officially a marathoner.

by @according2kelly on July 15, 2010

pre-dawn runs, ice baths, the constant aroma of bengay, blackened toenails (& a few that were lost all together), a diet of energy bars, gels and goos,  & the oddest tan lines you’ve ever seen (thanks to the tape i wore around my knees)… these are the sort of things that happen when you are a marathoner. it still sounds weird – almost unbelievable. really & truly, even i still have a hard time believing i ran an entire marathon, a full 26.2 miles. even now (months later), it’s still an experience that i have a hard time describing with words. it all seems so – surreal. but maybe that’s because for 26.2 miles i ran along an amazingly beautiful, practically breathtaking, oceanfront course.

miles 1-2: my partners in crime (carrie and elise) & i, started this adventure together. geared up in our super-fabulous-extremely-popular-you-can-spot-us-from-a-mile-away team sparkle running skirts, we started on PCH with the ocean on one side of us & the hilton waterfront beach hotel on the other. as we ran north along PCH, you could feel the excitement & energy of the crowd. as we passed the huntington beach pier, i got tingles when i realized the next time i saw it, i would be at mile 25.

miles 2-9: just past the second mile marker we encountered our first “retro surf band,” who was un-appropriately playing “walk, don’t run.” at mile 3, all of us girls were still together,  running a 8:59 minute/ mile pace, with a split time of 26:56 minutes – right on track for our goal of finishing in under four hours. (i know, i know, seeing that this was our FIRST marathon, technically our goal should have been simply to finish – but we had trained to finish in under four hours, & i just knew we could do it.)

around mile 6-ish, we were still running a 8:58 minute/ mile pace, with a split time of 53:6 minutes. as we headed into huntington central park, we were cheered on by family, friends & strangers. i can’t even begin to tell you how many compliments we received & how much attention our skirts got (& there was definitely some skirt envy from some of the other runners). i told you you… they are super-fabulous-extremely-popular-you-can-spot-us-from-a-mile-away team sparkle running skirts. it was good the skirts provided that extra bit of umph!, because just as we approached mile 9 we encountered the course’s only incline, which ultimately separated me from the group. leaving me to run the remainder 17 miles alone.

miles 9-15: after having my bum handed to myself on a silver platter by the hill (which separated me from girls, leaving me to run a very lonely race), it was time to take a stroll through the bolsa chica reserve. okay, don’t get all up in arms – we didn’t actually run through the bolsa chica reserve, just along side of it. too bad i was too busy saying “thank you,” & checking my pace to pay any attention to the 300 acre ecological wonder, nor any of the amazing wildlife & migratory birds. at this point i realized how hard it is to run alone… without anyone running along side of me, pushing me, by mile 12.2 my pace had slowed to 9:20 minutes/ mile, with a split time of 1:53:47.

miles 16-25: mile 16 was a turning point for me. not because from there on out we ran along a beachfront running path, which really was both beautiful & amazing; but because from there on out i stopped at EVERY single port-a-potty and bathroom stall along the way. without going into too many details, let’s just say that the run from mile 16-25 is an “out & back.” meaning we ran to the end of the beachfront running path, turned around & ran back along the very same path. & when i say i stopped at EVERY single port-a-potty and bathroom stall along the way, i mean that literally. after 20 bathroom breaks, i stopped keeping track – it was just too depressing. all this work, all this training & instead of running a marathon, I seemed to be merely running a sprint between bathrooms (i even got locked it one! oy vey!). at mile 20.9 i had slowed considerably to a 10:31 minute/ pace with a split time of 3:39:43.

mile 25: with just a mile to go, i felt amazingly refreshed – perhaps it was all the quality, quiet, kid-free bathroom time i had just had (i wished i had ran with my latest copy of people), or maybe it was the fact that i had just one mile to go. either way, once the huntington beach pier came into view, it seemed as if the entire world slowed down & everyone around me was chanting & cheering just for me. no really, they were chanting & cheering just for me – it’s not like every girl out there is wearing a sparkle skirt. so trust me when i say, i KNOW they were all cheering for ME, & let’s just say that from that point on, there was an extra bit of sparkle in each & every step.
mile 26.2: happy. overjoyed. ecstatic. these are just some of the words i would use to describe that moment. but honestly, there really are no words for it. hello?! i had just ran an entire, freaking marathon. that’s a full 26.2 miles or 138, 435 feet if you prefer. i’m the first to admit i was a wee bit disappointed in my time – with an overall pace of 10:48 minutes/ mile, i ran the entire race in 4:42:54… quite a bit off from my estimated, & hoped for, 4 hour finish time. i guess that’s what happens when you spend half the race in a bathroom. oh well, i guess i’ll just have to run another.

final stats: placed 1460 out of 2359 runners overall. placed 517 out of 967 women. came in 84th of out 137 women in the women’s 30-34 division. oh, & in case you were wondering about my girls… they finished strong, & kicked a little but along the way: elise finished in 4:03:45 & carrie finished in 4:06:09. way to go team sparkle!

 

7 comments
Snow27Genevieve
Snow27Genevieve

I opine that to receive the loan from banks you should have a good reason. Nevertheless, one time I've got a short term loan, because I wanted to buy a bike.

Becka
Becka

Great job on your finish! I have a Team Sparkle skirt but haven't had a race to wear it to yet.

Stacy
Stacy

Congrats Kelly! I just ran my first maraton in June and it is such an amazing experience! I also ran in a sparkle skirt. In fact I need to send team-sparkle a picture of our Team In Training group that all ran in sparkle skirts! You and all of the sparkle skirts girls are such an inspiration. Way to go mama!

Jennifer
Jennifer

Great job! I did my first half back in April and was a bit (45 minutes) off my pace. Grad school and 3 kids got in the way of my training bit I felt so accomplished knowing I had finished when most won't even try! During training I had bathrooom issues too. 3 Imondium on race day kept that problem away!

Cupcake Activist
Cupcake Activist

This was an experience I will never forget! And not just the race, but the hours upon hours upon hours of training we did together. Although it was super hard and I may never run a marathon again, I am so glad that you girls talked me into it. The skirts helped boost my confidence. Strangers were cheering for the sparkle skirt girls. I loved that.

Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything
Shanna ~ My Favorite Everything

Love it and congrats!! I'm not sure I'll ever be able to run 26.2 miles, but you've definitely inspired me.....and the skirts are pretty tempting too! Well done!

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