Long Beach MARATHON race recap!

So, sit back, relax and get ready to read the longest race recap of your life. Hey, if I had my go-to vodka-tonics for everyone, I’d be passing them out, so cheers to imaginary celebratory drinks. But, on the bright side, 26.2 miles is a long way to run, and at least you don’t have to run it and you only have to read about it. And yes, I did run the full. It was kind of a secret thing, I guess, but some people knew about it, some didn’t. I felt really disappointed in myself after San Diego and I wanted to give  it another whack without the pressure I put on myself. I do that sometimes, if you couldn’t tell. So that’s what that was about. Onward to the recap!

The day before the marathon, I went to the expo, and I HATE, nay loathe, expos. I hate how grabby and pushy and out of control people are. It’s like they’ve never seen a gu before or they’ve never seen any type of running apparel in their life. It’s like the scene in mean girls where everyone becomes animals and crazy fights break out in the cafeteria. Thus, with my hatred for them, I quickly grabbed my bib, my shirt and peaced out of there. I also parked on a side street and my meter was only holding 25 minutes worth of time because I had no change with me, so I had to get back quickly. I got home and here’s where things got a little interesting. I had a mini-breakdown and freaked out for about three hours. I may or may not have had a panic attack in the Marshall’s dressing room, but that is neither here, nor there. I was starting to think about San Diego and how much it sucked and how I didn’t want it to happen again. It all began when I realized that my tank I had bought for my race was not perfect. I was too scared to wear it on marathon day because I had a small adjustment made, and if it was a training run, I would have totally rocked it, but Sunday was not a training run, I was searching for more than another crappy race, no pun intended. I found another shirt that I ended up wearing that was BRIGHT orange. I like to call it road cone orange. You will see a picture of me next to a road cone, and yes, it’s definitely the same color. Anyways, after a few pep talks with friends, I was feeling much better and my hyperventilation about the race was under control.

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I met up with some folks from twitter and a few runners I was friends with for a carb load and did some serious work on a whole pizza by myself and it was nothing but deliciousness.

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I left dinner and went home and made my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and cut them up and placed them into the respective snack sized bags. I will do a whole post on these, because I’m receiving questions of how this works. It’s an art form I tell you and I will let you in on my secrets. So anyways, I went to bed around 8:45pm after picking up my room and laying out all my race clothes. This was a mistake because I didn’t put my D-chip (timing chip) on my shoe at this time, and would be sad about this later, but I was thankfully able to fall asleep pretty quickly. Possibly with help from the NyQuil I took. :)

I slept pretty soundly but I woke up around 3:30 on marathon morning and couldn’t fall back asleep. I just creeped on facebook and twitter for a while and then when 4:30 came around I decided it would be okay to get up. I was nervous I would be incredibly tired later on, but there was no way I was falling back asleep. I got up, made some nuun and then hopped in the shower. I did my makeup and decided to try to get my monkey buns going since I wasn’t wearing an as fun shirt as my tank I had planned on. NINE RUBBER BANDS LATER, my hair was secure. Yes, I had NINE rubber bands holding my hair down, but it NEVER moved throughout the entire race. I also have a TON of hair, so therefore it was necessary. I was surprised that it never moved, but alas,  I really loved running with them. Anyways, I got ready, ate a pro-max bar and felt good about the race. Here’s my morning tweet: “Guess what, today IS NOT going to suck like San Diego. Today is going to be great! Now, just took a pre-race shower and going to do my hair,” I tweeted throughout the morning and race so I could remember things. I had a feeling that the day was going to be awesome. I just kept telling myself, you KNOW this course, you RUN this town! I got pretty pumped up and was ready to go!

Then, obviously, I had to share this with the twitter universe, “Yup. I knew it. Today is the most excellent day ever. My monkey buns are PERFECT hair!” My hair was perfect, which therefore leads to an only wonderful day right? I woke up DJ who took me down to the starting line which was a little nerve-racking. You see, we live right in the center of the course…with a LOT of one-way streets surrounding our house. We were trapped in a few places for a little while since so many streets were blocked off, but I just kept telling myself that it was okay and that we had more than enough time and we would get there in time. In the car about half way there, I realized I forgot my chip for my shoe to be chipped time. I was SO sad and I almost freaked out, but then I realized, you know what, I have my garmin, it will time me just fine, and it’s not a big deal. There’s nothing I can do about it now, so it’s not worth getting freaked out over. FYI: I asked again for a new one at the starting area, but everyone was just confused and I couldn’t get the chip anymore, they didn’t have any extra. I almost cried, but I manned up and said, I don’t give a —-, today is still my freaking day.

