First off, thank you so much for all of your kind words of encouragement along the way and all of the good lucks and congratulations once I finished San Diego. I truly apologize for taking so long to write this recap, but I really needed to let the race settle and reflect on how I felt about the experience before I put everything down in words. Overall, I had a blast in San Diego. I could not have pictured nor imagined a more fun trip! David and I had so much fun and my California family did not disappoint! So. Much. Fun!! So, go grab some coffee or some ice cream or some wine and sit back ... this may a little long! :)
Leading up to the race, I think it's important to know that I did everything that I could have done. Of course, we all look back and think about the what if's (and yes, I plan on training even harder for Apalachicola) but I am still satisfied with my training cycle for San Diego. The week of the race - I ate well, slept well - everything was good! I only slept for 3-4 hours two nights before the race and the night before the race. But, when you're losing three hours, flying five hours and running a marathon that starts at 6AM, sleep doesn't always get priority!
I arrived in San Diego at 10:15AM on Saturday and headed straight to the Expo. It took a while to get the rental car and make our way over there, but I was so excited. So as I was walking into the Expo and down the red carpet, I received a phone call from MsRitz (blogger on RunnersWorld). It completely made my day. She was getting me all excited and I couldn't believe that it was actually time to do this. I promised (okay, swore) to her that I wouldn't start off too fast as she told me there was nothing better than finishing a marathon strong! I picked up my packet fairly quickly and realized just how packed the expo was. David and I were starving and so we didn't plan on staying long but I just had to walk around a little. Now, I knew that Kara would be talking from 11-12 but it was slightly after 12 at this point and there just wasn't any way to get to expo any quicker. So, it was in the back of mind that she was there but I figured that she was probably in some big conference room somewhere else finishing up all of that. Literally, right as I turn the corner and am headed towards some booths, David looks at me and says, "there she is!" It didn't even register what he was talking about. So, I looked over and sure enough, Kara was standing right there signing autographs! I immediately got in line and hoped to God that she would get to me before her time was up!
I'm such a girl and I was definitely the most star struck that I've ever been! Like I was seriously tearing up because I was getting ready to meet Kara. All in all, it was a very cool moment for me! My turn finally came and I had David take pictures! She signed my bib# and wrote "Jaime, Always Believe! Love, Kara Goucher" She was SUPER nice and incredibly sweet. She told me that she loved my dress and we talked for a couple of minutes about her pregnancy and how excited her and Adam were to be having a baby! I told her she was my favorite person, ever and that I really admired her and her running! Just a very nice, down to Earth kind of girl! You could tell that she was very appreciative of her fans!
Afterwards, I saw Adam sitting about 100 feet a way and David and I spoke to him for a while. As I walked up to him, I said "You're Adam, right?!" (pure genius comment, I know). Then, I said "I"m in love with your wife!" and he looks at me and says "Me, too!" Hahaha. Sometimes, I'm not the most well spoken person! Ha. Adam was nice, too! We actually spoke with him for a quite a while - again, about Kara and the baby and their excitement/nervousness about having a little baby boy!
At this point, I was done with the Expo. Nothing could top that!! The rest of the evening was filled with food and rest! :) Boring details, so I'll fast forward to race morning! :)
I woke up to my alarm at 3:30AM with a slight headache. I quickly went to the bathroom (good girlfriend points here - the boy wasn't waking up until 4AM) to get ready quietly and noticed a card on the mirror addressed to me. It was a Happy Birthday card from David. Though, I'm frantically googling what kind of headache medicine I'm allowed to take before a marathon because I can't quite remember (but I know there is a list of yes's and no's), the card definitely made me smile! A good start to the day!
My cousin, Matt, and his girlfriend, Finleigh, picked us up at our hotel at 4:30AM to head to the start. I was getting excited but was amazed at how calm I was. No nerves. I was trying to hype myself up a little but looking back I don't know that I really ever believed it was time to do this. I had written "Believe" on my left hand so that I could look at it the entire race. I had some dried fruit and nuts and banana and a bagel. Everything was going great and perfectly smooth. The food had settled well (not to mention that I actually ate which I usually don't do) and I had gone to the bathroom! I knew it was going to be a big day!!
