After foiled plans for a March marathon, I finally made it in one piece to the starting line on July 29th, 2012! Can you see me in the first picture? (hint: shortest one in the front). It was kind of embarrassing; the announcer asked us how many of us were first-time marathoners. I was the only one in the front row to raise my hand. Everyone around me looked like seasoned racers… But honestly, I just wanted to be in the front so I could see my mom and have pictures taken LOL. So this was basically how my race went:
Miles 1-13: I started off faster than I intended too partly due to nerves and partly due to how fast the other runners were going. I used the restroom at the first aid station, which was a hard decision for me. Then around mile 4, I started to panic because I felt a sharp pain shoot up my foot and ankle. It was bad. I started to worry that I’d have to drop out now and go home. I thought of how disappointed my mom would be and my relatives’ sad faces…However, it wasn’t an unfamiliar pain. I’ve felt it before on a long during which I overcame the sensation. I stopped, walked, stretched my calves, flexed my foot, and tried to run again. The pain didn’t go away! I applied what I had just learned about proper running form. Stand upright and lean slightly forward. This helped by minimizing heel-striking and encouraging a mid-foot strike. However, I did have to run more on the ball of my foot than I’m used to for the entire race which is why my calves are currently tight masses of fury right now. We ran across the Golden Gate Bridge during miles 6-9 which was pretty neat (except we were so squished and couldn’t get around people). The first half went by really fast!.
Miles 13-20: I started getting a little fatigued and was still running partially on the balls of my feet to avoid tweaking my foot and ankle. I just kept thinking about getting to the next aid station, seeing my family at the end, and staying strong. Throughout the race, people were mostly passing me, but by now I found my people! I was fighting negative thoughts during this time, but the bubbly, happy thoughts prevailed. I was kind of bummed that I wouldn’t make it in under 4 hours like I had hoped.
Miles 20-25: This was the point when I really felt like I was running a marathon. Everyone says the last 6.2 miles are the worst…but it didn’t feel that way to me. I was so excited to break new ground! This was the real deal now! After mile 23, I wanted to speed up, but I couldn’t lift my legs any higher. My hip flexors were so sore. I realized that everyone was in pain at this point, so I wasn’t a special and weak case. I was so happy and excited to reach mile 25 because at this point, I was for sure going to make it across the finish line…even if I had to walk!
Miles 26.2: They weren’t lying. There really is an end! The announcer called out my name as I ran across the finish line and I met up with my family! It really was a beautiful and proud moment for me. The best feeling was the release of all the stress from worrying about pulling a muscle or hurting my foot. I was really worried about getting injured throughout the race. Also, I thought, “Hey, that actually wasn’t as fun as I thought it’d be…” I think I was too stressed about my foot spazzing again to really enjoy the run. But wow, I can’t believe I finished! My time was 4:09 (9:30 min/mile)! After a year of planning, sustaining injuries, training on and off, fixing eating habits, and 3 consistent months of running…I ran a marathon!!!
Thank you sooo much to my parents and cousins who tried hard and came to San Francisco with me! They gave me so much motivation and energy.
The best advice I can give is to treat each mile like a new adventure.
Pictures: The starting line at 5:50 am, close up of me (and who’d I look like if I was a guy), water show around the Bay Bridge, me running up to the finish line, my parents and I after the race, my cousins and me at brunch!