March 20, 2012

My First Marathon Recap (From October 2006)

Below is a recap I wrote over 5 years ago after I ran my first marathon. I reread it this past weekend and it brought tears to my eyes as I took myself back to that special day in 2006. I thought I would share it with all of you because I know many of you can relate to it. You may have even experienced some of these same aches, pains and feelings as I did here back in 2006. I’ve come such a long way with my knowledge about health, fitness, nutrition and running! It’s all about continual education and learning 🙂

So, as I sit here at 4:38am on October 16, 2006, eating my Lucky Charms cereal on Monday morning, my hips ache and I don’t care! I finished my first marathon yesterday morning and I am so damn proud! One more goal in life accomplished!

I ran the 26.2 miles in 4:38.51 and am very happy with that time! My goal was just to finish, and the fact that I did it in less than 5 hours makes me very, very happy! To be honest, I can’t believe it!

Now why am I up so damn early in the morning when I hate waking up early??? Well, let me recap the events:

Yesterday I woke up at 5:00am, actually a few minutes before that. I tossed and turned all night before the race and had nightmares constantly. I woke up a little after 2am on Sunday morning thinking it was time to get up until I looked at the clock. It was a good thing I got 3 good nights of sleep the 3 previous nights.

When I got up I had everything laid out and ready to go. I walked outside in the dark and met my two friends, Jen and her husband Leo, my chauffeurs, and we headed down to Long Beach. On the ride down I consumed my PB&J at 6:00am, my Glutamine mix at 6:30am and my recovery pills at 7:00am. The drive was swift until we hit the traffic of everyone trying to get off the 710 freeway…tons and tons of runners ready to go!

Once we parked at the convention center my friend, Melcon, parked with us in his car so we could hang as a group. At that point I put on my race #, GPS watch, iPod Shuffle, cell phone and holder, and off we go to head to the restrooms. The lines were long and I accomplished what I needed to, now to the start line since we only had about 15 minutes to the race start. I met-up with my friends Nan and Annie…Nan and I ran the first 16 miles of the race together and Annie did the half marathon.

The gun went off and it took us about 5 minutes to get to the starting line and then we were off dodging people left and right for a few miles. Right from the start I had to pee again, so that didn’t make me happy. All 3 of us ran together for the first 5 miles and at that point I spotted a bathroom that had no line and I jumped on it! In the middle of squatting my brother, Aaron, called me to see where I was at…it was kind of a funny situation 🙂

After a couple minutes in the restroom, Nan and I were off again…Annie kept going without us. I was now relieved, like a ton of bricks off my shoulders. I saw my uncle at about mile 6 as he was videotaping me…can’t wait to see that. Then I saw my brother, Aaron, and his fiance, Heather, at mile 6.5 – they said they have a great picture they took of me waving at them and smiling – can’t wait to see that either!

Shortly before mile 7 I saw my friend Steve, he is a Chi Running coach…something I would like to learn more about. Then, just after mile 7 my knees started hurting me…”Great,” I thought! Just like when I ran 20 miles for the first time. They progressively got worse as time went on and I consumed my energy goo (Strawberry e-Gel) and 3 Advil at mile 9.

At about mile 11 my shoulders started hurting, but my knees felt a little better from the Advil. Before I even to got the halfway point (mile 13.1), I was thinking “Oh my God, I’m not even half way there yet!” I was already in pain and tried to keep myself from thinking about the mileage and time and just keep running.

At mile 15 I saw my two coworkers, Yasser and Ken, and that was a surprise! I also saw them again a little before mile 16…they were riding bicycles (smart guys). Then, a little after mile 16, I told Nan to keep going without me as I realized I was having a hard time keeping the 10 minute/mile pace and she still seemed strong. The outside of my hips were killing me at this point and I didn’t want to hold her back. Prior to the pervious couple miles, we were running sub 10-minute miles. Now we caught-up to the 10-minute/mile pace and after mile 16 I got a little slower.

Now I was running by myself. I just listened to my music in one ear and kept running. At mile 19 near CSULB, I got a little choked-up because I couldn’t believe I was running my first marathon. It was an emotional moment for me. Then I got another wonderful surprise at about mile 19.5. I saw Jen, Leo and Melcon again! Mind you, Leo working the motion picture business as a camera operator, so I had my own personal photographer for this event – it was great! He took over 198 pictures!

Anyway, at that point, Melcon and Jen began running with me for fun and Leo was skateboarding as he was taking pictures. They were all so funny – I really needed the motivation at that point! A little before mile 20 Jen stopped running with me, she’s 5 ½ months pregnant, and I was off to the longest distance I have ever run. Once I past mile 20 I was on to new heights!!

