26.2

Last month I checked off one of the biggest items on my list of life goals. It was one of the most daunting goals and one in which I was really reaching for the stars because I never imagined I would be able to run a marathon.

I began training 16 weeks prior to race day. Training was mostly good, with a few rocky weeks of running injuries, and my goal finish time in turn increased. But I felt prepared, that I had done just about everything I could to be able to run 6.2 miles further than my longest training run of 20 miles (which, by the way, seemed impossible after I finished that 20 miler).

Saturday was packet pickup day.
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I found my name on the runner’s wall.
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Then I went home to prepare and resume carbo-loading which was in fact my absolute favorite part of marathon training.
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I texted photos of my outfit to my cheer team so they would be able to spot me along the way. Then, it was time to turn in early so I could get up at 3:45 am for my pre-race breakfast.
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I arrived at the bus pick-up at 5:30 am.
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The bus was crowded and I asked a girl if I could sit next to her. We started chatting and she asked if I lived locally. I told her I used to but now I live in Hawaii. What I did not expect was for her to say, “Me too!” I was pleasantly surprised to make a new friend on the way to the marathon start.

When we arrived in Folsom, I stayed on the relatively warm bus for a while, but decided I better get in on the restroom lines. I stepped off the bus and was greeted with a chilly breeze. I stood in line for the port-a-potty for about 30 minutes, watched the sunrise, ate a snack, and then it was time to go!
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All of the sudden the national anthem was being sung and I realized I needed to get out my iPod and put my sweats in the donation pile. It was difficult to hear what they were announcing and I couldn’t find any of the pacers or my corral, but the gun went off and everyone was going, so I just started running. I was beginning my first marathon!
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I could finally feel my feet again at mile 2.5 and discarded my gloves on the side of the road. I was surprised at how many people (males in particular) were stopping really anywhere on the side of the road to relieve themselves, but I just averted my eyes and kept chugging along. I felt great. The weather was perfect, I was super excited and I was looking forward to seeing my friends and family that had come out to cheer me on.

Around mile 8 I saw the first familiar faces. I waved to the parents of one of my best childhood friends as they cheered for me and snapped some photos. It was amazing how much of a bounce it put in my stride to see friends that had stood in the cold and waited for me to pass to give me encouragement.

Winding through Old Fair Oaks I looked forward to seeing my parents at mile 10 and got ready to throw my headband to my mom. These are some of the photos they were able to capture while they waited for me to arrive:

The elites at the front of the pack
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And the rest of us…
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At the halfway point I began experiencing some knee pain which was unfortunate, but I prayed and God took it way. Then it would come back, and I prayed some more. Fortunately, right around mile 14 were my aunt, uncle and cousin in Carmichael cheering me and pushing me on. Then, I went through the aid station covered by my alma mater and saw one of my favorite teachers from junior high.
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I was really looking forward to seeing my parents and mother-in-law at mile 18, but when I passed through they weren’t there. I was so thankful to spot my mom’s bright pink sweater at mile 19! This is a video my mother-in-law took of me passing by.

The mile markers began appearing further and further apart, but I was determined. My pace slowed a little but I never stopped running. My husband (who wasn’t able to be there) was watching my little dot tracking me on his computer screen and said he couldn’t believe I held my pace so well and was about to finish. I was reaching the capitol park and the crowd on each side of the road was thickening.
This guy cheered me up and my pace quickened.
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I saw the finish line and all of the sudden I felt like I was sprinting, giving every last ounce of energy into this amazing moment. I spotted my family, my aunt and mother-in-law and I couldn’t take the huge grin off my face. I crossed the finish line.

My mom captured my finish in slow-mo and my uncle was there to give me a high five.
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I met up with my cheer team and all I kept saying was, “I can’t believe I did it.” I finished! And I beat my goal of 4:45 and finished in 4:43:35.

It is an indescribable feeling what I felt when I crossed the finish line and realized one of the biggest accomplishments of my life.

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–A

Some statistics from the 32nd California International Marathon:
Entrants: 8261
Starters: 5945
Finishers: 5804

Boston Qualifiers: 1283
Streakers (32-Time Finishers): 12
U.S. Olympic Trials Qualifiers: 30

Exploring the Pacific Northwest

We planned a little vacation around our SeaWheeze weekend. After flying into Seattle, we explored downtown a bit, then drove into Canada and on to Vancouver for our half marathon. After that, we drove back into Washington and to Anacortes to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.

We met my parents in Seattle.

parentsashwheelAnd walked through Pike Place Market.

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And got all stocked up on Chukar Cherries.

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I got a little grossed out at the gum wall…

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Then up to Canada we went. At the border we stopped at the Peace Arch.

motherWe had a great time participating in the SeaWheeze Half Marathon as shown in Yoga. Run. Party.

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Then it was back to Washington and on to Anacortes.

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We got in line to catch the ferry to San Juan Island.

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I hadn’t realized how many islands there were in the area. It was a fascinating view.

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After we docked in Friday Harbor, our first destination was Lime Kiln Point.

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This area is known to be one of the best places in the world to watch orcas from land. Unfortunately we didn’t spot any.

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It was a bit difficult hiking the day after our half marathon, but the sights were beautiful and well worth the discomfort.

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Starting in 1860 lime was produced in this area for 60 years. Lime kilns such as this one were used to fire the limestone to produce lime.

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It was time for lunch so we headed over to Roche Harbor.

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Apparently their donuts are world famous so of course we had to try them out.

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Our accommodations were definitely a highlight of the trip.

