I’ve joined the exclusive club of distance runners who have followed Pheidippides footsteps: I ran my very first marathon. I didn’t die right after, obviously (I was worried about that by the way!). I remembered saying I’d never run a marathon. A half, sure… easy.
Fast forward to this year, “I’m going to run a marathon,” I said when people wondered why I was logging so many miles via my dailymile profile. The truth is, I really do love running. It helps me clear my mind. When I’m antsy, running calms me. When I’m indecisive, running takes me to a place where I’m centered enough to question things and gain clarity. I really feel like I could run forever sometimes.
There are a few different reactions that I’ve gotten from this statement over the past few months. However, the date came and past: It was this Sunday. I’m officially a marathoner, no more dreams to aspire.
Runners who had ran a marathon before have been excited for me whereas none runners tend to think I’m insane. “Who’d want to run that much?” they’d asked. Then I get the question, “How long is a marathon?” Then they would respond when I answered: “26.2 Miles! Why?”
The thing is, training for this marathon has taught me a great deal about myself. Running has been the best partner that I’ve ever had. It never let’s me down and it makes me feel good. It has kept me in good health and assists in pushing my limit.
There’s a great deal that you can’t ask from another person that you get from running, you control it. When you do it, how long you do it and you get out of it what you put in.
Four years ago, September of 2008, I joined Yvonne So for my very first 5K. That was the toughest thing I’d ever done. I was not a runner in highschool! In fact, I always came out last in every race, even if I was slender with long legs. After that initial 5K and induction to running addiction, I continued on and did numerous 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, a half marathon and this year I signed up for a marathon in January from my aunt’s suggestion. However, since I was logging quite a bit of mileage already, I signed up for a local run. Why would I leave this wonderful city of runners and run elsewhere first? I decided to sign up super local: The Brooklyn Marathon. I live in Brooklyn, I love this place.
Sunday 18th, 2012… gorgeous day for a run. The race started and ended on Center Drive in Prospect Park. The course exited Center Drive at West Drive where runners mades 2 circuits of the lower loop of the park, followed by 6 full loops and 1 final lower loop before returning to Center Drive from East Drive and completing 26.2 miles.
I’d been carbing up for the past days like I read from Runner’s World Magazine. The night before, I had my favorite: Black Forest Ham on a 9-grain honey oat footlong from Subway with lettuce, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, onions, banana peppers and lite mayo.
I had spent the day hydrating. Then, I woke up at 5:30 (The race started at 8:30am) and had my choice fuel: white rice and almonds with a cup of coffee.
I had prepared everything from the night before:
I decided to run in my New Balance 890v2 since I had been training in them the most. I also knew that since we’d be running the park, they felt better on the concrete. My legs do drag when they get tired even if I am a minimalist runner.
540 was ready to go!
I got there at 8am and checked-in my bag, had a quick sip of water and ensured that I used the porta potty before the lines formed.
At 8:30 the race started after quick speeches and the national anthem was sang (the woman who sang it fumbled some lines but people were nice about it). We were off! I ran the first two loops quite well and anticipated the hills that were very familiar to me. I ran the Battle of Brooklyn twice, which includes the hills being ran 3 times, however by the 4th climb I mumbled to myself, “I can’t believe I have to run this 2 more f’ing times!” I kept checking my Garmin so when a half marathon was complete, I thought that I was right on time. My goal was to run a sub-4 marathon as my first. However, I was not prepared for the awesome wall that I got early: MILE 18.
I wrote about Patellar Tendonitis before. I do overuse my legs sometimes: I jump, skip, dance, run… bike. It shouldn’t be surprising that I got this and the doctor did say it would come back. The same thing happened in my first and only half marathon and it got me at Mile 7. I limped all the way to the finish. Essentially, this is what happened for the marathon. Everything hurt. My knees and thighs were gone! I still pushed it and looked forward to either an ice bath or Epsom salt bath in my future (I opted for Epsom Salt by the way). At mile 21, since I was walking anyway, I turned on my phone and updated my status to:
I didn’t have time to look at the comments but my friends were cheering on. I continued running where I could and walking where I could. Ever so often, I stretched. I had to finish. I had raised money for a cause after all (I raised for Girls on the Run and we came up to $566.20 thanks to everyone’s generousity. You can still donate here: http://bit.ly/runjerlynrun)!
After the final loop, when I came to the final turn I saw my friend from college, Ainka in the distance. I waved and beckoned her to run along with me. It was very welcomed because a pacer is always great (she was going too fast though). Haha, we ran the last .3 miles together and I made it!
Division place: 35/66 (ages 20 to 29) ,
Gender place: 87
We had some cheesecake right after and I felt really happy (I usually like a banana and Gatorade as my recovery by the way). I did it. The months of training, the 2 lost toenails in the past 2 years (yea people don’t tell you that you might lose toenails!), the injuries, the time management, diets, recovery, lack of social life, etc. was in fact, worth it ALL. I did everything right: I listened to stories, asked about everyone’s experience, read the magazines, the blogs, etc… Next time, I won’t forget my knee braces and tiger balm all over my legs.
The shiny medal:
I even found out through a school mate that I appeared on tv:
I’m now a marathoner… I got a massage tonight, I did make it to work today after spending the night ensuring that my legs got TLC. I thought about what I’d like as a tattoo (well, I opted for a necklace for now):
Thanks so much to everyone who has cheered me on and believed in me. I really think that we are capable of doing anything! Dream completed. Also, cheers to my family and incredibly supportive current boyfriend (who will be running Miami Marathon also) for having patience with me.
Chapter 2: Now to train for Maimi… mmm starting Thursday. Happy Thanksgiving!