I remember Surf City 2010 like it was just yesterday. Okay, that might be a bit cliche but I remember a lot of the race in great detail.
I mean, it was my first marathon and all.
I am a bit worried that the experience from 2010 and what I will experience Sunday will sort of blend together. At some point down the line, I'm sure I'll wonder "Did that happen in 2010 or 2011?"
Anyway, before that happens, I wanted to list my five favorite things from my first marathon, to sort of reminisce and more importantly to make sure that I remember exactly what year these things took place.
5. On Your Mark, Get Set... Just being at the start line was magical. I remember not feeling nervous, surrounded by a bunch of other marathoners, surrounded my a lot of my Loper friends, getting ready for just another long Sunday run. The weather was great. My fears of a rainy marathon were put to sleep by the cloudless morning. I was happy and had a smile on my face at this point. I didn't quite know what I was getting into but I knew it was going to be special and memorable.
4. Volunteers At The Park: Part of the course took us through a park, and manning aid stations and helping runners stay on course were loads of volunteers, a lot of them middle-school age. For 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds to get up that early on a Sunday morning and cheer on the hordes of runners was really special for me, really gave me a boost and I'm guessing the others as well. I tried to thank as many as I could because I wanted them to know we appreciated their support.
3. Random Awesomeness: There were a lot of little snapshots that were pretty cool but one in particular... I was probably at about Mile 14 or so, I believe still on Pacific Coast Highway. One runner said something to me about... well, about my No. 1 item... anyway, once he passed me by (he was quite a bit faster, might have been running the half) he looked back and said "Soak it all in!" I did, brother. I did.
2. Support Crew: Not ashamed to admit it - I cried during the race.
Well, I take that back... I would have cried if my body would have allowed it, but since I was in so much agony, my body didn't want to divert any attention away for any sort of normal body function as my body was in emergency shutdown mode and thus tending to pain in my sides, feet, calves, back, arms and thighs. No room for tears.
However, when I was just about to hit Mile 26 I saw Mrs. LB and the girls. How can I not get a little emotional?
I was trying to keep my composure. Not doing a great job of it.
1. My Bib: Remember my bib? If you were around back in February 2010, I'm guessing the answer is yes.
This has been easily one of the best ideas I've ever had. I wanted to commemorate my weight loss and to show others what is impossible - as the bib says, NOTHING is impossible.
Wearing that on my back was an awesome experience. So many fellow runners, fellow marathoners, congratulated me on my achievement. It didn't quite lift my feet up off the ground for me but it really reminded me just how far I'd gone in such a relatively short period of time. From 300-pounder to marathoner in four years.