When I signed up for the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon it was supposed to be my “under 4 hour” marathon. I was going to run it with good friend, Kelly, who was the one who talked me into doing it soon after I swore I’d never run a marathon ever again. It was going to be fast and fun.
Then, two months into my training, I found out I was pregnant. SURPRISE! And my running partner, Kelly, sustained an injury serious enough to end her training.
All of a sudden, I was forced to rethink my fast & fun marathon. Upon the advice of my midwife, I reluctantly let go of my time goal & I started preparing myself for over four hours of running alone (alone except for the 20,000 other marathoners of course.)
In my head, fast & fun turned into slow & lonely.
But, barring serious injury, there was no way I was going to back out of this marathon. It was going to be a challenge, just not in the same way I had originally planned.
Everyone kept saying how fun the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon was, and they weren’t lying. I was totally entertained by not only the bands, but the spectators were awesome and the route was interesting too (if you want to see a video of the course, this one is great).
My goal was to run as fast as felt good, keeping a nice, easy, & steady pace for all 26+ miles. The first five miles were fun and exciting. Then, I really started anticipating passing Todd and the kids at mile 8. Seeing their faces for even a split second fuels me like nothing else. I knew they were going to try to catch me again at mile 15, but it was going to be close. Sadly, we just missed each other. But, there were plenty of spectators there to keep my spirits up. Some of my favorite inspirational signs of the race:
“Run like Tiger Wood’s wife is chasing you.”
“That’s not sweat, it’s your fat cells crying.”
“Chafe now, Brag forever.”
It was also nice to talk with some of the other racers. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training had tons of racers, most running in memory or honor of someone affected with Leukemia or Lymphoma. Chatting with those racers had me close to tears, which is not a good way to keep, nice, even breathing.
After missing my family at mile 15, I knew I wouldn’t see them until close to the finish. I started worrying about hitting the 20 mile “wall” like I had in my previous marathon. The negative voices started entering my head (which is never a good thing). Then, I came around a corner and spotted my Team Sparkle girls on the side of the route. They jumped on the course and ran with me for a while. It couldn’t have been more perfect timing. Running with friends is so much better than running alone.
Then I hit mile 20 and my family was waiting for me there. One of the great things about not having a time goal was that I didn’t feel bad about stopping to give the kids quick hugs & high-fives. Princess didn’t let it last too long before yelling “Mom, keep running!” And just like that, I was past the dreaded 20 mile mark and I was still feeling good and holding a steady pace.
At mile 24, it was hot, I was starting to get tired and ready for the race to be over. Then, once again, I turned the corner and my Team Sparkle friends were there to run with me. We chatted, and ran and laughed, making mile 24 breeze right by. When they left my side, I was pumped. I knew I had less than a mile left to go and (unlike my first marathon) I felt really good. So, I decided to kick my speed up a notch and fly the rest of the way to the finish line.
Official Finish Time: 4:56:34 (pace 11:19)
Not a bad time for having to train during first trimester yuckiness, race at 16 weeks along and deal with my darn pregnant lady bladder which made me stop twice at the long-lined porta-pottys.
My “lonely” marathon was far from lonely thanks to my loyal family and friends who seemed to show up at the perfect time along the race route (and all the random spectators who couldn’t help but cheer for a girl in a chartreuse sparkle running skirt).
And my “slow” marathon could not have been more satisfying and fun. My body felt great throughout the entire race which is something I could not say about my first marathon. And now my little one will be able to say he/she ran his/her first marathon before he/she was born.