Javelina was not at all what I had anticipated it to be. For nearly 365 days, I talked, thought and trained for it. I told everyone that I knew who would be there to not let me drop – no matter what.
What I didn’t anticipate on race day was feeling like I had a lead monkey attached to each leg. It’s not at all unusual to feel horrible for the first 5 miles in any run or race, but I eventually shake it off and feeling horrible soon becomes a distant memory. This was not the case on race day, a day I planned to run an average of 9:30…all day! 9:30 is such an easy pace to maintain for me — anything slower and it actually becomes painful, well on this day, it felt like I was on the tenth mile of a 6:30 pace tempo run. Not good.
The way this course is set up, we run six 15.4 mile loops and then a smaller loop to finish out 101.4 miles. We alternate directions of the loops every other lap. It was on my first lap that I suspected something was off and it just never got better. As I headed in to finish my first loop, greeted by my wonderful crew (Andy and Ashley), I grabbed my new handhelds, a few bites of whatever and I headed in the opposite direction to start my second loop.
Around mile 20 in my second loop, I found myself struggling to even keep going, and that 9:30 pace was extremely difficult. Finally after around 22 miles, I got a very short second wind until the finish of the second loop.
Around two miles into my third loop, I knew I just couldn’t continue for an additional 60 miles in this condition. Even with all the runners passing me telling me I was literally a minute away from the first woman, I just couldn’t do anything more than what I was doing. About halfway through this lap I decided to run/walk. Running was too painful, my hip flexors were extremely tight and walking was just plain horrible in the dead of the desert heat. I had told myself I was done when I finished this lap, there was no way I could continue and I was in a lot of pain.
As I finished this third loop, I headed to my crew and none of them could accept my decision to DNF. I had accepted this fate well before I reached them, but all they knew was that I had told them to keep me going and to not let me quit. As I sat in the chair, each one approached me with words of wisdom and some sort of encouragement to get me back out there. At this point, I was not at all concerned about my finishing time, I was looking at this from a standpoint that I knew I could not get through the rest of the race running. After a long period of time, and coaxing from everyone around, I hesitantly headed out for my fourth loop receiving a standing ovation from everyone around. Almost immediately I changed my mind and headed back to my crew. Realizing it would be a non-stop fury of everyone telling me I could still do it, I decided, “fine, I will go out another lap.” I ran for about 1.5 miles before I coaxed a guy named Van, who was walking, to keep me company for the rest of the loop.
Van and I, actually, it seemed like I was the only one talking, walked the entire loop. As the sun set, we finished our loops and I told my crew I was REALLY done. After a half hour, I finally snuck over to the timing chip and called it. I was done. Not happy, not sad, just done for the day.
What annoyed me about my DNF was having to explain to people at the event why I felt this way. I knew why and even when I told them, I felt that all they saw was a quitter. To them it was more important that I continue on, even if it meant a 30-hour finish. I am sorry, but that is not an option for me. This was not my day regardless of the race distance. I refuse to say that the 100-mile distance got me again and I really don’t see the point of marching day and night to get a buckle. Good for you if you want to suffer and prove something, personally, I have bigger goals to achieve and that is to hopefully run a week after this fiasco instead of limping or being injured for a long period of time.
For a few days after the race I did find myself limping, my flexors hated me and my left ankle hurt(s). It doesn’t matter what you think, that is not normal. I made the right decision and I can’t wait to go running tomorrow. 🙂
I waited until yesterday, exactly one week after Los Pinos 50K to lace up my trainers and go out for a run. Running Los Pinos the week after Ventura Marathon earned me this reprieve or “hall pass,” as my coach Andy likes to say. I started feeling anxious yesterday, but I wasn’t quite ready to commit putting in miles just yet. Today was the day I really wanted it so I headed out the door for a nice and easy 8 mile/75 minute run on the pavement. I felt pretty normal (good), a little tight in my right glut and left calf, but nothing to concern myself with.
To tell you the truth though, I am filled to the brim with all these (now) wonderful emotions that had until recently felt like dead weight and quite honestly, damn near impossible to make it through.
