It has been one crazy journey. I went through 18 weeks of training, breaking through personal mileage barriers, to make it to the 2015 California International Marathon. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my friends, family, and online supporters.
I used the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 Marathon Plan. It is a free and very easy to follow 18-week training plan. I liked this plan because it included two 20 mile long runs. The plan calls for running 5 days a week, but my training partner and I would ride our bikes 1-2 days a week for cross training. This training plan did a great job of preparing me for the race.
I went into this training with Achilles tendinitis right above my heels. While this did not stop me from running, it did cause pain at night and when I first woke up. Also, toward the end of my training I had issues in the ball of my left foot under my little toe’s metatarsal. I did experience pain from this in the second half of the marathon but was able to run through it.
For some reason, I can train like a beast, but I can’t eat properly. I like eating junk food too much. I definitely indulged way more than I should have during my training cycle. My ideal race weight is about 168. I was at my ideal weight in my first two half marathons this year (February and March) where I PR’d. On race day, I was weighing in around 180 and could definitely feel the difference. I also stopped doing core workouts which would have really helped me during the race.
Race day: Leading up to the start
I woke up at 2:45AM so I could get a quick ½ mile run in before I ate in the morning. I like to do this because it loosens up my muscles and gets thing flowing, if you know what I mean. I try to do anything I can to avoid unnecessary pit stops on the race course. I got back from my run, grabbed everything that I packed the night before, toasted a bagel and headed out the door.
|My son at mile 20.|
I only live about 30 minutes from the finish line of the race, which is where the buses pick you up and take you to the start line. I was meeting my running partner and coworkers at the buses. I got a sweet parking spot 2 blocks from the finish line, which was great after the race. I wasn’t sure how well I would be walking after the race and didn’t want to hobble or limp a mile if the race didn’t go well.
We got to the bus and before we knew it, we had arrived at the start line. All of the sudden I was filled with adrenaline. This was it… After all of that hard work it was time to see what I could do. I had run through my race plan over and over in my head. I kept telling myself that I needed to take it easy in the beginning so I didn’t burn through all of my fuel too early.
The Race Experience
It started raining right before the race started, which was expected. I had a light weight, breathable jacket under my hydration backpack to keep me dry. We crossed the start line about one minute after the gun went off, which isn’t bad. I was hearing people talk about having to wait over 6 minutes to get to the starting line. The course starts off going downhill so we were running faster than I planned, but had to put in very little effort. The first 5 miles went by quickly. We were averaging under a 9:00min/mile, which was faster than our goal pace of 9:10 min/mile.
|Running with "Ferdinand the Great"|
The next segment of the run is where the rolling hills started to come. Our pace from mile 6-10 was around our goal pace. We ended up finishing the first half of the race in 2:00:08. At about mile 15, I started to develop pain in my right hip and that pain in my left foot showed up. I was able to run, but the pain was definitely there. At about mile 18 my hips started to tighten up. I took ACV Cramp Cure to avoid getting full blown cramps. The tightness lessened and I never got cramps. ACV is a great, but you better be ready for the taste. It has a bite. I also took Oral IV which is an electrolyte drink with no flavor, but helps you manager your hydration better. I definitely felt the difference.
Because of the tightness in my hips, I had to shorten my stride and my pace started to suffer. I knew I wouldn’t break the 4:00:00 mark and was totally okay with that. I wanted to finish the race without getting injured. My other goal was to enjoy the race. I came up to mile 20 and got to see my wife, mom, and 3 kids cheering me on. I got an instant boost of energy and started tearing up. To know that I was out there showing my kids that you can accomplish anything meant more to me than beating any goal.
|My daughter was ready to go home|
I got to run the whole race with my running partner. We both would have liked to finish in under 4 hours, but were happy with our race. We finished in 4:13:29. It really meant a lot to me to cross the finish line with my “brother from another mother”, Ferdinand. We trained hard for 18 weeks and it was only fitting that we completed the journey together. Thank you my friend. My family was there at the finish line to watch me as well. This has truly been an amazing experience and I can’t wait to run the California International Marathon again next year. That 4 hour mark better watch its back.
1. The extra weight made a huge difference. I plan on doing the marathon next year near my ideal goal weight.
2. I need to do more plyometrics, core, and hip strengthening exercises.
3. I don’t need to take my hydration backpack. The aid stations were spaced close enough together that I would have been fine with a waist pack, which would have weighed way less.
I would like to thank each and every one who reads my blog posts. You inspire me to do great things. I also want to thank my mom who flew in from Washington to see me complete my first marathon. Above all, I couldn’t do this without the love and support of my amazing wife. She pulled extra duty watching our kids and dealt with all of my craziness. I appreciate all of her sacrifices for me. I never thought that I would be able to complete a marathon when I started running 2.5 years ago. I couldn’t even run a mile back then. I hope that my story can inspire someone to take that next step in their running. While it may be scary, you can accomplish more than you give yourself credit for. If there is anything I can do to assist you in your journey, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Products that I used during my race