At mile 20 the bottom of my feet really started hurting. They just ached taking every step. There was no stopping, though!!! At mile 22.5 I saw my brother Jeremy and his roommate Mark. I was extremely exhausted by this point and it seemed like a quick greeting, I felt bad that I couldn’t get too excited when I saw them.

At about mile 23 I saw Ken and Yasser again and I just couldn’t wait to get to the finish line. At this point I noticed I was going to finish under 5 hours and that made me soooooo happy! “I can’t believe I am doing this!!!”

The insides of both my ankles started hurting a little after mile 23 and they got progressively worse as I ran the rest of the course. A little before mile 25 I walked a couple times for about 20-30 seconds because they hurt so bad, but just started running again because they hurt just as bad while walking.

At mile 25 I saw my mom, dad and my daughter, Michelle. My dad was taking pictures and my mom and daughter were volunteering as they handed out water to the runners. I grabbed a cup of water from my daughter, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and then my mom threw about two cups of water on me. “Oh mom!” I really didn’t want to get wet as it wasn’t that hot (the weather was perfect for the race)! But she was so proud of me as she yelled “That’s my daughter!” as I ran by 🙂

Then, at mile 25.5, I saw an old Team in Training friend (damn – his name is escaping me at the moment) and he ran with me for a few minutes and told me a few tips to keep my form good. He said “You see those trees up ahead in the middle of the street? That’s the 26 mile mark. You can do it! You’re almost there!” Boy was I glad to hear that! I was utterly exhausted at this point and couldn’t wait to pass that finish line!

At 26 miles I turned the corner and saw a downhill that led to the finish, it was time to pick it up and give it all I’ve got! At that moment I saw my good friend, Dian! What another surprise!! I ran faster and then I was sprinting to the finish. I don’t know where that energy came from, but I hauled ass to the finish line!!!!I crossed, stopped my watch and just stumbled from that point forward. I had a hard time breathing, I was wheezing actually. They cut-off my racing chip and I stumbled along the fence. I grabbed my medal, grabbed a bottle of water, make that 2 bottles of water, and kept stumbling forward. I saw my uncle behind the fence to my left and you could tell he was so proud of me! I could see his eyes filling up with water and I almost cried just seeing that. I love him so much and it meant so much to me for him to be there!

I finally reached the food and some of my friends were there to greet me. I devoured my oranges, banana and guzzled my water. I actually couldn’t drink it fast enough – it tasted so damn good! I hung out near the food for a few minutes. At that point I saw my friend, Steve from Team in Training…another surprise!

I grabbed a bagel and then we walked outside of the fenced area. At that point my other Team in Training friend, Margo, came up to me. I was just overwhelmed!!! They all told me that as I sprinted in to the finish the announcer commented about my strong sprinting finish…”Heather Edwards, # 617…” I never even heard that – I don’t think I heard anything as I sprinted in to the finish.

After the race I took pictures with friends, hobbled around, drank smoothies and ate food, took my shoes/socks off and had my legs/feet sprayed with Kool n’ Fit (I think that’s the name of the recovery spray for tired muscles), and then met-up with my family again.

We just sat around and talked for awhile. My daughter fell asleep on my lap as I sat with my legs up (my feet on my mom’s lap)…that was an early time for her to get up to come watch me 🙂

We then walked (a long, slow painful walk) over to Island’s restaurant for lunch. I ate cheese fries, part of a chicken burger and half a Bud Light (oh so cool and refreshing)! They also brought this awesome hot fudge brownie desert with ice cream and whip cream over and everyone sang happy birthday to me. Yes, I will be 32 years old on Tuesday the 17th (tomorrow).

Before everyone took off, my brother Jeremy gave me my birthday present of a wonderful drawing of a woman’s body standing up with one leg on a chair – absolutely beautiful! It means so much to me!

On the drive home, I told Leo and Jen to stop a couple times for me to use the restroom…you don’t want to know what running 26.2 miles does to your body! I also had to get some more Advil as I was in so much pain in my stomach, etc. No matter what position I was in, my knees hurt soooo bad! I finally was able to sleep in the car for a short while on the way home once the Advil kicked in.

Once home I hobbled into the shower, turned off my cell phone, and hobbled to bed. I wanted no interruptions. Although an hour after I went to sleep, my house phone rang and it was my friend, Owusu, to congratulate me on my run. That was nice! We chatted for about 30 minutes and then I went straight to bed again…it’s about 7:09pm at this point.

I woke up again at about 11:30pm and then turned over to continue sleeping. Then I kept tossing and turning all night because I was sore and because I was getting to the point of being in bed too long. Hence, why I got up so damn early this morning. Now, after typing this email and eating my breakfast, it is about 5:49am and I want to go back to sleep but can’t since I now have to get ready for work.

I apologize if I forgot to mention something, but I am so tired right now. If you actually read this whole thing, I am amazed. Thank you for taking the time to do so. Pictures are on the way when I have time. My busy life begins again!

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