So, I told you I wanted to post about how I really felt after San Diego and how I felt after Long Beach. There were some pretty drastic differences after both races for pretty apparent reasons. I’ll start it off with my first marathon, San Diego.
I had some high expectations for San Diego before the gun even went off, but for some odd reason I knew it wasn’t going to be this amazing, great race that I had visualized in my head. When I woke up that morning of the race, I wasn’t excited and I felt vastly unprepared. I realized looking back on my training for San Diego, I was on a six day plan and was running a pretty hardcore workout regiment. It includes a lot of different workouts including speed workouts, hill workouts, cross training, long runs and the such. Looking back now, I have come to realize that before the race even started I was so burnt out, I wanted nothing to do with running. I had literally run myself into the ground. I remember the few weeks leading up to San Diego my blog posts weren’t much about running at all, because I hated running. Every long run it seemed that I got sick, and I felt like maybe magically, on race day, that wouldn’t happen. I was exhausted all the time, beat up and sore from running so much, and I felt like I had no life besides waking up, working, running and sleeping. I may not be the most social bug around, but I wanted to be able to hang out with my friends when I wanted and not be sore every morning and every night. I was seriously miserable. I trained and trained my butt off and I still felt like I was going to suck come race day. I had a secret goal for San Diego. It was to qualify for Boston. I NEVER verbalized that, because I felt like it was so ludicrous, but I also thought that maybe, maybe come race day I would be able to pull out some kind of miracle. I couldn’t have been farther from the qualifying time. But I thought SURELY I would be able to break four hours. I mean, even on a bad day. Wrong again.
Then it was race day. Race day didn’t go as planned. AT ALL. If you missed the race recap you can read it here, but the quick and dirty, no pun intended, was that I got really sick, made eight different stops at porta-potties and was graced with a visit from Aunt Flo at mile 8, which I was also unprepared for. My body hurt from being sick and my mind was not in the right place to run a marathon. I was exhausted, sad and felt like a failure. All I could think about was how horrible it was. Around mile 13 I seriously thought about quitting. My whole body was already aching and it just wasn’t my day. I realized that when my whole body was hurting and it was only mile 13, I had a long way to go. I felt defeated and horrible and that feeling never left me throughout the race. I didn’t want to walk during the race and when I began to walk off and on starting and mile 18, I felt horrible. I felt like I was a failure because I had NEVER walked. I felt like crying the entire race and was not happy with anything going on around me. It seemed like every step I was on the verge of tears. I sniffled as I passed all the other cheerers along the course, and wanted to just curl up in a ball on the side of the road and die.
I remember being in the porta-potties along the course and thinking I might have to throw up. I remember thinking about my hands being on the floor of the porta-pottie and I wanted to cry even more. I remember thinking about not ever even coming out of the porta-potties and just crawling off the course the next night. I remember there was an out and back section, and literally, at that point, I thought about if anyone would see me if I went under the tape and just started running again. I thought about cheating?! What the heck was wrong with me. I know it was just a mess. Then when I finally got to the finish line, I felt nothing. No sense of accomplishment, no joyous “I just finished a marathon!”, and no pride. I felt like I sucked at life. I felt like all my training was for nothing, and I swore as soon as I crossed the finish line I would NEVER run another marathon. EVER. They were stupid, and pointless, and worthless. All that training, all that time, all that exhaustion and dedication for a medal? I was never going to win a marathon. I wasn’t going to go to the Olympics, and I sure as heck wasn’t going to waste my time again. No thank you. I remember driving home and just thinking about how stupid I was for thinking I could possibly qualify for Boston. I finished in 4:28. I walked a lot of the course towards the end. I was exhausted, sick, and horrified at what had just happened.
The San Diego marathon was on May 31st. After the marathon I wanted nothing to do with running. I was disappointed in myself and my “performance.” The whole month of June, I ran 21 miles. I was averaging around 40 miles a week before that. I didn’t run at all really, and that was fine with me. After the muscles started to heal, and I could walk again, and not death grip the wall while going to the bathroom and stairs were my friend again, a little thought crept into my head. The pain I had experienced at San Diego slowly faded. The hatred I had for 26.2 was residing in my heart, but I started to think that maybe if I did things a little differently for my training plan and didn’t train for 18 weeks before the race and wasn’t so burnt out come race day, maybe, just maybe, I would do better. I started to realize that the reason I got sick on every training run was because me + GU = disastrous. I did everything to try out different ways and I tried numerous different kinds, but my body and GU just don’t get along. That’s when peanut butter and jellies began.
