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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Here I am!

Here I am! I did survive my first marathon on December 2, 2012! I am officially a marathoner! Yay!

For those who have been wondering, I am sorry I left you hanging for so, so long. December brought some unexpected distractions and I feel like I'm just realizing its January, even though we're over half way through it. Yikes. Nonetheless, here I am 1-1/2 months later and 26.2 miles further into the amazing journey that is my life.

As I left off, I grew increasingly nervous as I got closer to the California International Marathon (CIM). Not only had my training not gone as plan due to injury (aka IT Band issues), but the weather became a huge factor. In past years, the CIM would generally fall on a cool, crisp day, but no such luck for me. It was stormy, wet weather with 30-50 mph winds. I must have checked the weather forecast hundreds of times in the days leading up to it, hoping to see a calmer forecast (and I swear when I went to bed the night before, the forecast was calmer), but when I woke up I quickly learned that was wrong. The weather was pretty horrendous. Northern California was in the middle of a huge storm and the very worst of it had been predicted during the marathon and that prediction held true. Luckily the rain wasn't a terribly cold rain, so I did (and do) appreciate that it could have been worse. But it was still pretty bad for my first marathon.

As I mentioned, I grew terribly nervous leading up to the marathon (aka I was a basket case), yet I woke up that morning surprisingly calm. Actually knowing that the weather would be horrible was comforting. There was one less unknown when I woke up to run 26.2 miles because everything felt like an unknown:

"Would I be able to run 26.2 miles since my longest training run had been 15 miles?" At least 20 miles is what most programs recommend, but due to injury I had to back down on my miles in hopes of a recovery before CIM.

"Would my injury stop me from completing the race?" Just a month prior, I completed my third half marathon and did 10 out of 13 miles in a fair amount of pain. And that was just half the distance. I was scared. You might be wondering why I still continued to train and then run the CIM with an injury. All I can say is that I had put in a lot of time, miles, and heart into my training. And as scary as it felt, my heart knew I had to try.

"Would I be able to stay fueled throughout the race, knowing that it was going to take me hours to complete 26.2 miles? Would I experience "the wall" at mile 20 that affect so many runners? Would improper refueling and hydration stop me from finishing?" One disadvantage of backing down on my training, was the fact that I didn't get to experiment as much with my fuel. Improper fueling can lead to stomach upset, muscle cramps, etc.. Not something I wanted to experience.

"What impact was the weather going to have? How windy would it feel? How much harder would it feel to run in pouring rain? How heavy would my shoes feel once soaked? Would I be too cold, or even too warm, in my chosen outfit? Would I be able to avoid chafing and blisters?" The crazy weather filled me with increasing doubts. So much can be controlled when preparing for a race, but I was being reminded, big time, that weather was not one of those controllable things.

"Would I be able to complete the race in the time allotted (6 hours), or would the weather, my injury, and/or decreased training slow me down too much?" One of my biggest fears was the fact, that for runners completing the race in more than 6 hours, the course would be reopened to cars. The thought of running along side traffic in the really crappy weather conditions made me nervous. And when I think about it even more, I seemed to fear bringing up the rear thus finding myself alone thus not being a part of the crowd thus standing out (very interesting, huh?).

As you can see, my mind was filled with questions and doubts. But I will tell you something. Once I was at the start line, standing in the blustery wind and being pelted by the cold rain, something changed. My mind no longer asked if I'd finish. The question became when I'd finish. And finish I did!

......More to come. I promise!

1 comment:

Rebekah said...

Good to see you back! And wonderful to hear you made it! I felt like I spun my wheels into part of January. Glad things are settling down and I'm able to catch up with this new year!