Monday, December 7, 2009


My prayers were answered!
Angels must exist or something!

I finished the Santa Barbara International Marathon, all 26.2 miles of it, and PAIN FREE!

Can I get a What, what???!!!!

I am a marathoner!

You know it's coming.....

Boo-yah! :)

Oh man. I am beyond amazed at how positive the race experience was. Short of replacing my legs with Kara Goucher's on a different, flatter course, I could not have done better. Or had more fun. Ahhhhh. so much to say. Where do I even begin? I guess you better be ready for a monster of a post!

Pre-Race: Saturday evening
I was HARD-CORE freaking out about the marathon because of my knee. (read about it here) It hurt. To combat the pain, I spent the evening with my knees elevated, with a heat pack, Aleve, and half a tube of Bengay. The house seriously smelled like hospital. It was so strong it could make your eyes water. I spent the entire day munching (diet starts Monday, right?) and watching TV.

I don't watch TV often, but boy, am I glad I did! They were playing an episode of the Biggest Loser where the contestants attempt to run a marathon after only TWO months of prep. Holy crap! This was exactly the kind of motivation I needed. I was seriously tearing up watching these people bust through the miles one step at a time. I thought, if they can do it, I can do it too! I was determined to finish this thing, no matter the pain. Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever, right?

Ate a bunch of rice and went to bed at 8.

Race-Day morning:
Up at 3:45 AM for breakfast of one banana, two waffles with syrup and greek pumpkin pie yogurt, and some coffee. I was desperately hoping the coffee would help with the pre-game dump, but no such luck. Oh well.

I also had to prepare for a possible inconvenience.
(I was scheduled to get my monthly "gift" that day)

I listened to some pump up music while James listend to "Steady as she goes". Hmm.... not quite pump up music, but has the wise message of "go steady". Hey, whatever works.

At 5:45 we walked to the starting line for the 6:30 start.

It was already crowded, and there were already HUNDREDS of people in line for the porta potties. There was no way in hell we were gonna be able to "go" before the race started. But we had the genius idea/shameless idea of walking across the street to the woods to use Nature's Porta Pottie. Problem solved :)

The race start was actually delayed 30 min due to a traffic accident on the freeway. No prob. I used the time to stretch and calm down.

At 6:45 AM, we all lined up by the starting line. The announcer was really great about telling people to line up where we belonged. IE: Fasties in the front and slowies in the back. I like what he said "be honest with yourself. If you know you're not a sub-7 minute runner, PLEASE go toward the middle/back. The people racing don't want to have to waste time dodging you."
Well said.
Can't you just smell the pre-race jitters in the air?

We lined up behind the 4:30:00 pacer. Hey, I was being honest. I didn't line up behind the baller ass 3:00:00 pacer. :) I prayed one last time for my knee to hold up.

The Race:
7:00 AM and we're off! wooo!
I've done this course so many times and I know it like the back of my hand. I know all the curves, all the little ups and downs, and all the upcoming hills. Having this "insider knowledge" was helpful. I felt calm, ready, and confident.

Yes. Confident. That was what I felt. Confident that no matter what, I would finish.

We didn't stay in the pace group for long and we pulled ahead. The weather was perfect for a run; clear and 50-something degrees. I could feel all my toes and fingers unlike in Healdsburg, and I was just kind of excited to embark on this adventure.

Even though the course was familiar, it felt very different running with hundreds of other people and running with an onslaught of adrenaline.

Surprisingly, my knee was holding up. I felt no pain. Uck yes.

Mile 3.5 I took my first Shot block, and I ate one every mile until mile 8 or so.

I don't even remember what mile this was, but this guy totally made my day:
Takes guts to be in a speedo in front of hundreds of people in 50 degree weather. Thanks dude
To be honest, most of the run was kind of a blur. I kicked up the pace miles 7-10, and took time to stretch right after the mile 10 mark.

Mile 13 we took a stretching, kissing break :) Motivation.

Mile 16 or so we passed In-N-Out. I wanted animal style fries so bad it hurt.
At mile 19 we ate some peanut butter covered pretzels. It was weird how un-hungry I was, considering I am always famished by this point. But the pretzels tasted soooooooooooo good. I had told myself that the pretzels were off limits till mile 18, and it was SUCH a motivation. I kept thinking, mmmm, 3 more miles till pretzels, 2.5 more miles till pretzels, etc etc etc. :)

James and I made it a point to HAVE FUN on the course. We stopped to high five the spectators, say thank you to the volunteers, scream and shout "MORE COWBELLS PLEASE!" and sing out loud. I had "I have a feeling tonights gonna be a good good night" stuck in my head and occasionally sang out loud.

We met a guy who lived in HI, I met a guy who lived in Tokyo once, a guy who had run 14 marathons already... it's fun making friends on the course. :) Shouting at the spectators was a way to get myself all pumped up, but it helped to pump up the spectators too. They responded to our enthusiasm, and subsequently cheered louder for the other runners. Reciprocity. That's what it's all about :)

The miles just kept passing by. I kept passing more and more people. I booked it up the hills and made everyone jealous. :) I just kept trucking along. One step closer to the end. Just keep going. Left foot, right foot, left foot, right foot.

I knew there was a half mile BRUTAL climb somewhere between mile 23-24. I blocked it out from my thoughts as much as possible until I was actually standing at the bottom. I looked up to see most people walking it. I channeled my inner Missy Elliot, told James "We run this shit" and and ran my little heart out. Although the word run would be an overstatement. I still refused to walk!

Though the hill hurt like eff, was the most brutal torture ever, and I probably would have taken a bullet to the head to end the misery, I effing frickin ran every last step of it.