Back to the arrival, finally we got there around 6:30ish and I walked over to the starting line. The race started at 7:00 am. I was ready to go but I had the urge to go to the bathroom. Nervous poops if you will. Well the lines for the bathroom were RIDICULOUS. I know I wasn’t the most prompt person to get there, but seriously, they were like 40 people deep, I kid you not. I knew it wasn’t going to happen so I went to check my bags and just told myself,”You know what, there will be a porta-potty a ways into the race, just stop there you freaking baby and man up.”

Getting into the corrals was a bit chaotic but I crept in and moved forward into the ‘wave’ area and randomly saw my friend Punk Rock Runner in wave 3. I lined up with him and I think that seriously, this is what helped me immensely. We started off and I didn’t start off too fast and like when I was racing back in high school. I just cruised along and told myself that I just had a long ways to go. The morning was PERFECT. The weather was great and I ran with Punkie for a while and then lost him in the pack. I just kept powering through, I was checking my garmin and at around mile 3 I realized that I was going to be okay. I hadn’t felt horrible, my stomach was happy with me thus far and I was just cruising along and loving life. I still had to go to the bathroom, but I held it until mile 8 (weird, I know, but I went in a beach path bathroom that I was familiar with) and just kept checking down the miles.

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The smiles started at mile 4 and they never went away. In this picture I look like a complete goon because I’m smiling so much, but I was just incredibly happy! I remember cruising down PCH in the heart of downtown Long Beach and being surrounded by people and the big buildings and I almost had tears in my eyes, the sun was just rising over the buildings and I kept thinking, “This is it! This is my city and I OWN THIS!” I was so excited and my heart was so full of joy. It sounds so lame, but it was the best feeling ever. I saw all the spectators and waved, like I knew them? what was I? in a beauty pageant? and kept chugging along happy as a clam.

Mile 6, I ate my first sandwich and tweeted this, “10k at 55:55 feeling fing greT!!!! Today is my day!!!!! 1sandwich down!!! Wahoooooooooio” Running and tweeting = not the best spelling, but I was so happy that I felt good. I wanted to keep those updated who were going to try to track me online so I decided to tweet throughout the race. It’s really not that hard. I would just whip out my phone from my iFitness belt and then get on twitter and read some inspiring messages and just type back something quick. I swear, you can do it too, if you want. :) There were always people around me, but I was never boxed in or anything or scared that I would hit people. And I might add that maybe I’m just a brilliant multi-tasker. I thought to myself at this point, I only have 20 miles to go. I’ve done that before and I can do it right now, gosh darnit! I saw Billy riding around on his bike and that cheered me up and I was just in the zone, some weird happy zone. Billy also handed me little bottles of nuun and water throughout the race and he was a lifesaver. Mile 8 was a quick stop to the bathroom and then back on the course. I felt great after that.

Around mile 9, I started getting really giddy. I was almost to mile 10, and at mile ten there were only 16 miles to go. That’s just like a long training run. We also passed my house right at mile 10ish, and I looked down my street and smiled at everyone nearby. It was my home turf! I just kept thinking, “I run this town, I do it all the time, every day, I CAN do this.” This was when the biggest goofiest smile became plastered to my face and it never left after this moment. The miles between around 12-20 were cool because you could see the people ahead of you, including the winners of the race running to the finish. I saw Punkie again and a few other friends and smiled and cheered for them. My spirits were soaring. I ate my 2nd sandwich at mile 12 and then burped for a while which was horrible, but I just laughed and laughed and was like oh my, I’ll have to blog about that one! Sadly, this is what my life had become! HA! Once we got to the halfway point, I tweeted this, “Mule 13 at 1:56!!!!!! Saw team Hoyt!!!! Rocking lb!!!!!!!!!!!! Hrelllll ya!!!!!!” Again, my apologies for the horrible spelling. If you haven’t heard of Team Hoyt, you can see their story here, grab some Kleenex too. Come to find out, I THOUGHT I saw them and felt so inspired and great but it was a team that was like them and actually really wasn’t them. Either way, they were super inspiring and I knew that I was half way done. I COULD do this.