We arrive at the start with over an hour to spare and it's cold. Like seriously cold! I can't believe that I didn't think to have a throw away sweatshirt. Matt (he ran the half) kept me entertained the entire time and we even ran into my track friend, Nate.
I'm in corral 3 out of like 50 corrals. The corrals were very well organized and maintained! I decided to go back to corral 5 where both Matt and the 3:40 pacers are! After being in the last start at NYC, I wasn't about to be in a later corral, hence me getting in corral 3 to begin with! I'd rather be assigned an earlier corral and move back than be assigned one at the end and have to weave. I've learned that the hard way!!
In the corral I also met Bobbi from NHerShoes. If you've not read her blog, you should. She was wanting to run a sub 3:40 so that she could qualify for Boston again. We took a pictures said hi and then the race began.
Here's the funny part! I don't really know how to describe this race. It's like I zoned out, but experienced every single step. Seriously! I was trying to take everything in but I was focusing on each mile as an individual mile. Each mile had a goal - not too fast, not too slow! I took the race one mile at a time! And as each mile was run, the goal started over all over again, run one more mile at this pace! So, yes I zoned out ... but, not in all of sudden I realized I was already half way done. The race seemed like forever.
I started off with the pace group; it was a large group so I tried to stay about 2 seconds ahead of them! I missed my first split, but stayed with them until mile 3. 8:12, 8:22, 8:18
I got slightly separated from the group between mile 3 and 4 and never found them again! These two miles had some downhills in them and I let myself go ... a little because I knew that mile 5.5 to mile 11 was a continuous climb. 8:12, 8:13 I saw the family and boyfriend at mile 4! :) Made me smile. We ran through the Padre's Stadium around mile 5 - VERY COOL! and took my first gel around mile 5. Bobbi passed me somewhere around here and we spoke for a minute.
Oh the up hills! I'm very naive for thinking that they wouldn't affect me. What's 350 feet over 5.5 miles! HA!!! The hills completely laughed in my face. 8:23, 8:18, 8:24. As I look at the 8:24 on mile 8, I know I'm not making a pretty face. I didn't feel like running. My body just wasn't having it. I was fine and kept going but I still just didn't feel warmed up! I started doubting myself a little here. I can't describe it. It wasn't like I felt like I was running too fast or that I needed to slow down - my legs just didn't want to run. My feet were burning a little even after mile 4 ....I don't know. Maybe I didn't taper enough or maybe 5+ hours on a plane the day before wasn't ideal. Regardless, I tried not to make excuses ... this was my opportunity! As all of this is going through my mind, I see my entourage! I didn't know they were going to be there. I smile, wave big and keep on running. Later David tells me that he knew my smile was fake and was worried. I guess he read all of my thoughts above.
Miles 9-11 were on the interstate and uphill and horribly slanted at that. We also merged back with the half marathons (they had split at mile 4). The problem was that we were running the next 5 miles with the half marathoners - our 9-14 and there 5-10. So, yes when I hit mile 10 at 1:23, they were hitting mile 5 at 1:23+ which meant that it was crowded and they were walking! 8:26, 8:43, 8:43 I took my second gel at 10 and kept trucking up the hill. I was surprised to pass Bobbi around this part. She looked great. We talked for a minute and all I could say was my legs don't want to run! She passed me again a mile later!
I took cytomax at every single water break - which was roughly every 1 to 1.5 miles. The sun - oh the sun - it came out around mile 10! I'm not sure if you're familiar with the San Diego slogan: May Gray, June Gloom, but it's true. There is a haze across the sky in June. The sun shone all of three hours during the entire trip ... mile 10 - about an hour after the race. No joke! It was warming up fast!
I kept getting Happy Birthday remarks from everyone! I even had two guys tell me it was their birthday, too! I got tired of saying "Thank You" but I kept saying it. Funny how somedays everything makes you smile and somedays you feel quite the opposite!
I was still taking everything mile by mile. My moments of doubt were washed away when I still realized I was on track and the course was taking a downhill route. Mile 12: 8:14 and back up hill we go. Mile 13:8:38 I hit the half way point - according to the mat, not my watch - at 1:50:21 .... still on track, but a little nervous that I don't have any cushioned time, though that was the goal!!
