My first marathon, Mountains 2 Beach in Ventura, CA. May 24, 2015.
I finally did it! I ran a full marathon. It took a few tries and a couple of last minute bail outs but I finally found enough courage to commit. I know I wouldn't have been able to do this without Anthony, him being there made it seem way less terrifying.
The road to my first marathon hasn't been a short one. I started running/working out in 2011 and had my first half marathon in the spring of 2012. I have endevoured to make it for a full sense that first half. It's been a long hard road to get here but I did, and in the end that is all that matters.
For our one year anniversary I surprised Anthony with a race entry to the Mountains 2 Beach marathon in Ventura, CA. We had 6 months to train for the race, which, when I presented him with this gift, I thought was plenty of time. Especially since I had been running half marathons for a couple of years by then. But time flew by so fast! We ran the St. Patrick's Day Tacoma half marathon, Seahawks 12k and the Color Run Seattle 5k before the race but Anthony only got in one other long run before then. A 20 miler about three weeks before the race. With our rugged work schedules, setting aside time to run was really hard for Anthony.
I on the other hand with my crazy hours it was extremely hard to train for this properly. I ran the Wenatchee Half and the Portland Rock N Roll half as well as leading a Friday Morning run with the Eastside Runners, which all helped prepare me for this run. I really didn't get that many "long" runs in before the race and I didn't run regularly by any means. We both came into this race pretty unprepared for what lied ahead of us. That didn't seem to shy us away. When the time came, we packed up and headed for SoCal!
Early Saturday morning we boarded our flight and we in Ventura in time for lunch. We ate lunch right on the beach, which was really amazing to say the least. The sun was shining, the birds were so fat they could hardly walk, yet alone fly, the wind was blowing and everyone seemed quite content to be relaxing on the beach. It wasn't long before we had to call it a night, with a 3:30 wake up call awaiting us. So we checked out where we needed to go for the shuttle pick up, decided on ordering a cab for the morning, and then hit the sack.
Sunday morning arrived after a restless night of tossing and turning. With my nerves really getting the better of me. I shot out of bed when the alarm went off and immediately started to get dressed without hesitation. I was so nervous that I didn't even want to stop and think about what was before me.
We were ready to hit the road, on time, but the cab driver was nowhere to be seen! This was Not helping my nerves at all. I at asked for the cab to be at the hotel by 4:20 and then that came and went with nothing. Then 4:25 arrived and still no cab! Finally at 4:27 he called me saying that he was on his way. We didn't leave the hotel until 4:35. Thankfully I had added a 10 minute buffer into the pick up time but yeesh, way to make an already nervous runner even more nervous!
I was so relieved to see a huge line of busses awaiting us when the cab driver finally pulled up to our drop off site. Meaning, we were still ok on time. We found the line for the Marathon shuttles and weren't in line but 5 minutes when we were asked to board. We were on the road by 4:45 and we were suppose to leave until 5! So I am so glad that we didn't miss it.We were shuttled up to Ojai, a beautiful small town just north of Ventura. They were pretty organized at the race start, lots of porta potties, a uhaul for our bag drop, pre race water, water to fill your water bottles and even a fun upbeat race announcer with plenty of fun music. Just my kind of race start.
There were plenty of pacers for this marathon however, the slowest one was 4:53. Which is where Anthony and I settled into, simply because he was the slowest. I was hoping for a 5:15 but that's ok. We started the race strong, we stayed with the 4:53 pacer for the first 8 1/2 miles until we needed a restroom break and we lost him.
Our restroom break added almost 10 minutes to our time! Simply because there were so many people in line. The men were great though. They all went out behind the porta potties and used the trees! That really helped cut down on the time for us ladies. Such great guys! One of the very cool experiences for this race. Might seem weird to non runners but to us, it was fantastically considerate!
Anthony and I kept up a 10:30/11 minutes pace until about mile 13. That's when Anthony hit sort of a wall. Thankfully he is ok but he ended up with some tummy problems and had to slow down quite a bit. I had to leave him behind, which really wasn't easy at all.
I ran with a couple of ladies for the next mile and a half. And they kept me motivated to run harder but I eventually lost them as well. After that, the race got hard. It was all mental of course but running alone wasn't what I expected for this race. Miles 15 through 20 were pretty hard but I kept telling myself that I could do it because I had run that far before and I made it through. I kept saying to myself, "You can't complain until after mile 20 because you've run 20 miles before!"
After I reached mile 20 it actually got a lot easier. Because I knew I could run 10k easy and it was just downhill from there. Mile 24 I came acrossed a gentleman who had an Ironman shirt on and I asked him if he really ran an Ironman. And it turns out he did! We ran together for next mile and a half and he really took my mind off the race it was a really big relief to not think about running those last few feet. I lost him the last three quarters of a mile but he really gave me a boost to keep going. I finish strong with a smile on my face and I can't complain about my first full marathon! It was one of the best races I have ever run. I walked away without injury and even a little bit of energy left and bounce in my step.
After I finished I waited for Anthony at the finish line for about 20 minutes but then I decided to go back and meet up with him and run him in. I walked back for about a half a mile when I finally found him. I got my camera out and I started taking photos immediately and then I ran him in. I was so relieved to see him and overjoyed that he made it. I'm very proud of Anthony for what he did with the little training 26.2 miles is no little thing.
We meandered around the finish zone for a little while before we found a trolley that took us around town and back to our hotel. We just relaxed and enjoyed our accomplishment before heading back to Seattle the next morning.
Esperar recovery time it took a little bit longer because he didn't train as hard as I did but he turned out alright in the end. I on the other hand which pretty much fine by the next day. I was shocked at how fast you recovered and it made me pretty excited to try and run another one again sometime soon.
As for the race itself I highly recommend Mountains 2 Beach for anyone's first full marathon or just easy marathon to enjoy. It was very well organized with tons of race report on the course and a wonderful finish area with live music, beer, and my favorite part the watermelon! I hope you get out there and try something new like I did you never know what will happen until you try.
Keep on Running!