Rain-storm, noun. – a storm accompanied by rain.
Storm, noun. – An atmospheric disturbance of strong winds accompanied by rain, snow or other precipitation and often by thunder and lighting
I felt as though I need to share with you the meaning of a rainstorm because that’s pretty much what I had to run through for my first marathon experience. Everyone kept saying “Your going to remember your first marathon forever, take everything in and enjoy yourself” Well I did take everything in and so did my shoes, pants, shirt, hat and even Mr G my Garmin (R.I. P. Mr G). It was indeed an experience I will remember forever, and if someone asked me if I would do it again the answer would be ABSOLUTELY...just hopefully in better weather!
My weekend of becoming a marathoner started on Saturday. My dad was also running so he and Robert went down to Dodger stadium with me to pick up our bibs and shirts in the afternoon. We met up with my friend Brent who was running and was just as nervous as I was. The last time he ran a full marathon was Long Beach in 1990. He was really looking forward to redeeming himself in this race since his first wasn’t really what he expected. He had been training for the Susan Komens 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer, so once that was finished he wanted to keep the training going so he decided mid November to run LA. We constantly went back and forth via email with strategy plans and how we were doing with our training, so I was excited that he was there running with me.
The start at Dodger Stadium
I was looking at all the LA marathon merchandise and decided that since it was my first full I wanted something, a hat or even sweatshirt. But this time my dad wanted to get me something so he bought me this fancy bright orange LA Marathon jacket. I love it and love it even more that he bought it for me.
The bright orange LA Marathon jacket my dad got me. I wanted that chair so bad!
That night I had a light dinner with Robert then headed over to stay at my parents house. I was in bed by 10 and alarm went off at 2:30am. I slept fairly well which was surprising because I was super nervous. Dad and I were out the door by 3:45 did our normal 7-11 stop so he could get coffee, still don't know how he does this coffee thing before a run. We made it to Santa Monica by 4:45, and did a little run warm up to the shuttle area. The shuttle ride is what really got my nerves, and my thoughts were going all over the place. Everyone look liked zombies on that ride to Dodger Stadium and when I saw the shuttle driver turn on the wipers I knew we were in for a wet day. I had been on denial of the weather since it kept going back and forth 50%, 11%, 30%, then back to 11% change of rain. I came prepared with a rain type running jacket and running tights which was a last minute wardrobe change from shorts and a tank top. I can handle the rain I just can’t handle it hitting my face, totally freaks me out.
Dad and I got off the shuttle and OH MY GOODNESS it was cold. We went straight to the stadium to use the restroom and get out of the wind. Dad told me to meet him back at section 44 after I was done. So that’s exactly what I did, but to my surprise my dad wasn’t there so I sort of got into a panic mode “where is he”, “what if I don’t find him before the race starts”, “what if he said section 34 and I’m here at 44 but now he’s looking for me and we don’t find each other “, “I can’t run this race alone without dad”, I was seriously starting to feel like a 5 year old who got lost at the mall. My dad doesn’t carry his cell phone with him and he’s known to sort of wonder away, so I didn’t know what to do. I decided to just take a gamble and ask someone nicely to yell for my dads name in the bathroom for me, but before I could even do that I found him still waiting in line. How is the mens restroom line LONGER then the women’s?? Finally my heart stopped pounding and I repeated to my dad like 6 times "I’ll be at section 44, go to section 44, section 44 ok”! As I waited for him I found Bob, Melissa and Candice sitting in the stadium trying to stay warm, oh familiar faces thank goodness!!! I said a quick hello gave a few hugs, they assured me I was going to do great and then I was off to...well you guessed it...Section 44 to get my dad who was not allowed to leave my sight again for the rest of the day!
Our very fashionable throw away outfits!
I got a text from Lauren and Jordan letting me know they were heading over to the corral. So we went over found everyone. The only person missing was Brent. He was texting letting me know that he was stuck in traffic on the 5 and didn’t think he was going to start the race with us. I let him know we were by the 5 hour pacer if he made it in time thats where to find us. Luckily he made it and we were all together to start this journey through LA. I was beyond happy to have the girls there with me, Brent and my dad all starting the race together. It calmed my nerves so much and I was feeling really good and so excited.
Smiling early in the run!
