This was actually post-race.
Yes, we ate there again the next day. Don't judge me. I ran a marathon, okay?
My feet look like grated cheese according to my friend, Rebecca. I deserve them, damn it!
Angela's "Meat"-Ball Pizza :)
We returned to the hotel that night after a Target run and were in bed before 9:00 pm. Go us! I would have slept soundly if Fiona didn't wake us up with her barking. She was being protective so how could I be upset?
I had some serious race day jitters that morning. I popped out of bed, no problem. I took Fiona for a walk and saw a handful of runners already gathered in the lobby for the shuttle. This had me worried that we were running behind schedule. We quickly got our stuff together and found out we missed the first shuttle. The next one wasn't for 30 whole minutes! We decided to forgo gear-check and go as-is to make it in time.
The bus ride was excruciatingly slow. The starting gate felt so far away and we were packed like sardines on a bus full of half-marathoners. Clearly we were the only slow-pokes that missed the first bus. Stress. Worry. Anxiety.
Then we arrived. The skies parted and angels sang. We ran to the porta-potties, saw our fellow marathoners and sighed with relief. We had to wait for a total of 5 minutes before the gun went off. Perfect timing!
I started off with the 3:40 pace group, hoping I could hang. Before I knew it, I had passed the entire group. Angela was feeling excellent so she went even further ahead. I watched her go and was hoping for the best.
Miles 2-8 went quickly through a quiet little park with a pond and plenty of cheering middle-schoolers. They were cracking me up. One little rowdy tween was yelling "I woke up at 3:00 this morning to cheer you on!" I tried to thank every single one but that got tiring and besides, I don't think they really noticed me anyway.
Thanks to Hannah's advice, I kept reminding myself that this is my first marathon and I will never be able to relive it. I was trying not to wish the miles away. Instead I soaked in every second of that race. That helped a ton!
I caught up to Ang around mile 18. About 30 seconds before I caught her I felt the skin tear on my foot. It was painful and hard to run. I contemplated stopping to check it and adjust my sock but I knew that was a bad idea. If I stopped, I would lose momentum and that was the last thing I wanted. We ran together for about a mile and then Ang said "have a good race" and patted me on the back.
I had no idea what had just happened but she signaled for me to go on ahead of her. We decided early on that we would run our own race and wish eachother the best. So I went.
The thought of Mile 20 consumed me. I wanted to get there because it was the turnaround point to the finish line. It signified so much. Once I hit 20, I was entering unknown territory. I had never before gone past this point. It was terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I had no idea what to expect and was praying I wouldn't hit "the wall".
I hit the 20 mile mark and sighed with relief. I was now in the home stretch. Almost the entire race was right along the ocean and this portion was no different. Surfers were now out and about by the dozens doing their usual Sunday things. They were grilling out at the beach, waxing their boards and blasting music from their cars. They call it Surf City for a reason. I felt like I should be hitting the waves, not the pavement.
I kept moving forward and telling myself not to stop or slow down. I was so close. This was it. This was the day I had been waiting for. I did long runs in the rain for this very race.
At Mile 23, I suddenly started thinking about my brother. I thought about his life of struggle and the hardships he has endured. It made the marathon seem like a piece of cake. It made me grateful and most importantly, it kept me moving. I almost cried, but I didn't. I don't think I had the energy, to be honest.
Constistency was my goal so I tried to stay on pace. I wasn't ready to speed up because I knew I couldn't maintain a faster pace for 3 more miles. I waited until Mile 25 before I kicked it into high gear. At that point, it was all guts. My legs were toast but my mind forced them into motion. The mind is such a powerful tool.
Fiona was diggin' my surfboard medal
At this point we were relieved that we didn't check any gear because we were able to hop right on the shuttle and get back to our cozy hotel room. We napped. It was awesome. Then we proceeded to stuff our faces at Native Foods, again.
Angela wants me to put down my phone so she can dig in.
I was hoping to finish in 3:40 but my ultimate goal was to beat my barista, Nick's, marathon time from RNR San Diego. I did it. I beat him. He was even a good sport about it. This is my coffee from this morning:
He still kicked my ass in the half-marathon, so we're tied.
So, I BQed, to my own dismay, by a whole 5 minutes! I was also 5th in my age-group. Now of course I want to run Chicago in 3:30. I think I can do it. :)
They called this course flat so I was expecting "Chicago flat". I realized there is no such thing around here. If you're from the midwest, be prepared for a few inclines if you run this race. To these folks out west, it's nothing, but they don't know what flat is. I can't wait for the truly flat and fast Chicago course.
The Chicago Marathon is already HALF sold out! If you're planning on running it, be sure to register soon. I'll be signing up in the next week or so. Who's with me!?
By the way, check out the temperature in San Diego right now on my sidebar. Ahhh, this is the life.
** Apologies for this sickeningly long recap of race day. I'm not even mad that you probably just looked at the pictures. I would too.