2012 Long Beach Marathon Recap

Today was the big day.  The day that I have spent the better part of 18 weeks training for, agonizing, and fretting over.  It is done.  I am happy it is over.  My medal and race bib are safely ensconced on my display.

Now, for the story.

I only missed about 5 runs during the 18 week training cycle.  I missed a few runs during the summer due to work commitments, and also because of my saga with my sad, nasty foot.  Also, I was struggling with hip and knee pain, which caused me to cut short a few runs as well.  But for the most part, I did almost all of the runs.  I never skipped any long runs.  During my training, I went from running almost a 15 minute mile, to a just-below twelve minute mile.  If I knew I only had to run one mile, I could probably run even faster!  I also lost 30 pounds.  However–do not sign up for, and train for, a marathon to lose weight!! Most people actually GAIN weight due to a phenomenon I call “wanting to eat everything in sight”.
I was actually really excited for this marathon.  I wasn’t really nervous.  Before I knew it, I was crossing the starting line.  I really shredded for the first 15 miles.  My pace was a little faster than what it should be, but I was feeling good.  I started to walk at the beginning of the 16th mile.  I wasn’t walking because I was tired (yet), but my hip was really starting to hurt, and the pain was slowly destroying my mental focus.  I ended up walking the next 9 miles, mostly.  This was because of two factors–the horrible hip pain, and the fact that every time I would start to run, I felt like puking.  It was so bad.  I have no idea how I kept going.  I must have said {eff} me about 100 times during the last 6 miles.  My feet were killing me and I knew I had massive blisters on both.  I know it is going to sound so cheesy, but seriously the thought of getting a sweet finisher’s medal at the finish line kept me going.  There was no way that I had come 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, or 25 miles to QUIT.  I am not a quitter.  Definitely not.  Once I saw that I only had about 1/2 mile to go, I began running again at full speed, to the finish line.  My half marathon split was 10 minutes faster than my PR, which I ran last year at the Long Beach half marathon.  My finishing time for this marathon was nothing to write home about.  I started out with a lofty goal, and when I was too far behind the pace, it really started to mess with my head.  My goal was actually to just finish this marathon, and any good time would be an added bonus.  I did finish. but my time was so slow.  I was sad, and disappointed with myself because I wanted to be faster, but I totally fell apart both mentally and physically.
Crossing the finish line was the best feeling ever.  I was sad because I knew I wouldn’t have anyone at the finish line, but it ended up being ok because I had a chance to reflect on my race before having to share the experience with anyone else.  Also, I didn’t have to concentrate on talking, only on hobbling back to my car, which took about 25 minutes to walk close to a mile.  THAT SUCKED BALLS.
My husband took me to dinner at Red Robin, and I can not describe how good the salty fries and monstrous burger tasted after not really eating all day.
Tonight, I have a date with my foam roll and then my couch, and then my bed.  My bed is going to feel like a kiss from a long lost lover tonight!
Now, for some advice for those of you thinking about running a full marathon.  For the love of God, please, please, please DO NOT sign up for a marathon if this is your first ever race.  You will end up hating running.  FOREVER.  The sheer amount of distance required for the overall weekly amount, as well as the long runs, is actually quite daunting.  You can not just “show up” and run a marathon.  I have been running for a little over 3 years.  I started out with 5k, then went to 10k, and then decided to run a half marathon.  I had a training program for that first half marathon, which I followed “loosely”, and it was a really bad experience.  During training for my last half marathon, I decided to push myself and sign up for a full marathon.  I am really glad that I pushed myself this hard, and that I started running 4 times a week.  I have seen huge improvements in my time and also my overall fitness.  I don’t feel like my lungs are going to explode anymore when I run, so that is always a good thing.
During training, you have to be pretty “on-par” with your nutrition.  Now, notice I said “pretty”.  I typically eat pretty clean during the week, and then have an all out crap fest on Friday night and Saturday.  I don’t eat fast food, and I’m pretty picky about french fries, but I have been known to eat an entire combo platter of delicious Mexican food, and a whole basket of chips and salsa after running 20 miles.  I also cut way back on my diet Coke consumption.  Your body also needs enough sleep.  So no more late nights catching up on the DVR, not getting at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep. Don’t be surprised also if you fall asleep about 20 seconds after your head hits the pillow.  However–and I am not sure if this was because of stress or just from running–don’t be surprised if you wake up during the night and can not go back to sleep until you stretch your legs and hips like crazy.  I’ve even used my foam roll during the night!
As far as gear, I started with a pair of running shoes, not even special ones, and a nike+ transmitter that worked with my phone.  I totally credit the nike+ program for starting my love of running.  I lost a lot of weight right away, didn’t have to make a huge investment in equipment, and it was just nice to be alone outside.  I also loved the encouragement I would get from my friends when I posted my runs on Facebook.  2 miles was the farthest I could when I first started, and I used nike+ for my first 1/2 marathon.  Once I got more serious about running, I went to my local running store {not a big box store) and got properly fitted for running shoes that were appropriate for my running style.  Then, I got sick of my nasty big toe making a hole in the front of my shoes, so I got some ridiculously expensive socks, which I thought was so lame, but I am totally a believer now!  I also realized, when I started running longer distances, that the nike+ system was pretty inaccurate for mileage.  I asked for a Garmin for Mother’s Day, and I have used it for pretty much every outside run since then (unless I forget it, lol). I also have a camelback that I use because I don’t like carrying a water bottle, and I always get thirsty.  I started wearing cheap workout wear from Target.  I still wear the champion brand from Target, but not the cheapest stuff.  I love their bras with the support and actual cup size, and their running tights with the drawstring.  I also am a huge believer in gu and clif gels.  And Desitin and chafing sticks.  I put Desitin all over my lady bits and ass crack before a long run.  You might think I’m random and blow me off, but I guarantee you will remember this after your first long run when you take a shower and scream in pain from water hitting your ass crack!  Also, I think it goes without saying, but you have to find some places that you LOVE to run {read: FLAT–let’s be honest.  I hate hills}.
Will I run another marathon?  Well, if you had asked me 6 hours ago when I was struggling to finish, the answer would have been a fist to your face and a NO.  BUT–I wasn’t happy with my time.  Maybe next year.  We will see.  For now, I plan on taking at least a week off from training, and then resuming with lower mileage for Vegas Ragnar in 4 weeks.
Do I recommend Long Beach?  You bet your sweet ass I do.  I love the course, the scenery, the energy, and the overall organization of the race.  BUT—I would start out with a shorter race and work up to a half marathon.  For pictures of the course, please see the post on our old blog here.

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2 thoughts on “2012 Long Beach Marathon Recap

  1. Congratulations! No matter how hard it was or how you felt about your time, you did it! You're a marathoner! That deserves serious props and loads of celebration in my book! I thought I was going to die after a half 🙂 Oh, and you had me laughing out loud at the ass crack bit!

    twolovebirdswithoutanest.blogspot.com

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