Sunday, April 14, 2013

My 1st Marathon: 2013 LA Marathon Recap

I’M A MARATHONER!!  Those words seem surreal.  I can’t believe I ran 26.2 miles!

On Sunday, March 17th 2013, St. Patrick’s Day, I ran my first marathon, the LA Marathon for the MDS Foundation in memory of my mom who passed away from MDS last March.  Having such an important reason to run gave me the courage to start training for and the strength to finish the marathon.  I am so happy to say that with the help of family and friends, we raised nearly $3,000 for MDS!  I ran the marathon with my best friend, Lisa, who was running for the Pablove Foundation to support pediatric cancer in memory of her brother Jeff.  She too raised nearly $3,000 for the Pablove Foundation!  I know my mom and her brother are looking down on us and are so proud.

Quick side note, we both designed our race shirts.  Lisa’s had a picture of her and her brother, and my shirt had a picture of me and Mom with my “Imagine A Cure for MDS” logo.  During the race, other runners would run by me and give me a thumbs up, or say encouraging words like “good for you” “I’m sure your mom is proud” “way to go”.  It was amazing.


Now for the recap (complete with a TON of pictures)!  Sit back and enjoy :)

The LA Marathon is known as the “Stadium to the Sea” race because it starts at Dodger Stadium and ends at the Santa Monica Pier.  Well, because it’s a point-to-point race, Lisa and I had to park in Santa Monica and be on the 4am shuttle to take us to Dodger Stadium.  The shuttle dropped us off with a couple hours to starting time, so we found a spot inside Dodger Stadium and did what other runners were doing…we took a short nap.  After waking up at 2am, we needed a power nap.

@ Dodger Stadium around 4:30am

The weather was perfect – cool and overcast.  The race started promptly at 7:30am and we were off!
@ the starting line
Time to run a marathon!!
The first 5 miles were great, then unfortunately my IT band began flaring up, which was much earlier than I anticipated.  I pushed through to mile 10, where I stopped at the medic tent and filled a Ziploc bag with ice and stuck it under my capris on my knee.  That helped a lot.  The spectators along the course were so motivating!  Some people were wearing silly costumes, others were holding clever signs, others blasting music  and cheering.  The crowd along the course was incredible!!!  The sights were a great distraction too – running through Chinatown, past the Pantages Theatre, El Capitan, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, and running along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive.  It was an exciting course running through all the cities and seeing all the landmarks, and the volunteers and spectators were awesome!
Walt Disney Concert Hall
The Pantages
El Capitan Theater
Grauman's Chinese Theater
The Troubadour!
I received some text messages along the way from family and friends that were so encouraging and powerful that they brought me to tears.  Everyone was so proud of what I was doing, and in that moment it hit me, ‘Holy shit!  I’m actually running a marathon and I’m running it for Mom!  She would be so freaking proud of me!’  I became emotional and so happy!  I was actually doing it!  Around mile 14 my cousin texted me and said she was at mile 16.  I was hurting and very much looking forward to seeing some family.
Running by the Whiskey A Go Go between miles 15 and 16


I got to 16 and there they were with neon signs that were so perfect (zombies & beer!  Do they know me or what?!).
Love the signs!!!
Me with my awesome cousins at mile 16!

I stopped and hugged them and chatted with them for a minute before taking off, and my cousin joined me!  I have to give a HUGE shoutout to her, because she was only planning on running a mile or two with me, but she stuck with me to keep me motivated for TEN MILES!!  She was with me from mile 16 and peeled off just before 26.  Shanu, I love you so much.  Words can’t even express how thankful I am!!

We cruised down Rodeo Drive, and soon we were approaching mile 18.  I got so excited because that’s where my hubby was!!!  He was with Lisa’s hubby (who I’ve been friends since Kindergarten), Lisa’s mom, my friend Amanda and her sister.  I was SO happy to see them all!  I ran up {the hill} to them and smiled so big as I shouted, “I am never running another marathon again!”  I was in so much pain at this point.  But seeing them made all the pain dissipate.  My hubby gave me the biggest hug in the world and told me how proud he is of me and how proud mom is watching me from above.  Baby, you are the best husband in the world.  I love you to infinity and beyond!!  Everyone else gave me big hugs and words of encouragement and we took some pictures (thank you David for being our personal photographer!).
Queue long photo montage:
Mile 18!! (The marker is that giant orange thing behind me)

So excited to see my hubby!


I love this man!!!
Beyond happy!  Seeing them was the best pick-me-up!
I heart zombies
Yeaaa!!!!
Love this girl!!  Thanks for coming out to cheer me on love!!!!
He's the best hubby :)
Then I was off, my cousin still running with me!  By Mile 20 my hips were so sore and my right knee was in agony that I had to speed walk with some jogging thrown in for the next few miles.  My cousin was awesome though, singing to me, dancing alongside me, telling me stories, and making me laugh.  The miles seemed to tick by despite my pain…Mile 20…Mile 21…Mile 22…Mile 23!  I kept telling myself, ‘This is nothing compared to what mom went though.  This is a cake walk!’  Finally I saw the Mile 24 marker and got so excited.  2.6 miles to go.  We hustled through 24 even though it felt like the longest mile on the course, and finally hit mile 25.

