Monday, October 10, 2011

I am an official MARATHON runner


Lets do the play by play shall we!  As a reminder, the weather in Denver on Saturday was rainy, chilly, and windy (as I like to call the triple threat of running a race).  The news informed me that it was the first day in around 5 months since snow had capped the mountains, so needless to say I was a bit anxious on what the race day weather conditions might look like.  To my pleasure we avoided two conditions Sunday, rain and wind!  I managed to prepare myself that morning wearing my warm Lululemon gear and beginning to fuel my water belt.  To start off the fuel session, I had a toasted english muffin with 2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter (just about the only thing my stomach will handle in the early mornings).  My water belt complete with chapstick, Gu Gel, Gu Chomps, and 4 water bottles weighed a good couple pounds.  The 2 girls and I set out for our early morning in the dark.  Denver drew nearly 16000 runners for both races, a little over 2000 being marathon runners.  We found the bag check, got back to the corral area, and I managed to say goodbye to my dad.  My whole body rang with adrenaline as the race began with a large roar.  The girls and I moved up in our corral, and I luckily was able to get my dad's attention before I started my race.  Off we went!! The one item I left at home unfortunately was my running watch that tracks all of my pacing and whatnot.  I had to trust that after the first mile my brain could calculate my pace and try timing myself that way.  I would say around the 10K(6.4 mile) mark you are in this zone where you really get in a groove and can enjoy your surroundings.  From the beginning I separated from the other 2 girls and was on my own pace.  I managed to chat with others and people watch with funny signs.  That kept me really sidetracked for a good part of the first half of the race.  The course splits the half from the full participants around mile 11.  At that point your brain recognizes a "no bailing now" mentality.  Luckily for me, that was the first point I saw my dad, cousin, and cousin-in-law!  At this point I'm in a great mood, feeling and looking good.  I hand over my heavier pullover to them and head off again.  Around mile 18 I hit the infamous "Runner Wall".  I thought it was all mental, but this is the actual point that your body gives signs of fatigue and pain.  I think psychologically this is a warning sign and you get to thinking "you have a ways to go, you need to figure this out now".  I mentally overcame it with, make it 2 more miles and you get to see your family again.  Mile 19 comes around, my knees and lower back are giving me extreme grief.  I continue to motivate and will myself to the 20 mile marker where I can see my dad in the near future.  I finally reach him and have a breakdown.  I'm talking I can't move, my knees are locking, and back spasms are occurring in full force.  With a little family support, motivation, and will power I have made my way up to mile 21.  I won't lie, the next couple of miles were pretty much torture.  Around 24.5 miles into the run I have hit the big mama mountain of a hill.  I feel at this point, it is par for the course.  It was a reality check for pain.  If I thought I knew pain, look again!  I make it to mile 26 to find my friend coming up to me to finish the last 0.2 miles with me.  I can't even explain to you what that meant to me.  To see a person running to me meant in my head the end was really near!  Seeing that finish line and running through it really triggered every emotion I could think of.  I cried immediately tears of happiness, pain, disbelief, and much more.  I still today can't believe that I accomplished 26.2 miles in under 6 hours.  It will forever be an experience I never forget.  My only piece of advice to myself next race is to run in flat areas.  I was a little over ambitious in thinking Denver being the same altitude would somehow be easier for me to race in.  I am proud of myself and hope that my story of the training and success that has been occurring over the last 6 months will be encouragement to others that you really can do whatever you put your mind to.  I know it sounds cheesy but sometimes it takes someone you know doing something you or they didn't think they could do to give you new perspective!  Until the next tale!

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