Last Sunday I was blessed with the most challenging and wonderful marathon experience in my running career (so far). I thought I’d share some of the reflections that occurred on that very special Valentine’s Day.
To begin, I started a tradition beginning at my first marathon in 2010. Every race I run I have the verse “Phil. 4:13” written on my shoes. It reminds me that when I’m discouraged, God is present and knows how to encourage me. It’s not about winning, but running well. Yes, it’s a metaphor but I like using it for literal races as well. Anyway, that was one of the many joys that helped me run well Sunday. I highly recommend (as do many of my runner-friends) having a token or something to remind you that when you want to give up, to keep moving forward!
This year, I definitely needed this small yet strong reminder to run well. Quick recap:
The first half of the marathon was wonderful! I started at the pace I was hoping to keep throughout the 26.2 mile course. My co-coach and friend, Will was keeping me distracted by chatting and singing (this was a normal occurrence during our training runs). Around mile 5, as Will and I were jamming out to Mulan’s,”Be a Man”a friendly British lady joined in. It was the best rendition of the song we have ever sung. It was full of joy and spontaneous friendship; it’s these moments that make running a marathon without earbuds so special.
Mile 9, I started feeling the heat but was still encouraged. It was great seeing my Nutribullet friends, Jimmy, Billy, Pauline, Carlitos, Corazon and many cheerleaders on the sidelines around this quarter of the race. Their smiles, cheers and hugs were power boosts to my soul!
However, the third quarter reared it’s ugly head. I had never had a knee spasm during a race or training run, but mile 18 proved very challenging both physically and mentally. My leg pain went from my interior superior knee all the way down to my achilles until a sharp pain started to hinder my pace completely. My friend, Kent, who was running with me at the time, suggested I head to the medic tent at mile 21. I got some medication, electrolytes and a quick PT massage. I was afraid I would have to call the race as a DNF (Did not finish).
As I headed out of the medic tent, I said a prayer that the sharp pain would subside for the last 4 miles. I started running at my pace of 9:30 again and there was no pain! I was so relieved I started getting emotional (as you do when you reach the last few miles). I kept praying and decided it was time for some music. Of course, as I turned onto Ocean Blvd the very appropriate, “Something in the Water” by Carrie Underwood started playing. I opened my arms to the heavens and was in awe of how this race had turned out. I closed my eyes and crossed the finish line with a smile on my face and on my heart.
I had a course PR of over 9 minutes, but the most rewarding take-away from this LA Marathon race was the overflowing sense of family; Team Nutribullet taught me so much last year while I was on their team, and that didn’t end once the season concluded. I still feel like family with those I have bonded with as well as the new group, team “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop” that many former Team Nutribulleters are now apart of. This running community knows how simple yet powerful kind words are while running long distance. The mental battle that goes on inside your head can make or break your time. With that said, I want to thank everyone who crossed my path along the race course; your smiles, hugs and words of encouragement brought me closer to the finish line. I can’t wait to (properly) recover and get back on the road for the next race! See you all out there!