Downhill again, 8:15 (Mile 14)
Miles 15-18 - still taking it mile by mile. I kept looking at my temporary "Believe" tattoo! It's hot, I gelled at mile 15 and kept the fluids in. I ran through all of the water stops but was definitely now taking cytomax and water each one. 8:27, 8:34, 8:44, 8:47
The splits were getting harder. My legs hurt and I knew it wasn't going to happen! I kept trying to tell myself otherwise, but when I hit mile 18 with only a ten second cushion, I knew it wasn't going to happen! But, I seriously thought I could maintain sub 9's ... until mile 19 came in 9:01 ..
So, we begin this little two mile path to Fiesta Island. The two mile path was hot and no fun. Someone gave me an icicle pop around 19 and it was so cold and delicious! YUMMMMMM Otherwise, the water and cytomax was so warm. I was craving ice cold water. 9:27
My friend, Nate, was at mile 21. He was going to run with me to the end. He had a little look of nervousness on his face because the pace group at this point was about 2-3 minutes ahead of me. He was hoping to see a little bit of energy and was ready to catch them ... but I couldn't dig deep enough to find it! I told him at this point that I would PR and that I hadn't and wouldn't walk a single step ... and that I was content with the PR, so basically, let's not talk about what's happening! Can you say WALL!!!! Sorry, Nate! and Thank you! And congrats for crushing your sub 1:36 goal with a 1:32 half!!
Nate was good. He didn't push me around this horrible island. No spectators, No shade and from mile 21-25 = What the HELL were they thinking?!?!?!
And, well, 3:45, quickly became 3:50, which quickly became, let's just PR.
9:29, 9:46, 9:40, 10:23 (Miles 21-24) I was so upset with the 10:23 but still couldn't start pushing. 2.2 miles left and it seemed like eternity! I even joked with Nate and said, maybe I should just walk and save my legs the torture of the next two miles. Of course, I'm too proud to walk (stubborn, girl) and so I knew I wouldn't, but yes, I was tempted.
Somewhere around this point, I started definitely utlizing the waterstops as in I grabbed cytomax cups once and water twice. The stops were very long and spread out and I learned how to quickly grab cups, pour half out and drink and repeat while running!
Around mile 25 (10:08), I watched my Garmin roll over the 3:40:59 to 3:41. I told Nate ... there goes my BQ and I still have more than a mile left ....
I tried to pick it up a little after mile 25. I probably didn't start running harder until about half way through that mile and boy oh boy was I digging deep for that. Last mile - 9:12 and then the infamous .2 - which turned into .33 ... I gave it everything I had. I wanted to finish strong. More importantly, I wanted this done. Talk about making your birthday seem like it's never going to end! I was ready to be done!! .33 in 2:42 (8:06 pace) Total time: 3:51:52 I didn't walk a single step! I completed this marathon! #4 check!!
I found the family at the finish and was so happy to be done! I immediately asked Nate to text Penny (I knew she was getting the updates and wanted her to know I was not happy, but okay!) It took me a few days to call anyone back to talk about it. I made Nate grab every sort of food I saw, but had zero appetite! I found some ice after the finishers area and made myself at home for a while and then started the 2 mile walk back to the hotel!
No tears. Happy with a PR but kind of blah. The pain came the next two days ... both literally and mentally (hence my ability to write all of this just now)! The goal is to take 11 minutes off by Oct. 23rd. It's a flat course, but damn! 11 minutes. What more can I possibly commit to doing?!?! I will train harder and better and more efficiently! I will eat better and commit to doing this. I'm sad ... very sad! But, I'm not giving up! I'm not a quitter and I look forward to getting to the Oct. 23rd start line healthy and ready to fight because revenge is sweet and I will do this!! :)
** I"m going to go ahead and post but I promise to add pictures today or tomorrow! I will add, PROMISE!. For now, check out the official pictures here:
Congratulations Jaime on competing in the Rock 'n' Roll San Diego Marathon and Half. Your personal photographs recording your achievement can be found by clicking here.
I'm # 3182