Officially a Marathoner!

Having completed the Miami ING Marathon gives me a great sense of accomplishment. Nothing feels better than completing a goal that you have worked so hard for several months.

Yesterday, the day of the Marathon, started at 4 am. As usual on race day I wake up and eat some oatmeal with milk, cinnamon, blueberries and some slices of banana. Get dressed while taking my first gel pack to make sure I start the race fully hydrated. Not much preparation in the morning as I already had everything laid out the night before. We were ready to head out by 5 am.

When we got to the event it is still night time. Weather is in the 50s
and not much humidity. Perfect for race day except that while we waited we were cold! Race would start at 6:15 am. We needed to
wait about 40 mins to start. There were 21,000+ registrants and
everyone was lined up in sections up to the starting line. I was at letter G. I managed to keep myself calm and relaxed as we waited. I remember thinking “this is just another run.” Time went by quickly. Before I knew it we were slowly walking forward with a few stops. We finally got to the starting line and very slowly started to

We started in front of the American Airlines Arena and started to make our way into the beach by going on the McArthur causeway. At this point the sun started to come out. There were so many people that it was hard to maintain a steady pace. There were many
walkers, people taking pictures, some video taping themselves as they ran and I would have to run around them.

At about mile 10 we entered the Omni cheering zone. It feels so nice to run through a crowd of spectators cheering for all runners. Bands playing drums and music blasting. I get goose bumps every time. The first half (13.1) went by quickly for me. Before I knew it we were at the split point for the half marathoners and the full. The
half marathoners made a left turn to get to the finish line at Bay Front park while the people running the full kept going heading into the Brickell area and then the Grove. After this I felt so peaceful. Out of the 21,000 only 4,000 were running the full. Now we actually had room to run with no interruptions and maintain pace. At this point, I’m feeling good. I knew I was going a bit slower than what I
had planned to but for me feeling good was more important than time. So I kept the same pace. I was running with my friend Tanya who had been my training partner. We were both good with the pace we were keeping.

At about mile 16 my left ankle started to hurt. My ankle had never hurt before during training so I was a bit surprised. I tried not to
pay to much attention to it but I did notice I was running harder on the other leg trying to compensate. When I noticed this, I immediately started stepping on both feet the right way even if it hurt. I just didn’t want to hurt something else by compensating for my ankle. Miles 16-18 I remember them as painful. I believe that somewhere between 18 and 19 I took an aleve. Slowly my pain started to diminished but now I was just tired. I had been taking my gels every 50 minutes. All along the race I knew when time was getting closer for me to take my Gu because I would start to feel hungry and I could feel my stomach asking for some consumption.

As we approached Key Biscayne people started to walk more. We were by mile 22-23 at the turn around under the Ricken Backer bridge. At the water stop there they were handing out sponges
soaked in ice water, and boy did that feel good! The course was shady for the most part until this short stretch so I was relieved to leave Key Biscayne and head back to Brickell.

Now we only had about 2 miles left. I was eager to get to the finish and felt that I had picked up my pace a bit. Not by much because at that point everything hurt but the thought of finishing gave me the
extra push I needed. And then… I look up and see the Brickell bridge, ugh! Not a big bridge but at mile 25 it’s definitely something. I just don’t know how I had the strength to run it as I saw many people walking the bridge.

When I saw the sign for mile 26 my heart starting beating faster and I kept a faster pace. I didn’t want to get too excited because
when you are this tired .2 of a mile can still feel very long. I just remember telling myself ” push through the finish, you just ran a marathon!” When approaching the finish line I looked down not to trip on the timing mats and put my arms up with joy. I got a bit chocked up but got myself together quickly and was off to look for family and friends that had been cheering all along the way. At 4:45 hours I’m officially a marathoner!!!!!!!!!!

with my training partners!!

with my training partners!!

ING ready!

Tomorrow is the big day I have been training for since September! Nothing left to do but get mentally ready. I have picked up my race packet with last minute details. All I need is to get organized for tomorrow as I will need to wake up at 4am.

The race will start at 6:15 am! Today all I’m concentrating on is drinking plenty of water and resting. Thanks to all those that have showned support and cheered for me. Excited to see some of you at the finish line! To other runners, good luck!

9 days left!

Just 9 days left till Marathon time! I was very excited yesterday when I received my shirt. I decided to order this shirt as an option not to have to wear a paper bib. Seemed convenient enough as I will be wearing a water belt and I don’t want to be dealing with so many things. And it is also a great souvenir for my first marathon!

For the next week and a half, I will continue my workouts as usual and but will start to minimized intensity level and not to feel sore for the race.

Next weekend will be packet pick up at the Miami Beach convention center. There I will get an ING logo shirt along with some goodies. Vendors will also be available for any last minute thing one may need or just to do a little shopping at discounted prices. Can’t wait!!! Have a great weekend everyone!

23 miles, check!

Today, on a rainy day I ran 23.13 miles. The ING is only 2 weeks away and after today’s run I feel ready. I ran my usual long course from the gables to Key Biscayne. I went over two bridges including Rickenbacker bridge. I made it just under 4 hours with a few 1 minute running breaks after mile 17. I believe that these breaks helped me pick up my pace when running. I ran my last two miles at a 9 minute pace and felt like I had energy to keep going.

Having a good run today really motivates me to push through the day of the marathon and try to put in my best time possible. I have my shoes, new socks and all the gels I need for my run. Excitement is starting to creep in but I’m trying to keep as calm as possible so nervousness won’t take over. I have learned to take it easy at the beginning even if I feel I’m going a bit slow. In my mind I always say to myself ” start slow, finish strong”.

ING, I am ready!!!!! For the next two weeks I will still be running but nothing more than 10 miles at most. I need to tapper down and get some rest that last week.

Have a great day off today! It is couch time for me. 🙂

Gel tasting 101

When running for more than two hours it is very important that I stay hydrated and support energy level to keep going. My fuel of choice are gels. They contain calories, potassium, sodium, some sugars and vitamins. They also have carbohydrates and caffeine. Some do have amino acid blends said to help with recovery.

Choosing the right one depends on one’s taste in flavor and gel consistency. I have found that because I am eating these while running, I need a flavor that I really enjoy so it won’t make me nauseous and it will go down easy. This weekend we went on a shopping spree and bought all of these. We bought a variety of flavors, brand, amount of caffeine and ingredients. Let the tasting begin!

On Sunday (1-9-11) we were scheduled to run 23 miles but because both of my training partners were sick or injured we scaled it back to 16 miles. Thank god!!! After not running for a week, I struggled through that run and became very tired at about the half way point. This weekend, no excuses, it’s the last chance to do 23 miles. Race day is three weeks away, starting to get a bit nervous!

Crunch time!

With only three weeks left till marathon day there’s no time for slacking. Now that the holidays are done and I have enjoyed some time off, it’s now time to get back into my routine.

Today I will go back to swimming which I have not done in several months. I also need to focus on my eating as I have become more flexible over the holidays. Today I made a few chicken breasts to help me get back in track. Here I cooked the chicken with just lemon juice, Mrs. Dash’s no salt seasoning and peppers (yellow, green and red). This is an easy simple way of cooking chicken. I like my food on the simple side when it comes to seasoning specially when I’m trying to really watch what I eat.

This weekend I will run my last long run of training. I will try to do 23 miles! From there I will start to tapper down the mileage. Will report on how it goes. I hope everyone has had wonderful holidays and wish you all a Happy New year! I’m excited that this month I will accomplish one of my fitness goals of running a full marathon. What a great way to start off the year!