Two Lives, One Lifestyle

We. Did. It. San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon Race Recap by Kelli
June 8, 2010, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Kelli, Marathon, Team in Training

Well, we did it!  Katie and I did it!  We trained for 20 weeks for our first marathon.  20 grueling weeks of long runs on way-too-early Saturday morning double digit runs.  20 weeks of exhaustion and too many cups of coffee at my desk just to get through training.  20 long weeks of treadmill runs, hill workouts, and speed training.  It all came to a head on Sunday June 6th at 6:15 AM (west coast time) in San Diego, CA at the start line of the Rock N Roll Marathon.

I cannot describe the emotions that were raging through my body at the start line for this marathon.  I was nervous, excited, and had to pee like no other.  I was in corral 30 and after waiting nearly 40 minutes from the initial start gun to actually start my race, I had to pee.  And I don’t mean just pee.  I mean like pee after a night of drinking and about to pee your pants on the frat bathroom floor while some freshman is puking in the stale.  THAT kind of had to pee.  I decided it was just nerves and when they released my corral I was on my way.  But after a 1/2 mile I decided the peeing was not just nerves and I was wondering if I could make it to the first porta-potty break with crossed legs.  Luckily there was a set of porta-potties at mile .75.  I had not gotten into a nice stride yet and had not built up any lactic acid.  I decided to cut across the crowd and pee.  I have never peed for that long in my life.  Seriously.  2 minutes straight of Gatorade pee.  Ok, I understand that most of you at thinking “KELLI!  TMI!” right now.  But, I just had to get it out.  Along with the pee.

Anyway.  The marathon started out (after the peeing) great.  I felt great!  I couldn’t believe I was running a marathon.  The girl who used to throw up literally every single morsel of food that crossed her lips.  The girl who used to fight her dad and sister tooth and nail about how running was NOT fun unless you were running for a field hockey ball.  That same exact girl was running a marathon!  And having fun doing it!  Crazy! The first 8 miles flew by.  I felt awesome.  I kept reminding myself to remember how I was feeling then, because I would probably NOT be feeling the same way in about 2 hours.  Mile 8 was the last time until the finish line that I felt THAT fantastic.  After that we were all of a sudden on a highway! A HILLY highway!  With the SUN beating down on my very pale german/irish skin.  Then we were going downhill!  Yes!  Downhill!!  But wait, this downhill was on a slant!  WEIRD!  This slant hurt my hips, my ankles, and my feet.  But I was still doing it.  I was doing my marathon.

I still felt pretty good at the halfway point.  I had not taken a walking break yet.  I had about 2 Gu packets at that point, a water at every stop, and a few cups of Cytomax (the Gatorade like drink that the race provided).  We had run through Balboa park, the street of downtown San Diego, and Fashion Valley.  At this point it was a little daunting that I still had ANOTHER half marathon left to run, but I KNEW I could do it.

Then mile 15.5 came.  I could see a water stop up ahead.  I was pretty excited because I was definitely ready for another Gu, and always need water to wash those disgusting things down.  I reach for a water and as I did the side of my right foot went right into a crack in the road.  My foot turned completely upside down and most of my weight went on my under turned ankle.  Thank god the guy who was handing me water dropped it and caught me before ALL my weight went onto my ankle and I completely fell on my face.  Even with the catch, my ankle still throbbed in pain.  I toe tapped it for a while I realized I was in a  lot of pain.  I stopped to walk and texted the husband and my dad.  I told them I had twisted my ankle but I was finishing the damn race.  I quickly looked at my Garmin, calculated my pace for the first 15 miles and realized my goal finish time of 5 hours and 15 minutes was going to change to a goal of JUST FINISHING.  PERIOD.  I went a lot.  Toe tapping sometimes.  Walking at other.  Running VERY slowly for most of it.  I couldn’t believe it when I made it to mile 20.  I, like the marathon virgin that I was, honestly felt like I was in the home stretch.  You know how people say that the first half of a marathon are miles 1-20 and the second half is miles 20-26?  As an accountant I have NEVER understood that math, until mile 20.0000001 on Sunday.  With every step I took my ankle was sending a shooting pain up to my knee.  My quads were cramping.  My shoulders, upper back, and face were sunburned.  I had no idea how I was going to finish this marathon with a twisted ankle and all the other pains I was feeling.  At mile 21 all marathon participants went onto an island.  The map called it “Fiesta Island”, but I can tell you it is far from it.  This island was NOT a fiesta.  This island was 5 miles of sand, hot sun, and NO spectators.  It was easily the hardest  5 miles of the day and it is when I had my first crying session / emotional break down.  I am in SO much pain that  I couldn’t think.  Running actually felt better than walking, so I kept running.  And by running I mean my Garmin said I was “running” at a 15 minute/mile pace and I COULD NOT run any faster.  Even step on the island was a struggle, but (as with most things in life) it made the end all the more rewarding.

When I made it off the island I was told there was only 3/4 of a mile left in the entire race.  The goal I had set 20 weeks before, to complete a marathon, was about to be accomplished.  The race I had started 6 hours ago was about to be done.  And the ankle I had twisted 10 miles ago was about to be wrapped in the glorious ice that I knew would be at the finish line.  I could not believe it.   When I got into the last .2 miles I saw one of my best friends from high school, Molly, on my left.  I knew she was coming but was still SO happy to see the first familiar face I had seen in 6 hours.  I immediately ran to her and hugged her (which I felt bad about later because I was super sweaty and she was in a really pretty white flowered dress!!).  On my right was Katie’s amazing family, dressed in tie dye and chanting my name.  And then Katie, who had finished the marathon almost an hour and a half before me, joined me in my final race for the finish line.  It was amazing to have her by my side for the last stretch!!!  Crossing the finish line was unlike anything I have EVER experienced in my life.  I felt exhaustion, pain, relief, pride, and pretty much every other emotion you could expect.  I had done it!  I completed a marathon!!

26.2 miles?  Been there.  Run that 🙂

5 Comments so far
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woohoo!! great job! I hope your ankle is OK!

Comment by Abby

Wheeeee congrats!!!

Comment by Rachel Wilkerson

Congrats on fighting through the pain and finishing the race – good for you! And you are right, that island was the furthest thing from a fiesta I have ever experienced.

Comment by Maura

Kelli, while not able to be there w/ all of you, I’m soooo proud of both Katie and yourself!!! You go girl! Hope the ankle heals soon. The tie dye family said it was very emotional for them as well, watching you girls cross the finish line. Again, congrats! Job well done! Now enjoy that new home and another new adventure for you!

Comment by Laurie

This is such an awesomely, honest recount of your marathon. My first half is in November and I still fear that I wont be able to run the entire thing. Congratulations on finishing! I’ve come to realize that all that matters is crossing the line. You did something amazing!

Comment by Alex @ IEatAsphalt

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