Mile 16-18 were a blur besides the GIANT grin on my face. I remember being pretty freaking happy the entire time, and I was smiling and waving at everyone and bobbing my head to the music and sometimes, yes I was mouthing the words. It was a WEIRD but AMAZING feeling. I said stuff in my head like, “This is how it’s suppose to be!” and “This is it! This is what I was meant for! FINALLY!!” It was the race I dreamed of, seriously, it was all I wanted. I saw the time on my watch and I was just so happy with how things were going. I slapped hands and told people to cheer for us as we ran through Long Beach State, and was on FIRE, the good kind. I ate some sport beans at mile 16 and around mile 17 I took an orange from some guy. It was right around mile 18.5 I saw my cousin and I was so excited she came out. She passed me off a bottle of nuun that I grabbed and ran with for about 2 miles and drank from. She snapped this pic of me as I ran by.

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Yea, my butt… um. Will discuss that later. Anyways, I think it was around this point that I realized I might break four hours, which was my goal that I didn’t tell you guys. I wanted to do that, but I just didn’t know if I had it in me, especially after San Diego and my little broken spirit. I saw some more cheerers and just kept cruising and I saw some balloons in front of me. It was the FOUR HOUR PACE GROUP! I had talked to a girl earlier in the race who asked me what my goals were, and I said, “Um, break four?” Just saying that to her scared me, because I almost didn’t want to verbalize it and then hit some crazy wall at mile 20. She told me I looked really strong and was right on pace and I should just keep going. It was her 11th marathon. I said “Alright! Thanks!” and left her behind me. So when I saw the pace group I was excited and just kept smiling and running.  Then, this happened, “Just PASSEs the four. Hourpace group!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m going to try to hold on!!!!!! No matter what, I can’t stop smiling!!!!!” Which made me so happy, and I couldn’t stop smiling, because I was getting closer and closer to breaking four hours.  Wait, do you guys realize how much I was smiling? Did I mention that? All of a sudden I was at mile 20. 6.2 miles to go! The smile was SO huge when I saw that number and I guess my joy called for twitter cussing. “Passed mile 20 bitches!!!!! 2:59!!!!! 6.2 to gooooooooo”

I just kept running and around mile 22 is where my feet started to hurt. I just kept telling myself, “Well you know what, if it didn’t hurt, EVERYONE would be doing it!” and “This is SUPPOSE to hurt! Come ON, only 6 miles to go!” I kept passing people, left and right, and I realized that starting in the back of the race was the absolute best idea ever for me personally. I know in high school my coaches always knew I LOVED the chase. They would get mad at me because I would stay with a girl the whole race and never take the lead until the last 800 or 400. This made them freak out, but I just do really well running like that. I also think I love to chase people when I race because then I “know” my goal. Well today it was like one giant chase of everyone! I also realized if I start out with people around my ‘pace’ I get so caught up with the people around me and I can’t hang on like that and then I die. Yesterday, starting from the back meant that I was passing everyone! Another goal I had was not to walk at all and Sunday I NEVER walked, which was amazing. I felt great the entire race.

Slowly, the miles kept ticking away, and I kept going, thinking each step was closer to the finish line, and closer to being done and closer to breaking 4 hours. “Mile 22 at 3:15. Yaaaaaaaaaaaa haven’t walked yet! I’m feeling line I’m on druggfggs” Classic tweeting right there I tell you. I would read some replies to me from twitter and just wanted to keep doing so good! I felt so great. I thought that seriously maybe I really was on drugs. I even wondered if the sport beans were laced with crack? I took lemonade from a little girl around mile 22.5 after chugging up a somewhat tiring hill. Then, I started to hurt at mile 23.5 and a friend saw me and ran with me for a bit which kept me going, and finally I told him, “You know what, I’m close, I can do this, I gotta focus and do this!” I pumped up the jams and just kept chugging away. It seemed like throughout the entire race my music was perfect. I only had to skip a few songs but for the most part I was just rocking out to some sweet jams that totally matched my mood and giddiness. Also, around this time is where the barrage of pictures began. Oh and I know, they are bigger than normal. :) Enjoy.

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See, told you my shirt is seriously the same color as the road cones! I figured if I died on the course somewhere at least no one would run me over :) I also got this shirt because I will stand out in night running, if I ever do some night running this winter.

