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Monday, December 16, 2013

My First Marathon

At the starting line, ready to go!
 I almost didn't do it. I almost just chickened out and stayed in bed that morning. God, that would have been so simple. But instead I got up at 4:40am, rubbed my body with runners glide (to avoid chaffing), pulled on a few layers of untested running clothes and headed out into a 21 degree morning to catch a bus to the starting line of the California International Marathon.

I trained for about three months and followed Hal Higdon's Beginners Marathon Training Plan to the "T", until I couldn't. Turns out, newbies like me get injured. Our bodies break down and we get sick too. Then we get scared. Check, check and check! My training started out great and I had worked up to 15 miles and was really feeling great. Then I injured my calf, and that changed everything. I thought I pulled a muscle and began seeing a Chiropractor who specializes in runners. We were able to work through it, he said I was over training and said to cut back on miles and up my protein intake. He said to eat my weight in protein ounces.  But I lost any speed I had and my lower legs never felt the same again. They always hurt, whether it was a 3 mile or 20 mile run.

My 19 mile training run was demoralizing, and I was starting to feel isolated and lonely. Then two weeks before the race I got an awful cough and chest cold. So I started telling myself, and a few friends, that I was done. I didn't have a strong enough core and I wasn't really a "real runner" anyways. But they reminded me why I chose to run a marathon and that I had done all the hard work. Even walking into the Expo the night before, my legs were sore, still sick and I was freezing cold. Everyone around me seemed so young and fit, I definately felt like an outsider.

But I got up early last Sunday morning and caught a bus to the starting line. The bus was filled with experienced marathoners with lots of last minute advice. I stayed on the warm bus until just a few minutes before 7am, then lined up near the 4:40 Pace Team. When I first started training, before I got shin splints, calf pain and my chest cold I thought I could do it in that time. But I knew that wasn't possible anymore. I had decided to implement Jeff Galloway's run/walk method and did Run a Mile, Walk a Minute the whole race.

At mile 2 I shed my extra shirt, and was down to two long sleeved shirts, running tights, knee-high compression socks, gloves and a banana that kept my face and neck warm. At the first water station, the water was frozen, the street was an ice skating rink and half the potta potties were frozen shut! Did I mention it was cold? And it never warmed up and was below freezing nearly the entire race. I got to the half way mark about 5 minutes off my normal Half Marathon time, I was about 2:25 into the race. I was so surprised and thrilled to see my husband and boys there! That was a surprise. Apparently my husband completely forgot about our meeting arrangements on the course! Miles 15-19 were the hardest and I ended up walking here and there and not feeling too motivated. I stopped and used a porta pottie and when I came out it was a whole different group of runners and the people I had been running with were all gone. It seemed like the course had cleared out too. I remember another runner coming from behind and saying "Come on, we can do this!" and I nodded was like "Yea" and he said "No, COME ON!". And I was like oh, okay and started running again and got back on program. I was still cold, but realized both my shirts were soaking wet from sweat.
Mile 24, slow but still running
Miles 20-23 were fine because I knew I was going to see the family soon and wanted to get there fast. I didn't want them waiting out in the cold wondering what had happened to me. So I ran, but I was running very slow. At Mile 23 I didn't see my family and realized I was all out of energy chews. If I didn't find them, I'd have a hard time getting through the last part of the race. Right when I had given up, there they were! My 12 year old was ready to run the last three miles with me, and off we went! He took off really fast and I had to say "Oh no honey, Mom is running slooooow". I had high hopes that we would have 30 minutes of great, deep conversation. Instead it just flew by and consisted of mostly "You okay?" and him encouraging me.

Finish line with my boys
I finished in 5:22, which I'm just going to chose to be happy with because I did it! I was scared and I over came it. My sister was with me in spirit the whole race and I learned a lot about what I am capable of. I don't foresee anymore full marathons, but I finished with a big smile on my face and joy in my heart.

BTW, not only did I not lose weight training for the marathon, but I put weight on! So I'll be rededicating myself to Jorge Cruise's Belly Fat Cure for the new year. And again reminding myself it is diet that sheds my weight, not exercise.


  1. You go girl! You are strong and such a great motivator! Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

  2. You are very strong, I am a man but it is also very difficult for me. When was a student I just run 1.5km. it was so tired

  3. Wow!! Wow!! Wow!!
    You should be so proud of yourself for accomplishing an amazingly difficult goal…I'm proud of you and I know you only as "Me and Jorge: Belly Fat Cure Diet"!! Your story is completely inspiring!

  4. As a new runner, all I can say is you are AWESOME! I trained for a 5k back in the spring, and now I can only do 1-2 miles. You did a marathon!!! Amazing stuff, you SHOULD be proud!

  5. OMG! WOW! I am ssoooooo impressed! Congrats! So good to hear from you! I have to start over and get back to remembering the diet is the weight loss, too! Too much stress, bad habits creep back in :-(

  6. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year!

  7. You did it! Congrats and so good to hear from you. No one seems to blog much anymore. Rosalie has a job and is busy with that, I'm busy and Kay is as well. I am trying to follow the 100 plan these days and staying away from wheat. Wishing you a merry Christmas and all the best in the new year! XO!

  8. Job well done! Congratulations!

  9. Congratulations! I was actually in the first online Belly Fat class with you and have watched your success along the way. You have been a great inspiration and I wanted you to know that. Londa

  10. What a nice surprise to see a blog post from you! I don't know why it wasn't in my feed, I saw it on Rosalie's page. GREAT JOB!!! A marathon is an amazing feat! Congrats!!!
    I'm a gainer and back at the BFC yet again. I know it works for me, for the kind of foods that I eat, and I can do it, I just can't 1/2 way do it. 3 days in and I am feeling better already!
    Here's to 2014!