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Posts Tagged ‘obstacles’

I know I’m very late on posting my end result.  Before I left to Maui, I was working about 12 hour days just to make sure I had everything done before my seven day vacation. Once I arrived to Maui, I did not have access to a computer.  After the vacation, I have been working non-stop until yesterday and today which are my first days off.  So now it’s here, the end of my journey. But really, it feels like the beginning of my new life because of what I have accomplished.

We arrived in Maui on Wednesday September 12 early noon. Maui is simply gorgeous and breathtaking. William and I were surrounded by beauty.  Everything was green, clean, and radiant.  It’s a beautiful island to visit.  Prior to the vacation, I had one of the most busiest months at work and was only able to get some quick runs here and there. However I was not as nervous anymore. I knew that no matter what, I was going to finish the marathon even it took me many hours to finish it.

Once in Maui, we had until Sunday to get excited for the marathon. There was one morning where we ran in the sand for probably two miles. Mostly every day we were active with something, either snorkeling, hiking, walking, or eating.  Saturday evening, we made sure to go to bed early since we had to be at the bus line at 3:00am. The marathon was scheduled to start at 5:30am on Sunday.  We woke up at about 2:00am and got ready.  I made myself eat some cereal as well. We walked to bus line walk awake. It was very early and I began to get tired.  I slept most of the bus ride to our starting area.  We arrived at the starting line at about 4:00am.  William and I ate a muffin and a banana for some fuel.  That’s when I decided to pay my first visit to the bathroom which was good because I did not want to go once I started running.  We then stretched and did some warm up routines with the crowd. It was pretty funny watching everyone do the same warm up routine.  Right before the marathon was going to start, I had to go to the bathroom again. So I took advantage of the opportunity and went again. Once I was finished, everyone had walked already to the starting line. William was the only one waiting for me. Lucky for us the marathon did not seem over crowded. I heard from somebody that the maximum count would be 2,000 runners.

We were now at the starting line waiting for the gun to shoot. I will still not nervous and was feeling pretty happy.  The sky was still was night and there was a slight breeze. Once the gun shot was heard, the crowds started to move and spread apart from each other.  William stayed near me the whole time. The plan was to start slow and easy and not run too much the first half of the marathon which is when we were going to get all the hills. I wanted to save energy for the end of the marathon. I felt confident and I told William that I wanted to finish the marathon in 5.5 hours.  I did not know if that was realistic but I was feeling good about it.

The first few miles went by quickly. We were running through the city and the residences.  At about the third or fourth mile, the sky was turning gray and there were some clouds in the sky. It was nice to run this early and watch the sky transform.  We walked some of the time but mostly kept a steady running pace.  I started to look around at the runners to see who we can possibly run by.  There were couples, seniors, a lot of Japanese runners (the marathon was sponsored by Japan Travel Bureau) and not a lot of young people. Most runners looked like they were in their thirties.  There was a loud annoying couple that we kept passing by that did not seem to get along, there was a girl with a lot of curly hair that looked like it was her first time running, and there were some fast walkers.  A nice range of runners I would say.  My left leg was very tight. My hamstrings had not been stretched out properly so I was running with a lot of tightness on my left leg.

At the 6th mile I was still feeling good except for the left leg. We stopped a few times to stretch it out hoping it would help.  William and I found a fast walker who we over heard saying that he usually finished his marathons in about five hours, at the latest five and a half. So we decided to run around him so we wouldn’t fall behind. It seemed to work. Anytime he started to creep up behind us, we began to run and once we were ahead of him, we would walk a bit. I did not want to get tired early in the race. William and I were both very excited to be running with each other.  I think it was one of our most exciting moments. We talked about all kinds of things during the run and I think it was good for us.  I’m one lucky gal to have him around!