Finally we reached the start line and we were off. Miles 1-3 were perfect, we kept a comfortable 11 min mile pace and we were all staying together. Not sure what water station it was, but some how my dad and I lost everyone. I even lost my dad for a second, but after what happen at the stadium I made sure to let him know “please don’t get lost” So the rest of the race was just me and dad with hopes of finding everyone one else at some point. We coasted miles 5-8 with a perfect pace and I was doing exactly what Penny told me too, “enjoy the moment look around, give kids high fives when you see them, have fun” The rain was hitting, but not to much yet until we hit the Hollywood area at mile 9 then it dumped on us for the rest of the run. We were hitting puddles that were ankle deep. I mean it went from a slight tolerable rain to “are you kidding me” within seconds. I had no choice but to embrace it and take everything in. I was already wet there was no use crying over it. I looked up and all around while running down Sunset, I wanted to remember everything. I did have to stop for a potty break so I let dad know and when I came out I found my dad drinking a Starbucks coffee!! He went into Starbucks to get a little warm and the lady gave him a free coffee. Leave it to my dad to run about a 1/2 mile with coffee in hand.
We finally hit mile 15 and I check Mr G to see what my time was and I realized I had hit stop when I was wiping the rain off the lens. I was able to figure out that it was about a mile off so every time I looked I had to remind myself to add a mile. Most of the inflatable mile markers were down because of the storm so all I had was Mr G to guide me.
There's the rain, yup it was like that the whole time!
Dad kept checking up on me asking if I was ok, I just smiled every time and said yup! He told me how proud he was over and over throughout the coarse, and said "We're doing great time for your first marathon" I couldn't help my smile every time he cheered me on.
Mile 17 was my dream mile...RODEO DRIVE!! The stores, oh all the designer stores!! Dresses, shoes and purses OH MY!! I couldn't help but to try to window shop as I ran by. It was pouring rain more then anything but I didn't notice because of all the sparkly things in the windows. I had a joke with Lauren telling her it would be funny if I was seen running the rest of the race with a Louis Vuitton bag over my shoulder. Her response "I wouldn't be surprised" HAHA!
At mile 18 I found my cousin Mary working the water station. She was unable to run this year so she decided to volunteer. You have no idea how it felt to see my cousin there at 18 screaming and crying for us. She was so happy and hugged me so tight telling me how proud she was and how she was waiting until we got to her before she left. She even made me cry a little, she just kept saying "I'm so proud of you guys, so proud" After seeing her my adrenaline went through the roof. I was ready to finish the race and get out of this rain!
My legs began to get heavy around mile 20 and continued to stay that way the entire time, so we started a run walk with a group that was pacing for a 5:30 finish. When we hit 22 the rain became more of intense and I swear as I looked down I saw hail. I was over it by then and looked at my dad telling him "I don't want to do this anymore, my feet are wet, I'm cold this sucks" He just smirked a little and reminded me we only had 4 miles to go. "We can do this come on, just a few more miles and we’re done. Up there right around the corner mom and Robert are waiting for us”
Around mile 19-20
So I pumped my little legs and ran as much as I could, the wind was now forcing the rain to come in at a angle so all I could do was keep my head down so my hat could cover my face...rain on my face ARGHH!! I swear miles 22-26 feel like they take hours to finish. When was this street going to end??? I just wanted to see the beach and mile marker 25. Finally we go to the corner my dad was telling me about, and I look ahead of me to see if I could see the orange finish line. The rain and wind were so bad that stuff was flying all over the place. Then in the distance I saw the finish, mile 26.2 and I got the biggest lump in my throat ever. I can’t believe I’m doing this, I’m finishing my first marathon!! I thought of my grandpa and my friend Esrin who were with me the whole time watching over me. I thought about all the times I was a spectator waiting for my dad to finish and how much I envied the runners and now I was one of those runners. My dad ran a little past me to hit the finish a few seconds before me. I couldn’t wait to get to that finish, so I ran a little faster and I heard some people cheer for me but all I could focus on was my dad. He crossed turn around and threw his arms in the air screaming “YOU DID IT, YOU DID IT!!” He hugged me so hard and thats when I finally burst into tears. I did do it!!! I finished through the worst rain conditions I have ever seen in Southern California, and I'm a freakin marathoner!!! Finish time 5:40!