At first I was going to paraphrase this. I wanted to fill it in with my color commentary. I wanted to edit and twist Kim's words into my own style.
Instead, I've decided to present this unfiltered view of Kim entirely from her perspective. I have chosen to let the reader decide for themselves how to interpret Kim's thoughts. This is the same story as my post titled Kimberly, only framed by the racer instead of the coach and pacer. The experience is similar and also quite different.
I have Kim's permission to put her words out there. So, I've decided to do just that. If you take the time to read this, you'll notice the voice is very different from my own. I like that. I find it very refreshing that we are all so unique in our approach to life, to training, racing, and suffering.
I have only one request. If you take the time to read this, please consider posting a comment with word or two of encouragement for Kim. She rallied through a very tough day in her 2nd marathon and finished with a BQ and a 40 minute PR. I think that's a fairly remarkable achievement and I'm continually impressed with her toughness.
I couldn't sleep well the night before, wide awake most of the night,
tossing and turning, and by 3:30 an hour before my alarm was set to go
off I was up and there was no hope of going back to sleep. We left
the hotel at 5 so we would have enough time to get there. Thankfully
we followed the garmin directions to get to Dodger stadium instead of
the freeway signs because it led us around all of the traffic and we
had no trouble getting into the stadium. My parents who dropped us
off said we made it just in time because as they left the roads and
the exit we took to get off the freeway were bumper to bumper traffic
and moving slow.
I was with Tracie, Jen and Herb and we had about an hour and a half to
kill before the race start. We went to the bathroom and hung out,
after making small talk with the others for a little bit I decided I
didn’t want to talk to anyone anymore, and I headed over to my corral
to wait. I got into my corral and there were maybe ten other people
there. I found a spot against the fence where I would be protected
from the wind and curled up in my trash bag and put my head down.
Miraculously, I fell asleep for the next 45 minutes and ironically the
quality of sleep I got rivaled the sleep in my cozy warm hotel bed the
night before. :-) Just before the wheel chair start the corral
started to get busier. I waited around a little longer and watched
multiple people climb the fence and move into the corral ahead of me,
which was supposed to be for 3hours+ and I decided to join them. I
found myself a spot near the 3:25 marker and hung out til the race
started. I did decide that next time I should bring a blanket to wrap
up in and sit on, because my trash bag kept me pretty warm, but my
feet got cold on the cold asphalt and took a long time to warm up once
I started running.
The race started and I started out feeling good. The first mile was a
little behind goal pace, but it usually is and it was a little crowded
with everyone getting going. I thought it was hilarious as we left
Dodger stadium, the first planter the men were all lined up taking a
leak, and the police on duty across the road was watching and taking
Miles 2 and 3 were a little fast, I tried to find a steady easy pace
just as I had done in my long training runs, but the race excitement
and all the people made it difficult. I passed the 3:25 pacer
somewhere in that first stretch. Not too far in the people thinned a
little bit and I started zoning out the running and just enjoying the
scenery. We went through little Tokyo, and Chinatown. I had no idea
where I was, I don’t know my way around LA, but I enjoyed looking at
all the different buildings and the music. There were some pretty
cool drums that put a little pep in my step. Somewhere in here there
were some hills and I just remember Easa telling me take it easy on
the hills, don’t power through them and expend all your energy so you
are wasted later. I tried to remember that as I went along. I passed
some people, some people passed me. I was enjoying my run, and felt
like I was doing pretty well for the first little while.
Shortly after I passed the 10K timing strip my legs started to feel
tight and I knew it was going to be a tough rest of the race. I just
kept plodding along. My goal was steady, easy pace through mile 20.
I quit paying attention to the scenery; I started to get annoyed by
all the people and all the noise. I tried to zone out and mentally
put myself back here in Carlsbad running down the coast by myself,
listening to the waves and watching the surfers, but about every mile
there was a good sized cheer group and it would bring me back to where
I was an annoy me all over again.
I was super excited to see Easa when I got to him at about 12.5. I
needed that support that seeing a familiar face always gives when you
are tired. He was very chipper and ran circles around me for a little
bit before he settled into my slow pace. When he asked how I was
doing all I could give him was a simple fine, partly because I was
tired and focused on climbing this very small incline that seemed much
harder than it should have been, and partly because I didn’t know what
to say. I couldn’t figure out how to put into just a few words that
although I was not even halfway through, I was already discouraged and
I knew that I was going to struggle the closer I got to the finish,
and how much it sucks that I didn’t have any problem at all in any of
my long training runs, but I was on race day. Although all of this was
going through my mind I did my best to push it to the back of my mind
and stay positive, because I knew that expressing the frustrations
would only seat them deeper in my mind and make it more difficult.
