So I’ve had a bad head cold for the past few days but was still determined to run this race. (Next post I’ll get into sick running) Wake up was at the sickening hour of 2:30am. Got all my stuff ready, had my coffee and left the house at 3:30. I knew it was going to be warm so I went with a tank top and Sweaty Band to keep the sweat off.
I got to Malibu where the parking was around 5:15. Since it was a point-to-point course, runners were bussed from Zuma Beach to the start in Camarillo. The last bus left at 5:30 which is why I had to be there so dang early.
Got to the start (which was where the Camarillo Half Marathon was last month) around 6am with plenty of time to stretch and ignore the fact that I was going to run a marathon.
At 6:30 I had a Heart Thrive energy bar and 3 Clif Shot Roks which were tasty delicious.
I think I was in denial about it all until we actually started. It was almost a little surreal, like I couldn’t get my head around the fact that I was running a marathon. sick.
From the very start I was tired. The whole race my throat was so dry that hurt to swallow. I’m sure this was mostly because I was sick and dehydrated from being sick.
At every aid station I would grab 3 cups of water and choke on the third one and spit up back up. klassy. Unfortunately they only had aid stations every 2-3 miles, and it was a warm day… My car said 80* by the time I got to it.
Anyways, I started running around 8:30 miles. The first 8 were pretty uneventful and boring; they felt like they took forever because we were running around in farm county. The race might end up in Malibu but Malibu, this was not.
At mile 8 I took my first gel (new Clif gels that actually taste good!) and this is when I started slowing down. Already, at 8. geez. It was really windy from about 8 to 16 maybe. Like the kind of wind where you feel like you aren’t moving at all.
The mile markers were balloons but the wind blew them all down.
After mile 8 my pace started edging closer to 9 min/miles. By mile 9 I hit a wall and kept hitting them for the rest of the race. I can’t explain it but if you’ve been there, you know the feeling of utter despair and hopelessness that you feel. The finish is so far off you can’t even fathom it. The only thing worse is quitting, and that is the only reason I kept going.
I hit 14 miles at 2:03. Somewhere around 13 or 14 we hit the beach and ran along the ocean for the rest of the race. It was very beautiful, but in my mind I was running in hell.
Hands down, the hardest race mentally I’ve ever ran. At one point I looked for a medic or race official to quit even though I knew I never would. I just wanted to make sure they were there in case I did.
So the first half of the course was windy and the second half was surprisingly hilly. But the views were gorgeous even though I could not have cared less.
I took my 2nd Clif gel at mile 14.5. I was still super thirsty and was grabbing whatever water I could. At 2 or 3 stations they had coconut water and I took whole bottles of it even though it didn’t taste good and didn’t sit well on my stomach.
Speaking of my stomach, it was not happy… the whole race… Another surreal thing because I’ve never had stomach issues in all my races, and today I had to stop at 2 porta potties to unleash the beast. Suffice to say, something wasn’t right down there.
Even after I got home later in the day I had a couple “OMG I need the bathroom NOW!” moments.
By mile 18 I gave myself permission to walk if I wanted; once again, another surreal moment. I had never walked in a marathon before, but I did today. plenty of times. I tried to walk for .1 mile or less and then start running again.
I can’t explain it well, but it felt like a training run gone horribly bad mixed in with the most hopeless feeling in the world, but it never really felt like a race, probably because this was so out of my normal racing behavior and habits.
I took my 3rd and final Clif gel at 19. By then I was focused solely on finishing. There were times when I was running 10 min/miles and I didn’t even care. I just wanted to be done.
A couple miles from the finish we passed Neptne’s Net, a little restaurant that was on the first Fast and the Furious movie. Even when I’m walking death, I still don’t forgo my love of celeb stalking.
Finally we were in Malibu and I ran as fast as I could to get in under 4 hours.
The official results aren’t out yet, but my garmin said 3:58:17, 9:05 average pace.
I had to sit down for a second and then grabbed some water, 2 bananas, and a couple sample bags of Popchips.
While slowly walking to my car, I had the stroke of brilliance to go take a ice bath in the ocean. Best idea of the day.
I first got up to my knees and then sat in the water so my hips could get some cold love too. It actually felt really good because I was super sore and achy.
This race was 4 hours of misery. honestly. It was the hardest race (mentally and probably physically too) that I’ve ran. I didn’t feel 100% obviously but mentally I wasn’t ready to race either.
There were so many times that I wanted to quit, so even though I PW’ed (personal worst) by a long shot, I am really proud of myself for finishing.
It was a fight, and I gutted it out.