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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Race Report - Santa Clarita Marathon, November 8, 2015

I decided that my last race of 2015 was going to be a full marathon.  Why?  Because I had so much fun doing the Surf City Full Marathon in February...and I did that race so that I could earn more bling from the Beach Cities Challenge.  Not sure this was the best idea ever.  But nonetheless, I decided to go for it at Santa Clarita.  
Remember, I already did a slow marathon in February, a REALLY slow half marathon in April, and a horrid Olympic Triathlon in July.  In the grand scheme of things, this was a smart year of training, because I basically had one race every quarter.  But on the other hand, I had enough busy-time at work that my training for each event did get somewhat derailed, which led to slower times and less-than-optimum performance.
If I'm running by myself, at the half-marathon distance, if I can train solidly for 8-10 weeks, I can stick to my basically average time of about 2:15.  I have 25 half-marathons under my belt.  It's a good distance and a race length I enjoy.  The full marathon is still quite an undertaking and you need to for sure get in 4 months of training.  Looking at 2016 and thinking about the races in which I hope to compete, I need to take that into consideration before jumping into another full marathon.  Which, i think I already have my mind made up, because I have been emotionally planning to run the Hog Eye Marathon in April 2016 back in Fayetteville, AR.  But I can talk about that later.
Let's run through this crazy Santa Clarita thing.  
First - training.  I was not fully and properly trained.  Travels and incredibly busy work schedules during the month of October derailed me severely, and I only managed to get in one 18 mile run between September to race day.  I should have logged at least two 18 milers, one 20, and one 22.  So that is something to improve upon for next time.
Second - nutrition.  I became a "mostly plant based" athlete in the month of October, so I was learning to carb load on a vegan diet.  This was okay - but I fully believe, going into that marathon, I was under-nourished.
Third - hydration.  I could tell that I was under-hydrated from the day before because my fingers were fat little sausages by mile 6 or 7.  And that made my hands very tight, which I'm pretty sure was sucking energy out of me.  Funny thing is, I stopped at almost every water/Powerade station that I could, and I had to make two pee stops on the course (or was it three?  I can't remember now).
Fourth - music.  Or should I say a lack of music?  I did NOT listen to the playlist that I created for the Santa Clarita Marathon.  Instead, I totally caught up on my podcast library.  I listened to two full episodes of the Rich Roll Podcast and 3-4 full episodes of Food Heals.  So while that's awesome, I'm kinda current with my podcasts, I did not have the music setting cadence to my feet and/or moving me emotionally, as some of my song choices are oft to do.  
Fifth - emotions.  First of all, I failed to put together my Mile Dedication List, as I had done for the Surf City Full Marathon...and so I stopped at certain mile markers to take photos.  Those photos were both texted to my husband so he would know where I was on the course; and I also posted them to Facebook as I ran so that I could dedicate a mile to someone.  I think I did this 4-5 times, rather than having a list of 26 different people/groups to run for.  This may have held me back emotionally, because I didn't feel the Positive Pressure of a mile for 26 different people in my life.  Instead, I stopped when convenient and chose a person in the moment.  That was too reactive for me - and I try very hard to be a pro-active person.  

Plus, at around Mile 20, when I think I fully embraced that I was NOT going to break five hours, I lost it.  I wanted to quit.  And I cried.  Alot.  Coach Jenny doesn't talk about this on her coached runs, but I'm quite sure crying sucks up energy and increases muscle tension, making the run more difficult.  
The Joyful and Relieved Cry came at around Mile 25.5.  My hubby was on the course, waiting for me.  It was definitely not a spectator area, he walked the course to find me. I almost collapsed in his arms and broke down.  I was so tired, so happy to see him.  We took my ear buds out, he gave me a kiss, and he ran the rest of the way with me.  At Mile 26, he took a silly video of me :)  
I felt stronger at that moment than during the entire race.  As soon as we could see the finish line, he left the course so I could cross on my own and he was there waiting when I got my medal.  Silly, cute, nerdy, sweet husband!  What a joy, what a blessing, what a cute little geek!  I'm so lucky!  

And I heard my name, barely, as I sort of sprinted across the finish line.  And some cheerleaders screamed and gave me my medal.  And I grabbed water and copious amounts of snacks from the Whole Foods Table.  And my sweet hubby led me out of the Finish Line Festival to a place where I could stretch privately.  He knew that I'd want to do a Happy Baby and a Pigeon.  What an awesome hubby I have!

Then we were in the car and gone, back to Pasadena to recoup.  Marathon #4 in the books.  My slowest marathon ever.  But at this stage in the game, I don't care.  I finished.  And I finished with the love of my life at my side.  Who could ask for more? 

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