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dear john

April 26, 2010

Yesterday – while we were running OKC – CousinRunner ran his first FULL Marathon!!  Go Cousin GO!!  Because he sent me the most amazing personal race report I’ve ever read, I decided to share.  He hasn’t given me approval to do this, but that’s what he gets for not responding to an e-mail request within 8 minutes. Sorry CR.   Here goes…

“Congratulations on your (and your family’s) run yesterday in OKC!  Glad you all had fun.
LittleRunner (his daughter – name changed to protect the innocent) ran her second 5k on Saturday in Charlotte.  She has been participating in the “Girls on the Run” program through school.  We were supposed to run it together, but unfortunately for her, I was in CA running my own race.  We will find another 5k to run together as a “make up race”.  She was “buddied” up with a friend and somehow they took a wrong turn and ended up running an extra mile…guess she’s an over achiever…the only 9 year old I know of that ran 4 miles in a 3 mile race.
I ran my first marathon yesterday in Big Sur, CA.  I flew out here Friday night and got to the hotel.  Brand new Courtyard, very nice.  Saturday I drove down to Monterey and picked up my race packet (no same day pick up), drove the course and had lunch on Fisherman’s Wharf.  I met my pace coach (part of the Clif Bar/Shot pace team) prior to driving the course.  She told me not to be intimidated by the course, so I went in with an open mind.  Starting from the finish and driving to the start line, the first thought was…”26 miles is a long way…what am I getting myself into?!?”.  I am driving the coastline of Northern California, taking in the beautiful scenery and saying to myself “there are a lot of hills, I did not prepare myself for this”.  But I went back to, “don’t be intimidated by the course”.  Okay, I can do this.
I had to be at the shuttle stop at 3:45am on Sunday, which meant I had to get up at 1:45am to get ready, drive an hour and twenty minutes and get parked.  Thank goodness I was on East Coast Time (my only saving grace).  You have to get there so early because they shut down Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) 1 for the entire race.  I get to the shuttle stop, take the bus to the starting area, grab a cup of coffee and a bagel; now I am all set…except for the fact it’s only 5am and the race does not start until 6:45am!  So, I end up milling around for 2 hours (start was delayed twenty minutes).  Logistically, It is a nightmare!  They have to move 9,000 runners to their respective starts (marathon, relay, 21 milers, 10 milers, etc) as there is only one way in (on PCH 1).
The weather was absolutely incredible!  No fog (this is No Cal), 55 degrees and slight breeze…perfect running weather.  I get behind my pace group (5 hours 30 minutes) and start.  We start slow and easy and I am feeling really good.  The first 5 miles is basically downhill (saving our quads) through a forest of Sequoia trees.  We turn the corner and bust out on the coast; blue skies, light breeze and the ocean pounding the coast…absolutely picturesque.  I am still feeling really good…used the honey bucket and had to catch up to my group.  “This is great!!!”, until mile 10…straight uphill for two miles, at the top is Hurricane Point.  I play it safe and walk up the hill…I still have 16 miles to go.  I watch my group slip away.  Downhill for the next mile and a half, I catch back up to my group at mile 13.  I am doing okay.
So, the next half of the race is a bitch!  Uphill a mile, down a half mile, uphill a mile, down a half mile…you get the picture.  Then it hits me…mile 18!  Going uphill, I fall back from the group…never to see them again!  The last 8 miles was about the hardest thing I have ever done.  I went through every emotion I have ever had.  My knees start to hurt, I want to give up, people are passing me on my right AND my left.  THIS SUCKS!  Can’t quit…too much at stake (including my pride).  So.  I power walk up the hills and jog down the other side.  The miles are not ticking off as fast as earlier.  I get to mile 21 or 22, they have volunteers shouting off your predicted finish time, I hear “5:44”…okay not bad, not good…but I am okay with this.  I start talking to some folks going up the hills,  they ask “how many marathons have you done?”  I respond with “this is my first”…in return, I got, “WHOAH”…”You picked this course for your first marathon?!?  You’re Crazy (Nuts, Outta your mind or something to that effect)”.  Come to find out, this course is rated “moderately difficult to difficult” and really should not be attempted for your first marathon (unless you’ve seen the course and prepare…I mean really prepare).
As I pass mile marker 25, I start to cramp.  Time is running out (there is a 6 hour time limit) for me to cross the finish line.  I push through and get to mile 26…I can see the finish line 385 yards away…I start to shuffle my feet, I hear the announcers and there a few people left cheering and looking for their loved ones.  I have nobody there to cheer me on.  As I get closer, I can hear the announcers state 25 seconds left…I am too far from the finish.  “5, 4, 3, 2, 1…time is up!”  I am 50 yards from the finish line!  “Son of a Bitch”…but then I remember…That’s 6 hours from the gun…”it took me 4 or 5 minutes to get to the start line from where I was, and it’s 6 hour “chip” time, I’m ok”.  I cross the line…dazed and confused.  A volunteer runs up with a medal and congratulates me.  It was all so surreal…I just ran, jogged, hiked, walked and shuffled 26.2 miles in less than 6 hours!  I went into the finish area, got my pineapple juice, water and raisins (guess you get leftovers when you’re last).  I was okay with it.  They were still giving massages, put my name down and had to wait.  The volunteers were breaking everything down, they had been there for hours and wanted to go enjoy themselves…understandable.   I did get a massage, twenty minutes worth, it was nice.  Came out of the tent and it was basically a ghost town.  Had to find the shuttle bus back to my car, as I was approaching they all started to leave.  This sucks, don’t want to walk back to my car…another 2 miles.  The bus driver stopped and let me on…so thankful.
Went to In N Out and had a double cheeseburger, fries and shake to celebrate my accomplishment.  Drove back to the hotel, took a shower, 1000mg of Ibuprofen and crawled into bed.  My knees hurt and started to stiffen up.  When I got up this morning, I was absolutely amazed at how well my body has recovered.  My knees hurt a little and I am sore, but overall I feel great! 
Got on the internet to check my time.  Officially, I did the Big Sur International Marathon in 5:55:17.  I accomplished my goal…beat the cutoff and just beat one guy younger than me (actually, I beat 5 guys younger than me who made the cut)!
I am taking today off from exercise…it’s a recovery day!  Tomorrow, I start training for the NYC Marathon. 
I guess I am a runner.”

Um – yeah.  You are DEFINITELY a runner!

Congratulations!! Much Love CR!  See you soon.

Run the Race Friends!

** for those of you who haven’t been reading this blog since it’s inception – CousinRunner picked up running a year ago in an effort to become more healthy.  He’s lost weight in the process – lot’s of it – don’t know how much at this point – and is a great role-model for his daughter and a better husband to his amazing wife.  So proud. **

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2010 2:45 pm

    Amazing! Big congrats to “cousin runner”! Way to push through and finish on a tough course.

    • Mother Runner permalink
      April 26, 2010 2:52 pm

      I know!! I’m in awe.

  2. April 26, 2010 4:41 pm

    WoW is right!!! i’ve heard it a tough course. Nice work and congrats to you Cuz on his very first 26.2!!

    • Mother Runner permalink
      April 26, 2010 8:43 pm

      He’s amazing.
      …and you’re a KS girl who just ran in OKC too!!
      Way to go!

  3. April 26, 2010 5:41 pm

    OH yeah you are for sure a runner! Nice job!

    • Mother Runner permalink
      April 26, 2010 8:43 pm

      Isn’t he amazing!?!?

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