Thursday, May 6, 2010

My First Marathon Experience

Josh pining my bib on me
Getting ready @ 4am
Proud Husband : )
Not so happy mom because she had t wake up at 4am
On the way to Dodger Stadium @ 5am
A bit nervous and cold
Mile 23 and still smiling
Finishing strong!
I Did it!!
Love the sign Josh made for me : ) I have the best husband

Marathon day was on a Sunday. Mon-Sat i ate extremely healthy. Josh and I went to sushi at least 3 times that week and George's the other nights for chicken salads. I don't think i cooked once that whole week. I stayed away from drinking that whole week to make sure my body was hydrated enough (i cheated a little and shared a drink with Josh one night). I knew the Friday before the marathon was an important day to load up on water and so i did. I brought my huge 54 ounce slurpee cup to work added some Emergen-C to it and made sure to drink the whole thing. I ran three times that whole week, three five mile runs and nothing more than that because i needed as much rest as possible. Saturday before the marathon i did nothing but relax! Josh and i cleaned the house together the night before to make sure I'd stay off me feet as much as possible Saturday. Saturday i tried to down a little more water then i normally would, i had oatmeal for breakfast, a turkey sandwich from subway for lunch and when Josh got home from work we went to sushi for dinner. I was planning on eating a huge pasta dinner the night before the marathon because that's what i trained eating the night before long runs, but pasta did not sound good at all so we went to sushi instead (probably should've stuck with the pasta though). Anyway, before we went to dinner i got a call from my mom. I don't talk to my mom often, maybe once every month or two she will call. She randomly called me about a dish i had of hers, wanting to know when she could come pick it up. She asked when i was running the marathon i had told her i was training for and i told her tomorrow morning was the big day and i needed to get as much rest as possible...i needed to go to bed by 8pm is what i told her. Surprisingly (in a sarcastic voice) she forgot when i was running the marathon and asked if i could come pick her up to stay the night so she could come support me the day of my run. Of course i say yes, but i also make sure she knows i have to be in bed early because 1) i need as much sleep as i can possible get and 2) I have to freakin get up at 4:00am. So after dinner Josh and I go pick her up...i'm not going to go into details about where she was or how long it took her to get herself together but i did not get to bed till 10pm!!! Two hours past the time i planned on going to bed...I was beyond irritated. My brother also stayed the night that night (thank god he did because if it weren't for him I'm pretty sure my mom would have kept me up ALL night).

Josh woke me up at 4:00am Sunday morning. I had no trouble what-so-ever waking up because i was so anxious. I got dressed (as Josh recorded my every move : ) Love that proud husband of mine) had about half a cup of coffee, a little water and a clif bar. Josh pinned my bib on me, i tied my hair back, took a few pictures, made sure i went to the bathroom one last time and we were out the door by 5am.

Dodger Stadium was packed! After all, 25,000 people were running so you can only imagine how packed it was. My mom, brother and Josh stayed there with me for about an hour. It was still dark out and a little chilly. I brought a light sweater, one i could wear during the start of my run and then throw away once i warmed up a bit. We walked around just to check everything out for a while, i went to the bathroom one last time to avoid having to make any stops along my run, took a few more pictures and made my way to the starting line. Luckily, i got in line early enough to where i did not have to fight through a bunch of people to make my way to the front. I casually made my way through and sat down to stretch. Josh climbed a nearby tree and took pictures of me waiting and stretching and then off they went to Santa Monica to wait for me at the finish line!

Waiting for 7:20am to come around was the longest wait ever!!! You start getting nervous and anxious and then all of a sudden you feel like you have to go the bathroom even though you just went.....7:20 could not come any sooner...i was more then ready to run and then our running time get's pushed back not just once, but twice!!! Our new start time was 7:40 ugh!!! Really!?!? I tried entertaining myself with thoughts and the distraction of the people around me but all i could think about was how bad i wanted to start running! Everyone had Ipods and music to listen to and I had nothing but my good ol GPS watch to keep me entertained... fun huh!?! The reason i didn't bring my Ipod/MP3 player was because i wanted to enjoy my first marathon fully, i wanted to enjoy every sound and all the people that not only are handing stuff out to you but also cheering you on the whole way.

Sitting there waiting probably had to be the worst part of the whole marathon experience. Your just overly anxious and you just have to WAIT. I people watched most of the time i was waiting there. There was a young girl next to me, probably about 21, blonde hair, really thin, dressed in super tight running clothes with her hair pulled back and she was standing next to me (mind you i was sitting at the time) she was jogging in place and then doing jumping jacks in place...she was driving me nuts with all the movement she was making. I remember thinking to myself, man this girl is gonna run out of energy before we even start running. Then i started thinking "I wonder if she's a fast runner, or if she's just an average runner, i wonder if this is her first marathon too, i didn't say a word to her..she didn't look so friendly, just overly eager to run. Sitting next to me on the pavement was a guy around my age. He was stretching too and seemed to be very calm. Eventually he got up to make a bathroom trip and i never saw him again. I must have gotten stepped on a million times. So many people were fighting to make their way up to the front and in the process of doing so everyone sitting got stepped on or stepped over. It was really annoying and frustrating. Eventually is stood up because i got so tired of it. I'm not the tallest person, in fact I'm pretty dang short and when i stood up i realized everyone around me was much taller and i could not see thing. A group of girls surrounded where i was standing...they were very young (19) and this was their first marathon, they were all running it together and hoped to finish in 5 hours. I loved hearing everyone talk about their goal time and knowing that my goal time was so much more extreme then everyone else who was doing their first. It made me that much more confident. Chef Gordon Ramsay (love him) was there running and so was some guy from the bachelor, i don't know his name cause i don't watch that show but apparently he is a really good runner!

