Monday, December 12, 2011

Now I'm a Marathoner

CIM 2004
On December 4th, 2011 I completed a full marathon, the California International Marathon! 26.2 miles! For the last seven years I have been dreaming of accomplishing this goal. I had attempted this same marathon when I was training with Team in Training in 2004 but I didn't get further than mile six due to a knee injury. At the time I was in physical therapy and everyone knew I wouldn't be able to complete the race but I wanted to try. After all, I had been training for months and I didn't want to just give up before even trying. After that disappointing day I realized how much I really wanted to cross the finish line but that dream seemed way out of my reach.

June 2010
In 2010 I decided to try to run again. I signed up for a local 5K and started training. It was frustrating starting from scratch but liberating at the same time. I was very careful to increase my mileage slowly and paid close attention to my knee. Everything went well, the training and the race, and running spark was lit again. I continued to run a race every month for the rest of 2010.

January 2011
It felt great to be running again and to be apart of the huge running community here in town. I continued to run a race every month in 2011 but also accomplished some bigger goals. There was a half marathon in the bay area on my 31st birthday. I thought completing that would be an awesome way to celebrate me getting another year older so I registered and started increasing my mileage even more. The race was great! I killed my goal time by about fifteen minutes and even though I was exhausted and barely made it to the finish line on my feet I felt accomplished .
Mermaid half on my birthday
I ended up doing another half marathon in 2011 but after mile one my calf muscle spasmed (I never felt anything like that before) so I walked/hobbled my way through the rest of the 13.1 mile course and across the finish line. It was kind of a bummer to not be able to run the course but, I still had no knee pain.

I don't really know when or why but I decided to train for CIM-the same marathon I was forced to drop out of years before. I ran my long runs on the weekends either around my neighborhood or along the bike path that follows the river. My weekday workouts were done at the gym and I was luck enough  have my family so willing to help with watching my kids.

weekend training run
The last month and a half leading up to race day was not so good. I was sick a lot and the season change caused some problems with both my asthma and allergies. I skipped a lot of workouts and some of my long runs. I was worried that was going to reflect negatively during the race but as I stood at the start with 8,000 other runners I felt ready. I knew that I was strong and I could get through the race. I really had no regrets about my training, only my shoes.

I had planned on going to my favorite running store a few weeks before the race to get fitted for a good pair of shoes but I never made the time to go. That was the biggest mistake I made. The shoes I had been training in were really roomy in the toes and this, I found out, was not a good thing. The bottoms of my feet felt raw and were burring from sliding in those roomy toed shoes on every downhill stretch. By the time I got to mile fourteen it was almost unbearable. I had to take a lot more walking breaks through out the race than I had planned and before I knew it, the event trucks were driving by and cleaning up the aid tables and the mile markers. That was so discouraging.
Hi Dad! I made to mile 13 this time!

One of the highlights of the day at mile thirteen. That's where my parents, sister and cousin live. They all live on a little street just off of Fair Oaks and they all came out to cheer me on. My husband and kids were there too. It was great having them out there. I defiantly didn't feel the pain in my feet when I was running by them. Just seeing them smile and yelling my name made me so happy. My dad was a runner and I think I made him proud.

shoe switch at mile 20
Around mile fourteen I sent a text to my husband asking him to meet me at mile 20 with another pair of shoes. That made a big difference in the comfort of my feet but so much damage had already been done I still couldn't run much. My friends also met me at mile 20 and one of them joined me for a few miles. That was really awesome. He was a great support.

Finally I was running past Capitol Park so I knew I getting really close to the finish and on the corner I saw my husband and our two kids. They were all excited for me and that gave me the extra little boost I needed. The kids ran with me to the finish shoot then went around to the finish so they could see me cross. After 6 hours, 46 minutes and 26 seconds, I crossed the finish line. I met my family after receiving my medal in front of the State Capital and I was beaming. I did it! I completed a full marathon and I was still standing.

Afterwards we went to my dad's house and I got a good look at my poor feet. I ended up with red patches all over the tops and bottoms of them and the mother-of-all-blisters on one of my toes. I can't believe I was running on that thing. The blister hurt for two days and caused me to limp around the house.

I knew that the marathon distance was going to be tough for me when I started training. I trained and raced with the mindset that this was going to be my only marathon. After months and months of training I was excited for race day so it would be over. The day following the race I was glad I had done it and glad that it was over but now, a week later, I'm disappointed about my time. Really I just wanted to finish but I had a secondary goal of finishing in five hours and my time was almost two hours past that. So now I keep finding myself wondering if I could finish in a better time... I don't know... the training is pretty grueling but maybe someday I'll change my mind and run another. For now I'm planning my goals for 2012 and so far there isn't a full marathon on that list.    

Am I more happy I did it or because it's over?



Mrs. Danielle M. Lenox said...

I love you Anna. You inspire me so much. From your example of parenting, to your devotion to your spouse, and your ability to still set and accomplish your personal goals. We have been friends a long time and I feel truely blessed for that friendship. We don't talk every day, or every month but I know I can always call you when I need you, and I know you can do the same. After all I think we've rescued each other a few times :) Reminds me of something we memorized long ago.....

Mrs. Danielle M. Lenox said...

"The rose of the valley may wither,
The pleasure of youth pass away,
But friendships will blossom forever,
while all other flowers decay."