As is the tradition of TBR Dream Marathon, after the race, I post anecdotes about the marathon that I receive in my Inbox from our new marathoners. My inbox gets inundated with stories of triumph, love, gratitude, passion, and empowerment that it’s too much of a waste if only I read it. Through this series of stories (one every week for the next couple of months), may you all be inspired to run a marathon or dream big in your own lives.
I’d like to share the letter of a partner, pacer, and “Coach” about the first marathon of his beloved. It’s always heartwarming to read about how an experienced runner helps the other get started with running, but even more touching when it’s done with love. Here’s the story about Maricar’s journey towards her first marathon with Dennis by her side from start to finish:
TBR DREAMER: MARICAR LEYVA, BIB 386
WRITTEN BY PACER: DENNIS MASCARDO
I would like to say thank you for the past 6+ months of great times. I am writing here with a big smile on my face because my better half, Maricar is now a marathoner, this I say with conviction because if you asked me a year ago if she was willing to undergo the training to race a marathon I would have said “Are you crazy??”
Maricar was into a lot of things but running was not one of them, sure ask her to play tennis or go to the mall and she will say yes without thinking twice. This journey of hers started a year ago when I asked her if she wanted to start walking so as to keep fit, she has always been a tennis player half her life and since we moved in the Kaptiolyo Area, courts were hard to find. She said yes and we walked consistently for more than 5 months when I asked her if she wanted to try running a little, she said let’s go, at first she had issues running as I tried correcting her but I realized I had to let her natural form come out and once it did everything fell into place.
We tried her first 5k back in the middle of 2012, she was dog tired but she was hooked. Out came the Dream Marathon Ad which I showed her and asked her if she would like to join. It took her days to decide, I did promise her that I will be there to pace her in all workouts and the actual race. We finally wrote to you and she was lucky enough to get a slot.
Fast forward to Sunday’s race, was she having second thoughts the day before? She was far too excited to think of the normal issues runners think about the day before, you know why? We did our home work and more, Pls don’t tell coach Jim, I tweaked her program wherein instead of just 3 runs, we were running all easy/steady for 6-7 x a week, we still did the main runs but inserted filler runs to make her legs more durable, having been a runner for the past 20 years and then moving into triathlons for the past 18 seasons now, i knew that running a marathon is all about durability and who slows down the least the last 5-10k of the run. We were ready.
I had us start at the back part, told her to be patient we do the 3:1 as practiced, hydrate every 15 mins and take in a gel every 45 mins, we run the first loop easy/steady – she knew right off the bat, steady nor easy does not mean slow. The gun went off and we were off, first 45 mins went by like it was nothing, she was getting fidgety already as we were still running with a big group, I was telling her be patient let us wait for the last 15kms and see where we are at physically. The turn around came and we were going back to the 21k turn.
We both know couples encounter issues during the course of their lives that are unavoidable this was one of them 🙂 – being stressed out with the race + the onset of fatigue took it’s toll, I mentioned something that hit a nerve and we argued about something shallow on any given day – sponges you were giving out! ha! It took me a full 6-8km to make amends and right before going out again the main hi-way or around the 25km mark we finally kissed and made up 🙂
I have done a ton of races in my life and this race might be advertised as a race for first timer marathoners but even the experienced ones will share my sentiments – this course was made to destroy your legs! Add the concrete roads and the elevation changes, make the mistake of going out too hard, you will have a looong second half.
– Maricar and Dennis at the 2nd loop –
We were already picking up the ones who went out to fast in the first loop and she was estatic, little did she know I was having gastric issues of my own aside from the onset of fatigue. By the 30th km, I told her that I needed a potty break – before turning right to the main hi-way back, I went and felt relieved. Off we went, we did ave around 7:10-7:15 for the whole first 30km of the race, after the break I told her we attack the long road leading to the last rotunda before the start/finish line area. We both found our secondwind and we were clicking 6-6:10 km/pace and eventually catching up with the others. Our legs felt tired and my legs were shot already, being a bigger person meant more pounding, my legs gave way in the last 2-3kms of the race and told Maricar to go for it, which she did.
The final 2kms were like a blur but her legs did not fail her and I let her enjoy the finish line while I walked outside the barriers. I was super happy for her as she finally finished something that we started a year and half ago. Of all my races, the athletes I have coached from the early years of Triathlon here, her finish outweighed them all. I am so proud of her and I love her even more, can you imagine instead of going out on date – we get to run together, running is the new malling for her 🙂 I guess I am little biased given she is my boss 🙂
Again, thanks for putting this up and as early as now, we will be joining next year’s TBR Dream Marathon not as participants or pacers but as chasers and pay it forward and help next year’s batch of soon to be marathoners realize running will make you enjoy life even more.