Sunday, December 07, 2008

California International Marathon 2008

Warning: a long-winded tired marathon runner (!) is about to write more words than should ever be in one single weblog post.

On Saturday I drove to the Expo, looking forward to meeting some people that I've only known via computer. It's quite strange to meet someone for the first time, and yet know a LOT about who they are from following their writing. But as usual, the best people are fitness or running bloggers!

Me, Laurie, and Katie (their kids were with them and are soooo cute!). Laurie's husband Jay was running CIM and Laurie and Katie were there to support him.


Me and Julianne (my blogger "daughter!").


Catra and me (Catra ran 30 trail miles in Auburn the day before the Expo!).


Michael B (from dailymile) and me (Michael is just as nice in person as he is on the dailymile boards).


Me, KK and Julianne (KK ran the 3rd leg of the marathon relay!).


I met Aron too, but fogot to get a picture. She was running the 26th CIM and she's 26 -- I think that's really cute!

After the Expo, me and the fam went to dinner at Fresh Choice. We saw a man who had a Boston Marathon jacket on and I asked him if he'd been at the Expo. He had and we talked running for a bit. He'd run quite a few marathons and ran Boston last year. When he asked what my goal time was and I answered, he looked surprised. (Guess I don't look runner-ish enough!) He told me that I had an aggressive goal for a first marathon.

We came home, played games, and I was in bed shortly after 10:00.

Morning

Got up. Did my normal computer thing. Got dressed and Tim drove me to the starting line (thanks again, Tim, for getting up so early the day after your oh-so-tough mountain bike ride).

5:50 am and nervously ready to head to the starting line.

Tim told me in the car, "You know how you've been wanting to run all week? Well today you get to run as many miles as you want to!" I kept that thought with me, and it helped me to remember that I really did want to be doing what I was doing.

So I got to the start with no problem. It seemed well organized and it was exciting being around so many runners. It was cold -- I think 37 degrees or so. Sadly, I dropped a glove about 20 minutes before the race while texting. I looked for it and couldn't find it, so I decided that maybe running with one glove would be a good thing, right? Right??? Then I found it a minute before the start and that was an even better thing. The Target sweatshirt was great, and I hung it nicely on a fence right before the race began.

I started with the 4:05 pace group, but after 5 miles, I felt good enough to go ahead and at some point before mile 10 I caught the 4:00 group. Note to anyone considering CIM: pace groups are the bomb!

The first 10 miles were easy as it was so exciting and I knew that my family would be at mile 10. When I got to that point, I didn't see them and I thought I'd missed them. I was sad, but trying to convince myself that it was ok, and then THERE THEY WERE! Tucker gave me a huge hug, Tim and Austin cheered, and I dropped my jacket with Tim and gratefully accepted the banana and ibuprofen I'd asked him to have.

Although I had my iPod with me (security blanket of sorts), I never took it out. There was a man from Canada (I called him Canada, he called me Sacramento) running nearby and we chatted off and on for about 5 miles.

Around mile 12 and feeling good!

I saw Austin again at mile 12 -- surprised and really happy. It's true that family and friends can really pull you forward. The anticipation was good for a couple of miles, and the glow of "they're here for me!" lasted for at least another mile.

Tim and the kids were planning to be at mile 20, so I had that to look forward to. Tucker managed to help hand out GU packs to the runners -- that's a very Tucker-like thing indeed. And unbeknownst to me, Tim's parents were there too, but I never saw them. Wow -- my MIL made veg stuffing at Thanksgiving, and then they were out in the 40 degree weather for over an hour? I have the BEST in-laws!

I'd read about running with your head to start, your legs next, and your heart at the end, and decided to run first 10 miles with my head, then the next 13 (not 10) with my legs, so after mile 20 when it started hurting, I kept telling myself, "I only need my legs to do 3 more miles, and then I'll run with my heart." It helped.

And guess what else helped? At mile 22 -- SURPRISE! My bestest girlfriends, Laudon and Donna were there to run with me!!! I had no idea they'd be there, and it was perfect timing, as by that point, every step felt icky. I nearly cried when I saw them, and they talked and encouraged me for the next 3-1/2 miles -- probably the toughest ones on the course.

Donna, me, and Laudon around mile 24?

Right before mile 26 I gave it everything I had. And when I could see the finish line and saw that I could come in under 4 hours on the clock, I pushed. Hard.

The finish line is in sight.

The clock said 3:59:54 when I went across, and after getting my space blanket and my medal, I dissolved into tears. And then there were my family and friends and hugs all around!

Tucker, me, Tim, and Austin -- I feel so lucky!


My bestest girlfriends, Laudon (me) and Donna!


I AM A REAL MARATHON RUNNER!!!

I didn't know my official time at the finish, as we had to leave pretty quickly after the finish. But the results have been posted and here they are:

LESLIEGANDY2009F45-4993F7614703:59:5400:09:0902:00:2003:58:05ROCKLINCA

What does it all mean? My chip time, aka official time, is 3:58:05 and that means I qualified for Boston! I am stunned, amazed, and oh so thankful to everyone who was here today, who sent emails of encouragement, and to everyone who took the time to write words of support via comments.

Nite nite, friends!

28 comments:

Julianne said...

