I always say that running is so much better with friends. The first 13 miles of the OC marathon were fun. My running buddies Sergio and Oliver met me at the starting line and we paced a comfortable 10:30 mile for two hours as we watched the sunrise over the Newport Bay. It really is magnificent how fast the miles pass when you have good company. These awesome runners helped keep me positively motivated and confident.
Keep your mental baggage packed and stored away was my running mantra for the second half of the marathon. I tend to become my worst mental enemy by the last few miles of a race. Pacing with a friend the final miles made all of the difference! Oliver, so politely offered a week before race day to pace me for the full 26.2 miles. He was a great mental support the entire run. It was like having a personal running coach by my side. While climbing the hills he reminded me to change gears, focus on my form, and take it on one step at a time. Remembering to breathe properly and to shake out my arms were other key reminders he shared at vital moments. The biggest help were the positive affirmations he would say as the final miles were near.
The race did have some physical challenges too. At about mile 12, I complained that my toes on my right foot were starting to become numb. Shortly after that, my left toes were numb too! I should have stopped at that point and re-tied my shoes, but I figured I could push through it. I realize not taking that moment to re-lace was a mistake. As the miles reached the twenties I lost feeling in both my feet which made running a physical and mental challenge.
Between stopping to wiggle my toes and relieving myself in the restroom, I seriously cost myself precious minutes. In my mind, I was set to cross the finish line finally with a sub 5. These moments when I stopped are where I let my PR slip away from my fingers. I crossed the finish line in 5:00:21. Reflecting upon the race, I can see where I can grow and improve from this point.
I must take a moment and give tremendous a thank you to Oliver. This was his 14th Marathon in the past 12 months. He stayed and encouraged me every step of every mile. This kindness was heartfelt because he runs a normal pace much faster than me. He has a personal goal of helping other runners in the running community make improvements. I am so grateful to call him a friend. He is currently training for a double run of the San Francisco marathon. He will take on 26.2 miles before the start of the race. I know he is totally going to rock this ultra marathon challenge. Check out his blog at GoOliverGo
This marathon actually restored my self-confidence and left me ready to start training for marathon number seven….lucky number seven! The Long Beach Marathon is next and it is my personal favorite because it is my hometown race. I feel mentally and physically stronger than ever and I’m ready to start training for the October race date. Stay tuned for my progress as I have a few fun half marathons planned before!