race.
at mile 12, i ran by meghan. we had been texting a bit to try and meet up, but by the time i crossed her it was just a quick “hi!” and i kept going.
at mile 14, i ran by shane, who was working for the medical response for the marathon. i raised my hands and he said, “you’re halfway done!” i shrugged at the time, i hadn’t really thought of it that way. he then texted me that i didn’t even look tired, and it really cheered me up.
i hit my wall around mile 19. and boy, did i hit it hard. i was trying to run to fleet feet at mile 21 (which ended up being closer to mile 22) but i couldn’t muster up the energy. i even went to a porta potty (no line) to see if that would give me energy. it didn’t. i started watching my goal time creep away. and it didn’t help that miles 18-22 were almost entirely in the sun.
i passed my friends at fleet feet and yelled, “this is closer to 21 than 22!” because i was using fleet feet as a goal (“just run until fleet feet, then you can stop and say hi to people.) i didn’t end up stopping, but it gave me energy to push through the wall.
i saw my friends brynn and logan at mile 23 and it was the first time i stopped to talk to someone. they had made a sign with my name on it (my first one!) and had silly string.
at mile 25, my friend pam texted me, “ALMOST THERE” i had no idea she was even tracking me, and she was right, i was almost done!
i didn’t sprint to the end. i just kept running, with a slightly faster pace. i knew at this point that i was going to PR by a lot, but not break 4:30. i crossed the finish line in 4:41. soon after, the rest of my friends crossed. my parents were there to cheer me on and while phone service wasn’t the best, we were able to coordinate a place to meet.
i don’t know if my lack of nerves helped or what, but i felt so comfortable almost the entire race. even after it was done, while yes i was tired, i wasn’t miserable or in terrible pain. i was just… happy.
according to my garmin, my splits were:
(my garmin said i actually ran 26.52 miles)
if i continue to take off 18 minutes per marathon, i’ll qualify for boston in no time. just kidding, i doubt i’ll see an increase like that again. a huge part of my success was no knee pain! it’s amazing how much more fun it is when you’re not fighting runners knee.