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Archive for October 16th, 2009

Portlandia, Official Icon for Portland Oregon

Yay! All done! Finally, all those months (9 to be exact) of training have finally come to an end by (I wish I could say, with a bang!) completing the 26.2 mile marathon in Portland, October 4th, Sunday.

Such A Pig Bib, Medal & 26.2 Magnet

My Official Shirt & My Good-Luck Charms

Target time of 6.5 hours just didn’t quite happen. I had problems early on, at mile 3. The toes to my right foot started to scream at me, with intense burning sensation. I can only think, ‘Oh boy, there are 23 more miles to go. How am I gonna finish this?!’ I was totally miserable as I reached mile 14, where I had a complete exhausted feeling and racking my brain for new strategy. Mile 17, which is the highest peak of the race literally on the St. John’s Bridge, was supposed to be the WALL. My wall started at mile 14.

But I had weapons of distraction on the ready by then. I puffed the last puff of my asthma inhaler, put on my mp3 player and swallowed (yuck!) 2 of the 2x caffeine gel for a boost. That changed everything. I was able to pass about 20 racers (some of which were seniors and some who were shorter than me. hahahahaha!). Also, I noticed that the burning sensation on my toes had ceased; with the conclusion that my feet were swollen enough to elevate the toes from touching the bottom of my shoes.

I even cheered on racers who were dragging their limping legs, as I passed them by. I would say, ‘xxxx more miles to go. Pick up, pick up!’ But deep down, I’d say, ‘Darn, xxx more loooooong miles to go.’ Even the last mile seemed like forever to reach.

Finally, I see the finish line. Hardly anyone on the sidelines were cheering. But surprise, surprise, my training coach was there and was happy to see me. I was just going to wave to her, but she came and hugged me. It was really a nice gesture, but all I could think then was, ‘Hey, you’re delaying my finish time.’

So, what was my finish time? Let’s just put it this way………I beat the 8 hour clock! Because after 8 hours, the organizers were supposed to clear away the area. Unluckily for my race partner, who always beats me in the dust at other races, finished at a dismal 9 some hours. Others were still there till 10 hours. So, really, I shouldn’t be whining, right?

It’s just my first full marathon. One learns alot at any first time events, right? First time marathon….lots of lessons learned. I mean A LOT! During the race, all I could think of was WHY? WHY WERE YOU CRAZY ENOUGH TO THINK YOU CAN DO THIS?!

After the race, the mind set is in a different state. In a state of euphoria for:

  1. overcoming one’s self-doubt;
  2. not giving up; not even the thought of giving up;
  3. not succumbing to the mental circus of thoughts going on during the race;
  4. and lastly, for actually reaching the finish line.

There’s a wish (death wish?) that there would be more marathons to accomplish even if it meant ‘just walking them’. This is very addicting! In a positive way!

Notes of Importance from This Race:

  • The weather that started with rain overnight before the race, turned out really wonderful with overcast skies (hate sunshine!) and about high 30’s into 40’s, I think. So, no overheating feeling there.
  • I didn’t overdress, one lesson I learned from the Eugene Half Marathon.
  • I didn’t overload on crappy useless stuffs in my backpack.
  • From watching other racers, I saw a couple with Cyclist’s Vests on. They seemed happy without any burden to carry. Next time I will invest in one and put all my necessities in the back pocket.
  • And depending on the amenities of the race, I will minimize carrying my own water. Portland Marathon was great giving out water and electrolytes and gummy bears. For this race, I loaded up with my own electrolyte thinking I’ll just drink their water. After so many miles, I was getting sick of and bored with drinking & eating SWEET stuffs like such electrolytes (which by the way is an absolute necessity) and power bars. To this day, I don’t even want to mention power bars. AND GELS!
  • As for food, variety is the keyBeef Jerky, dried fruits, pretzels, cheese stix, and trail mix would give one a no humdrum feeling.
  • And last lesson learned: it’s not only the physical that we train to accomplish feats of impossibility, one has to tackle and train THE MIND. Long races play tricks on the mind. It can drive you insane (well, not literally).

So, onto other races. In the meantime, I would like to tackle running, I mean RUNNING (not walking) a 5K.

Until the next marathon…….I remain optimistic and positive. On to a healthier lifestyle! Remember, walking is a way of life, use it!

Behind the Start Line at the Fountain, Early Morning Prior to Race, Hardly Awake

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