Almost there!  My cousin peeled off shortly thereafter and I was running to the finish.  Then around 25.7 my right calf cramped up and I had to pull over to stretch it.  Stretching helped a lot and I began running again.  I was almost there.

All of a sudden I heard my name and I looked to my left and there was Koko (my dearest friend since 3rd grade!) with her fiancé with the coolest (and very “Maggie”) sign ever:  “May the course be with you” in bright colors!  I waved and picked up my pace.  As I was running, I heard my name again!  I look over and it’s my hubby, David, and Lisa (Lisa finished in 5:07!) cheering me on!  Yes!!  0.4 miles to go and I was in a full on sprint.  Every ounce of pain that my body felt was gone in that moment.  I pushed harder than I thought I could and before I knew it I had crossed the finish line.




My super sexy finish face haha!  I was in so much pain sprinting across that finish.
My right knee gave out a second after this photo.
The second I crossed, my right knee gave out and I started hopping on my left leg.  A medic ran over to check on me (great service!) and I told him I was fine.  I hobbled over to my Daddy who was at the finish line.  Seeing him gave me so much happiness and relief.  I did it.  I just ran a marathon!  26.2 miles.  I felt so accomplished.

I got my medal, and I have to say, it’s the coolest medal I’ve ever seen!  It’s blue ombre with a transparent green shamrock on it!  It’s so pretty!  I met up with everyone where the gates opened about half a mile from the finish and everyone hugged me so tight.  It was incredible and very emotional.  My body hurt like hell but I was nothing but smiles :)  I did it Mommy, I did it for you!  And I ran 26 miles at the age of 26 (check that off my list!)!



WE DID IT!!!!  WE ARE MARATHONERS!!!!

My incredible husband.  I love him more than words can express!

She lei'd me :)


With my hubby and my daddy :)
Love you guys so much!!  Thank you for all your support!!!
LA Marathon finishers!
Running for people we love and lost.
We splurged at the expo and bought these $80 jackets.
Hey, it was our first marathon and who know if we'll ever run another full!  Plus, they are super soft :)
Me and my daddy :)  We did it for Mommy!
I apologize if the next bit sounds like an academy award speech, but with this being my first (and probably last) marathon, I have some very important thank yous:

Mommy, you gave me the courage to take on this challenge, and the strength to finish it.  I probably wouldn’t have begun the journey to my marathon if I didn’t have such a powerful cause to run for.  I wish you were still here with us, and I thank you for being my strength, in life, and in death.  I love you always.

Sean, my love, thank you for being on this journey with me.  Your motivational text messages and pictures while I was out on long runs lifted me up and kept me going.  Thank you for getting my ice for my ice baths, and giving me post-run massages.  You are the best husband in the world and I am so lucky to have you as my best friend and partner in life.  I love you.

Daddy, thank you for being there for me every step of the way, especially on my 20-mile training run when you called me at mile 18 and talked me through the pain and fatigue to mile 20.  Thank you for being there to cheer me on at the marathon and seeing me finish.  You are the best daddy a girl could ask for, I love you.

Lisa, my best friend and running buddy, I am so happy we were able to experience our first marathon together.  We ran in memory of people we love and lost, and that is amazing.  You are a rockstar!  I am so proud of your accomplishment.  Girl you ROCKED it!!!  Love you Lis!

My cousins Shahana, Mike, and Aysha who were at mile 16 and gave me the pick-me-up I needed, thank you.  Shahana, the words “thank you” don’t even seem sufficient.  You ran with me the last 10 miles and gave me the motivation to keep pushing when I wasn’t sure if I could.  I am so grateful for your love, and I am so lucky you are my family.

Koko, Jay, Amanda, and Heather, thank you so much for coming out to cheer me on!  Having you guys on the course gave me the boost I needed to keep going.  I love you guys!

David, thank you for coming out to cheer on your remarkable wife, and myself, and for being our personal photographers.  Oh!  And for giving me a piece of watermelon at mile 18…YUM!

My brothers, cousins, and friends who wanted to be there but couldn’t because they are out of town, thank you for all the text message during the race!  Through your messages, it was like you were there.  I treasure your words of inspiration.

My running coach, Chris, thank you for training me these last few months and helping me to become a better runner.  I couldn’t have trained for this without you, especially on those 13-20 mile training runs!!  Thank you!

To all my donors...we did it!!  Your support means the world to me, and because of you, we are $3,000 closer to finding a cure for MDS.  THANK YOU!!!!

My only goal was to finish, and that I did!  According to my Garmin, I ran 26.22 miles in 6:14:50.  I’m totally happy with that.  It’s not about the time it takes…it’s about the journey to get there, and it was quite a journey!  To all my family, friends, coworkers, readers of this blog, Twitter friends, thank you for your endless love and support!!  I seriously could not have crossed that finish line and raised awareness and money for MDS without all of you guys!  With all my heart, THANK YOU!!!  WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!!



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