We continued on for a while, he tried to point out different landmarks
or tell me what was coming up and use landmarks as a carrot to look
forward to on the course, but I don’t know my way around LA and I
didn’t pay much attention to where the course was going to go to know
where that put me in relation to the finish, so it didn’t really help
I think we were about mile 16 or 17 and Easa finally settled into a
pace just in front and a little to the left of me, I retreated back
into my own thoughts focusing less on the course, and the people
around me knowing that I he’d keep me at a steady pace and just
running. This helped. It helped a lot to just go and think and not
think about how fast I was going or how much farther it was.
The miles dragged on, I know I wasn’t that far into it, but it just
seemed hard. The first 11 weeks of training were so easy, I cranked
out a 20 mi run one Saturday when it probably should have only been a
16 mi run, and that was easy. I was completely frustrated that now
that it counts I had such a hard time. My legs had been tight the
last couple weeks and that didn’t help. I realize after the fact
reading Easa’s thoughts on my race that he had no idea that I was
having such a hard time, that I had just kept it all to myself, and
when I stopped to throw myself my little pity party about mi 21 that
was probably one of the first indicators of my struggle. And he’s
right, it was a pretty quick and effective pity party. It didnt take
me long to get moving again, but I was tired and moving slow and my
legs were cramping and I was having a hard time finding the energy or
the motivation to continue on.
I realize after that fact that although I was really struggling from
about 16 on, it didn’t reflect on my splits. I looked at my watch a
couple times and it said 8:49, and then 8:37 and I got discouraged and
quit looking. I thought that all of these miles were super sluggish
and I was quickly losing any hope of making it anywhere close to 3:30,
but I just couldn’t find the energy to make myself move any faster.
The only consolation in my mind was that no matter how poorly I did,
as long as I kept running I could still break 4:00. I looked at my
spilts after the race and I realized that I was miserable, but I
still kept it together and I wasn’t going as slow as I thought I was.
Looking back I wish I knew that at this point because I think it would
have helped my morale a little to know that my suffering was not in
vain, and that I was still headed for a pretty good PR.
Around 22.5 I started to really struggle. I had taken a gu about mile
10 just before I had met up with Easa, and I hated that disgusting
taste it left in my mouth, which is why I never used them in trainings
and why I didn’t use more than one, but I probably should have. I hit
a wall, and my body started to shut down on me. I started to get
tunnel vision where the edges of your field of vision get dark, that
feeling that you know if you keep pushing and you keep going, you are
headed straight for passing out. I stopped to walk again to clear my
head and regain my composure and as I did Easa told me that it was
only a 5k left, and with that I found a new focus, a new driving force
to get me to the finish line. It now seemed like a doable task. I
started running again with that task in mind. I was able to tune out
everything else and I felt like I could maintain a reasonable pace.
It was even more encouraging to have Caitlyn and Lev join me at mi 23,
knowing that I had that much more support. I had to stop a couple
more times between there and the final stretch as my vision started to
blur and I felt like passing out again, including once only 150yards
from the finish line. I was so close, I didn’t want to stop, but I
didn’t think I could make it across the line before I passed out. I
am really happy that I had regained my composure by the time I passed
my dad who was about a 100 yds from the finish line and I heard him
cheering for me, of all the voices in the crowd I could pick out his
yelling for me and it made me smile inside even though I don’t think I
managed to on the outside.
I couldn’t believe it when I passed the finish line and the finish
clock said 3:33. With how much I hurt and how poorly I felt I had
run, I thought there was no way that I was going to be that close to
my goal time. Although I still don’t have an official time, I don’t
know what the deal it with that, I am satisfied with my 3:33 race. I
began this training season thinking that 3:30 would be a good goal and
at the time I was not actually sure I could get anywhere close to it,
but I knew that if I tried and I put in the work I would do the best I
could. The training plan that Easa made for me almost seemed too easy
for the first 11 weeks when every run was fun and enjoyable and
nothing hurt. Maybe I went a little beyond what I should have an
that’s why I hit such a wall in my training and why I struggled
through the race so much, but I wouldn’t change any bit of it. I
absolutely enjoyed it. It was a perfect combination of challenge and
confidence builder to motivate me through training. Dave, thank you
so much for your confidence in me and intuition to challenge me
through training, and for sticking with me through the race. I don’t
think I would have come anywhere close to the 40 minute marathon PR
that I have, without you on race day.