Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon, 2011 – Recap
Hands down second best day of my life! No lie. Maybe it’s because it was my first marathon, maybe it was just my race and everything came together perfectly, maybe it was the reason I was running. Maybe I found my passion! I’d like to think it’s a little bit of it all. I had an A-mazing first marathon experience! The magnitude of it all was overwhelming.
The morning started off at 3:00am – sorry Lauren! I couldn’t sleep… I ended up having really bad, sad dreams about Harvey right before I woke up. Pictures of him in my head… crying, at the race with his picture. Maybe this was my motivation for the day? Felt major back pain and nerves when I first woke up. My butt and arms hurt – I guessed from yoga? And wondering why my ankle and legs hurt when I hadn’t run for weeks. Nerves slowly turned into excitement as I got ready, sunscreened up, put on my clothes –
SNEAKS! (oh, how I missed them), sharpie-d on my quote “Run like an antelope out of control: feet quick, legs strong, I can do this all day long” – thanks Leslie! That made me smile and want to kick it into gear all day! Fueled up with my little pre-race oatmeal, one water bottle and we were ready to go. Hopped on the TNT shuttle at 4:45ish (sorry for being late, coaches) :0 Still dark out at the start of the race, but after waiting in line for the porta potties a few times, gear checking the sun was coming up and we walked right into
our corrala corral that was way faster than our time. Gun off – ready to rock! Thinking… this is the moment, I could hardly contain myself. This right here – the start is what I trained, worked my butt off, sacrificed, and waited for longer than I even realized.
Excitement and happiness is probably the only way to describe the first part of the race (wish I had better words). The sun was coming up, we were pacing really well – 10min miles. Stopped a few times to pee and started to get into the groove. Kim and I ran together for the first half-ish. Looking around, talking, commenting on what bars we wanted to go to later as we ran through the Gaslamp Quarter. See you later Whiskey Girl! Looking at apartments for me, when I come back to SD to move ;). Had a great time talking to people along the way. A lot of runners and fellow TNTers saw my picture of Harvey and what I had written on my legs and said how amazing I was, or how sorry they were – or you go girl (always a good one). I thought it would be really hard at first but it turned more into motivation and “hell, yeah that’s right!!” , then sadness. Harv would be so proud of me for what I accomplished, and was doing in his honor. He’d also appreciate the fact that I picked out a hot pic of him. 🙂
Some of the reasons that I decided I love marathon(s) along the way… you get to pee in public/the street and no one cares. You get to liter. You feel famous, people take your pictures and everyone knows your name. Oh yeah and then there’s the fact that you are pushing yourself to the limit and testing your grit and determination! The spectators here were great… cheerleaders, people with signs, TNTers, purple stuff all over the place, Team in Training coaches, little kids giving high fives, people setting up stands for the runners, soooo many supportive groups of people cheering on all the runners. I especially loved the cancer survivors who came out and said “THANK YOU” to us for what we were doing! We really did save lives! Some of the best signs I saw were, “Thank you, from a Leukemia Survivor”, also liked the guy with “Run now, Tequila later” – that was probably around mile 15 or so – I said YES to that! Some of the fellow runners were great motivation as well. A lot of people with “in memory of” pictures on their backs, and names. Marines and Military carrying flags honoring those they lost in the line of duty. A guy who was wearing a shirt that said “Liver, Kidney Donor” – I gave him the thumbs up at mile 24 and told him he was “AWESOME”.
I would say my most memorable part of the race was just before mile 19. Longer rolling hill and I was following a guy carrying the American Flag. Power up to the top of the hill as U2’s ‘Where the Streets have no Name’ starts on the I-pod. Slowing, rolling up the hill behind the flag, peak the hill and see the ocean – gorgeous, perfect, happiness, stomach flip, pure joy and adrenaline. That’s when I thought – I got this, and I love it!! Life F*cking Rocks and I can do anything I want!
So how did I physically feel throughout the race? Mile 4 flew by like nothing. Mile 6 is when I first started to “feel” my legs. No stomach issues or anything (surprisingly). Stingers worked perfectly – taking one at each hour that passed. Mile 10 the blisters really started to set in and I could feel them – bad. Oh well… suck it up, pain is gain! Mile 16 my knees were really starting to hurt as well. I kept thinking of Harvey and how badly his knees hurt in the hospital, how swollen they were and the fact that he couldn’t even walk. Getting a shot under his kneecap and having them drained was the worst pain I’d ever seen him in (even worse than a bone marrow biopsy – and that is bad!). I knew if he could endure all he went through that I could deal with some measly blisters and some knee soreness. I would say that is the one point in the race where I was a little worried, rounding up one of the bigger hills around mile 16 – but thinking of the reason I was really there and being so appreciative that I could run! Harvey was in a wheelchair the last few days of his life and couldn’t even walk or get outside. Thinking of that I knew it was payback time, Cancer Bitches!! Mile 18 I took a salt pack at one of the medical tents and kicked it into gear. Passing people left and right… felt great! Mission beach – running right along the water, seeing the sign that said “What Wall?”, that is exactly how I felt. I kicked it up and knew I could hold it until the end. I was having a blast!! I started seeing some other TNTers and two of my coaches. Jen and Aram ran with me toward the end. Coming close to the finish line at mile 24 and actually seeing it… there is no other feeling in the world. Booking it past people who I saw all along the way and knowing I was doing amazing and also about to have one of the greatest moments and best accomplishments of my life. GAIN!
Pain – the only complaint I would say I had about the course was towards the end in Mission Beach – it was quite a small area and sidewalk to run along. At that point I wanted to pass people and did get held up a little bit and had to run on the grass etc. I’m assuming usually at the point people aren’t really passing each other though, so it probably works out fine for some. The one other thing was part of the highway, mile 8 or so (I think), was quite a sideways incline, so you were running on an angle. Could be why my left ankle hurts and is still swollen.
But let’s end on a good note… best Marathon ever and my absolute most favorite!! Oh wait, it’s my first one 🙂 Already psyched for Philly!
party race it was time to refuel and re-hydrate! Cheez-its and MGD64 – and lots of water. We fueled up and hung out for a while at the Team in Training tent and basked in the glow of our major accomplishment. I think the consensus was “holy sh*t we just ran a marathon!”. On to ice baths and more beer!