My bright yellow "Marathon Maniacs" singlet came in the mail over a month ago and ever since then I had been dying to put it on for a race. That time finally came on Sunday as I stood at the start line of the 2011 Carlsbad Marathon.
With the moon and the stars still shining brightly, 1,500 runners crossed the start line and headed into the dark streets of Carlsbad. My legs felt fresh and I had plenty of energy so I knew this would be a pretty good day. We made a couple of turns and found ourselves running parallel with the beach just as the sun was starting to appear over the horizon.
What a perfect sight.
The sun rising, the fog lifting and the waves rolling in provided the perfect backdrop for the day. I got lost in the view for a mile or so and didn't realize I was running next to two other Maniacs! We quickly exchanged pleasantries and jumped right into a typical runners conversation. We talked about pace, heart rate, previous races, future races and just about anything else running related you could imagine.
The next thing i knew we were over six miles in and myself, Doug and Ron were keeping a solid pace and enjoying each others comraderie. This Marathon Maniac shirt held a lot more potential than I realized. The encouragement I received from other Maniacs and even from strangers spectating was amazing.
I did have one favorite spectator, though, and my-oh-my was she pretty. Not only was she stunning, she also spent her entire weekend dealing with her crazy-runnning-boyfriend, waking up at 4 am on race day to come watch me run. (Sidenote: She woke up at 4 am to watch me run for probably a total of a minute and a half) To me, that is just as impressive as running 26.2.
Heading out onto Palomar Airport Rd., we were still out of the sun enjoying the cool morning air. We conquered a couple of hills and reaped the rewards on the backside. In no time at all, we passed the half-way mark with no problems whatsoever.
Turning for our last out-and-back we started running directly towards the sun. The heat had picked up and my energy was quickly being sapped from my body. Ron had dropped back a little ways, leaving Doug and I a few hundred feet ahead. After reaching the top of a particularly difficult hill and making our last u-turn, my legs were burning and needed a brief rest so I said goodbye to Doug and took a quick walk break.
About a minute later, Ron came up alongside me and I kicked back into stride. With about six miles left, we were determined to break the four-hour mark. The next few miles went by relatively quick, until mile 23 when we began using a run-walk method at Ron's suggestion. He could have easily kept going and left me to finish with the others over 4-hours, but Ron was determined to help me stick it out. He offered just the right amount of encouragement and advice as we pounded out those last few miles together.
After the mile 26 sign we took a left turn and could see the finish. The clock was at 3:59...we sprinted toward the finish line and finished strong, 3:59:37.