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Friday, February 01, 2013

Running my first marathon (Part 2)

As I mentioned before, in the days leading up to the CIM, I was extremely nervous and emotional. I can't tell you when I did something that scared me so much. I really can't. But I faced that fear. Early that Sunday morning, as the rain and wind beat against the house, I got my stuff together and prepared to start, and hopefully finish, my first marathon.

Fortunately, I wasn't alone at the start. My friend Paula (whom I had run several races with during the year, including the NWM half marathon in SF) was just crazy enough to try a marathon with me. So our beloved husbands dropped us off on that dark, stormy morning, armed with their love and encouragement, as well as our rain ponchos, sports goo, etc..

We were dropped off about a mile from the start and I will say that the weather was crazy awful. As we climbed out of the car, we were immediately greeted by the heavy wind and rain. We pushed towards the growing mass of runners and long lines of port-a-potties (an unfortunate but necessary part of races). It was still early, so luckily we found refuge under the small awning of a building near the start, along with quite a few other runners. We squeezed together and waited, watching the diagonally pouring rain.

Surprisingly at this point, I was beginning to feel less afraid. I was growing eager, as the adrenaline built up from the excitement of the race. I was ready to go. I was ready to see what was going to happen. How was this chapter going to end for me? Would I finish? Time would soon tell. Just hours from then, I'd know how this story would end.

As race time grew near, we took our last pit stops and walked up to the start. There was no hiding from the rain and wind at this point. We were going to get wet. But so were thousands of other runners. We searched for our pacers, experienced runners assigned to complete the marathon in a set time. Paula and I wanted to keep the last two pacers in sight, a 5:10 and a 5:25 finish, as well as keep in mind that the course is reopened after a 6:00 pace (something we were hoping to avoid).

Paula and I started together but knew we might not finish together. We had different concerns and strategies. My strategy was not to let myself get swept away in the excitement at the start, and run too fast. That repeatedly occurred to me in race situations and it caused serious trouble when I ran my last, very painful, half marathon. I needed to take it easy so that I might run the 26.2 miles with the least amount of trouble from my injured IT Band. Paula wanted to go out a little stronger in the beginning so she would have time for walking or pit stops if needed.

So when the race began, we faced the heavy winds and pouring rain together, but we separated early. And that was okay. As wonderful as it was to have someone with me that day, ultimately there was nobody but me that could help me finish my first marathon. There were 26.2 miles for my legs and feet to carry me. 26.2 miles for my mind to convince me I could complete. 26.2 miles for my heart to reassure me that I could do. It was all me. 26.2 miles just for me.

{more to come.....}

1 comment:

Maddison Vernon said...

Wooo congrats on the marathon! So amazing, seems like you did a great job up against that stormy weather. Can't wait to here more about it later x