Monday, May 3, 2010

My Very First Marathon 26.20 Mil

What and amazing experience. Everything that could have gone wrong went right, but you can't never plan for the unexpected. Lets start from the beginning..

We got up on time 4:30am. Yup that was early. I took a quick shower and got ready. We got to the finish line around 6:30am or so. I didn't realized that I had not eaten anything before leaving the house and there was absolutely anything around at that time. I remember my last 20 mile run; I began to feel dizzy after mile 18 after beginning to feel really hungry. To be honest, I was a bit worry that would happen again today. We found a coffee truck but, they guy only had muffins. Not the good muffins but those you find in packages full of preservatives and tons of grease. I figured I would do more damage by eating that than help myself. I skipped the muffin and we kept walking towards the starting line. Sadly, there were no signs anywhere about which way to go to the start line and the park's security had no clue either. We found a couple of runners coming back from it and gave us directions.

When we got to the starting line, there was very few people and the organizers were still getting ready. There was music playing and every one had a great attitude. My dad, Joyce and I decided to place ourselves under the 9+/mile pace section. Minutes before the gun, a US soldier in suit and gear placed himself a few feet away from us. He was doing the half and was doing it for a charity.. God Bless him.
Gun went off and we began our 3 minute walk to the actual start line. By then, my dad had already disappeared in the crowd, Joyce and I ran together for about 3-5 minutes. Once I got some sort of breathing room and began my pace increase and never saw Joyce 'till the end of my run.

It wasn't long before I found my pacer. A guy running for world vision, running just a few feet away from me. I kept following him all the way to Mile 9.  I ran all the way to mile 5 non-stop and felt great, but I was afraid to burn myself too soon. So I took my first walk at mile 5 when I got to the water station. I did the same thing there after, but I was still able to keep up with my pacer till mile 9. There was live music every 2-3 miles and the people that came out to show support were great. I was having an awesome time. A guy in his 50s got next to me and what was that? yes, I was chatting with the guy. I was feeling so great that talking was not bothering one bit. We were pretty much doing the same thing, taking breaks only at water stations. We both were so excited when we crossed mile 10. The first thing that came to our minds was; "UNDER 5 hrs".

I did everything right, I did everything I planned by the book. As I stated before, everything that could have gone wrong went right. The things I was afraid of were:
1) My ankle acting up again.
2) Heat exhaustion
3) Running out of fuel for not eating before the race
4) Tripping and falling down
5) The hills getting to me
6) Get hit by lightning since thunders storms were expected later in the afternoon.
All of those thing did not affect me, I was doing so great that the heat did not get to me. I did not get hungry because I played it smart with my Chomps and gu jells. My ankle did not even make fuss thought out the entire Marathon.

After mile 12 I began to feel a small tension on my left knee, but I figured it was because I need to stretch a bit.. so on my next water stop I stretch a bit and felt ok. It wasn't until mile 14 when.. NOooo my left knee decided to give up on me. I felt a pitch right on the side of the knee and I was forced to stop and stretch. The guy who I never learned his name said "I'll wait for you, lets finish together" I said "I don't want to delay you so just go ahead, I'll try to catch up" so he went about his run. I was forced to walk a bit more than I was doing prior to that. I sent a text to my mom who was waiting with Joyce, and my dad to let them know. Obviously she replied saying "See, I told you could not run a full marathon" something I did not want to hear at that point. I was puzzled at the fact that my knee went out at mile 14 but when I did my 20 mile run prior to the marathon, it didn't bother me at all, and I did my 20 miles with an injured ankle. WTF?

The pain was not keeping me from running at that point so I kept on going. A lady named Jennifer from Freeport, tagged along for a bit, she was in away trying to help by keeping me from thinking of the knee. We talked till mile 15 when I had to take another walk since the pain stated to get to me. It was then when I saw Barb. She was ahead of me and you could tell she was having knee problems too. I first passed her while she was stretching, after mile 15.5 she caught up to me and we began a Tag your It game. I would stop and stretch and she would keep running, she would stop and stretch and I would keep running. After mile 16, she pulled into a tent and I kept going. I though she had gone to say hi to some friends. By mile 18 I was literally dragging my ass, walking more than running due to the pain. I was stretching when I felt a spank, I freaked out, I thought it was Joyce, but no, it was Barb, LOL I was like, Oh cool is my turn next LMAO. We were both doing our first marathon, and sadly we were both having the same problem. I noticed that she now was wearing an icepack and blue tape on her knee. So I asked. She said that the blue tent was the medical crew. I said what? they had no signs or anything that would identify them as a medical station, I thought they were spectators. You would think they had a big red cross or a sign. She said that they told her about it at one of the water stations. So we walked and ran and crossed mile 20 together, the time then (4:01hrs Official clock). She did her stretching thing again and I kept going but left here way back. At that point I no longer cared for time and thought I would finish in 5hrs. HAHAHA

At mile 21, WOW a blue tent. I walked in and they gave me a weird look. I said to myself "Oh shit, this is not a medical station" the way they got up and took their time, made me feel like I had just crashed a party. lol but in fact they were medical staff. I told them what happened and they gave me an icepack they had me sit down and relax a bit. They asked me "do you need a ride to the park?" I said, no thanks, and they wrapped the pack to my knee. By then Barb had already walked by. I was able to catch up before mile 22 and passed her. The pain was so horrible that at points it felt like my knee was going to snap. It was one of those pains that would make a grown man scream like a bitch. I saw the mile 23 marker and saw another med station. I went in and they replaced the icepack. They offered a ride on the bus, but I wanted to finish on my own. Barb passed me and I did not see her after that. As I got out of the med station, my knee gave out and I almost hit the floor. The bus looked so appealing at that point, but the thought of everything I had already gone through and being only 3.2 miles away from the finish line kept me going. As I walked away the meds and police officers kept telling me "Take the bus, come on, you are better off" I waved at them and kept going..

