July 29, 2018
1,500 Feet Elevation Gain
Going into this race, I went in with a “Do Your Best and Keep Running” mindset. Initially, I registered to run the first half of the marathon (13.1 miles) to complete the “Half It All Challenge”. A month before the race I found out that half marathoners wouldn’t be allowed to run on the bridge.
“For years, the bridge district had allowed the annual marathon to come off two of the northbound lanes to accommodate the popular run. But all that changed after a series of car and truck terror attacks in Europe and the subsequent need for increased security.
The new plan calls for only the 9,000 runners who take part in the full 26.2-mile marathon to cross the bridge — and even then with staggered starts to ensure there will be room on the sidewalks. An equal number of runners expected to take part in the half-marathon originally planned to go over the bridge will now be rerouted through the Presidio and into Golden Gate Park.”- TheSFChronicle.com
I contacted the race coordinators to find out what could be done because I wanted to run on the Golden Gate bridge. They allowed me to upgrade to the full marathon with no extra charge and marked my bib so that I could receive the challenge medal.
After I made the decision to run the full marathon, I had one month to train.
That next weekend I ran 20 miles in 90-degree heat to prepare for the race.
Summer training is tough. Making sure that you stay hydrated on the run is very important. Besides running the miles, I focused more on strength training and recovery.
When race week came, I felt confident in my training and went out with a different approach. I told myself “I’m going to run to the best of my ability and enjoy my experience”.
On race morning it all hit me. “You are doing this. 26.2 all over again!” During this race, I learned how powerful the mind was.
I started the race slow, running at an 11:00-minute mile. If I paced myself well then I could finish in my goal time. After mile 4 I started to feel good. I saw the Golden Gate Bridge approaching and I got happy.
The experience was how I imagined it to be. It was peaceful, serene and beautiful.
After the bridge, we ran through the Presidio towards Golden Gate Park. I had to mentally prepare myself for the second half because of what I’ve experienced before. The second half is when things get real. I also knew that the park was going to be challenging because I ran it last year.
I kept a steady pace and made sure that I took my time on the inclines and hills.
During the second half, I had flashbacks of my experience the year before. I thought about how I wasn’t mentally prepared for the inclines yet I still pushed hard.
When I felt fatigued I thought about those moments.
Those are the defining moments, the moments when you want to give up but you keep pushing.
After coming out of the park at Mile 19, I was still feeling good. I ran into a few of my friends and teammates with BlacklistLA. That gave me an extra boost of inspiration and motivation.
I got excited knowing that I was approaching mile 20 and making good time.
I started running faster than I had been because I wanted to beat my previous time (PR).
At mile 22 friends of the family greeted me with coconut water and oranges. It is always good to see loved ones during the marathon.
After leaving them, I started feeling fatigued. It all started to hit me.
My left quad started cramping and my legs felt so heavy. I told myself “no matter how slow you go, you have to keep going”.
I drank as much water and electrolytes as I could. At mile 23, Jay caught up to me. I was so happy to see him.
He told me “Let’s GO, Keep Pushing”. We both were in a lot of pain. At mile 24, both of my quads and my calves cramped up.
I wanted it to end but I knew that the finish line was close. We pushed each other until we finally crossed the finish line.
I did it!
Not only did I finish a full marathon, but I beat my previous time by 13 minutes.
I was so happy that I went out and did the best that I could. I enjoyed myself despite the adversity.
This marathon proved to me that with the right attitude, preparation and determination, I can accomplish anything.
I’m looking forward to reaching new goals and pushing myself to be better.