Done. All downhill from there.

I seriously focused all my energy and booked it to the finish line. I was grunting. I was grimacing. I was moaning, I was groaning. It took every last ounce of energy to NOT slow down. I wanted this thing to be over with SO BAD. I just wanted to be done, godamit!

come on come on come on! and James grabbed my hand and we ran over the finish line.


Just like that, we were marathoners.

6 months of training.

No knee pain.

No period.

Thank you angels!

We both finished in 4:17:58.
9:50 pace.
I couldn't be more proud!

As soon as I stopped running though, the pain came gushing in.
Oh the pain!
THE PAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy mother of fill in the blank!


But I couldn't care less, honestly. I am now a bona fide marathoner! I can put that bumper sticker on my car now!

And EAT!

Our afternoon went a little something like this:


Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much to everyone who supported me throughout my training! Thank you James for being the best training partner!

Thank you to all my readers who gave me so many pieces of advice/wisdom, and encouraged me when I was feeling defeated. You have no idea how much your spirited words helped me when I was feeling doom. I honestly, seriously, am SO GRATEFUL.

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!



  1. FIRST!

    GIRL I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU! You are a MARATHON FINISHER! How awesome was it to cross that Finish line huh?!?!? Bask in the afterglow because you deserve it! Congrats to James as well. Ya'll are so cute and I love that you kissed on the course and held hands thru the finish line! YAY!!!!

  2. P.S. You totally earn at least one full week of eating whatever you want and telling absolutely everyone you meet that you ran a marathon recently. Yup. Do it. Every single person you meet. :)

  3. AWESOME!?!?!

    You rocked it!?! (I so never had a doubt you would!)

    I love that you guys did it together ... so uber-cutie!?!?

  4. Wow oh wow! Congrats! I think it would be great to really know the course, I doubt I will ever have the feeling unless I make my own course.

    Hugs and welcome to the club..

    I agree with Morgan, eat up lady!

  5. i found your blog through tall moms last week and had to come wish you a HUGE congrats!!!! yayyy marathoner!!! rest up and enjoy the post race glow :)

  6. Congrats! Glad the knee didn't give you any trouble DURING the race!

  7. YAY!!!!!!!!!! Congrats on your first 26.2......... Glad the knee held up for you.

  8. I'm new to your blog, but i also wanted to offer up my congrats!! Totally bad ass, lady. :)

  9. Great job! Glad your knee let you have a good time on the course.

  10. you guys are SOO BAD ASS AND CUTE! i have yet to find a guy that will run with me!

  11. way to go! glad it went well! loved the video! :D

  12. congrats! that's awesome! you did amazing! great job!

  13. I think I saw you pass me on cliff dr. I couldn't remember where I'd seen you before, but looking at these pics I think it was you.

    Anyway, congrats on a great day!

  14. Great post! AWESOME RACE!!!!!! YOU DID IT!!!! I love the video too :) YOu are such an inspiration and since my monthly visitor is almost here I am tearing up!!! CONGRATS!!!!!!!

  15. Congrats on your first marathon! Great job and awesome time!

  16. Oh, I am so happy, and proud, and excited, (and jealous) for you!!!!! Congratulations! What an awesome time for your very first marathon. I'm glad that knee held up and I would have TOTALLY stopped off at the In and Out Burger! LOL.

  17. CONGRATULATIONS!!! I knew you would do it! I'm so excited for you! Isn't it just the bast feeling EVER?!?!?! I want it right now...I really miss that!
    Okay, excuse me while I go sign up for another marathon now!!!

  18. Awesome for you! What a great experience, and am jealous reading your blog. And who designs a course past an In-n-Out Burger?

  19. Congratulations, great race report, and great time!!

  20. I can't believe you had the *energy* to record a mini vlog for us at mile 22!!! ha!! :) GO YOU!

    CONGRATS Julia!!!!!! Marathon - DONE!!!

    These pb-pretzels - brilliant! - did you carry them?? And omg - what a tease to run by fast food joints (that's either going to make you nauseous or Really hungry....) ! :)

    So proud of you!!!!

  21. Congratulations Julia!!!!!!

    You are a marathoner!!

  22. congratulations!!!! what an awesoem job! you make me want to run this race next year!!

  23. Woo hoo! Congratulations on finishing your first marathon! How awesome that you and James ran the whole thing and finished together. Thanks for the great race report.

  24. Congratulations to both of you! Sounds like the race went AMAZINGLY well. Your training paid off.

  25. Huge congratulations!! Well done. Hope your legs are feeling much better now. Love the pictures and rr.

  26. CONGRATS!!! Awesome. (And you two are too cute together. What a fantastic thing to share.)

  27. Congratulations! That's great that you didn't have any pain duing the race. I agree with the people who told you to celebrate all week and tell everyone you see that you ran a marathon.

  28. I'm a little late but congrats girlie!

  29. I'm SOOOOOOO PROUD OF YOU!!! Its a couple days late but it took some time for me to get back home and situated! You killed it out there and ran an AMAZING first marathon!!! :) I love the videos and the pictures!!! great great job!!!!! :) soooo happy for you guys!! WTG!! xoxo

  30. Love the guy in the speedo - so funny!

    Great job! You did awesome, I loved reading this!

  31. haha I really can't wait for the bumper sticker either!

  32. Super late to this post, but HUGE congrats on such a job well done to you and your man!!!!

  33. Loved reading your first marathon story! You are hilarious! I'm now a loyal follower. (What can I say? I'm an easy friend to make and a hard one to shake.)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I look forward to your next post!



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