Painful Surf City Marathon
Today was supposed to be the day when I put all my training to the test at the Surf City Marathon. Today was supposed to be the day when I would find out if I was fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon. And everything went as planned. Until the last minute when the race began, that is. But I was able to manage that. However, it turned out that I wasn’t meant to make my dream a reality today.
Got up early enough to eat, digest and get ready for the race. Although I knew I didn’t have deep sleep last night, it was long and good enough for me to function without feeling sluggish and exhausted.
The drive from the motel I checked into to Beach Blvd. nearby the start line was breezy. Found a perfect spot, parked and followed the crowds. My walk was slightly on the chilly side because I decided not to bring extra layers with me.
I literally killed the time once I got there. I didn’t see my friend who also ran a full marathon today, so it was just me hanging out till the start time. But I guess I wasn’t familiar with the fact that I should be standing at the start line with other runners. I heard the announcement that we had only a couple of minutes left, and I rushed to the start line but the 3:15 group was close to the start line, and I couldn’t get to them in time. And because of that reason, I started running with the 3:50 wave.
I was able to catch up with all the groups of runners in between the two, except for the 3:15 group. I decided to focus on my pace, and it went pretty good. I didn’t feel like I ran too fast to catch up with the 3:20 group. But, what surprised me was the steep hill. Although I knew that the highest elevation was 100 feet at the race, I didn’t see that coming. First, a very steep decline, and then after running a loop of 3 miles or so, we all had to run up that hill to return to the PCH. To say the least, it was not fun running up that hill.
However, the problem began soon after that. My left knee started acting up. The poking pain got worse as I continued running. And it reached the point where I couldn’t tolerate the discomfort, so I completely stopped running and walked. It was when I decided to use that run a mile/walk a minute technique. But it wasn’t working well, because the pain subsided only temporarily and as I resumed running, it kept coming back.
So, literally, after that 13 mile mark, my frustrating and painful run/walk began. It was quite dreadful, and not only did the pain keep making me want to quit but also my fading hope to qualify for the Boston Marathon made me even more frustrated. Especially, it felt like a deja vu all over again.
When I ran my first marathon back in Albuquerque, NM, 5 years ago, I literally limped through the last 6 miles to the finish line after my right knee acted up as soon as I crossed the 20 mile mark. It was a horrible experience, and it was one of the reasons why I had always wanted to run again.
You could say, unfinished business. So, my training began since August last year, and I’ve never looked back. Of course, a major setback like the plantar fasciitis injury prevented me from running the last year’s Long Beach Marathon, but it did’t deter me from pursuing my dream.
So, it is certainly disappointing. I don’t know why it happened. Part of me was quite upset about it, but there was nothing else I could do but to keep running and finish the race, which I did.
Far from what I was aiming for – 3:15:00. My dreaming of running Boston Marathon has to wait for a couple of months. Again.
I really want to finish a marathon without injury.
For now, this fancy medal consoles me to a degree for not quitting.
My next attempt will be either the SLO Marathon in April or the OC Marathon in May. It’ll give me a plenty of time to focus on my training. Again. And hopefully injury free.
Did you run the Surf City Marathon today? Or the half marathon? How did it go? Did you get injured? What did you do and how did you recover from it when you had an injury on a race day?
Thanks for reading.