At about the tenth mile we started to slow down. I started to get hungry and I wanted a piece of a banana but none of the stations had bananas, they had oranges.  I knew that if I had a piece of orange, I would probably go to the bathroom again. After the 12th mile, there was a water station with bananas, yay!  I had a piece and felt better.  We finished half of the marathon in two hours and 37 minutes.  Not bad since I had done my Montecito half marathon right under 2.5 hours. We were not so behind but I knew that my legs were getting tired.  The muscles on my left leg were no longer tight but now it was about endurance.  I knew that I was going into the hard part, the part I had not really trained for.  After the 13th mile, my bowels were moving again and had to go to the bathroom bad. There were porta potties at each water station and I finally saw one that did not have a line at about the 14th mile.  It was so disgusting in there.  It looked like there had been some accidents in there from previous runners.  I did my business not fast enough and I started to gag because of the smell. It was also very hot in there and it seemed I started to take a shower in my own sweat. This was probably the only bad experience of the marathon-using the potta potties. So gross.

Once that experience was over, William and I ran a bit more. We had lost our fast walker that we were supposed to pace it with.  Once we reached the 15th mile, I had to walk. At this point, we were walking and running right by the ocean. It was a beautiful view but it just started to get very hot. We made sure we drank water and Powerade at each station.  After the 15th mile, the marathon was becoming more difficult to run and we had to walk more. The sun was beating down our necks and the feet were becoming numb.  I did not know what I was feeling in my legs but just knew that I did not want to stop.  I was disappointed in myself for walking but William reminded me that it was not about the time, it was about finishing.  He reminded me that this was more than just a marathon, it was about not quitting and proving that you can do anything you want in life.  This helped my attitude. We passed through more miles and I felt like I started moving slower. Once we reached about 20 miles, I was beat.  I couldn’t get myself to run again so we tried to walk fast.  My goal of 5.5 half hours was turning to 6 hours.  My miles went from averaging 10 minutes, to 15 minutes, to now about 20 minute miles. We finally reached Front Street and only had about four miles left to go. We passed by the Banyan trees and the shopping strip that we had previously visited. People were cheering us on and yelling “you can do it!” I felt like saying to them Why don’t you try it? I know I was just being cranky because I wanted to finish. It was the longest and slowest four miles to go.  I would say that this part was the hardest part because your body does not have anything else to give and now it’s just up to your mind to keep you going.

We started to see our destination two miles away. I was not excited yet. I was not going to be excited until I crossed the finish line. The finish line was at the Westin Hotel, our neighbor hotel to where we were staying at the Hyatt Regency.  About less than a mile to go and we were almost there. We started to see runners that were already done and leaving and were still cheering us on. We got closer and started to see the finish line so out of nowhere we began to run together holding hands. I don’t know where I got the strength to run but we did and ran the last portion before we crossed the finish line.  We got laid by seashells and got our medal, finally!!!

I don’t know if I have ever experience something this hard. There have been some beastly mountain hikes I have taken but this was different. It was a great victory that I thought I never could possibly accomplish. I never thought myself as a runner and here I was, crossing my first marathon finish line with the love of my life.  Running this marathon is the start of a new chapter in my life.  Since I have read Born to Run and finished this race, I have decided to make some changes in my life in the way I eat and live. I want to live simple, eat less and better, and continue running.  I want to continue being physically active with new obstacles and run another marathon someday.  I have new positive perceptions in life and I want to continue inspiring people to push themselves to their limits. It’s a great outcome.

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“Do your best and forget the rest” – Tony Horton

4:40am.  It was still dark as my alarms goes off. I turned it off, go pee, and crawl back to bed under the soft, warm bed sheets.  4:50am.  The alarm called me again. I turned it off and continued to lay in bed.  4:58am.  I dragged myself to the bathroom to take a shower.  5:20am.  William got up and took a shower.  Once I was fully awake, I packed my extra clothes and made some oatmeal for both of us.  I was actually not nervous about the race yet.  Just very sleepy.  We left the house at about 5:50am to pick up our last trooper Mike. As you all know from previous blogs, I’ve used this past week to prep myself for the Merrel Down & Dirty.  This whole year I have been running with the exceptions of some gaps in February and March.  Then there is Mike.  Mike is one of William’s friends that has never ran or done any exercise.  He plays baseball in a local league and that’s about it.  He has been hearing about our experiences and William’s marathons for a quite a while and finally decided to commit to a challenge. However before today, he had only worked out for about 1 week and a half.  He just bought a membership at the gym and has tried to get himself in shape this past week for this race. William and I both knew that this was going to be very tough for him but all agreed that we would stick together and help each other get through the race.

