I woke up at my usual 4:30 AM time and started off with chocolate chai with coconut milk, as I let myself slowly wake up and read.
I also did a few yoga moves to start stretching and waking my muscles up.
Breakfast was Panda puffs with 1/2 banana, sliced strawberries, flax seed meal and coconut milk.
The sun started coming up with a vengeance and I knew it was going to be a hot day. As I was stretching around 6, I thought to myself that it would be nice to be starting at that time, instead.
The start time was not until 7:30 AM. We arrived around 7:10. I found some familiar faces and made my way to the start. One of the reasons I love this race so much is because it is local and I see so many of my running buddies.
The course starts off relatively flat with slight inclines. I felt strong from the start and my plan was to be speedy the first half and scale back if I needed to, when the heat kicked in. I also knew the hills would be coming soon, so any speed I could gain on flatter portions would be beneficial.
This is the elevation chart of the course. I was averaging a 9:15-9:30 pace the first few miles.
Finally, I met the hills, there was a point where I felt they kept coming and coming and coming:
I was glad that I am so familiar with this course. Volunteers, may the universe send love, light and happiness their way, but they regularly say “this is the last hill,” when in fact, there is still more. It has killed my running spirit before when I think the hills are over and I see there is another one.
Finally, I got to the “top” of the course. The views at this point are pretty amazing.
I still felt great at this point. I was blowing through the miles, maintaining about a 10:30 mile while going uphill and still dancing to my play-list. I knew it was a good sign when at mile 9, I was dancing to Destiny’s Child. In my head I looked like this:
…but I am sure I looked more like one of these guys:
Around mile 9.5 the course starts going downhill. I gained speed at this point and continued to feel strong although the heat was creeping in.
Miles 12-13 were a straightaway to the finish line. The street is relatively unshaded. This was the only time I struggled. This mile felt like it went on and on. The heat was getting to me at this point and my legs started to feel tired.
I could see the finish line in sight and Europe’s “Final Countdown” was playing on my ipod. I sort of felt like this:
As I came in the finish line, I could see and hear my mom. She always comes out to support me at this race and makes me a home made sign.
I crossed at 2:12:57. My Garmin clocked my overall average pace at 10:01.
I put my medal on and started making my way to the finisher’s area. I found my buddy L.B., and I think babbled incoherently for a minute, I started to feel…off.
I chugged some water and found my family. Pretty soon, I felt a wave of nausea hit me and I had to sit down, immediately. It took all I had in me to not completely lose all the contents of my stomach. I stayed like this for about ten minutes.
Once I started putting water on my face and neck, I started to feel better. After about ten more minutes, the world stopped spinning and my stomach settled down. I was able to get up, take a few pictures and walk to the car. Home made sign from my mom 🙂
Overall, I was proud of my performance. I have been strength training consistently the past 3 weeks, and my legs felt strong on the course. I did not feel any of my injuries flaring up, my foot, ankles and knees all cooperated.
I finally feel like I am recovering and making a running come back! It has been 1 1/2 years since I ran a marathon and I am starting to feel the itch again. It has been a long road recovering from injuries, and I am sure there will be more bumps a long the way, but I finally feel like a runner again!