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metafora77 in Barcelona is doing 1 thing including…

run a marathon

90 cheers

 

metafora77 has written 17 entries about this goal

The marathon experience

On Sunday, June 6, 2010, I became a marathoner.

The tapering period was a strange experience. I compare this period to sitting it out at the waiting room of a doctor’s office, except you are by yourself this time. You’ve booked your appointment, the doctor is there, but he won’t see you just yet. There’s nothing to do but WAIT, and you try to pass the time in an unfamiliar setting (the doctor’s office being the equivalent of the unfamiliarity of NOT running after months when running had been such an integral part of LIFE). After the 20 mile training run, I had been experiencing some discomfort in my knee – not the kneecap (fortunately), but the inner leg part at the knee. I tried icing it and cut down my mileage significantly over the tapering period. Still, the “pain”, which was more like a nagging discomfort which intensified as I went downhill or down the stairs, would not go away. At times, it felt like my knees were out of alignment, like the muscles were pulling in a sightly “twisting” way. So, along with the excitement and anticipation of race day, I have to say that what I felt the days prior to the marathon was nervousness, most of all. I was feeling uneasy, not knowing how this problem would manifest during the later miles of the 26.2. This was “new” to me – I’ve been running for years now (albeit the longest distances during this training period), BUT never before had I had any problem, injury, or pain.

Fast forward to the early hours of Sunday, June 6. I was feeling three things: a tad of disappointment that my body was not at its 100%, a whole lot of nervous anticipation that I was about to begin the longest run of my life ever, and an URGENCY to go to the bathroom! (I’ll spare anyone who’s reading the port-a-potty episode. I will just say that I am grateful for the deal offered by the girl in front of me in line: when she saw me squirming, she offered for me to go ahead of her in line in exchange for a Kleenex. One of those rare occasions in which I was actually prepared in the event of no toilet paper!)

The first 8 miles or so went by like a fast running river… I was trying really hard to be mindful and to take it slow (both to take in the scene and the experience and to conserve energy for the later miles). I succeeded in running at an “easy” pace, but even then, that whole time went by FAST. I have never experienced a faster 8 miles, even if in reality, it took much longer to complete this distance than it had ever taken me before, during training. The prevalent feeling over these mies was elation.

A little bit after mile 8, I had to stop and massage my knees, which were beginning to act up. It was very uncomfortable, and it made me slow down, but it was not painful yet.

Mile 13: “I’m halfway there!”

Mile 15: PAIN is what I remember, after having run a long stretch of a highway which curves over a loooong distance, and so the surface is at a steep incline. This can (and will) wreak havoc on already compromised knees. This is where I knew it was going to take me a whole lot longer to finish than my projected time. After trying to find the flattest surfaces I could toward the edge of the highway, that stretch was finally over. I went to the side and this time had to sit, stretch my legs, massage some more, and keep going. The pain was a lot worse as I slowed down, so I kept jogging at an easy pace.

The distance after Mile 20 was the trip to a place I had never been to. After the 20th mile, some runners will experience was is called “the wall”, the point where glycogen is depleted from the body, making runners feel like they cannot possibly go on. Oddly (or perhaps not so, I don’t know), I got my “second wind” at around mile 21. I knew that quitting was not an option for me, that the sun had been out for a while at this point, and that I REALLY wanted to get to the finish line. Like I told h.g. afterward: I kept running because I wanted to get to the point where I could STOP running.

That was one thought… But it was nothing short of beautiful to know that I was at that moment doing something which I had never thought possible I could do. There I was, slowly but steadily advancing through the miles. Exhilarating!

I remember one particular cheer at mile 25 and a half: “This is YOURS! You can take it home now!”

I remember throwing my arms up at the finish line. I remember hearing U2’s “Where the streets have no name.” Appropriate, for a journey to an unknown place, a place I had never before been to, the 26.2 miles – a place I want to go to again.

I completed the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon with a chip time of 4:43:32. Not the time I was hoping for, but I am happy I finished, and I know it’s not so bad, all things considered, and I hope I will beat it next time. This might sound awfully redundant, but my legs had never before felt so tired. Worth it? Absolutely. Would I do it again? Hell, yeah! Three days later, I am already considering which will be the next one.



