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2011 Oakland Marathon Race Report

(I’m sorry all the pictures are left justified.) So this past weekend I traveled up to Oakland to complete my back to back marathon quest. I was greeted with rainy weather when I landed in Oakland, but for the most part it was fairly dry when Tara and I headed to the Expo on Saturday. We grabbed our bags and shirts and headed back out to Walnut Creek. We ate a TON of stuff on Saturday and it was amazing. I have never eaten so much food in my life. From breakfast burritos, to cookies, to a ton of candy. Yum. We kept everything pretty low key on Saturday and just hung out. In bed by 10:30 for our early morning rise the next day, I was feeling pretty normal and was set to go. We laid out all our clothes and before I knew it my alarm was going off.

We made it to Oakland in really good time and sat in the car for an hour before walking out to the start line. It was quite a change to be nice and toasty before the race, and we also had much more time to ‘sleep’ in compared to last weekend. We finally got everything situated and left the car around 7:00 for the race that was starting at 7:30. We hit up the portapotties and walked over to the start. That’s the nice thing about smaller races, there are way less lines, no extreme crowding and people pushing and just overall less lunatics. We found some friends at the start and stayed by them before the gun went off.

 

I seriously barely remember these photos being taken. I don’t know why I was so excited at that point, but I think I was pretty much dreading that gun going off and when I’m nervous I get really excited and weird. Like on a plane, I’m so that girl who just talks to you because I actually hate flying. So we chit chatted and both T and I were feeling very good. Well as good as you can when you are at the start line of a marathon. Before we knew it the gun was off and T and I both were ready to get this one done. I started my jams…

We were about 1/4 of the mile in when the same song came on my headphones. I thought oh silly little thing, you are playing the same song. I go to the next song and it starts over. I go to the next song and it starts over. I start fiddling with it to try to find new folders. Nope, Kanye Stronger starts over and over and over. THIS IDIOT UPDATED THE WRONG PLAY LIST ON HER WALKMAN AND HAS ONE SONG. I about gave up right then. Seriously, I had just made a new play list with SO many awesome songs on it and WHAM. I was stuck with ONE. I told T and she immediately took out her music too. I seriously can’t ask for a better friend. We chugged along and were feeling pretty good. The hills were a little relentless but we really were doing awesome and both felt fine. The miles kept ticking by. There was some nice greenery but you run next to a freeway for some of it and through some town areas. It was really cool to see so many police officers not only patrolling the course, but also cheering for the runners and becoming a part of the “crowd” that was out there. I am a firm believer in that if you are out on a course, waiting for someone, whoever that person may be, you might as well cheer the whole time you are out there. It’s sad to run by people with this dead look in their eyes and they just stare at you! Here’s some pictures of the two of us going through the hills of Oakland.

Anyways, so back to the hills. Pretty killer, but I knew that they ‘ended’ around mile 10 and we had a huge downhill. Now when I say huge downhill, I didn’t know it was a quad thrashing, knee murdering, foot annihilating downhill. It was REALLY steep. I am all for downhill, but I thought I would face plant on this bad boy and roll my way down. It was pretty painful and went on for a mile. At that point I think I remember telling Tara, for the love, can it just be FLAT! I felt like we were going up and down and up and down and down, down, DOWN! I think I would be scared to go down that path in a car it was so steep. Thankfully my body didn’t bottom out.  After that we were feeling pretty good and the miles kept ticking away

I was trying to get the steep hill but it doesn’t look like it in this photo, but I did manage to look cross eyed!

This was our experience after the steep hills. I was ready to end the race at about the half way point. Those hills were pretty hard to travel down, but after that, we also knew we were half way done so that was positive. We were determined to keep trucking forward. Around mile 15, T started having major foot issues. She is by far the toughest girl I know and so I know when she is hurting, she is REALLY hurting. What she puts up with I would be on the ground crying 20 miles before she would even say anything about the pain. We started doing a little bit of a walk break after she had to untie her shoe because her foot was swollen. We were both feeling okay up until around mile 18. T kept telling me to go ahead, but there was no way I was leaving her after she pulled me through LA last weekend. We decided to do t his together and what’s being miserable by yourself, when you can be miserable together? There were moments when I knew she was in so much pain she was going to cry. I could just feel it. It’s the worst when that happens, because you don’t even know what to say, but I knew if she cried, I would have cried too, so we kept pushing forward and encouraging each other.

We went through some really strange areas of town. I remember running through a pretty bad part of town, which was interesting. There were not too many people out supporting but there but the people who were so thankful for us running in Oakland were really sweet and the people out were awesome to see. It was still awesome to see so many cops not only directing traffic, but cheering for us. There was one tunnel that I remember that a bunch of Oakland Raider fans were underneath it and though it was crazy to see a bunch of grown men as gorillas and pirates, it was cool that they came out to support us.

This was the area around the lake that was a little flooded. Tara and I were so worried about falling into the lake! So we walked around on the small area that wasn’t flooded and muddy. I didn’t know they got a picture of this and it’s so awkward. I was struggling to not fall into the duck pond!

Finally we hit mile 20 and we were both just worn out at this point. Our muscles were not really hurting but both our joints and Tara’s foot was hurting a lot. No jams to pump us up was a little bit disheartening as well. At this point, we both knew we were so close to the finish, but those last 6 miles never get any easier. We both struggled and decided that we would walk the first .25 of every mile for the last 6 miles and then run the last .75 of the mile. It was nice to see the mile markers and know that we would get to walk. Around mile 22, I really started to struggle and it was my turn to hold back the tears for some reason. I just couldn’t pull it together and everything was just wearing on me and I was really struggling not to cry. When I cry and run I almost can’t breath, so that is not good. T saw I was struggling and kept encouraging me to keep going and that we were almost done.

FINALLY we saw the mile marker 25. The last few miles were around a lake, which was pretty nice, but the camber was a little hard on the ankles, especially at those high miles. There was a little bit of a trail in this section and it was a little rough being so late in the race. When we saw that mile marker though, the end was in sight and I knew we were going to make it. I never though that it would be so long and torturous but we were finally in the final stretch of our maniac march.

The last mile was a little uphill and we started running about half way away from mile 26. I was struggling but T kept telling me that we were almost there and I couldn’t believe it when we turned the corner and saw the finish line up ahead! I couldn’t believe it. I never thought that I would do two marathons in a month none the less in two weeks! I struggled a lot but I feel like I am a much stronger person because of it. I feel like I can conquer anything! It sounds so cliche but it’s true. Though our time still wasn’t what I thought it would be, it was 1o minutes faster than my LA marathon time the weekend before, and if we would have raced it, I know we would have come in around 4:45, no problem.

The tigers are extinct! Not only did I find out a lot about myself on the double journey, but I found that I have an awesome friend in Tara, which I knew from before but now I know we are more bonded than ever before. We have been maniac sisters for a year but this really strengthened our relationship and I know that she will always be there for me no matter what. It was amazing to spend that much time with her and I truly value our friendship and maniachood! We both started it together and finished together and pulled each other through.

Though looking back I feel like an idiot because it’s totally unnecessary to do what we did, but at the same time, I’m glad we did it together and that neither of us let the other one quit. Poor T has a serious bad sprain in her ankle and is laid up in a boot for two and a half weeks! :( What a trip and a memory, one for the books for sure!

Last night I hit the gym and felt awesome, so awesome that I went out and felt great on a 4 mile run and it was amazing. I’m pretty sure my legs are so happy that I’m doing some shorter distances for a while. All my miles were sub-9 minute miles and my legs felt so fresh and happy. Take that marathons! No mas!

xoxo

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