Monday, November 12, 2012

Malibu International Marathon 2012

Malibu Marathon 2012, was my first full marathon.  For any non runner, who is considering training for a marathon, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to train. Your training schedule should have at 3 weeks of give to allow for anything unexpected. I would also suggest running not only an 18 mile long run, but a 20 mile long run too. I felt these critical long runs made all the difference with my completion.

Two weeks before Malibu, my running buddy Ann and I had completed a 20 mile long run. The following week was a wash & recovery with short runs. Heading into the final week before the marathon, I ran a only one 4 and 3 miler. Loading up on carbohydrates after following and consuming a diet that suites your training was harder than what I thought it would have been. The first 2 days, my stomach wouldn't cooperate. I didn't have any appetite and found myself loosing weight.  Finally on the 3rd day, my stomach felt better and I began to carb load. I'm laughing as I write this because you wouldn't think it would that difficulty to eat the right carbohydrates, but it was! Finding time to eat, get what you need was crazy and a good lesson.

Malibu International Marathon was on Veterans Day and my daughter's birthday!  The Saturday before, my running buddy Ann and I headed out to pick up our bibs and go to the expo.  The trip took us 2 & 1/2 hours to reach Malibu. The bib pick up location had changed and we ended up at the Malibu Inn aka biker bar.
There were magic marker signs pointed out directions of how to navigate this expo. At first I didn't see the yellow sign above the white one posting about FREE BEER!
The expo... it consist of table, with a large thermos of Accelerade, the electrolytes to be used during the marathon. It was help yourself :)~  The other table it was the unofficial Malibu Marathon gear. Sorry I keep giggling because it was very California and laid back. No frills and no fuss. It was relaxing. The staff was friendly. The parking to get into the inn was a little challenging, but if your training has taught you anything, you just adapt to the situation.
After picking up our gear, we decided to drive the course backwards. We had read about the large and long hills starting at mile 18. It was a little scary seeing what you were about to tackle in less than 24 hours. In the host city, Camarillo, for the starting line of  the marathon, we found a wonderful Italian restaurant Occtavio's . Thank you for the great service and delicious pasta!

