Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Catalina Marathon

I guess that two months after the race it's about time I got down to writing about the marathon. Fist, let me start with the night before the race. The night before the race I got food poisoning and was puking up my guts. I couldn't even keep water down, needless to say, I knew the race wasn't going to be my best race and I knew that the chances of my finishing were pretty slim. I was excited though because I was running here:

That's Catalina island and Avalon Harbor. Sadly we got into Avalon too late to really see anything and we were up at 4am to get to the starting line so this picture is from after the race.

In the morning we got up early, my running buddy and I, and we caught a boat that would take us up to the starting line. There were about 700 participants for the marathon but it seemed like so few after having run the San Antonio marathon with tens of thousands of fellow runners.

The morning was nice and cool but we knew that it would warm up throughout the race. We started here:

we were at sea level and the first three miles were going to be uphill. I was so not prepared for the hills! My running buddy and I split up and she went ahead of me at about mile 2. At that point I was the last person in the race! I've always been close to last but I've never actually been the last person. It was a little disheartening and scary since I didn't know the course but the organizers had done a great job with the signs and water stations. I have to say that this race was one of the best organized races that I've run and the race fuel was awesome, M&M's, cookies, sour patch kids and gummy bears! It made the hills a little more bearable.

This picture to the right is from right around mile 3, still having fun!

There were fun signs along the way, like this one instructing me to watch for foxes and there were some signs for buffalo although I never did see any wildlife other than some birds.

At mile 9 I gave a thumbs up, I was feeling alright and I had actually caught up with some of the walkers that started the race early. I really should have started with those walkers since I found myself walking the majority of the race after this point.

Mile marker 13, halfway there! At this point I had made a friend and pretty much given up on running. I was drinking and eating but was beginning to feel a little light headed. I actually forgot at that point that I had food poisoning the night before and was having a hard time figuring out why I felt bad. Well, that sure explains it! The gal that I was with offered me some salty pumpkin seeds and some other snacks but we were in the "desert" a portion of the course with full sun and no breeze, it was hot and I was feeling awful! We got to the aid station at mile marker 17.3 and I made the call to stop there, I just didn't have another 9 miles in me! Thankfully I convinced the aid station crew that I didn't need an ambulance, just a ride to town! I hung out at that aid station for awhile and then rode with the communication crew to the next stop, we stopped at all of the aid stations and cheered for the last few walkers before heading to the next one. It was actually pretty fun and enjoyable. I'm looking forward to volunteering at some races this summer to be on that side of things a little more.

The nice guys who were driving me back dropped me off about .2 miles from the finish line and I ran it in. It was so amazing to have friends waiting for me at the end. It was so different from the San Antonio race where I felt defeated and like my finish had been taken from me! This time I stopped because I wanted to and not because someone else decided it for me. I knew going into this that I hadn't done the training the way that I should have and that I wasn't really ready for the race but since I'd bought the ticket and paid for the race I knew that I was going to just enjoy the scenery and it was going to be my race and not anyone else's! In that, I succeeded and I am not ashamed to wear my finisher's shirt and hang my medal on the wall.

After the race I put my legs in the nice cool pacific ocean and then we ate a hearty lunch before heading back to the mainland!

I thought that after this race I'd be done with marathons and I'd go back to shorter distances, but there is just something so appealing about finishing a marathon. It is such a feeling of accomplishment. For my next race I'm going to put my all into the training and see just what I can do on a flat course where I can sleep in my own bed and eat my own food the night before. Stay tuned for my next race recap sometime in November!

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