My First FULL Marathon 26.2
Long Beach Marathon- October 9, 2016
I started my race bright and early at 6:05am. My mother came with me to the start which helped calm my nerves. She was starting her half marathon at 7:30am but wanted to be with me at my start. It was very tranquil and I could feel the determination in the air. I loved starting the race early in the morning while most of the city slept.
My first three miles were amazing. They went by so fast but I do remember seeing how beautiful Long Beach was. It was epic seeing the Queen Mary, running over the Queensway Bridge and being close to the ocean.
Around mile 6, my right foot began to hurt. I took off my shoe to flex my foot when I stopped to drink water. After my break, I tied my shoe tighter which helped relieve the irritation.
After the 7th mile, I zoned out like I normally do on my long runs. We ran along the beach strand which is my favorite. My time was pretty good at this stage. I began focusing on making it to the halfway mark (13.1). I tried to speed it up at mile 10 and ended up pulling my groin muscle even more.
I strained the groin muscle during Week 17 of training but I had it treated so that I could complete the race.
Luckily, I took an ibuprofen and that helped.
I also switched my form so that I could release pressure from the muscle.
After I reached mile 13 I was happy. That feeling of “I’m almost done” set in.
Mile 15 is when it got real. The sun came out and there was no shade. My injury was flaring up but I ignored the pain.
My mom texted me that she was feeling nauseous because of the sun. I started to worry but redirected my mind on finishing the rest of my race.
I ran faster to get to mile 17 because I knew my running friend Nelly was waiting for me. I was so happy to see Nelly. When I arrived Nelly had water, ibuprofen, oranges and Powerade for me. That was a huge life saver!
At this point, I began to walk a bit to preserve energy. What made it less painful was being cheered on by the spirit squads of Cal State Long Beach. I really enjoyed the live bands.
The volunteers were amazing! They gave us watermelon, oranges, popsicles, candies and made the best signs for us.
After the 18th mile, my next goal was 20. When I finally reached 20, I was really happy. My friend, Nelly, gave me encouragement and told me I only had 10k (6 miles) left. I wanted to finish my last portion of the race strong. I tried to pretend as if it were a normal 10k but after the 22nd mile, I was exhausted. The sun was relentless.
I am so happy that I hydrated days prior and drank lots of water during the race. I began to do run and walk intervals to preserve energy. I would walk for 2 minutes and run for 1 minute.
When I got to mile 24 I hit my wall. I was completely done and over it. Nelly kept telling me to keep going because the finish line was near.
I pushed hard and was able to run into the finish line.
I saw my mom and my stepdad first.
They were so happy and cheering for me.
I was so excited to see my friends cheering and yelling my name. They all had a look of shock and happiness in their eyes. What made it even more amazing was that I won a free round trip via jetBlue.
I got my medal and tickets and headed over to take pictures.
I was so relieved and shocked that I finished!!
26.2 miles. Officially a Marathoner.
This was a life changing experience. I’ve never worked so hard for something before. To be able to inspire and motivate others is always my goal. I have taken a few weeks off to recover and rest. I look forward to getting better, faster and stronger!! #MarathonFinisher
What I Learned During This Journey
- It's all about trying.
- Anything can happen when you start but you still keep going.
- You keep going so you can finish the race.
- Marathons mirror life. You never know what will happen. Pain shows up when you least expect it. You want to quit but you can't. You have to keep going!
- You have to fight through the pain and finish strong!
- Always find joy in the journey.