Unravelling

I am really excited to start a new journey. Besides training for races, being a mom and doing photography projects here and there, I decided to enroll in Susannah Conway’s Unravelling e-course. I felt like it was something I really wanted and really needed to do.

When I was in the Creative Writing program at San Francisco State, I was really fortunate to have amazing instructors, who made writing a new experience every day. But after writing stories for years, I burned out. I can honestly say, I have not written a story in 14 years. Since I graduated from college. After school, I went on to other things. Most importantly I married and had children.

I wrote fiction, short stories. I loved, loved, loved the work of Tobias Wolff.

But somewhere along the way I lost my voice in writing. And I found it in other genres.

It’s not a sad thing. I don’t feel like I am any less of a person. Just that something so important to me was put aside for many years. And I feel the need to work on it again.

So I am and I can’t wait to see what comes of it.

And I hope you will come along for the ride.

How It Went

Well, the weather couldn’t of been any better. It was overcast and cool for most of the race. But when you’re running 26.2 miles, you’re pretty much a sweaty mess throughout it all. I think the good and bad thing was I had never ran a marathon before. So at the start I was surrounded by others who had. I ran with one lady for 8 miles, who was my age, had the same amount of kids and was competing in her 8th marathon. I was comfortable running at her pace. I think we were between 8:30 and 9 minute miles. Her goal was to make the Boston cut-off. And mine wasn’t. I just wanted to make it under 4 hours. Eventually she took off and I didn’t.

Then I was running with a couple and I thought if I stay with them, I will surely keep my pace under 4 hours. They had 12 marathons under their belt and as I crossed the 4th water station, my little family was there waiting to cheer me on. I felt good, we were at mile 8, and I was still hanging on to their pace. There was a young guy who was staying with us too. By the 1/2 marathon mark, we were under 2 hours. Which was great. But something happened after mile 18. And all I could think of was that “wall” everyone talked about. I hit it. My lovely pace was diminishing and I got passed by a pink fairy.

My family was waiting for me at mile 19 with a bottle of powdered food. Even though all the water stations provided junk food, like jelly beans and gummi bears, I didn’t take any of it. I hadn’t trained with solid food and thought it wouldn’t be a good idea to start now. Plus, I was at that “wall” and wasn’t feeling the best. I slowed down to a snails pace, but kept running. I wasn’t going to stop even though everyone around me would stop and then go. I just kept thinking “when will this end?” And more importantly, I was looking forward to the water station with the shower.

By mile 22, I was at a water station that had the shower. I ran under it. The grime on my face was thick. Every time I hit a water station, I would get water to wash my face off. I started to feel good at mile 23. And I kept telling myself I only have a 5K left. I was no longer running with anyone, which was lonely, especially at the end when you are at your limit. And I knew I wasn’t going to be under 4 hours. I wouldn’t be close. But as I turned the last corner and ran into the track area, I felt good. And I charged into the finish at 4 hours 19 minutes. And the man thought I was going to fall and held onto me for awhile. I was like “I am fine. I am not going to fall.” Because if I fell to the ground, I wouldn’t be able to get up. My husband and kids were right there and of course, they were hungry. I wasn’t until about 1:30 PM that day.

The funny thing about this race is it doesn’t feel like I did anything big. Like I ran 26.2 miles and I am still not aware of how big that is. I am fully aware of the pain I am feeling. More than I thought it would be. And in different areas than my training runs. My run was on a gravel-packed trail, which I had trained on once a week. I am not sure it’s better than pavement. They both seem to have their pluses and minuses. I had no chaffing either. Which is amazing. One of my toe nails may fall off. I am not sure. It’s sore and I was aware of it near the end. Luckily the one area I always blister was not too bad. Due to my skin being calloused.

I think all in all, it was a great experience. The race was awesome and well-organized. I know now I need to up my mileage for the next time. Which will be the end of the Ironman-distance race I have scheduled at the end of September. I kept thinking about that race during the hard parts of my marathon. Mostly, I was thinking how will I ever finish. I also have my half-Ironman in 26 days. I feel confident about this upcoming race, but I know I need to get going after today with training. And I am not sure how because I feel pretty bad this morning. But like anything, I just keep moving. Because right now, sitting is the worst possible thing in the world.