The Monday before the race (Sunday) I woke up with a head cold. So, after 6 months of hard training, I have a week to fight this cold off and be ready to run. I didn't drink any wine, I ran a total of 2 miles the whole week and I took plenty of Cold-eze and Zicam and got plenty of rest. By race day I was feeling fine. Now, I'm not using the cold as an excuse, but I also can't be sure what effect it had on my performance as a whole. Either way, it's something that's going to nag at me for awhile.
As the race gets under way I'm feeling great. Smile on my face, the energy is in the air and I'm having a good time. I'm running the pace I set for myself, 9:30/mile. By the half marathon point I am only about 3 minutes slower than where I thought I'd be so at this point I'm thinking "so far, so good". My plan was to stay anywhere between 9:30 to 9:45 up to the halfway point. From there on I figured I'd slowly let my pace fall to somewhere between 10 and 10:30 all the way to the end while also slowing to walk a minute every 10 minutes. However, somewhere near the 15 mile mark is where the wheels start to feel wobbly. They haven't come off the cart yet, but they've definitely lost a lug nut or two. My breathing is off, my stomach feels tight, sorta crampy. I'm starting to worry because I've run further than this and I wasn't expecting to feel this way just yet. I always knew the wall would creep up and I'd have to push through it, but this was too early. And it only got worse. At the 17 mile mark I pass by Kristen's parents, some friends and then my parents. I stop to chat with them for a few seconds (letting them pump me up) and then continue up the hill into the Cal State Long Beach campus. I reach the top of the campus and begin my turn back down the hill around the 18 mile mark and that's when I feel a searing pain in my right groin muscle. Boom. Now I'm hobbled. I stop to stretch, but no matter what I do the pain will just not go away. So after a couple of miles of jogging with a limp my left foot decides that it doesn't like the extra work and flares up. So now I'm going back and forth between pains. On the one hand, jogging hurts my left foot bad, but on the other hand, walking hurts my groin more. So, at mile 20 I'm presented with a pretty picture: 6.2 more miles of agony. Well, I'm not about to let 6 months of training go down the drain so I just kept going. What else could I do? The thing that is really pissing me off at this point too, is that at the 18 mile mark I was right about where I expected to be time wise. So even though my pace had slowed and I was feeling whipped, I was still moving along at a pace that would have had me come in at my goal time which was about 4:30. C'est la vie. I pushed on and finally finished the damn race. Oh well. I'm going to run a few half marathons and then I'll give the full a try again. I mean, it's not like I can live with that one time being my PR right?
My friend Billy, of LA Runner fame, was there to support the other runners because he had an injured foot and couldn't run it himself. I spotted him banging on his cowbell at one point and then near the 11 mile mark he found me while riding his bike. He took some pictures and shouted a few words of encouragement and that really helped. Thanks Billy! Now, onto a more uplifting story.
Kristen went out and owned Long Beach. After having fractured her foot in two places, she worked hard to let them heal and just like Seabiscuit, she came back stronger than ever. 26.2 miles later she put in an incredible performance and crossed the line with a 3:33 finish time and qualified for Boston. Not bad for her first marathon.
So there you go. That's a full lid. I'll follow this up with a post with some pictures from the run.