Sunday, October 17, 2010

Long Beach Marathon

All the leaves are brown and they sky is grey...

I'm a California Dreamer, Baby!! By completing Surf City, The San Francisco Marathon, and now Long Beach, I earned that much coveted California Dreamin' medal and jacket! This series wasn't on my list of goals for 2010, so this makes it so much sweeter. All I wanted this year was to run one marathon and collect my Rock Legend honors. I accomplished these two goals and a whole lot more!

I had a lot to prove in Long Beach. After coming off three less than stellar races in Area 51, Santa Rosa, and Lake Tahoe, I really needed to prove to myself that I am capable of completing a full marathon without killing myself. Sleep deprivation and exhaustion led to hallucinations on the Extraterrestrial Highway. As a result, I finished that race at a dismal 7:46:47. The Santa Rosa Marathon was supposed to have been my PR race, but my feet just couldn't handle the unpaved gravel roads, and because of the heat and my mental breakdown after mile 18, I barely finished in 6:44. As for Tahoe, let's just say that Endorphin Dude got wiped out by his nemesis Endorphin Dud at mile 17! Altitude sickness got to me and I barely finished that race in 8:53:47.

Although I finished those races, being so far behind that pack and feeling the physical and mental pains really began to discourage me. I told myself leading up to Long Beach that if I did not do well at this race, I would seriously consider retiring from marathons and only run halfs and 5ks. That's how defeated I felt. Fortunately, I felt great all the way through and ran a great race! As a result, I was able to shave 12 whopping minutes off my personal record in Long Beach. Woo Hoo! Seriously, the letters P and R are my favorite two letters in the alphabet. Put them together and Endorphin Dude gets a 6:00:13 finish. Woo HOO!

I do have to say that on top of the PR, what made running the Long Beach Marathon worthwhile was seeing all the Marathon Maniacs and Half Fanatics out there. I am fortunate to belong to a group where everyone understands why I do what I do, because they do it too! During the 26.2 mile course, I bumped into quite a few peeps. It's a good thing I had my camera with me!

There is a high possibility that The Long Beach Marathon could rival The San Francisco Marathon as my best marathon experience to date! Of course, nothing could top one's first 26.2 miler, but I have to tell you, Long Beach comes awfully close. For the first time in five tries, I have finally completed a marathon without struggling. I'm not saying that it was easy--running 26.2 miles is never easy. This time around, there were no cramps, no altitude sickness, and no mental melt downs. I stayed focus, took walk breaks when I needed to, and had a lot of fun. Not once did I struggle. As a result, I improved my time and recharged my self confidence for the full marathon.

Look how excited I look after crossing that 26 mile marker. That's the same look I have on my face as I am typing up this blog.

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