Among the many great things I was able to experience during the Surf City Marathon was having the opportunity to run my first marathon with another first-time marathoner, my uncle Jorge.
Jorge has been influential in my life in many ways, ever since I was in my teens and he would always one-up me and my brothers in basketball or tennis, our sports of choice back then. Much like Danny is in our family, Jorge has always been the athletic one among his own siblings. Jorge has four brothers and five sisters - one of whom is my mom.
While Jorge has always been athletic and an adventure-seeker - he has traveled to numerous locales across the globe - I've only recently become one. He had run the Camp Pendleton Mud Run before I did, and we've ran the last two together as part of our larger Mud Run contingent. So for me, to have run a marathon at the same time as the most athletic person in my extended family is an honor. For me, a highlight of the marathon itself was having the chance to greet Jorge during the marathon - we gave each other a high-five when we crossed paths near the beach.
Jorge finished Surf City at 3:46:34, with a pace of 8:39 per mile, impressive statistics for any marathoner, particularly a first-timer.
Anyway, Jorge was gracious enough to take a few moments to answer a few of questions for the first (and hopefully not the last) Muddy Runner Q & A.
This is a bit of a timely post as well - Jorge's second marathon will be Sunday, when he joins the masses for the Los Angeles Marathon.
Question: What made you want to run a marathon?
Answer: It was one of those things on the back of my mind for the last 15 years or so that I wanted to accomplish. The urge became stronger when I met others who had run one or were training for a marathon. For the longest time I'd start training and gave up, so I started doubting myself wondering if I could ever run a full marathon.
Q: What are some of the things you remember the most about Surf City?
A: Being nervous driving on PCH on our way to the marathon. I could not believe the day had come. Then when I got there talking to you I relaxed a little and just tried to enjoy the moment. I stretched to calm my nerves. I had run a half marathon before but this time it was different. I kept telling myself I was prepared. Then a few minutes before the start I realized everything felt right. I felt peaceful, my body felt rested and my mind was cleared of thought. I was just focused on the race…I was in the zone.
Q: What was the most difficult thing about Surf City?
A: I would have to say Miles 19-22. My legs were feeling the stress and I started doubting that I could finish but like they say, mind over matter. I was able to overcome that stress and kept telling myself 'Just a few more miles. Don’t give up now.' And being the competitive nature that I am (as a Valenzuela I think you have a little bit of it too), I was able to push myself and finish.
Q: What went through your mind when you crossed the finish line?
A: It was so surreal. I put my head up and said to myself 'You did it!' Overall, I was just happy with myself, thinking how proud my dad would have been if he was still with us, since he loved to watch all sorts of sporting events on TV.
Q: How did your body feel in the hours and days after the marathon?
A: I could barely walk but made sure to alleviate the stress and soreness and avoid cramping up. My body felt warm as if I had a fever for the next 4 – 5 hours after. The next couple of days I felt soreness in my legs mostly but not as bad as I thought was going to be. I think all the stretching I did before and after the race helped.
Q: After you got home from Surf City, you immediately signed up for the LA Marathon. What was it about the marathon experience that prompted such a response from you?
A: I wanted to experience what I had just gone through again as soon as possible. And just running the LA marathon, I knew it would be a totally different experience altogether.
Q: What are your goals for the LA Marathon?
A: My training between marathons didn’t go as planned, with my skiing vacation and all. I’ve only trained the last two weeks consistently with a few runs here and there prior to that. I’m hoping for a time of 3:50 or better.
Q: Are you looking at any other marathons in 2010? If so, what do you hope to achieve in any subsequent marathons?
A: I’m hoping to do at least two other marathons - San Francisco and Long Beach - this year. Then I would have four under my belt - not bad for the first year, right? My goals are to better my time every time I run a new marathon and ultimately to inspire other family members to take up running.
I would like to thank Jorge for taking the time to answer my questions and to have shared his experience here on my blog. I hope you all join me in supporting Jorge this Sunday at the LA Marathon.