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There’s that happy face! So, incredibly happy I can’t even explain it to you.

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The Long Beach “beach” in the background. I LOVE this city. I RAN this city! :)

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Yay! Me next to my twin, the road cone. :) This was right at mile 24 and obviously I was SUPER excited. I have never seen a picture like this before. What the HECK was I thinking? Jazz hands much? Billy is also taking some sweet pictures of me on his bike. So thankful for great friends like him and my other friend Nina who cheered for me and snapped some great shots as well.

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Yup, don’t worry, the jazz hands didn’t end there! I told you don’t wave at the camera because you’ll look like an idiot. Looks like I need to take some of my own advice.

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Um yea, so about those shorts. They were new and a birthday gift from my friend Ann who I have been doing all my long training runs with. I hadn’t worn the shorts before but she was running Chicago the same day I was running Long Beach and wanted to wear them to remind me of her running across the country at the same time. Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the shorts. But, um, I might as well worn some bunsies because these are like sprint racing shorts! DANG. I’m sorry to the entire city of Long Beach for the showcase of my butt the entire race.

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That’s when I told Billy to not take a picture behind me because my butt was hanging out. I, as shown above, tried to cover it up. He was telling me, “Oh, thanks for making me look like a GIANT PERV!” ha ha, I didn’t realize it but yes, it did make him look rather… interesting. :)

I ran with Billy who was on a bike for a while, who was a freaking pack mule for me out there and saved me big time, and then, out of NOWHERE, my little brother pulls up next to me on his beach cruiser. UM….. TEAR!

He rode the last mile and a half with me and then veered off the course to meet me with my cousin at the finish line. Yes, tear, seriously. The fact that Baby Koo showed up was totally unexpected, but the route had gone by his house and he had just missed me, and rode his bike all the way down the path to meet up with me. When he rolled up next to me he was sweaty and was like, “What’s up?” My brother is a typical California surfer boy and has that super laid back attitude. He is three years younger than me and a lifeguard at a local beach and just him rolling up in his slippers and cruising with me was such a treat. I was so excited he came out and was also very shocked. He kept saying things like, “Dude, you ran so far. I’m so tired from biking here! This was like FOUR MILES!” :) He was hilarious and kept me going until the end. I listened to some Kanye “Stronger” and just kept telling myself that the finish line was so close and I was going to break four and I couldn’t dilly dally! I had to make it there in time. The last .2 I just flew down the downhill and into the chute and got my medal, with a huge grin across my face. I had done it. I finished according to Claude, 3:55:37, and though it wasn’t “official”, and yes, someone told me already it didn’t count since I’m an idiot and forgot my chip, it’s still freaking official in my book buddy and I didn’t stop Claude ever, I swear on my life! :) There were moments when I thought I had turned him off or stopped him and I constantly was checking my time and making sure he was ticking away. As soon as I crossed the finish line, and I made sure I was well past it, I stopped Claude, to this glorious, GLORIOUS number.

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WELL hello there pretty number 3!! I was so happy. After I was done I immediately drank two chocolate milks and someone handed me a cup with some ‘protein balls?’ I’d never heard of them but I ate two and they were delicious, even though they are called protein balls. They were passing out cupcakes and I took one but I just wasn’t famished and didn’t want to eat it so I put it in my cup and gave it to my brother. :)

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Baby Koo and I after the race, on his beach cruiser.

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YAY! I was so happy he was there. :) And that is the cupcake, in the cup!

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My cousin who came out and helped me out along the course. Looks like we both love Nike with those shirts :) So glad she was there and could hand me off some nuun. She also kept some of my twitter friends updated too!

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Starting the LONG walk back to the car. Ha ha, that took me a while but I still felt great and yup, you guessed it, couldn’t stop smiling!

I got to the finish and I had that feeling that was missing from San Diego, that feeling like, oh yea marathon, WHAT NOW?! And I felt accomplished and amazing and still to this day cannot stop smiling. That feeling was surely missing from San Diego. After San Diego I felt defeated and hurt. I  am working on a different post and I will get it done soon that is touching on some  emotional things that I was feeling after LB compared to SD, because I swore up and down I would NEVER run another marathon. Well guess what, I ran another one, dominated it, and can’t wait for my next one. Crazy? YES!