We left in a carbohydrate coma and went to check into our hotel in Agoura. . The Sheraton hotel hosted this event providing buses to the start line and shuttle services from the finish line. The rest of the night we camped out in our hotel room guzzling Gatorade, eating BBQ chips, and delicious cold pasta salad made by our good friend Debbie's mommy :)~
We woke up around 4:45am to begin our prepping, eating (yes again), and packing. Down in the lobby by 5:15am, the school bus is already waiting. We choose not to wear any long sleeve shirt to discard later because eventually it will warm up once the sun came out. The school bus windows didn't close and made the ride incredibly cold. The bus took us directly to Camarillo Airport to begin the race.
The music was playing and there about 8 porta potties with long lines. The full marathon was at a different location than the half marathon. One of the directors of the marathon rode on the bus with us. He said there were about 900 full marathon runners signed up. If I had to guess, there was a little over 500 that actually started. It was small. There are always characters when running a race. I always wonder the stories behind them. The guy by the porta potties had a wrestling mask that tied in the back with matching spandex pants. Likely Nacho Libre's cousin :) !It was also the first time I saw men wearing dresses.
 The race was to start at 0700 am but 8 minutes after, the announcer states there will be a 30 minute delay to wait for more runners. It's 45 degrees and we're shivering. In hind sight, this was good, because I wasn't a bundle of nerves and not visiting the porta pottie every 10 minutes!
The race started after one of the runners volunteered to sing the national anthem, at 0738am. The first 8 miles are through flat farm land. The sun is shining and we're no longer freezing.
Around mile 8 or 9 you begin to run along the Pacific Coast Hwy. We run into the wind and but not bad.
At Point Mugu, it opens up with rolling hills and winding highways. The course is marked off with orange cones. It isn't crowded. The water stations at this point are about every 2.5 miles. I stop at every one of these. There were little Dixie cups of water. The Accelerade is offered at some of the stations. It's thick but goes down easier than GU. We have Gatorade blocks with us. Our pace from the start is no more than 10:45 to 10:30 minute pace. Occasionally we jump up to 10:00 pace but know about the hills the last 8 miles for the race.  Ann has a Garmin that works great and keeps us on track.
These are only rolling hills and not bad at all. The training I did for this marathon helped me out tremendously. At the half way is wonderful beautiful. We have to keep checking ourselves and hold off on our pace.
Beautiful all the way through miles 13 through 18. We saw dolphins!Then the hills begin.
We're getting tired at mile 20. Our cheerful banter becomes talk of what is hurting us at that moment. At mile 21, Ann tells me go keep going. She is coping with foot pain. Pushing on, I continue to stop at every water station. There are two families I have seen starting from miles 12 and on. Who ever they are supporting was running somewhere around Ann and I. We become friendly and they cheer us on! After I left Ann, I was so grateful to see them as the miles seemed to stretch forever. Who ever you are in the dark grey SUV with the small kids and the older couple passing out 'hi-fives' and candy in a red bowl, thank you, thank you, thank you!
I have no words of wisdom to get anyone through the last 5 miles of a marathon. As a non runner, it meant lots of hours and hours of running so many miles, I stopped keeping track of them prior to even running a marathon. Without Ann's Garmin to keep track of my pace, I just tried to keep my wits about me. Sometimes I cursed out loud, but I believe my memory muscles took over for me. I definitely wanted to give up. In a small way, finishing didn't matter any more. I wanted to stop. Steep hills plagued my legs and slowed me down. Coming down hill was no relief because you could see the next hill which appeared to be steeper. At one point, there was a sign that pointed an arrow showing finish line to half marathon and an arrow up for full marathon. There was still another 4 miles to go. I kept no more than 11:50 minute pace if I had to guess. I swore the 5:15 pacer group probably already passed me. Coming down a hill at mile 24, I could see the tents on the beach. These tents looked like it was at least another 4 miles away. It was only suppose to be the last mile. At this point I begin to thank my family and God for supporting me. The end was close.  As I headed up the last hill, came over the top, I could see the cones lined up at the bottom of the hill turning runners to the right. I didn't believe it. As I got closer, I thought, "oh this is one of those marathons where you have another 0.9 miles to the finish line". Turning right into the beach parking lot and then a quick left, there it was , the finish line!  There were two men ahead of me. I can't really tell you what happened to me, but I started to sprint! Where the world did that come from? I saw the time on the clock reading 4:58:something as I crossed over. I had to bend over and pant. Someone put a medal around my neck as I stood up as another volunteer handed me a water bottle and beach towel. One a table at the end of the corral were fruit snack cups! OMG I was starving! Fruit cups and no spoon!  I turned around to see an elderly man we ran with during the first 10 miles.  He hugged me and congratulated me. I turned back towards to the finish like to see if Ann had come through. As I made my back, I could see Ann coming down the stretch. She crossed saying she couldn't feel her hands and I reponded, "I don't think I want to do another one"!  We worked our way out over by the beach brakers and stood around reflecting.
Thank you to Malibu Marathon team. It definately allows me to compare my next marathon to those hills. Yes, I've already signed up to do the Carlsbad Full Marathon in 2013.
Thank you to the gals who gave us a ride back to our hotel after the race. We couldn't find the shuttle buses. One of the girls placed 2nd in the 50 year olds age group and ran it in 4:08 (I was told was slow for her) and her friend came in 7th in the same age group. We were glad you found your car and can't thank you enough for helping out complete strangers. I am sorry I forgot your names.
I got up today and went for a walk with my doggies and I do feel sore, but if needed, I could run. I will do my recovery week and if my body allows it, will begin training again.
My official time was 4:56:48
overall #467 out 658 runners
Age group #28 out of 45


  1. Congratulations on your marathon! I ran my first (and so far only) in 4h59m, so a bit slower than you! Be careful with your recovery and don't run too far too soon - I got heel injuries a few months after mine which stopped me running for about 6 months - take it easy!

    1. That is excellent advice! So I did a stupid thing by buying a different brand/style of shoe over a week ago. I am returning the Brooks Ghost 5 to Road Runner,tomorrow. I am returning to my Saucony Triumph. I have Carlsbad Marathon in January and don't need any more problems.

  2. Fantastic job on the marathon - that course is tough! I ran the half there in 2011 and my husband ran the full (I was supposed to do the full but dropped back due to a biking injury.) Congrats to you!