I talked to my friend, The Running Laminator, to make me a plan for Long Beach, and I told him I wasn’t going to tell anyone I was going to run Long Beach so that I could possibly take some of the pressure of myself that I put on myself (if you couldn’t tell). I told him I wanted to run 4 days a week, and I didn’t have time to do anything over 10 miles on work days, and only one long run a week, and I wanted to have rest days, where I didn’t do anything. He worked up a great plan for me, and there were NO speed workouts, NO hill workouts, just simple miles. That was it and that plan worked perfectly for me. I ran my miles, some were fast if I wanted to run fast, and some were slow if I was tired. I did my long runs and began to test out different fueling ideas and I started to slowly like running again.
I also had a great race in San Fransisco with some of my favorite girls (aron, tara, maritza) and one boy (billy) that revived my love for racing as well. Talking to them really helped me gain confidence and I’m so grateful for our friendships. For my training plan that Lam made for me, I only did one 20 miler, and though it was tough, but not stopping to go to the bathroom was a huge success for me. I actually was starting to get excited about the race because a lot of my training runs were done along the same route in Long Beach. As training went on, I was getting a little tired, but I didn’t experience the hatred for running I had before. I only trained for about 10 weeks. Granted I already had a pretty decent base but still, that’s not very long for many, but it was more than enough for me.
Around week 7, I got a little burnt out and just wanted to sleep, but once I got through that week I was fine because it was almost taper. The race kept getting closer and closer and I wanted to tell everyone I was running a marathon but I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to fail like I had in San Diego. I never posted my goals on here because that would have given away my secret, but I also didn’t run the entire race week. I was tired and caught up on sleep and thought to myself, you know what, I can’t do anything to change things now, might as well just go with it. The day before the race I had my mini-freak out, but even then, I thought to myself, you know what, whatever is going to happen is going to happen. Stop freaking out. Some encouraging words were helpful to calm me down too.
Then it was race morning, and I was scared because I was almost as calm as I was during San Diego. I felt okay but I also told myself that it was going to be different and I HAD this. As I said many times in my race report, I was ready to do this and I kept telling myself that throughout the morning. I thought about not running the whole week, and told myself “Welp, there’s nothing I can do about it now.” When I forgot my timing chip, I almost, almost broke down, but said the same thing about having nothing to do about it now. The gun went off and though I was so scared of what was going to happen, I told myself to be happy and to just enjoy it this time. I think that’s what made such a huge difference. I didn’t start off too fast, I didn’t get sick, and once I realized that I felt fine, the only thing I worried about hitting the wall. I enjoyed the race finally. I soaked in the spectators, the signs, the small things that I spent all of San Diego scowling at. I talked to runners around me and cheered for those who started to walk, I focused on MYSELF and running MY RACE. I think that’s what made me the happiest. I wanted redemption for MYSELF, and that’s what finally happened. I spent the entire race enjoying myself and loving to run and having fun. The wall was brief and I made it over easily, but I still can’t believe how happy I was, the entire time I was running.
When I crossed the finish line, I was excited and happy and full of joy. My heart was bursting with all the emotions that had been missing before. I felt like I just kicked some serious butt. I reached my goal of breaking four, I ran my tail off and I felt great and THAT was the feeling I wanted after San Diego. I felt like I did something worthwhile and my training paid off and I was and still am so happy. I know San Diego was my first, but Long Beach was my race that I wanted my first marathon to be like. I’m SO incredibly glad for the 2nd chance that I gave the marathon, and though it took a lot of hard work, and it took me to realize that I needed to give it another chance, I’m glad I did because it was totally worth it to get those feelings and to feel that happiness and like I had accomplished something.
I’ve just come to realize I guess, that through those two events, that not everything will always be perfect, not every run is going to be excellent and not every run is going to be a pr or feel great, but bottom line is the fact that you did it, that means more than any number on a clock, or medal that you got. I really believe that if I didn’t give it another shot, I would have been even more disappointed in myself. Sometimes, as they say it’s all about getting back on the proverbial horse. I’m glad I gave marathoning a second chance because it’s finally nice to have a great marathon story, and something that I know I will always cherish as my favorite race. It’s nice to have worked hard and had it pay off. It’s also nice to say I’ve run marathons. Yup, plural! If you don’t believe I was so happy this weekend, I got the race pictures online and took some, and I might, possibly, save up and buy the $60 dollar CD for myself, because I have never seen myself look so happy before.
I don’t even know where this was, but again, happy, happy smiles.
This was seriously towards the end of the race and I looked this happy! I was getting closer to the finish and just wanted to be done, but still, I haven’t seen myself smile that big in a long time.
Are there words for these pictures? Seriously.
So second chances, sometimes work out for the best.
This is my favorite picture, hands down.
Speeding my way down to the finish and breaking four hours.
Happy as a little clam I tell you.