For all those who care, here are my splits.

1-9:35

2-8:52

3-8:49

4-8:48

5-8:10

6-8:48

7-8:31

8-8:37

9-9:35

10-8:29

11-8:53

12-8:30

13-8:17

14-8:35

15-8:34

16-8:43

17-8:42

18-8:55

19-8:55

20-9:02

21-9:15

22-9:14

23-8:55

24-9:10

25-9:29

26-9:23

.55 (according to garmin, I suck at running tangents) – 4:33

My Garmin said my average pace was 8:53 per mile. According to the race results, if I would have been chip timed, (grrrrrr!) my 3:55 would have brought me in about 16th in my age group, 180th female and 750th overall, which is pretty darn good, considering the race had a lot of entrants.

Here are some race logistics for the uber runners too. I took water at almost every water stop and drank it while running. I also ate at mile 6 (pb and j) 12 (pb and j) 16 (6 sport beans) 20 (15 sport beans), not stopping at any point to eat. I took an orange at mile 18 and also drank a lot of nuun and mostly stuck to water on the course but had 2 cups of power aide as well. I also “stopped” at the “Kool-n-fit” stations and allowed them to spray both the front and back of both my legs. That was amazingly BOMB and I think helped a lot. At mile 23ish I took some lemonade from a little girl. I randomly ran by a ‘Vaseline’ board and grabbed a ton of and put it in between my thighs so I wouldn’t chafe even though I had body glide already on around mile 14. It was kind of weird, but worked like a charm because I didn’t chafe anywhere.

My shirt is by Nike, which I got at Marshalls. My shorts are by New Balance and this is the link to some that are identical, but have a little bit longer inseam which makes them more wearer friendly, unless you want your butt to be out and about like mine was. I was wearing the iFitness belt and had my Nathan detachable pouch attached to it.

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Of course, the day wouldn’t be complete without an ice bath! I DIED in this one. I think the combination of a ton of ‘kool-n-fit’ and the ice was a little intense because I was dying, but I hung tight for 15 minutes and I know it will help in recovery. As for how I felt the day after? Well, you may or may not be surprised but I still can’t stop smiling. My feet are what hurts the most, and my quads hurt when I walk, but hey, I ran a marathon right? I did a recovery run of 1.3 miles in 13.54 last night and it was SLOW but I still was in happyland about my excellent race. I used the stick after and that was pretty painful but  I know that no pain is no gain! As for today, I feel back to about 75%, which is decent for just kicking serious marathon butt. I’m sure people who saw me running last night thought I was some kind of crazy. I was grimacing and just focusing on getting my feet moving and quads shaken out. I won’t be running again until at least Friday. I know giving my feet and toes the proper time to heal is important, but I can’t wait to run again! I came back with one bloody toe and three relatively large blisters, and only one is painful but it’s healing up nicely.

So as of right now, I’m still so happy, and I can’t wait to run my next marathon. Yup, there’s more in the works! I’ll let you in on those plans soon, but I’m just going to sit and glow for a while.

Thank you to all the words of encouragement, the pep talks I’ve had, the friends I’ve met and made throughout this journey, and all those who never stopped believing in me. I knew I would finally have my race and it happened in a glorious fashion. I am SO happy to report how it went, because it was all I dreamed that my perfect race would hold. Literally last night before I fell asleep, I thought, did that really happen? Amazing, and yes, I woke up this morning with a smile still on my face.

xoxo

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104 Responses to Long Beach MARATHON race recap!

  1. Linzay says:

    I love this race report! Makes me want to run another marathon so bad! I would have definitely cried if I had forgotten my timing chip. You’re a sport for brushing it off!

  2. Pingback: So…. I’m Engaged! | Chic Runner

  3. Hi! I found your blog through mile-posts. I loved your recap of the Long Beach Marathon. It definitely made me laugh-I can’t believe you can tweet while running a sub 4 hour marathon! I just moved to CA and I’m running the Long Beach Marathon in a couple weeks. I’m hoping to have as great as a day as you did at it.

  4. Jessica says:

    I ran the Long Beach Marathon yesterday and it was my best race yet- I too have a perma-smile today :) Loved the course, and feel so proud of myself! Feel like I have a kindred spirit in you- although I was nowhere near a sub-4, I did run 4:27 which is my PR. Thanks for the recap!

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