Friday, December 7, 2007

You never know what body is going to show up on race day ...where the heck was mine?

CIM has come and gone and after months of preparation I failed to complete the marathon in my predicted time. I finished. Don't get me wrong. Anyone that knows me knows that I would never quit. The paramedics would have to drag me off the course before I would quit. So I finished, but I finished 30 minutes over what I wanted.... coming in at 4:52. Not my worse marathon time ever but certainly not my best.

Here's a little bit of how my race went:

I had but maybe three minutes to spare before the gun went off when I reached the start line. Porta potties were a nightmare and I had gone to the bathroom about 1 mile and half down the road approximately 30 minutes before, but about five minutes to start, I had to go again and there was just no time so I started the race with "that feeling" of having to go. I was miserable. I got to the start, jumped the wall and positioned myself next to the 4:15 pacer where I remained until mile 13.5. I was psyched. I kept between a 9:20 and 9:45 pace. I felt confident I would make my goal time of doing anything under a 4:20, thereby beating last year's CIM time of 4:41.

Allow me however to go back to the beginning of the race......

I managed to find a porta potty at mile 2 and was in and out in a flash and was still keeping pace with the 4:15 group.

By mile four my right foot began to hurt and the fear set in. There were times I ran where I was able to run through the pain and other days where the pain brought me to my knees. What would today be like? OK. So I broke the first rule of runners and I did what one is NEVER supposed to do and I did something NEW. Something I had never tried before. At the mile 6 water station I popped two Advil's. I know! I know! But the pain had gotten intense and I was sure I would never make it through. I curse myself for even putting them in my pouch in the first place!

Cesar seemed to be all over the course and seeing his face and getting his encouragement revived me every time. Nothing beats having cheerleaders! I handed over my gloves to him around mile 7 and later, around mile 15 regretted it immensely as the cold and the wind set in again.

Mile 10 - This is where they ran out of water and I no longer had any in my bottle. Prior to that water station (about 2 minutes prior actually), I had sucked down another Gel and was anxiously awaiting the water I so desperately needed. You can understand my horror to discover that there would be no more water for another 3 miles or so. Needless to say, I became dehydrated faster than I thought I would and by the time I reached the half-way point of the marathon I was dying for water and could not seem to get enough of if. That did not change for the duration of the marathon. After the half-way point I lost the 4:15 pacer and was never able to catch her again but I still kept a pretty good pace of about 9:50. I could however, feel the 4:30 pacer inching her towards me. It was like a monster pursuing me. I kept asking people who were passing me how far back she was and she just kept getting closer. God! It was San Francisco Marathon all over again! So I kept running, determined not to let her catch up to me. I reached mile 16 and I was still running when I saw my daughters for the first time who shouted at me to "just keep going!" Before I reached the infamous "wall" the 4:30 pacer and her group had caught me. I tried desperately to keep up with them figuring that even if I came in with them I would still beat my last CIM time as well as my San Diego Rock 'n Roll time (4:33) so I kept going. I lasted maybe a mile and half and I had to just let it go.

Of course you know there was no chance in hell I was going to let the 4:45 pacer catch me so I kept running but by this time I was not only feeling weak, I was beginning to feel dizzy. Was it the Advil? The dehydration? The burning in my right foot? I knew the dizziness was not a good sign. Still I kept going but now I was walking more than running and I knew that it was only a matter of time before the 4:45 pacer came up behind me. I hate that feeling! They caught me at mile 23. A very cheery group who were calling to everyone along the way: "C'mon, you can do it! Stay with us. We'll bring you in! C'mon!!" I tried. I really did. I felt some renewed energy for maybe a few minutes and then not even a mile of running with them I had to start walking again and I saw them just keep running down the street ever closer to that finish that I wanted to badly to see. I was beginning to limp now.... I really thought about giving up. I really did. I just wanted to cry I hurt so bad. The pain in my right foot had come back just after mile 15 and the burning just would not subside. The dehydration did not help.

The guy with the licorice was there at mile 25 just like he was last year and God did those Red Vines taste good. I actually wanted to run BACK and grab a few more. I was craving something...... I just don't know what.... but the licorice seemed to give me a bit of a boost so I started running again despite the pain in my foot, the shaking quads (literally I could see the muscles bouncing and it was extremely painful), the dizziness and the cold. The wind had picked up considerably and by this time we were running into the wind....

I reached the finish line in 4:53. All I wanted at that point was to crawl to my car and go home. Coming in 30 minutes over my goal was a huge disappointment to me but it's like the 4:45 pacer told me as I ran alongside of him (mile 23) telling him my woes: "You can train, you can hydrate, and do everything else right, but the bottom line is that you never know what body is going to show up on race day." I could not have said it better as I had been wondering where my body had gone just after mile 13.

For all the runners in my Fleet Feet running group (those of you who had disappointing times like me and also for those of you who accomplished your goals) and also for all the other runners out there, we're marathoners guys. No matter which way you slice it. Statistically speaking, how many people in the world will ever run a marathon in their lifetime? Exactly .... so you know what? I say we go back and kick butt next year!

I ran my first marathon in October 2006 and I just finished my 5th. Not my best and I am still trying to come to terms with it ... but nevertheless, I finished it and I am very proud of that.

In the meantime, I am trying to get an appointment with a Sports Medicine doctor to find out what is wrong with my foot. No leg pain at all and muscles have completely recuperated..... I am ready to go out and try again but I need some foot advice first ....

Stay tuned runners..... RunnerChik will soon be at it again.....

My beautiful girls - thank you for the awesome looking posters and for being at mile 16.... I really needed you ....

Cesar - thank you for ALL your support. I looked for your face every time I rounded a corner and your encouragement helped to keep me going ..... Thank you also for the pictures ..... they are awesome!

Mom and Dad - thank you for your words of encouragement and your prayers .....