20 miler under my belt

Yesterday morning I tackled the monster of marathon training: the 20 mile long run. This is the longest distance I have ever covered and the first time the discomfort was enough to require some ice and a nap.

Although my previous 18 miler under the rain and against the wind was psychologically more difficult, I have to say that this was more physically taxing, which I think is normal given the fact that it takes place at the end of many months of training with almost no recovery/rest time in between (which is why tapering is a vital part of pre-race preparation). The weather was warm (about 17-18˚C) and the sun was shinning. I ran through 6 different quarters/neighborhoods in the city, around the park, and by the beach. I saw a port that I had never seen. I had to stop and stretch (due to a mild cramp on my right leg) and have a talk with myself for about one minute at mile 15. From there, I pushed through the fatigue for about two miles. It got somewhat easier by mile 18; I guess because by then I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

At the end, I was tired, sweaty, dirty, happy, and hungry. The first thing I did after I came home was call S. and tell him I felt like I was the only person to have ever accomplished the task of running 20 miles. That’s how special it felt. All the exhaustion was worth it.

I’m looking forward to tapering, and I can’t wait for race day.

Eighteen days to go for the real thing.



Preparation and progress

Part of the reason why I’d chosen San Diego was that we had planned and were almost sure we’d be spending a period there this summer, and I wanted to choose the marathon location in such a way as to avoid airfare cost as much as possible. Of course, my life doesn’t work that way. I can’t just make a plan, decide on something, and then have it happen. Surprise! California will, YET AGAIN, be postponed. Oh, well. Life would be boring if it were always predictable. I suppose it’s a good thing that I seem to embrace change…

Anyway. Too late to back out on the San Diego marathon, and with the excuse that S. has a conference to attend in L.A. that same week, I’m still going for it. We already have airplane tickets, now I just need to find accommodation before prices skyrocket and places begin to get fully booked. I also have to get on the ball with fundraising for Namaste Nepal, the organization I will be running for!

I cannot believe in less than two months this is happening. :)



Running for libraries and children!

The original name for this goal was “Run a marathon – hopefully run it for a charity.” I changed it to “run a marathon” so that I could read and learn from entries posted by everyone else pursuing this goal, while I kept searching for an organization that I wanted to support, even in a small way, by doing this.

Today, I am very happy to announce that I will be running and raising funds for our own h.g.’s Namaste Nepal – Helping Himalayan Children, an organization with a wonderful cause that I fully support and believe in (libraries! books! children!), which is now a reality thanks to the inspiration, vision and action of a woman who has overcome many challenges in the past and whose strength and passion make the world a better place. I’m excited to form a small part of your amazing labor, h.g.!

More details to follow!



Running for a charity

It’s something I am definitely doing, so I’m changing this goal to “run a marathon.”



It's official!

I’ve just registered for the San Diego Marathon on June 6, 2010!!

So excited that this goal feels so much real now!



ARGHHHHH!!!!!

So, yesterday I was (yes, yet again) shopping around for a suitable marathon to register for and run, hopefully by this summer. This time around, it is a sure thing that S. and I will be spending some time in California (from end of May to mid-late August). California seems like a good choice for a marathon because it wouldn’t involve buying airplane tickets, and my family and/or friends in the U.S. could probably (fingers crossed) go and support me.

I pretty much narrowed my choices down to these three:

1. San Francisco Marathon

PROS:

• Beautiful scenery
• Amazing city, definitely one of my favorite ones.
• Running across the Golden Gate Bridge!
• Very close (1.5 hour drive) from where we will be living in California.
• Cool weather.

CONS:

• Hills; lots of them (while I am used to training on flat surfaces, there are mountains and hills in Barcelona and I do have time to start training for those).
• Missing mile markers (according to past years’ reviews). Ugh… I guess this can be “fixed” because I will be wearing a Garmin and so I can keep track of mileage myself, but come on. Seeing the markers on the road is (for me) a psychological advantage.
• Tiny dixie cups for water at water stations (I guess I could carry my own water bottle, or grab several cups of water at the stop. What a drag).
• Not much in the way of spectator support (it is a factor to consider since this can be very motivating. On the other hand, it is my race, and not theirs, so I shouldn’t be counting on anyone but myself to cheer for me).
• Scenery might not be fully enjoyed, because chances are high that it will be foggy (especially with a 6.00 AM start).

