Monday, October 12, 2009

Wrecked in Long Beach: A Marathon Story

It's been an eventful year since I have blogged about my running and I thought it would be a good time to start writing again. While revisiting my site, I found an unposted draft of my Long Beach Marathon Race Report so I thought I would finally post that, a year after I crashed in Long Beach. Enjoy...

I'm still recovering from yesterday's Long Beach Marathon. My quad's are shot and my ego is a little bruised, but I wanted to share the experience with you all so that you can get a glimpse at what it's like (or sympathize with me if you've ever run one).

Disclaimer: I chose to write this stream-of-consciousness style, with obvious (edits) made to make it appropriate :)

My alarm goes off at 4:55...Well that was pointless, i've already been up for a half hour worrying that i'd miss it...I went through my usual routine and was out the door by 5:15...Race starts at seven, I have plenty of time...Flying on the 405 freeway, I make the change onto the 710...Uh-oh, these cars aren't moving...I maneuver my way in and out of cars and finally get to the end of the freeway...Crap, 6:35, race starts in 25 minutes and i'm still in traffic...I find where i'm supposed to park and make my way out on to the street...(Oh no) Race starts in 15 minutes, and i'm at least a mile away from the start line...

I ran to the start line, I didn't jog, I ran. As if 26.2 wasn't bad enough, I decided to add a mile sprint to the start line because I just love pain so much.

National Anthem just ended, gotta find my pace group...Found 'em...Gun just went off, guess I don't get to stretch...As with most races, slow runners feel a need to be close to the front and then impede the progress of anyone behind them...Watch out for that lady, don't trip over her feet.

Next thing I knew, we were three miles in and I was having no trouble keeping up with my 3:40 pace group...I dont feel like I have a lot of energy, but this pace seems comfortable...There goes mile 4, time for a shot-blok (strawberry, my favorite)...Here's a water stop, (Crap), I got blue powerade, that's not gonna mix well.

Right around mile 7 we hit the bike path on the beach...Well this is nice, beautiful weather and nice scenery, really wish I had more energy...Around mile 10, the half-marathoners split off which leaves us with plenty of room...Sideache, (shoot), run through it, run through it, stretch, breathe, keep going...Gone, phew.

Winding through the somewhat familiar streets of Long Beach, I found the 3:40 pace becoming gradually more difficult, for no other reason than I didn't have the energy...Son of a (woops)...I let them gradually slip away until they turned a corner and were no longer in sight.

Half way done and all I wanted to do was sit down...I can't believe I went through all that training and feel like i'm half asleep on race day...We got to the CSULB campus and the students there did their best to cheer me on, but there smiles did little more than keep me going until they were no longer in sight, at which point my legs finally needed a break and I walked.

There are few feelings like the feeling of defeat, and even fewer like having that feeling with 10 miles left in a race. I pushed my way through the last 10 in some sorry excuse for a run-walk method and somehow, coming down the final stretch I found enough energy to sprint...Probably looks like a peg-legged pirate the finish line.

Finished in 4 hours flat. For some marathoners, this is a life-long goal. Others can run nearly two marathons in this time. For me, I was devestated. I missed my PR by more than 10 minutes and missed my goal by over 15. I trained so hard that I ran myself into the ground and out of an opportunity at a good race.

Frustrated as I received my medal, I thought back to my first marathon and could not believe the stark contrast of emotion. With my legs practically quivering and the rest of my body ready to slip into a coma, I decided I needed to walk away from running. I was doing more harm than good and it was clear that the time I put in was not paying off. I thought that I had just run my last marathon, but little did I know that I was beginning...

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