At first I thought Run/Walk the rest. But decided to play it a bit smarter. I decided to walk to mile 25 and suck it up and run the last leg. So I walked and tried as hard as I could to walk as fast as I could. By mile 24 the time was 5:20hrs or so on their clock.. horrible... As I got to mile 25 time was 5:40 or so, I think. I began to speed up and eventually started running. I got to pass every one who passed me after mile 24, I was so determined to cross the line running rather than walking that even though the knee was hurting like hell I was still pulling and 8+ pace while running. 26.5 came up and Hello nurse... hey that's Barb.. I  said hi as I passed her. I began to really feel horrible pain at the 1/2 mile from the finish line marker. So I fast walked a bit. As I made the turn towards the police academy I began to walk faster, and began to run at the last turn and ran the last .30 to the finish line. Joyce and Jocelyn were waiting for me close to the finish line and Jocelyn ran with me the last few yards to the finish line. My gun time was 5:48:18. My chip time was 5:45:23. Ughhh.

As I crossed the finish line I made the mistake to stop cold and my knee made sure to let me know what and idiot I was for doing that. It was such a pain that it reflected on my face.. The meds noticed it and rushed to me within seconds. They helped me to the med center and attended the injury. Jocelyn was playing nurse as well. She was so cute. I was in horrible pain but seeing her trying to help me made thing so much better. The medical assistant went to get me the sweater I was supposed to pick up at the finish line. Joyce went to get my goodie bag. During that time I kept hearing thing that you do not want to hear at that point from your parents. I think you can imagine what they were. At the end, I am disappointed with my time, but not heart broken. I followed a plan that was working for me, nor heat or tiredness affected me. I was not tired at all. Everything that could have possibly stopped me didn't. I did not expected my knee to quit on me like that.. it never crossed my mind. My finish time does not reflect lack of stamina or endurance. The caused was something beyond my control (and injury), and for that I am proud to say "I am not a quitter, I ran a freaking marathon and finished it", and the best part of all, I managed to cross the finish line running not walking. It was a finish I will never forget, I crossed the line running with Jocelyn. :-)

Am I doing another Marathon? HAHAHA, you bet your ass I am. Why? Now I know I can, I noticed it today. If it had not been for me getting injured during the race I would have done so much better. For now, lots of rest and wait for the knee to feel better before resuming any training. Joyce has been amazing taking care of me.. "I love you baby and thanks for all your support.. You and Jocelyn have made everything so much bearable today". Thanks to all of you who have follow me through out this journey and for all the support I have received. I am sorry if I disappointed any one with my finish time, but sorry to say "I do not care about that" I am ready for the next one. LOL. well mentally at least. :-)  Again, thank you all. Thank you Daily Mile for all your support.


  1. Congratulations on your first ever marathon! No matter what anyone says, I think it's a PR to be proud of. There is no shame in the time you achieved, as you were injured. In many cases, people would have thrown in the towel in that condition and take a ride. We love you too and very proud of you!! Heal quickly and get whatever medical attention you need. Philly is looming in!! We can do it!! Two-six-two all the way!!

  2. Your awesome Israel. I hope your knee heals up fast buddy!!! Congrats on your first marathon!!!! Amazing!!!!

  3. Great job on your first marathon Israel! Bummer about the knee but way to plan for the next one.

  4. Awesome job buddy! It's amazing what we can do when we put the body and mind to the test! Isn't it crazy how the mind starts playing games with you out there? Amazed me the first time. Get well ... figure out what's going on with that knee. Cheers! Tom

  5. @Joyce:Thanks sweetie.Yes Philly is coming. Thank you again sweetie for all the pampering Muah...

  6. @ Michelle: Thanks again my friend. @Kovas: Thanks dude, sorry I could not come in our estimated time. :-)

  7. Tom: Thanks. I agree with you on what a person can do to achieve something, how stubborn one can get in some tuff situations. There is always next time, right?

  8. Very proud of you. Congrats! Looking forward to follow your training for your next race. Great job working through the pain and finishing. A lot of people would have just quit.

  9. Thanks Jeff. Your support thought out this journey has been awesome and greatly appreciated. I look forward to yours as well.

  10. Israel, congrats on finishing your first marathon! It definitely would have been easy to climb on that bus at mile 23 - but you didn't! You stuck it out and finished without help and that my friend, is something to be proud of.

    Cheers to you!

  11. Thank you Heather.. you have also been so great and supportive.. I am lucky to have you as a friend.

  12. Israel, again congratulations on your first marathon. It's one that you'll always remember. You are now a marathoner! Take care my friend! - Wayne

  13. Congratulation you made it, you are doing good, keep it up, looking forward for more run from you.