December 13, 2009
SB International Marathon (Race Report)
My alarm went off promptly at 4:30am and I dragged myself out of bed. My stomach was still not happy, but I convinced myself it must be nerves and got ready and headed to Tom's. Stacey picked us up and we got dropped off at the start, luckily just a mile or so from us. As we waited in the cold, it was announced that due to a car accident on the freeway, we would be starting a half hour late, at 7am. Not really a big deal, especially since this was the inaugural race and we were expecting some bumps. The number of runners at the start was surprisingly small, but that only meant a lot of familiar faces from the Santa Barbara running community and Team in Training, which had a great showing. At one point the announcer asked who was a first timer, and as a bunch of hands around me were raised, I smiled to myself as I kept mine at my side : ) Finally the gun went off, and as I crossed the mat I pressed start on my new Garmin Forerunner 405, this being it's inaugural run. We started out a bit faster than the pace I was hoping to maintain (11:30, to break 5 hours), but we all felt ok and kept it up. The first half of the race consisted of a loop and a half in Goleta, making it super easy to see our families twice each time through.
At mile 23 we approached what we affectionately call Piss Hill, a gnarly half mile incline that practically forces you to walk, and still wears you out. Finally at the top, the last 2 miles were slightly downhill with views of the Pacific Ocean...not a bad way to end a race, huh? I've never wanted to finish a run or race more than I did that day. My body hurt, I was exhausted and weak, and a bit disheartened. Those final .2 miles were definitely bittersweet, but regardless of the journey that gets you there, crossing a finish line will always be incredible. It was a personal worst, by nearly a half hour, but I made it under 6 hours, which I had decided to make my new goal along the way. I'm proud of myself for finishing, and I don't blame myself. I know shit happens, and there was nothing I could have done. I know I have a lot more in me and if anything, I'm even more motivated now to reach my goal. But am I disappointed? Hell yes.
Thank God for my running buddies Tom and Stacey. And my parents. And my friends. Tom stuck with me the entire race. I can't really put into words what that meant to me, or how grateful I am. But there's a real good chance that without him, I wouldn't have gotten to that finish line. I saw my parents 4 times along the course, and each time they were ready with medicine, fluids, and words of encouragement. And cameras to document my misery. See the pic above for my thrilled reaction to the photos : ) And at the end, I spotted two of my friends, Sarah and Jackie, and immediately started to cry as I ran toward the finish with them alongside me. Thank you all so much, everything you said and did meant the world to me.
I cried a bit more after finishing, but was super relieved to finally be done. I got my beautiful medal (the secret reason I refused to quit) and we took a bunch of pics with the gorgeous ocean as the backdrop. When I took off my shoes, I discovered the biggest blister known to man. Literally, it was a monster! Surprisingly, my toes felt great, so the bigger shoes must be doing their job. Afterward we went out to lunch. I was kind of bummed about my stomach feeling bad because one of my favorite parts about running long races is eating shamelessly the rest of the day. I knew I needed something, though, and I managed to eat a plain veggie burger. All I wanted to do at that point was shower and sleep, so my parents dropped me off at home. I opted to do an epsom salts bath over an ice one, because I'm a wimp. It may not have been quite as effective, but it helped. Unfortunately I had to put off the sleep I wanted so badly because, lucky me, I had a paper to finish, due the next day!
p.s. review of Juliette (my Garmin 405) coming soon!