Sunday, December 7, 2014

Naha Marathon

My First Marathon & First International Marathon

Before the Race:
I wasn’t stoked nor a bit excited like I usually would be before a race.  Maybe I was more worried because I only ran a total of 30 something miles one month prior to the race. On top of that fearing that, I would be one of those who collapses because of the lack of training or even rest. Due to the fact I was working 12-14 hours days for the whole month before the race.
Anyways, that’s not all the negatives before my race, I sort of tweeked my ankle running 20 miles two weeks before the race. So that didn’t help at all, icing it up and then running shorter miles. I ran six miles after for Thanksgiving, which wasn’t good and then decided to see a masseuse and had acupuncture done to my ankle. Which it did feel better. Then decided to run 11 miles the next day, (bad idea). Which brought pain but not as much as it first did. So, then it was nothing but recovery for rest of the two weeks.

Race Day:
Still wasn’t feeling excited at all or it could be that I told myself not to. So that I can conserve my energy because when I get all hyped up, my body just ends up using a lot of energy. Then I’ll end up sprinting at the beginning of the race. Anyways, there was about 30,000 runners I believe and we were staged into corrals. 

A lot of OPP runners were there but most of them were or ended up in the last corral. Ended up you ask? Well if you were not in your corral by 8:40am. You were told to go to the back of the corrals. So if you were in corral A and you didn’t make it, no questions asked, you were told to go behind corral H.  Anyways, before the corral barriers were closed. We had a OPP group photo to take, which was located all the way in the back. Then we would have to speed walk to back to corral D. Anyways, once we were staged, we were told to walk to the start line and waited for the race to begin.

Well, I had a friend that wanted to pace with me because I said I was going to stay at a steady pace of ten minute mile pace. Anyways, she needed to use the rest room and she asked if I could wait. So, I did. Well once she was finished the middle of corral F was running by. So we quickly got back on track. Hitting up at about eight to nine minute pace.  

Well as we were cutting through at mile three I started to feel some pain from my left ankle. (Which I tweeked from the 20 mile run). Which at mile 11, I believe when I told my friend to just take off because I will end up slowing her down.
So I started to run walk  because of the pain. Went to all the stations that had the, “numbing,” spray. Which didn’t work at all but I was more trying to make it a mental thing. Well by now my ankle was in so much pain that my run was shorter and my walks were longer.  Then I started to feel cramps creeping up in my right leg. So when I did, I’d stop and stretch for a bit. The cramps would come in every now and then.  At mile 19 -20 I saw a few folks from the Stroller Warrior Group who are also apart of OPP.  So I stopped and they asked how I was doing. Told them I am in pain because of my left ankle. Then I was offered some ibuprofen, which was my life saver. I went on to run walk and the pain went away but when it did. Muscle spasms were on full attack.
My first muscle spasm was when my right quad was cramping up. I stopped to stretch it out and when I released my leg. Hell broke loose and pain that I have never felt in my life. My calf started to spasm out, which I was fighting through it. So after five minutes of that, I was back in the race. Every other cramps that started, I would stop and walk it off before it got worse. Same goes with muscle spasms that crept up. BUT at the last 5k, I decided to stretch my quad again but this time it was BAD! As I let my right leg go, it locked in an L shape. So I was fighting to straighten it out and when I did my right ankle started to spasm out. It was turning my ankle inward and it felt like it wanted to snap off. So I fought that too, it was so damn painful that I had a tear and I felt like this was it. I had to throw in the white towel and call it quits.
5k to go and less than an hour left before the cutoff time, I decided to suck it up and push on.  Doubling everything from the aid station supporters, bananas, salt, mandarins and water. The last 5k seemed forever but when I saw that I was on my last km. I knew I was going to make it, so I pushed to and through the finish line.
The weird thing is that once I crossed the finish line. All the pain went away and I was like WTF! Haha! Also, when I finished, it felt like my other first races. Awkward because there wasn’t anyone there to congratulate or cheer me on but I don’t blame them. I didn’t want them to wait an extra 2-3 hours for me. Haha! So I finished it at five hours and 48 minutes.  12 minutes before the cutoff time, which felt great.
I didn’t emotionally break down when I crossed, which I thought I was going to do but I believe I think I wasted all the emotional stuff when I was in pain. The course was great and the supporters was awesome. Wish I wasn’t going through my painful ordeal and see what time I would of finished but we will have to wait and see for the Okinawa Marathon in Feb 2015.

Post Race:
Well right after the race, OPP was hosting an after part. Kind of glad that they were not there that long because most of them had to shower and change over. I didn’t because I didn’t want them to wait for me haha. Anyways, everyone there was sharing their horror stories and believe it or not there was blood. Haha! So, there was a few of us there who just finished running their first marathon. So I wasn’t alone.

The only pain that I was feeling was from my ankle but the worse was about to happen. Next morning, I was flying out to Texas and that wasn’t a good flight. Haha! My legs started to feel sore and my left ankle seemed to get worse. My connecting flights were less than an hour to get to. So I would have to carry my carry on and backpack off the plane, onto a connecting bus ride to my connecting flight. Then landing, getting off the plane and waiting at customs and so that was too much for my legs. Haha!

Lessoned learned:
Do not work 12-14 hours a day for a whole month before race day.
Do not run a fast pace on a long run before race day.
Take ibuprofen with you to the race or take one before it starts.
Bring some salt supplements for the race.

Do not fly out the morning after the race.