The Malibu Marathon
It finally happened. After over 12 years of wanting to run a marathon I finally did it. This last year I have been on a journey of training my body to run the 26.2 miles. My year's journey lead me to run my first half marathon last June, log my 1000th mile of recorded running, and last Sunday run through the finish line of the Malibu International Marathon.
Race Day . . . Pre-race:
We (my wife and I) woke up at 4:00 Sunday morning, and started our day with a bowl of cereal, a banana, and a quick shower rushing out the door at 4:30 . . . to make it to the buses by 5:00. After sitting in the buses for a while, they took us from the finish line up to the starting line. It felt like the longest bus ride of my life (I think it took over 45 min.) and the realization hit home that I was going to have to run this entire way back. I settling into my seat, and tossed down half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to complete my breakfast.
Once the buses dropped us off we had to wait around in the cold for another 45 minutes or so until the race began.
Race Day . . . the first 10 miles.
The first ten miles of the race were great. We ran through farm land in Camarillo. We began the race doing everything right. We started with a slow pace that was going to take us through the race and help us finish strong. Running right at 11:00 minute miles.
The sun rose over the Malibu hills, and we felt strong. Our only complaint was that the first 9ish miles or so the porta-potties were lock. It wasn't so bad for me, but Lynsey was in need of one. She held it, but I can't say that for all the runners. Yeah . . . avoid eating this season tomatoes from Camarillo. =)
Race Day . . . miles 10-13.
Miles 10-13 we still felt strong but they were incredibly difficult. As we came around the point just past Fort Mugu, the wind started to pick up and developed into a head on wind that was extraordinarily strong. It was the type of wind that blasts sand into your legs, and feels like needles going in your skin.
It was unknown it was going to be like this the rest of the race. Should we walk through the wind to conserve our energy or should we go for it? With idealistic determination we muscled through the wind. I have never ran so hard to travel so little distance. My heart rate was up over 200 as I fought through the wind. Lynsey got some water at one of the aid stations, by the time she lifted the cup to her lips the water was blown all over her. Big props to the volunteers who manned that aid station all day. You guys are the real heroes!
Race Day . . . miles 14-18.
Miles 14-18 were really nice. We were into the heart of the Pacific Coast Highway with beautiful views of the Ocean to our right and canyon mountains to our left. The wind had died down, and so did our pace to help our bodies recover a little from the previous miles with the wind. We thought we would bring it down a little in hopes to still finish strong. For the most part we were still feeling good and enjoying the run.
Race Day . . . miles 19-26
Mile 19 . . . the hardest mile I have ever run in my life!!! Several things converged all at once. Here they are. 1) The sun . . . I don't do well in heat. It was only 75 degrees out, perfect right? Not so much. After my heart rate being up my body was working too hard to cool, and the heat was starting to get me . . . I think I was developing a mild case of heat stroke. 2) I hit the wall hard and my body didn't want to go on. 3) Mile 19 was were the course started to climb in elevation, I was staring at a big hill in front of me. 4) My body stopped processing the electrolytes I was taking, and the water wasn't getting where it needed to. The result? My leg cramped . . . actually locked up and knocked me off my feet into the guard rail on the side of the road! As my calf muscle balled up near my knee, and my quads followed the example, I was sitting on the guard rail unable to unlock them. Finally I stood up anyway, and used my weight to free them.
So what do you do? You only have two options . . . continue on or drop out, and there was no way I trained for a year to drop out of the race. I would finish if I had to crawl the last 7 miles!
For the rest of the race my legs were cramping off and on. At times it was cause me to stumble a little, while other times it just hurt. About mile 21-22 I caught a bit of a second wind, and running became a little easier.
As we made our way through the 6ish miles of hills we decided to walk up the hills and run down them. This helped, as I had a had a chance to rest a bit on the up hills.
By mile 23, I was quite nauseous, stopped sweating, and was turning into a pillar of salt.
Eventually, I saw the 26 mile marker, and I have never been so glad to see the number 26 in my life. (By the way, I would like to take a moment to thank the boys and girls club of Malibu for making all the mile markers! Great job!)
The last couple miles were down hill so we coasted on through the finish line to finish in 5:37:31 (with an average heart rate of 184 for the course. yikes.). Not really a good time for a Marathon. I was hoping for something more like 4:45. But hey, I finished! And I had over come a difficult course and didn't stop even when my body wanted to.
Highlights . . .
1) My wife! She ran the whole course with me even though she could have smoked me (as heat doesn't bother her). This race was a testament of her love for me, and she kept me going! Love you honey (incase you are reading my blog).
2) Though difficult, the course was amazingly beautiful, and I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. Even through the pain, I was able to enjoy the beauty of God's creation. I guess like life it is what you choose to focus on as you journey through it. In my case, should I focus on the the trashed quads or the gorgeous beauty all around me? I tried to choose the beauty.
3) Playing leap frog with Barefoot Ken Bob. Not only was he in a recent addition of Runner's World Magazine, he actually runs marathons barefoot! Nice guy. We passed each other enough times, that I finally stopped the race to ask if I could get my picture with him.
4) Our friends the Swanson's, came down to run the race, and cheer us on in our first marathon. It was so good to see them smiling at us at the finish line. Hanging out with our very own post run at In and Out burger. Then off to the hot tub at our hotel.
5) Speaking of hotel . . . our $54 a night hotel was the best place we have stayed when comparing value for your dollar. Thanks Good Nite Inn.
In Conclusion . . .
Though we could hardly walk the next two days, by now, the pain as all worn off and is a distant memory. But the accomplishment sticks with me, and will for the rest of my life.
I now turn my sights to my next race the 10K give and gobble in Sherwood on Thanksgiving morning. I ran the route today in preparation, and did it faster than my race time last year. It felt good to get out there, and run a shorter distance faster!
Much love to all who prayed and supported me on this journey (especially Lynsey) . . . I couldn't have done it with out you!
To see more pictures of our vacation and race, click here.