Congratulations Leslie!!! You ran a PHENOMENAL race and you totally got what you worked for. BQ baby!! Oh and you ran it faster than me, too. :-)

Omg, I had such a great time meeting you yesterday. You are the best blog mom ever.

Jo Lynn said...

Right on! May the high you're on last longer and be better than any high you ever experienced before. ;)

Take One Stripper Pole said...

Congratulations! I am so glad you had such a wonderful story to share! Now take care of those legs the next couple of days ... they are going to need it. :)

Makita said...

Congratulations! Boston Bound! I am so jealous! I went under 4 at CIM in '07 (love the course) ... but I need 3:45.

Way to go! Your training & hard work paid off! :D

Anne said...

Do you know how rare it is for someone to qualify for Boston on their first marathon?! You are so awesome, Leslie -- and truly inspirational!!

Marcy said...

OOooooo Leslie that is AMAZING!! What a fantastic job!!

Wait . . . how old are you?!? You can't be much older than 40, right? You look so YOUNG!

Irene said...

Oh Leslie! It sounds like the perfect race!!! I am so proud of you that you did so well, and got a BQ! Woohoo! I wished I could have been there in person to cheer you on, but just know I was cheering you on from San Diego! Enjoy the afterglow of such a great race.

Colette said...

I love all the great pictures!

What a wonderful thing for Tim to say that morning, and what a wonderful family you have.

I am so happy for you!
Oh, can you be more beautiful?? Look at you even after you the running all those miles!! Wow!

Holly said...

Awww, reading this made me cry. Your family and friends being there was amazing. I can't believe they ran with you, i think that's what made the tears come in! You did such a great job!

tfh said...

Congratulations! You DEFINITELY look like a runner, a marathoner-- let's hear it for aggressive goals! You have a beautiful family and friends and I love the happiness you radiate in your pictures-- what an accomplishment!

kch said...

Great race report! I am so thrilled for you that you qualified for Boston! Congratulations!

Eileen said...

You are so cool. And such an inspiration.

(So jealous about getting to meet Laurie and Katie!)

Chic Runner said...

Just found your blog and I love it! Congrats congrats. I'm so glad you finished and qualified. :)

Brit-Man said...

As ever you should be proud of yourself. You are an inspiration to others, and you deserve to be acknowledged as such.

Take care and best wishes :-) :-).

Matt

KatieFeldmom said...

*sniffle* I teared up a bit when you mentioned your family and then your best girls coming out to support you.

I love the picture of the three of us.

We were cheering at the halfway point and then made it to mile 20. And then again at the finish line. If everyone had had the same finish line, we prolly would have seen you finish!!!

Marathon Maritza said...

Yes!!! BQ! BQ!!!!

Congratulations!!!!!! You did awesome and you look so happy in all your marathon pix!

Rest up, it is well-deserved!

fitprosarah said...

WAY TO GO! :)
You are an inspiration! Congrats on several things: first off, training for a marathon...secondly, finishing it! and third...qualifying for Boston! That's awesome!

Ron Middlekauff said...

Leslie...

I remember you mentioning the CIM previously, so I had to come to your blog and see how you did.

WOW! I am sooo proud of you! I was at Executive Airport waiting to fly for the TV coverage of the race, but it was too foggy to fly. Easiest 4 hours of overtime I ever made :o) ... anyway I am thrilled to see you achieve your goal... now on to Boston!

By the way... I jumped around on your blog a bit and found your recent photo in your high school cheerleaders uniform... as one of the few here who knew you in high school... may I just say... you still got it girl!

Take Care and Congrats on a fabulous achievement!

kara said...

WTG Leslie! You look so happy at the finish and that's what really counts : )

Jennifer said...

I have happy tears in my eyes for you, and fullness in my heart for such a wonderful experience you had. Congratulations.

Zach said...

YES!!! Congrats Leslie! This report made me smile. Congratulations on a very impressive first marathon and qualifying for Boston, WOW. You have true talent as a marathoner! I loved your race report- it is so true that the support of our family and friends makes this crazy thing so much more bearable and we just couldn't do it without them. You have a great support system!! Love the pictures, you look so damn happy and deserve to. :) Awesome.

Wish we could have met up, maybe next time. I'm glad you had the race you trained so hard for. Cheers!!

jen said...

Whoops, that last post I was logged in as my husband! It was me though, Jen. :) I'm sure Zach is happy for you too though, hehe.

*aron* said...

AWESOME job and HUGE congrats leslie!!!! it was so great to meet you on sat - dang i wish we would have gotten a pic!!!

congrats again on an amazing race and first marathon finish! you are so awesome!

Laurie said...

Congratulations again Leslie!!! You did awesome!! It was so great to meet you, sorry that we didn't have much time. I thought we'd meet up again somewhere at the Expo. I'm so impressed with you! Who knows, maybe if Jay can get his goal we'll see in you in Boston 2010.

Kristen said...

CONGRATS on an amazing first marathon AND a BQ!!! That is so exciting!

What great family and friends to come out and support you. Thanks makes a world of difference.

Enjoyed reading your race report.

AKA Alice said...

Wow...BQ...Just. Wow!

Congrats!

Mango said...

Nice job!! You will love Boston! I have ran it the past 2 years and the crowds of people are like NOTHING I have ever seen before!! Congrats again and good luck on the training~

Mark said...

Congratulations, you're amazing. Way to kick at the end!