On December 12th, my Coach and I decided I would run my 1st marathon. I was scared, nervous, and anxious but we wanted to take the chance and see if I could qualify to race at the Olympic Trials for the marathon since the USATF changed the qualification standard to 2:45. I was pretty skeptical and afraid. I questioned if I could even run a marathon. Can I really do this with a month and 5 days of training? My coach did not question my ability at all. She believed in me so much and told me I can do it! She stated," Girls you have to obey everything I am telling you; to eating habits, training, sleeping, stretching, gym, and vitamins. " The training itself was a whole other level since I had never ran above 16 miles. Also as people did not know, I have been sick for the past 3 months. Coughing, congested chest, headaches, fatigue, and body aches. The worst part for me was fighting this battle everyday. While my body inside was feeling exhausted, my fitness was at another level than I've ever been at before. I was in shape for great PR's and I knew I was ready to give it all I had.
Before the Race
The night before the race. I was built up with so many emotions. Afraid of whats to come. Tossing and Turning! So I called my dad and told him what I was feeling.I was Afraid and Nervous!
He stated, " It is okay to be afraid. Just think about your brother who has autism. Race for your brother. Your brain is your biggest tool during racing. " I then hung up and thought about it and ended up going to bed until 12:30am. The next morning, I ate my typical breakfast, oatmeal with a cinnamon raisin bran bagel with honey. And I was on my way to race my 1st marathon.
As I was at the starting line and the gun was about to start. I was terrified and I wanted to cry. My body shaking immensely! As the gun went off and 100 meters to the race. I can hear my boyfriend, my friend, his friend and the crowd cheering me and everyone else on and that put me at ease. I was ready for the battle, a mental battle to what it is to come. I know this race would be totally painful and hard. As the race pressed, at mile 3 I had a huge side ache at the right side of my stomach. It felt like sharp needles torturing my stomach that made it difficult and to breathe. This made me slow down. My sister looked back and knew something was wrong. I looked at her with stress and agony. All I kept on thinking about was what my dad told me. "Race for your brother!" I got aggressive and held a 6:12 pace and stood with the pact. At mile 4, my twin sister offered me water while we were running. I held my hand high and said, No. The pain was still there and I hoped that the pain would eventually go away. I did try taking a honey stinger gel at mile 8, a light lick and the immense pain came back again so I tossed the honey stinger gel on the floor. Through out the race, I withheld the gels and hydration that people were offering because of the painful side ache. Even though there was a huge pain in the side of my stomach, I was filled up with joy, happiness and determination. I wanted to win, I wanted to run fast, I wanted to qualify, and I wanted to race for my brother!
At mile 10 through 20, it was such an amazing feeling to run a race feeling unstoppable and powerful. I was in the lead and I had thoughts of victory for my brother and I. Looking down at my watch every so often, I was on pace to run a Olympic Trails standard. Though it felt amazing, at mile 21, I hit the wall and felt fatigue, tired, and had no energy to keep moving anymore. My Coach stated it was probably due to not hydrating and taking the gels needed.
Mile 21 to mile 26.2 I was running a 8:55 pace and even how much I tried to run faster, I just couldn't. The last few miles were the most painful miles I've run. I laughed... cried. I laughed because my sister caught up to me and we were both smiling and laughing to the finish line together. And I wanted to cry because I felt I let my family and my coach down. All together I was build up with much emotion.
When I crossed the finish line with my sister, I was glad I was DONE! I really loved running the marathon, and next time I want to learn how to defeat the last few miles. The marathon humbles you, a lot. I couldn't stop laughing after the race. A PR will come in the future.
Post Marathon: Enjoying, resting and rebuilding. One of my goals is to enjoy this time of rest. To stay motivated, and gear up for track, road races, and half marathons soon. At a young age, my Coach said I won't be running another marathon for the next two years. To be honest, I love racing the marathon! It was such a painful experience but I am ready to show myself that I am capable to running an Olympic Trials standard when my time comes. The marathon is a bit of unknown combined with dreams and over coming pain, tears, and panic. With my confidence in Christ and very exhausting season of hard work. I cannot really complain about my first marathon debut time. I am excited for what's too come! :)