Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My First Marathon

Marathon 062-compressedWhere do I even start!?! The Dallas White Rock Marathon was the most physically challenging and emotionally stretching event of my life.  I loved every minute of it.  I couldn’t dream of a more rewarding experience possible.

Thank Yous

First of all, I want to give all the glory to God.  Without the courage and strength that God provided I would have never been able to accomplish this huge goal.  I count myself blessed being able to participate in this sport when others many not be able to.

There are so many to thank in support of me being able to do this. I definitely couldn’t have it done it without the Dallas Running Club. They have the best pace leaders and it’s probably the most affordable training program around.

Thank you to Ursula for listening to all of my training run stories and then following me around on race day.  I know it’s not your thing and I cherish your attentiveness.

Thank you to Denise for inspiring me to run.  Your infectious smile and love for running was what got me into this sport.  I cannot believe that it was 2 years ago that you came and ran White Rock.  I didn’t know anything about running and actually didn’t want to.  You turned that around and created a running addict.  Thanks!

Thank you to my DRC friends – Felix, Roger, Hari, Heather, Kristin, Karen, Luis, Chris, and so many others.  Your encouragement was incredible and needed.

Thank you to Chris Risen for being the icing on the cake!  It was incredible to see him at the Finish Line.  Read below for more details.

Race Report

We, (my wife, sister, and 2 teenage kids) got to the American Airlines Center at about 6:10am.  In plenty of time to beat the crowds.  We met up with friends from the Dallas Running Club inside of American Airlines Center.  It was so great to be able to be inside of the AAC instead of sitting outside.

Felix, Steve, and I lined up behind the 4:15 pace group. Positive thinking there.  :)  The bummer is that it was hard to spot the 4:15 pace group after 2-3 miles because they pitched their sign and balloons.

Check out this video of the start.  I'm such a goof… I had to ham it up for the cameras.  No high stepping at miles 20-26.2!

I did pretty well with keeping an even pace in the first 7 miles because of the crowd, but picked it up on miles 8-14.  I really think this is where I went wrong.  I should have backed off the pace and kept it closer to 9:45 or so.  Fortunately or unfortunately, I was feeling no pain and ran faster than I should have.   Lesson learned: Just because I can doesn’t mean that I should.

To help my family keep up with me throughout the race, I texted them at each mile marker.  It actually gave me something to look forward to.  I got to see my family at mile 7 which was great to see them early in the race.  A visit from them at mile 15/16 was definitely a welcome sight.  I was starting to feel some pain at this point.  Below is a video of when Felix and I caught up with the family at mile 15/16.

<Skip this paragraph if you don’t want some dirty details.>  From about mile 12-15, I really had to go to the bathroom, ya know #2.  I had to stop as you really cannot pinch for too many miles.  In the video above, my sister asks me if I need anything, I gestured to the houses on the left and said that I needed to use the restroom there.  I was able to go in a port-a-potty which isn’t my favorite, but it was highly needed.

Mark-ScottI was surprised to see my boss and his boss, Scott & Kingsley at mile 18!  It was such a great surprise.  Scott did mention that he’d try to come out, but there were so many people.  I stopped and chatted with them for a little bit.  I secretly enjoyed the break.  :)

Once I got to miles 20 & 21, it felt like my legs were on fire.  I text my sister asking when was I going to see them next.  She said mile 22, so I had a goal of pushing through the pain to get to them at mile 22.  I got pretty emotional at this point and gave Ursula a big long hug.  I could have stayed in that comforting hug forever, but as she normally does she pushed me on!  :)  Just kidding, she doesn’t always push me away.

Miles 23 through the Finish, I walked a bunch of times.  At the time, I was pretty disappointed.  However, any disappointment that I experienced from my self-imposed targeted time was squelched, by the entire marathon experience!

A great decision I made was putting my name on my shirt.  It was very uplifting to have people cheering you on and calling out your name.  This really kept me going especially toward the end.

At about mile 25, Felix texted me urging to press on and encouraged me.  Check, check!  Thanks, Felix!

Like I mentioned earlier, Chris Risen was the icing on the cake for the whole marathon experience.  I was heading down the finish and was being urged on by all of the onlookers.  There was a huge sea of faces on the left and right of me.  When I got about 100 feet from the Finish Line, I thought I was hallucinating, I saw Chris Risen!  I really couldn’t believe that he was there! I ran or hobbled over to him. I gave him the biggest hug I could and was bawling like a baby.  Again, I couldn’t believe he was there.  I told him so, and he told me to get going and finish.  I hugged him again while tearing up and he told me to finish the race.  Again, Chris was the icing on the cake.  I cannot believe that he did this for me.  His picture is at the top of the screen.  Love that guy!

I finished in 4 hours and 37 minutes.  I was hoping for 4 hours and 20 minutes or less, but again, this time goal is at the bottom of my needs.

After I crossed the finish line, Felix and I met and embraced.  I was an emotional wreck! I got my mylar blanket, finisher’s medal, & finisher’s tech shirt.  I then met up with Ursula, Denise, Briana, Cairo, & Adam.  I grabbed some free food and headed into the AAC to meet up with Chris.  We chatted for a good while and headed home.

I couldn’t walk without moaning & groaning on Sunday and then some on Monday.

Above are some pictures that we took on the weekend.

I cannot wait to run another marathon!  I know that I can do better.  I have learned a lot and am looking forward to running in the Cleveland Marathon in May.

Please remember that 2 years ago, I said that I would never be able to do a marathon.  You, might be saying the same thing right now, however, I’m hear to tell you, that YOU CAN!


Suann Lundsberg said...

Congratulations on your first marathon! I'm running my first on April 25 at the OKC Memorial Marathon. I have a lot of work to do before then!

liss said...

Gosh, Mark, that is just incredible! I have tears in my eyes reading your post. You deserve an enormous congratulations! I'm really proud and happy for you! You are very inspiring. :)

Shannon Christian said...

Congratulations Mark. You look great and it sounds like you're having a ton of fun.

I think everyone should put their name on all their shirts...