To quickly recap, and as you may remember, I was going to run Santa Rosa Marathon on 8/25 and then Los Pinos on 9/14. Well, I screwed up with both of these races, upsetting both my bf and my coach. By missing Santa Rosa, and after having all this marathon training under my belt, I had to find another one close in date and found Ventura, but it would only be a week apart from Los Pinos. It was a stupid decision on my part to put myself through that – not enough rest and recovery from one even to the next, really setting myself up for an injury. The problem with Los Pinos was that I had already committed to the RDs and there was no way I could back out, I wanted to be there to support them. My bf was not happy at all about it because I had mistakenly signed up for this event that was falling on the same day as his long awaited 100-miler in San Francisco. I did my best to make everyone happy, and for the most part I accomplished that. In the end, even I was happy, but I learned a valuable lessen – do what is best for you (me) and everything will always work out regardless.
I did it. I finally did it! I finally finished a marathon where I am completely satisfied with my performance. Heck, I didn’t meet my sub-3 goal and it really doesn’t matter. This was my performance of the year – not because I finished first place, but because I know for a fact that I am not the same runner I was a few years ago.
This realization occurred to me after I excitedly messaged my friend Radell a few days after the race to share the good news. He was so excited for me and his immediate response was, “You are a terrific athlete. I always thought you were grinding yourself too hard.” He was so right. Looking back a few years ago, when I wanted to break 3-hours at any cost, I wasn’t running for pleasure anymore, running was running my life. I basically took the fun out of running. I was dealing with injury after injury. It was horrible, really. And the best memories I have at that time are not the races, but the great friendships I made during that time – one of them being Radell, my coach at the time Sylvia Mosqueda, Adrian Broca, and so many more.
Yep, tomorrow is a big day for me as I am running my first marathon since May 2010! I am not really sure how I feel, it has felt like a countdown for centuries already and I just can’t wait to cross that finish line and that could be both a good and bad thing, I guess.
My only focus and plan tomorrow is to be patient and to run my own race. My coach Andy and I have discussed this a few times and we decided that since my target is a timed goal, I can’t care who is in front of me and I can’t get caught running too fast by running someone else’s pace.
I am ready and I am ready to go out there and do my best.
The best part about this experience is that even though I spent 90% of my runs alone, my coach has been by my side throughout this entire training program and I am so lucky to have him! Big thanks to Ashley and Balmore for coming up with me tomorrow — I owe you big time!
Click here to read my last marathon race report – pretty intense.
Wow, it’s Monday and I am still on a high from this weekend’s races. I went from just having a typical marathon training weekend to all of a sudden racing two half marathons – one road and one trail. Now that this weekend is over, it will be time to focus on my marathon that is only three weeks away.
HELL of a HALF – Exeter, CA
This last minute race turned out to be a great decision. It was my ego that prevented me from running any short road races as I prepared for my marathon. Let me explain. My current marathon training schedule isn’t a typical marathon training schedule because I am also training for a 50K and a 100-miler. The differences in my schedule compared to a marathon only schedule are that I don’t do track workouts on Tuesdays, I instead run intervals on the road, and I do back to back (hilly) trail runs on Saturday and Sunday (like ultra marathon training). It’s been an adjustment, convincing myself that I don’t need to run 5:35 mile repeats on the track and that the trail running won’t slow me down. I really believe in my coach (Andy) and this program and I know my coach believes in me so in reality, I have already accomplished big things! In fact, I am lucky to have him because I am sure it is not easy to train someone with such varying race distance goals! So going back to this race, I didn’t feel half marathon ready, but I knew I could run a half at 6:35-6:45 pace based off of my recent tempo and MRP workouts. Of course, I had to pick a scorching hot and hard course (two hills about 1.5 miles each around miles 5.5 and 9.5-ish) that wasn’t stacked with speedsters like the men’s side…it was definitely not going to be a PR day but that wasn’t going to keep me from having a great day and experience! The goal for the day was to do my best running 6:30-6:40 pace and finish the race using the experience to build my confidence for my upcoming marathon. I was also VERY excited to be able to see Andy and all my teammates from Bakersfield, not to mention the opportunity to support one of the best running stores around in the Central Valley: Sole to Soul. (more…)