As a mother my nemesis is the laundry. As a runner, my nemesis is the heat. The 31st annual Long Beach Marathon was the first time a DNF (Did Not Finish) seriously crossed my mind. This was the hottest recorded race for the Long Beach marathon for past 15 years. Sigh… well let’s get on with the story…
During the first half of the marathon I was feeling terrific. I was on pace to finish in just over 5 hours, which for me is a win. I was hydrating, keeping my legs moving, doing everything that felt right. I was enjoying all aspects of the race.
Then came the heat at about mile 20. I started heaving up water. I couldn’t step away from the bushes on the curb. No cramping, just an upset stomach and complete mental breakdown. I began crying and started to slowly walk. At that moment I just wanted to go home. I kept thinking to myself you’re so close to done… you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other. But even that was a mental and physical challenge. I sat down for a bit, honestly, I laid down on the sidewalk till I could pull myself together. Fellow runners would pass by and ask if I was okay. They would offer me a salt stick, ask if I wanted to get up and keep going with them. The outpouring of encouragement was so heartfelt.
During this complete and utter meltdown I heard someone call my name out. It was my running buddy Joanna. I’m not kidding when I say she was a godsend as she handed me a small Dixie cup filled with ice. She gave me a hug and kept moving to the finish line. I tried to pull myself together to complete the last few miles with her, but emotionally I was just not ready.
I called my husband and close friend to get the mental support I needed to continue. My husband (who is an amazing ultra endurance runner) insisted I wear a hat during the race. I cannot begin say how grateful I was for the decision to wear that ugly hat! Under my husband’s advisement, I filled my hat with ice at the nearest medical tent and felt the immediate relief. I left the medical tent with a bag of ice to chew on to as I finally felt ready to run again. My morning running buddy Venecia, told me to stop the negativity, pull it together, and do what I know I came out to do. Between the guidance of the two I was able to compose myself enough to complete the race.
When I finally crossed the finish line I picked up my metal, my bag of snack goodies, and went straight to a food truck. I didn’t get anything to eat, all I wanted was a diet coke. I found a shady spot on the grass, cracked open my soda, and enjoyed my moment. I stopped to survey the crowd around me. Everyone was just as beat by the heat. Some were receiving much need medical attention.
6 hours and 14 minutes was my finish time. This by far was my worst race. I still struggle with the embarrassment of the finish time. Though, at the same time I can proudly say I was able to complete the race. Next year I’ll come back for more. I’ll come back looking for my PR I know is on that course waiting for me.
Wait!!!! Don’t stop reading yet! I need to share a few highlights!
The road leading to the marathon was an amazing journey! I was one of six ambassadors chosen to represent the marathon. I absolutely loved the opportunity to encourage runners to join the race. I used different forms of social media to share a race discount and my excitement about running. It is an opportunity that I hope to have the chance to do once again.
As an ambassador, I was able to attend the VIP reception, meet CEO of race, and chat with the awe-inspiring legacy runners. It was amazing to meet so many men and women who had been dedicated to running the marathon for the past 31 years.
During my preparation for the marathon I also joined Team Runners High. Every Tuesday night has become a speed track work time. I’m as slow as a turtle stuck in peanut butter, BUT I’m improving! The runners in the group are all amazing people. I highly suggest you check out the group if you live in the Long Beach area. Click on this link for details TeamRunnersHigh
Lastly, with the completion of this race I proudly became a member of the Beach Bum Club! In order to be a Beach Bum you have complete the half marathon or marathon three consecutive years. This is a status I don’t plan on letting go of. Running is a journey that I’m thankful for. As I close the chapter on the Long Beach Marathon, I will enjoy a few half marathons on my way as I start to prepare for the LA Marathon in February.