We arrive at Castaic Lake early enough to check in, stretch and get our body somewhat loose.

Stretching 

It was very cold and we did not have the courage to take our sweatshirts off at first.  We left them on until about 7:45am when we had to check in our bags.  We then headed to the starting line right before 8:00am.  We decided to go into the first wave possible. Why not!  At this point I was eager and excited.  It was not until the gun went off and we started to run is when I felt nervous.  The first half a mile was cold and all I was trying to do was to warm up and create a nice slow pace to start easy.  I wanted to conquer this race and I wanted to push myself.

at Castaic Lake

The first few obstacles were easy. We had to go under nets and sure enough the steady incline began. The hills had started. I tried to keep myself at a good pace and for the most part it worked. After the first hill we had to do 10 push ups.  I have not done any for quite a while but still got down and heard Tony Horton’s voice in my head, “Do your best and forget the rest.” So I did and gave the hills 10 push ups.  There were some areas where I had to power walk up the hills.  Mike immediately in the first mile was out of breath and sweaty.  William and I kept ourselves near him so we would not lose him.  Mile two came fast and for the most part we running uphill until mile three.  The obstacles that we had were actually pretty easy. There was one where we had to climb up some walls and crawl in tunnels and under nets, and also climb some nets.  At once point we had to walk on lumber strips that were very wobbly. It was not a good idea to balance yourself on these when other people were on them. If someone fell of these, it looked like it would be very painful. There were volunteers there helping you but I did not want any help. I wanted to walk on these without any help. The yoga kicked in and I walked on them without any problems.  During this time Mike was a real trooper cracking jokes trying to stay alive.  Early in the race his lower pack was giving him problems. We stretched out our hamstrings a few times during the course to help out his back and it seemed to help him quite a bit.

Third mile had a nice view of the Castaic Lake. We were probably at the highest of out those hills and the scenery was very beautiful. By this time, the day was not as cold, the shine was bright, and we were enjoying ourselves on this picture-perfect day.  At some point in the fourth mile, the first mud lake was to be accomplished. We had to crawl in mud and the water was very cold.  After the crawling, my clothes became heavy with mud but it was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Once you kept running, nothing mattered. I kept thinking of Tony Horton’s P90x phrase, “Do your best and forget the rest.” That’s what I was trying to be the whole time.  I tried my best and did not think of anything else but the enjoyment of the whole race.  The fifth mile was probably my favorite. This mile was already going downhill. It was basically a trail with many switchbacks and nice scenery.  The sixth mile was back at the recreation area back to the event where it started.  The only other obstacle that stood out for me was the “slippery mountain.” It was where you had to pull yourself up with a rope not using your feet and knees.

It was difficult for me because I still cannot pull my whole weight yet and also one of my pinky fingers is injured so it was hard to grip the rope with my hand without causing pain on my finger. William and Mike both helped me get through this one.  The last obstacle was the big mud pit.  It was not so bad and I unlike the others tried to keep my face away from the mud. William went in there like a beast and crawled that pit very quickly. Mike did the same thing too.  The bottom of the bit was rough with rocks and rubbed on my knees.  All three of us crossed the finish line together.  It felt great to finish and finally get this race out of the way.  We were muddy and very happy.  We then showered in cold water and changed clothes and had a hamburger.

The above picture was after we were dry and changed.  You can see some mud on our faces. We did not have our cameras right after the race when we were full of mud but I’m sure some will show up soon on their website.

Overall the experience was most needed with me. Last year I had ran the Gladiator Run which was a 5k. I was so out of breath the whole time and had to stop and slow town the group. This time, it was a 10k and the hills slowed me down a bit but I had a lot more energy and my legs kept going most of the time.  It also excited me for the rest of my training.  I was worried this past week that I was going to struggle a lot on this race but now that I have finished it, it has given me confidence to continue to push myself and not give up no matter what obstacles I face.  Just pace and race…

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