7:40 Ready, Set, Go.....

I was kinda jogging in place for about 2 minutes. Trying to get through 25,000 people was a bit nerve racking and time consuming. I kept thinking to myself, man it's going to take forever just to get past all these people. Eventually everyone started spreading out and i was able to run normal. Men were pulling over to the side and peeing in bushes, which totally freaked me out because i was not warned of this lol. I spent the first mile trying to make up for the time i lost trying to get through all the people at the very start of my run. I started passing people left and right, i was feeling good, my adrenaline was racing and i was feeling confident in completing this run and completing it with a great time. When i got to the second mile i saw a huge hill ahead. Ahhh the one thing i did not train for and was hoping there wouldn't be a lot of. That hill took EVERYTHING out of me..or so it felt! I was so out of breath already by mile two and it took a while to get my pace and breathing back on track once i got over that hill. Then right when i was feeling good again...another hill!! This course was filled with hills, which is why i recommend anyone training for a marathon to train uphill because you just never know what you going to get! For a while i was running next to this guy who was barefoot and his toe nails were painted baby blue, he has wild curly blonde hair, no shirt on and American flag boxers on! This guy just looked crazy and like he didn't take running seriously. Wrong! He freakin out ran me and a heck of a lot of other people too.

There were a ton of people supporting us runners. It was so great to see the community come together and volunteer their time to supply us water, food and to cheer us on. I don't think i have ever heard my name being called so many times. I was trained to run along the curbside rather then directly down the middle and so i was very close to all the volunteers which made it easy for everyone to read my bib and shout out my name. The first few times i heard "Go Stephani" i would look back thinking it was someone i knew..took me a while to get use to and for every person that called my name i would smile and wave. I must have smiled and waved about 100 times that day : ) although most runners do not acknowledge their name being called or the people who cheer them on at all, i am way to considerate of a person to not acknowledge those people. To be honest, the volunteers out there were a great part of my motivation during those long hard miles. Water, Poweraid, Oranges, Banana's, Oreo Cookies, Snicker Bars, Crackers,etc...were all being passed out for us runners. I took my bosses advice and grabbed a little cup of water at nearly every water station i saw. I brought 5 Gu packets and only ended up using 3 of the 5. I didn't eat anything during my run...i did grab an orange from someone and tried eating that..BAD IDEA...ADVICE for anyone who plans on running a marathon...if you did not train with it then do not try something new the day of the marathon! My stomach felt awful after that little piece of orange....which reminds of a time during training when i ate a BLT before a 18 mile run (i normally eat oatmeal) my stomach hurt so bad the whole run and i had to stop numerous amount of times because i had such bad cramps. It wasn't even really a BLT was more like a LT because i only put half a piece of bacon in it (i am not a bacon fan at all but Josh was having one and i wanted to join him : )) Anyway, after that i learned to stick with oatmeal because that's what i trained my body to run on.

One thing i was hoping i would not have done during my run was go to the bathroom! I had a goal time and i did not want anything slowing me down. By mile 10 i had to go to the bathroom but could not bring myself to stop running just to take a quick pee break. So i held it until mile 12 and then i had to go! I was so bummed i had to take a minute from running to use the rest-room (all runners know every second makes a huge difference). I got back onto the course after a quick potty break and did not have to stop again, thank god!

By mile 17 my legs were starting to ache. My right ankle was super sore, my knees felt weak and i felt like i was slowing down. No matter how achy my body was getting i kept pushing through the pain and running as fast as i could. I stopped twice for a water break (a water break i could walk and enjoy rather than just tossing on my face and hoping some makes it into my mouth) i really needed those little 30 second walks in-between the nonstop running i did for 20 miles straight (minus my bathroom break). I used my last GU packet on mile 20 and from mile 20 on running the rest became a mental thing. I had to occupy my mind and keep telling myself YOU ARE ALMOST THERE, YOU CAN DO IT AND DO IT WITH A SMILE. The last few miles were full of volunteers!! The most encouraging, loud volunteers ever and they are what made me push my hardest!

Finally i hit mile 26 and i saw a light at the end of the tunnel! Two more laps to go and i was there....i saw the finish line and the crowds of people and gave it my all....Everyone was cheering me on and i crossed the finish line with a big ol smile and feeling GREAT! 3 Hours and 47min was my finishing time. Out of 25,000 people i came in 1,668 place overall, 304 place out of all women, 55 place out of everyone in my division age 25-29 and i was ahead of 90% of men. Although i wanted to finish under 3:40 so i could qualify for Boston i was still happy with my results. I later found out your firth marathon is suppose to be your worst time, if that's the case i cannot wait for my next because I'm gonna kick some butt : )

My Wonderful husband was such a great support system for me. He not only helped me train every Sunday but he ate healthy with me and bragged about how proud of me he was to everyone : ) I am so unbelievably lucky to have such a perfect man in my life and i could not ask for more in a husband. I love you baby!

I am going to run the Long Beach Marathon October 2010. Training will start in July..I plan on finishing at an even better time and who knows, maybe next year Boston!?!? ( if i qualify that is : ))...


  1. sounds fun!!!!! i wish i could do a marathon. maybe one day....... i started running, lol i get around the block about once.

  2. Well that's a start girl! You should start with doing a 5K until you make you way can do anything you put your mind to : )

  3. you're amazzzzzing... wow i'm just so astonished by your experience. i used to hate running, but i realized it's the one physical activity that keeps you in shape so that's when i gave in.... can't wait to do the long beach half. working on my 5k for quite some time now, beat my 5k time this past week...