2. Newport, Oregon Marathon

PROS:

• Beautiful course, almost all of which is by the coast.
• Almost completely flat and fast, just a couple of gentle, rolling hills.
• Excellent reviews as far as organization, aid stations, etc.
• Would involve traveling to a place which I’ve never been to.
• Smaller size marathon but excellent spectator support.

CONS:

• Very expensive place as far as flights and accommodation.
• Far away from where we will be living (about 11.5 hours drive), which makes driving a not very viable choice given time constraint (basically, we’d be heading out Friday and coming back Sunday after the race).
• Flights are close to $450. Multiply that by 2, equals unaffordable.

3. San Diego Marathon

PROS:

• Mostly flat course. First half of course is somewhat nice (scenic).
• It is in California. Distance is okay to drive (about 7 hours).
• Rock and roll marathon. Entertainment all throughout course.
• Excellent reviews as far as organization
• Great spectator support

CONS:

• Warm and humid weather.
• About half of the course is unmemorable/plain boring. Large part is run on a highway (yuck).
• My sister already ran this one (would like to start with one which neither my sister nor my brother have already done. Stupid, I know.)

So this morning I was talking to S. about the alternatives as I have just outlined. He stays quiet for a while. I ask him what his comments and thoughts are, since I am so OBVIOUSLY trying to do this in a way which can accommodate HIS schedule because I know I definitely want him to be there that day.

He answers: “Um, I don’t know.”

Me (confused frown on my face to be getting a one-line response to my 20 minute blab on something that is IMPORTANT TO ME, and trying to suppress my urge to explode in rage and turn this into a full-blown argument, I ask as calmly as I possibly can): “What do you mean you don’t know? I’m asking for your input here because I want you to be there and factors like time and cost are something we both need to consider.”

Him: “Well, then consider that you are buying $100 running shoes every 4 months already…”

(I choose to ignore this comment and just look at him in a way more furious than hurt, though I am feeling both).

After a moment of prolonged silence after his remark, he says: “Whatever. Lourdes, I just don’t think you can do your first marathon running hills.”

WTF? This is coming from the guy who has been supportive and kind and understanding to me through my darkest, ugliest periods. This is UNLIKE him. I’m baffled, to say the least.

Me: “Well, I guess I’ll just make the decision myself.”

This sucks. Any thoughts? Comments? Anything will be appreciated, either on the marathon choice or on the other obvious aspect of this.



Uncertainty

I don’t know where I am going to be living next year. It feels like my Barcelona period is coming to a close… It doesn’t entirely depend on me whether I am still here or not by next year (waiting to see what happens with some shots in the dark at possible jobs, both here and in the U.S.)

But, to get to the point: besides this situation starting to become somewhat frustrating, it really makes it difficult to plan for things like running a marathon. I can’t sign up for one here in Europe if then I have to fly back over here to run it. Sadly, I can’t afford to be coming and going across the ocean more than I already do…

If things get settled and resolved, perhaps I can already make a decision about this by early next year.



XII Cursa 10Km de Girona

I am running this one tomorrow. Looking forward to hitting the pavement, and I am crossing my fingers to running it in less than 58 minutes (my previous time). I don’t harbor high hopes though, as the Easter break with its overeating and under-running really took its toll.

We’ll see…



Cursa Bombers 2009

Did this 10K on Sunday and loved it. It was a great run: perfect weather, feeling light and comfortable all the while. For this race, I had two main goals: to run it comfortably and have fun (I was running it with Simone, who had never ran a 10K before) but to still finish it in less than 1 hour. Checked both goals! The last 2km., I kissed S. good-bye and told him I’d wait for him at the finish line (in order for me to be able to finish in less than 60 min.) I clocked in 58 minutes.



metafora77 has gotten 90 cheers on this goal.

 

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