In 2006 the Santa Clarita Half Marathon was the first race I ever ran. After that experience I started to fall in love with running and have been continuously racing marathons, half marathons and triathlons. So this year I signed up for the full marathon in Santa Clarita as a back up race if I was unable to Boston Qualify in Portland. Luckily I did BQ in Portland so this race became a training run for an upcoming 50K as well as a practice in race execution and recovery.
I got up race morning, had trouble getting any solid food down but I had an Herbalife shake and some coffee so I wasn’t going into it with a totally empty stomach. The race start was cold and rainy but that has always worked well for me so I was happy to get started. My plan was to go out easy and try to get faster as the race went on. Well as usual I went out too fast but my legs felt so good.
Around Mile 7 I met a really nice guy, Iyob, who I ended up running the next 10 miles with. Iyob really helped get me through the middle miles because we were talking the whole time(about running of course). When we got to mile 13-14ish and we ran through the aid station I found out I was the 4th women overall so far! At this point I started to focus on not letting anyone pass me and hopefully catch one of the other women.
But as the run went on I started to hit the wall hard at 18. My hips and knees were getting angrier and angrier as I ran on. Another runner who had been following for awhile caught up and tried to help push me along, but I was fading. I just tried to stay on top of my nutrition and NOT walk no matter what! 22 until the end were terribly painful. About a half mile before the finish I saw my first ever running partner and burst into tears, but I kept running.
I finished the race and found all the people I had been friend-ed by on the run. We had a big group hug and got strangers to take our pictures. It was the friendliest race I have ever run. Not only that, it had the cutest and sweetest kids at every aid station. I hobbled to my car, put on some dry clothes, and hobbled back to see how I did. I was thrilled to see I had come in 4th women over all and 1st in my age group with a time of 3:46:04! I made the leaderboard; I had never done that before!!
So back to my original plan for the race, I totally failed at the pacing plan. I went out too fast and died the last 6 miles. But I was much more successful with my recovery this time. I ate well, often, and very soon after the race. I also went home and soaked my legs in a very cold swimming pool and then wrapped my knees with Arctic Ease wrap. Instead of curling up in bed I kept moving; this was the best thing I could have done. It is two days since the marathon and I am barely sore! Which is a good thing because I have a 50K in less than 2 weeks!
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