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It was difficult to find a place to stay on the island, but this place happened to have availability and turned out to be awesome.

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Three peaceful lakes surrounded Lakedale Resort.

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We stayed in Cabin 1.

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Brandon practiced fishing on the shore just behind our cabin.

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It was the perfect place for some recovery and relaxation.

bfishingafishingreflectAnd for some dancing in the firelight.

firefire2 fire3Some of the other sights we saw on the island were English Camp and American Camp.

englishIn 1859 the US and Great Britain nearly went to war over a pig that was shot by an American farmer. There was already tension building between the two countries over possession of the San Juan Islands, and so the Pig War crisis began. Both sides agreed to a joint military occupation of the island until ownership of the islands was determined. American soldiers and British Royal Marines remained on the island for 12 years until it was ultimately decided that the islands would be US territory.

americanWe also hiked to a beach near American camp.

beachfamIt was a super fun and memorable trip.

–A

Yoga. Run. Party.

SeaWheeze 1/2 Marathon & Sunset Festival

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Vancouver, BC

SeaWheeze was so much fun that I am still giddy while reminiscing about it a week later. It wasn’t just the half marathon, but the entire experience starting with the packet pick-up and crazy line for the SeaWheeze store to the blissology yoga and amazingly fun party with Capital Cities at the Sunset Festival. Of course, the half marathon was awesome too. It was a fun and beautiful course through the city and Stanley Park with lots of cheer stations and entertainment to keep us going to the finish line!

Day 1: Packet Pick-up & SeaWheeze Store

6:50 am apparently was not early enough to arrive for the 7am opening.

pickuplineThe line wrapped all the way around the giant Vancouver Convention Centre. Shoppers began lining up as early as 4am that morning in anticipation of the 22,000 square feet of lululemon’s exclusive SeaWheeze merchandise sold only that day. Luckily my parents were able to hold our place in the store line while we picked up our packets inside.

pickuppickupmeThey were doing some crazy yoga to entertain us while we waited in line.

pickupyogaAfter an hour of waiting we rushed into the SeaWheeze store.

storeClothes were flying off the racks and shelves as soon as they were restocked, people were on the floor surrounded by piles of items, and both men and women were stripping down in the middle of the room trying on garments. It was pretty crazy, but they had lots of fun stuff!store2

Outside the store was a complete assortment of amenities for race participants, including cold brewed coffee and electrolyte drink samples, a tattoo station (temporary, of course), an area to get your hair did by a professional stylist, a place for your nails to be painted, and even a station for men where they could get their hair cut or beards trimmed–all complimentary for SeaWheeze participants.

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It was an awesome way to kick off the race weekend.

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Day 2: Race Day & Sunset Festival

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We arrived early and stayed warm inside the convention centre.

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Then we began gathering in our corrals.

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There were 10,015 runners.

10501811_436822179791986_7744177217900301461_nAnd we were all ready to go!

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A race photographer happened to get this shot of us taking off at the start.

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Brandon has been dealing with a knee injury for the last few months and wasn’t able to train for the race. He planned to stay with me for the first 3 miles and then drop out and walk straight to the end to see me finish.10629674_436822426458628_551084089525845258_nHe ended up staying with me all the way to the end of the Burrard Street Bridge which was about 5.5 miles in! However, at that point he really had no idea where he was and didn’t want to get lost so he decided to stay on the race course and run/walk the rest.

cheer2muscleMy parents were waiting for me to run by at Muscle Beach when a good friend of ours who we hadn’t seen in years happened to run past my mom and recognize her. He even ran back to give her a big, sweaty hug.

shaneI turned the corner and spotted my mom but she was looking the other way waving at someone. I yelled, “Mom! Moooom!” And she saw me pass just in time. My dad snapped this shot of me right around the 8 mile mark.

cheer2Then began the gorgeous seawall at Stanley Park.

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The final cheer station was at the 11 mile mark and my parents were there to cheer me on.

cheer3As I drew near the finish line I searched for familiar faces but didn’t see anyone. Unfortunately my parents didn’t make it back fast enough and were still on the shuttle from the cheer station. Since I didn’t know Brandon was still running the race behind me I was confused when I couldn’t find him at the finish and worried he was somewhere lost in the city.

Finally, my cheer team arrived.

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And then we found Brandon! I was so proud of him for finishing the race.

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We did it! All 13.1 miles.

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That evening we were ready to do some yoga at the Sunset Festival.

festivalyogapanoEoin Finn was there to lead out in blissology yoga. It was the most enjoyable yoga session we have ever participated in and probably the neatest environment.

festivalyoga210559859_436821676458703_4278127608329110159_nAfter that we were able to catch up with our friend Shane.

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Then there was Capital Cities.

capital3One of the most fun shows we have ever been to.

capital2capitalI soaked in every moment and will hold onto the memories we made here in Vancouver for a long time to come.

–A

VBS Lana’i

We spent 5 days on the island of Lana’i with friends from church. Camping, doing Weird Animals Vacation Bible School for the kids of Lana’i and having a blast!

Canada Here We Come!

It took longer to register for SeaWheeze than it will (hopefully) take us to run the race, but we made it in and we’re so excited! With the rush of excitement it caused, the registration site couldn’t handle everyone when it opened up on January 23, so it was eventually postponed to today.  Within an hour and a half it was full.

We are making this announcement so you can all hold us accountable–we will train hard and run our second half, SeaWheeze Half Marathon, August 2014 in Vancouver, BC!

–A&B