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  • From 0 to 26.2 – Recollection of My First Full Marathon

    Posted on October 22nd, 2009 Michele Sun No comments

    I had completed two half marathons this month, the Rock n’ Roll San Jose half on 10/4/09 and Nike Women’s Marathon in S.F. on 10/18/09. At the start area of Nike Women’s I was feeling very emotional and extremely exciting, because Nike was the first race that I have ever ran and completed. After the race, I went to IHOP to celebrate finishing a tough half marathon with Leslie and Mary, and just could not stop to talking about my running and racing experiences.

    Nike Women’s Marathon has always been my favorite race to participate, besides the Tiffany necklace as a finisher medal, I truly enjoy the scenes – Pacific Ocean is simply breath taking when you reach the top the hills. So is there a scary race in memory? Sure!! Looking back, the Rock n’ Roll San Diego on 06/04/2006 must be the scariest race I have ever participated. It’s my first 26.2 mile full marathon and it was so much tougher than I could ever imagined. However, I had enjoyed the experience even though I was in such great deal of  pain the following week.

    Now taking time to reflect the week before my race day, it was simply stressful. I had to work through the Memorial weekend in Vancouver, and it just happened to be very cold and was constantly raining there. Despise the repeat warning about “stress sucks your energy” from my coach, I had gone through the entire weekend with lack of sleep, alcohol, stress, emotional up-and-down…etc. Staring at the harbor of Vancouver waterfront all night, I was recounting my personal issues.

    06/03/2006 – The night before the big race, I went to pasta party at 6:00pm and faithfully ate the pasta and bread to carbo-load myself. Went back to Hilton hotel, dimmed the light, and went to bed at 8:30 pm, hoping could get couple hours sleep before 3:30am – I had to get up very early to prepare myself and head over to the race start with the rest of the TEAM. But nerve was so wired that I could not sleep at all, too too excited!

    In the darkness my roommate was going “Oh shit, I forgot my sport bra.” What? I have heard of about forgetting about running shoes, but missing the sport bra? At 9:00pm?

    I told her “Don’t worry! I have a rental car with GPS, so lets’ go find a nearest Target and buy one.” So two Silicon Valley chicks driving on San Diego highway in a foggy night, tried desperately to find a sport bra. The GPS wasn’t working well at San Diego somehow; it directed us all the way down very south and I was thinking “Sh*t, if I keep driving like this, we will end up in Tijuana.”

    By 9:35pm, Target was still not in sight, so got out my cell phone and called 411 asking for Target. Continue driving like crazy and suddenly spotted a Mervyn’s off the Highway 5, 9:58pm *_*V

    06/04/2006, Race Day

    3:30am, I slept well after the sport bra drama last night; sit up in my bed quietly munching on my banana. Took a hot shower to get my metabolism going, and I was ready to Rock n’ Roll.

    4:30am, Balboa Park, start line, sky was dark and air was chilly; got in line for the porta potti; ate half bagel; got back to porta potti line again; had a coffee; went back to porta potti again. A San Diego local media came up to me and asked me to pose for his camera. Sure! Supergirl!

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    6:25am, Band marched in and played, we sang national anthem

    6:38am, I had to start the race painfully slow because the crowd was big, and I did not want to get injured at mile 0.01

    It’s very interesting to see all the bands along the course, my favorite was the uniformed Navy officers, cool, very cool…RNR Navy

    Mile 8 – Uphill… my favorite kind of run. I always enjoy uphill running because it’s tough and challenging, and I just LOVE the sense of accomplishment!

    Mile 10 – I could feel my right ankle hurts… Oh! Oh! Too early for this kind of pain and I was worried. Kept telling myself “You are going to have a good day and you are going to have a good run”

    Mile 12 – Nissa came up to me and checked how I was doing. She suggested that I slow down because my pace was too fast and might exhaust myself later. But I was feeling OK except the ankle problem.

    Mile 14 – Right ankle hurt so bad that I had to stop and redo my shoe laces hoping it would help.

    Mile 15 – can’t remember how I felt… HOT…

    Mile 17 – Talking to myself in my head and got me thinking “It’s tough to run this marathon but must be much tougher for people going through chemo”…Hot!

    Mile 18 – “The tough is good and you are doing well,” I told myself as I became very philosophical. Own the things you can control. Prepare for things you cannot. No excuses. No deficits. Some days are great, some aren’t. Try and make every day the best it can be. Marathons are NEVER easy. I might as well try my best.

    Mile 19 – I could feel the heat coming out of my chest, throat, face, and the top of my head… HOT! And where is John? Jen? Aaron?

    Mile 20 – Have heard about marathoners hitting the “wall” during a race, so when and where would I see mine? .HOT! Physically I was not in my good condition that day, but mentally I was HIGH!

    Mile 21 – A volunteer handed me a bag of ice, oh heaven! Placed the bag of ice behind my neck, rubbed my face, put it on top of my head…

    Mile 22 – Looking for familiar faces, so where were my mentors, captain, coach? Really needed to see some faces now. If the pain earlier this morning was Tall, now I had just entered into not Grande but Venti stage, just so much pain.

    Mile 23 – “You can do it, you can do it!” seeing people just walked, limped, and I told myself “You start in style and you will finish in style. Just keep running. You are having a good day and a good run.”

    Mile 25.5 – Chris Barber came up to me and pointed a tower ahead of me “See that building there? Make a left turn and you are almost there.”

    Mile 26 – where is THE @%$!^##! finish line?

    Mile 26.1 – Almost there! Raised my arms up and ran toward the finish line..

    Mile 26.2 – Big smile!RNR Finish

    One week after the race and recovery, I had been walking funny for several days, but very proud of myself for being “No Wimps!” You know, no one can run the marathon for me, and when I was out there it’s all ME. Of course, many people on the TEAM sure made it a lot easier and fun for me, not only at the marathon but also throughout the entire season. So once again I need to thank my TEAMmates, Mentors, Captains and friends who cheered me on – in person or in spirit. Most importantly, to the Honorees, they were the reason why I started running. They have been the inspiration to keep me going, and they are the motivation to continue to celebrate my healthy life through running.

    Do what I want today instead of what I can’t tomorrow!


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