Gary’s Long Beach Marathon Race Report Part I

“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.”
Steve Garvey

This season of Long Beach Beach Runners has been another growing experience as usual.

The seasons of my life now coincide with my marathons. I can think back to every marathon I’ve done (10 now), and see what phase I was going through in my life.

I’ve seen relationships come and go. I’ve gained new friends. I’ve lost 40 pounds. I changed into a yoga teacher and chirunning instructor. I deepened my connection with God. I traveled in exotic countries…all the while training for a 26.2 mile run.

Fascinating isn’t it? How much life happens in training for one race.

This season was no different.

I began the season fast after a stellar performance at the Catalina Marathon (sub 4 hours). I quickly found a running partner in Matt Brown aka Jackass.

We decided we would try to break 3:30. A goal I have been trying to accomplish for years. Why? Really not sure. Its just one of those running things. I’ve finished sub four hours in 5 of the 9 marathons I’ve run. But never sub 3:30. It is a stepping stone to me qualifying for Boston. Which God willing, I will qualify for one day.

That goal of breaking 3:30 has made me run more marathons than I planned to. I think I was going to quit running marathons after I did five. This was my tenth. That goal of breaking 3:30 has made me learn to run fast and efficiently. That goal of 3:30 motivates me to not give up and keep TRYING TRYING TRYING. I know I can do it.

Training went well this summer. I got strong from Tuesday night trail running followed by my power yoga class. New muscles popped out of my core that I never knew I even had.

I even ran an ultramarathon in training…33 miles…hoping that it would give me the endurance to pop 3:30. Training two amazing women Sandy and Sindy for that race was a highlight of the year for me. Your strong spirits continue to inspire me daily.

Now some of you won’t believe this but I even quit drinking. I usually don’t drink for 2 weeks before a race. But this year some drinking incidents prompted me to give it up all together. It hasn’t been easy. I’m learning to live life on life’s terms on a daily basis. Can’t say I miss it. Like my birthday evening I was able to talk to all of you with my full attention and love. I didn’t need a drink to share your company. In fact, I don’t need a drink for anything or anybody. Life is beautiful enough as is. That’s what I’m realizing.

Some Saturdays I ran with Matt. Other Saturdays I started in the back of the pack and worked my way up through the legions of Beach Runners trying to catch him…never could unless I started with him. But these were my favorite days…running with all of you…sharing stories…giving each other encouraging words…running on the beach together…buying cold Gatorades. Its always the little things that stand out on those runs isn’t it?

Matt ran 26 miles THREE TIMES on the Saturdays. All at close to race pace. Go ahead I told him. That’s a testament to his character. Certainly he is one of the hardest working runners I’ve ever met. This was his first marathon and HE WAS READY!

The last few weeks Matt and I did lots of pacing work together. We’d try to run at a consistent pace of 7:45 minutes a mile…but we never could…as we both are soooo much faster than that at shorter distances.

I ate well the week before the marathon. I had a nagging cold though for about two weeks. Maybe some of you had that nasty little chest cold going around also.

Best thing I did though, was staying OFF my feet at the Expo for two days. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you Beach Runners for volunteering and sharing your enthusiasm with everyone at that event.

I ate well the night before. I got adequate sleep. I even had some deep body work done the week before (Rolfing…another story for another day).

I was ready. Right? 3:30 should be no problem. And I had better run 3:30 because I told everyone that was my goal. I’d be embarrassed to not do 3:30.

But God had other plans for me race day…

To be continued…

“Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars..”
Les Brown


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