Thursday, August 07, 2014

My Marathon Experience...and the food leading up to it

Note: I will warn you before you get too far in that if you don't like seeing feet, this is not a post you want to read.

Back in November 2013 I signed up for the San Francisco Marathon because I was surfing the web  and needed a new challenge.  I certainly did not know what I was getting myself into and I've come to realize that sometimes bucket list items just need to stay on the bucket list.  At the time I signed up, I was still running pretty regularly despite the colder weather.  After the wedding I trained for a little while, but then things became pretty hectic mixed with tiredness and laziness.  Before I knew it, the marathon was only a couple of weeks away.

I figured it was too late to do anything serious at that stage so I tried to rest up and treat my body well.  I had gone for a 3.5 mile run on one of the most humid days that I had ever felt in Northern California.  Not only was that uncomfortable and disconcerting, but I also decided to try to do some kettle bell swings and high pulls.  Boy, was that a mistake.  I hadn't worked out since April and that was overkill. I couldn't walk normally for the rest of the week.  At this point I normally would have backed out of the marathon with my tail tucked between my legs, but many of my friends and family had donated to the Laxarez Cancer Foundation: Team For Life that I was running for.  I couldn't let any of them down.  This was the foundation's first time as an official sponsor of the SF Marathon and...wait for it...I was their first SF Marathon Team for Life Member.  I'm pretty proud of that fact.  Anyway, after immense soreness from running and kettle bells, I just started stuffing myself with a mixture of protein and pasta.  The days leading up to the race I did eat a significant amount of pasta and rice.

Two nights before we made soup noodles.

Christopher's awesome burger.
After the SF Marathon Expo that Christopher and I drove to the City for to get my race packet I took him to the Wayfarer Tavern for a nice lunch.  I got their pasta dish and he got an amazing burger with brie and an egg.  They have an open kitchen there so we opted to sit at the bar.  We're close siblings, but we still don't want to sit and just stare at each other.  We chose to stare at the line chefs instead.

Carbo loading.

My Mom also wanted to make me a hearty pasta meal.  I ate two plates.  

The morning of the race I had my ritualistic coffee and hard boiled egg.  Thankfully, I knew that my brother would be riding through San Francisco on his bike as my personal support crew and that Nick would be there to carry me back to the car if I needed it.  (I was too stubborn to accept being carried to the car, though I probably should have been.)

The race itself was, well, boring.  After the first 13.1 mile, which was as far as I had ever run, I started to get really bored and anxious at the same time.  Part of me wanted to turn and finish with the half marathoners because I was just over the whole running aspect. I reminded myself that I couldn't quit because of my family, friends, and foundation.  I chose to wear my thin running shoes that I know I can run long distances in knowing that my brother would bring me the thicker soled shoes when I needed them.  After a certain milage the thin shoes aren't comfortable anymore, but I can only really walk in my expensive running shoes.  Pity since I paid so much for them and got molded insoles.

We made the shoe switch at mile 17.  I started power walking around mile 18 and by mile 19 I was thinking, "Gosh, child birth is going to be so much worse."  Mile 23 there was an older blind woman with her guide who was passing me up as I was power walking and I thought "YOU NEED TO FINISH THIS THING."  By mile 24 I saw my brother and he said that mile 25 was "somewhere up there".  At that point I did want to yell in frustration, but I had been through much tougher situations in our Spartan races.  By the time I got to mile 26.1 I was barely hobbling.  I tried running 100ft to the finish line, but my knees just couldn't handle it anymore.  I had to walk.  When I got about 25 ft from the finish line I started run-hobbling and a group of people started cheering.  Clearly I was struggling, but I finished.  The SF Marathon website stated that official finishers had to finish within six hours.  In my head this meant that they wouldn't give you a medal.  I was determined to get that little piece of metal that would ultimately collect dust hanging on my wall.  I finished in 5:54min.  I barely made it, but the point is that I did.

Moral of the story:  Train. Train like there is nothing else more important that running your marathon.  I encourage everyone to use a full marathon as a goal, but it is definitely not something you just do after waking up at 4am to do like I did.  

Looking happy in my expensive SF Marathon sweatshirt at the Expo.  ...Most expensive sweatshirt I've ever bought. I should have known something was up when there were no prices on anything.  I'm never taking that thing off.

Dual knee braces in preparation.

The Bay Bridge looks lovely at 5am.

All donations and foundations aside, I really just wanted one of these bad boys.

Mile five near the Presido.

Made it to mile 15 thinking that it was the furthest I'd ever run and I was still moving.

Awesome support crew.  Even has his Team for Life shirt on!

Site for sore eyes...knees, feet, lungs, arms, shoulders, brains, spirit. 

That night after a shower and nap, my left foot started to bruise up from my expensive shoes.

The next morning when I woke up the bruise had spread.

At work my right foot and ankle were starting to feel it too.

By the end of the next day my feet and ankles looked like I was pregnant and my already injured toenail was looking worse than ever.  

I'm so thankful for my amazing family and support system.  I don't think I could have done it without Nick and Christopher.  1% of me wants to do another one and actually train for it to see how I do, but the other 99% of me is retired.  I'll stick to half marathons and Spartan Races...for now. 

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