YES, I DID!! I finished my first marathon! That right, 26.2 miles in a time of 6:02:10. Boy, it was a great weekend!
As many of you may know, it was Jenn's birthday the day of the marathon. So, I felt the need to make it up to her and planned an entire "childless" weekend in San Diego. We stayed at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego and according to the front desk, it was the best room in the hotel (corner room with a view to die for).
On Friday, we visited the Expo at the convention center and later that night we had a great dinner at the Blue Point restaurant with a late evening stroll through the Gas Lamp District. Saturday morning, we enjoyed a quiet breakfast at the hotel buffet. A very nice buffet might I add ($50 value included in the cost of our room - Thanks AAA!). After Jenn finished eating, she ran off to a spa appointment that I had scheduled as a gift for her birthday. After I was finished eating and reading the paper, I went back to our room to relaxed and enjoyed the view. Later that afternoon, my best friend Jesse came down to speed the evening with us. We had a "not so good" pasta dinner at a local restaurant near the hotel. We should have gone to Little Italy. After dinner, Jenn and Jess had some very expensive ice cream. Jess had us rolling in laughter from some of the comments he was making to the kids behind the counter.
Later, Jess got a phone call from a friend who happen to be celebrating his birthday as well that weekend. He had rented a limo and was cruising around downtown. I told Jess and Jenn to go ahead and have fun, since all I wanted to do at this point was head back to the hotel and try and get some sleep. 4am was going to be here before I knew it.
Sunday, even though it was my Jenn's birthday, this was the day I had been looking forward to since I began running back in August 2006. MY FIRST MARATHON! Let me see if I can paint the picture for you.
It is 6AM, I have been up for a couple of hours and Jenn just dropped me off at the start of the race. Over 21,o00 people getting ready to endure the 26.2 mile experience. It's about 60 degrees and and I have lots of adrenaline running through my body. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't nervous, but at the same time I was very excited!
And were off! With so many participants, it took about ten minutes to actually cross the start line. The first 6 miles included a scenic route through downtown San Diego which looped past our hotel. I got to see Jenn and Jess, which is always an emotional lift to see friends and family along the route. The next 7 miles headed out of downtown towards the half way point. At this time I was feeling really good, in fact, I was feeling really good the entire run until I got to 19 mile maker. From miles 19 to 22, I felt like I hit "The Wall". I had to alternate walking and running the next four miles, which really slowed my pace down. It must have been a mental thing. My longest single training run over the last few months was 18 miles.
When I got to the 22 mile marker, I told myself that we (me, myself and I) only had four miles to go, which is one loop around Mile Square Park. A loop that we had ran many times during my training days. Then, there it was, the finish line. As I crosses the finish, I spotted Jen in the crowd and raised my fist in victory. I had completed my goal (6 months sooner then I originally anticipated)! 26.2 miles! Damn, what a feeling.