The day started off just like any other day. The 8:10 start time meant I was able to get a full night sleep. It also meant the sun was shining bright from start to finish. Guess I can't have it all, right?
This was an inaugural marathon, so the race field was pretty small, somewhere around 500 people. There was about 5,000 in my last marathon, so the difference was noticeable. My parents were there to support me and I was able to chat with them all the way until the start of the race, which was a welcomed distraction from the thought of running 26.2.
Feeling calm and much more prepared than my last marathon, the gun went off and I began the 26.2 mile journey, again. A couple of miles in I noticed that we had been running on rolling hills, with nothing but more rolling hills ahead. I didn't let it bother me and I kept running. The playlist I had made for my ipod was doing a great job motivating me and keeping me from boredom.
Five miles from the start, I saw the ocean. We turned to the north and continued. Rolling hills, no shade, but a great view of the Pacific. The course was an "out and back" course, so at about mile 12 (at San Onofre) we turned around and retraced our steps. My body was beginning to feel tired around mile 13, but my legs, surprisingly, still had a lot of life.
As the mile markers continued to pass, I was enjoying the alone-time I was getting. I felt like the only person out there and at times, I couldn't even see any other runners.
Knowing that I have a half marathon a week after this race and another marathon a couple of weeks later, I knew it wasn't wise to push myself to the point of injury (see previous posts on my last marathon). This was a good excuse for me to not worry about my time and just enjoy myself. I talked with other runners, sang along with my ipod, and tried to encourage everybody I passed/that passed me.
I hit mile marker 21 and turned inland for the final 5.2. More sun and more hills, but I knew the end wasn't far. As I stopped for a quick walking-break I thought about my last marathon and the overwhelming pain and emotion I was feeling at that point. Where did all of that come from and why do I feel absolutely nothing this time around?
As the finish line came into my sights, I pushed hard, finished, and thanked God for helping me through. I'd like to say that I learned something profound during the race, or that it was a once in a lifetime experience, but the truth is that it was just a really good run.
Sometimes in life, we look for the spectacular, hoping and praying for an unbelievable story or a fairy tale ending. The race of life isn't always what we'd like it to be, but i'm gonna run it anyway.