I Am A Paris Marathon Finisher (Video)

It has been exactly 41 days and 5 hours since I finished the Paris Marathon and I have spent exactly 41 days and 4 hours trying desperately to describe the experience in writing. I can’t. It was such a surreal journey—one of the top three highlights of my life thus far.

Since Dario and I signed up in November, my life consisted of long hours of running, constant sacrifices to train, non-stop pain from my ankle injury in January, and a nagging fear that I would not make it to race day. But every mile, every moment of pain and doubt and sacrifice was worth its weight in gold as my body delivered me across the finish line. The moment I knew I would make it, I burst into tears from a mixture of relief, pride and most of all, unequivocal happiness.

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The Paris Marathon was my first marathon and it was the perfect choice. The city has a unique electric energy that was augmented ten-fold by the hordes of by-standers cheering us animatedly for most of the course. Given my limited ability to train after my injury, I didn’t expect to finish but my audience kept calling my name and I couldn’t let them down so I pushed one foot in front of the other, past the Eiffel Tower and to the Arc de Triomphe where I claimed my new title as marathoner.

I keep trying to tell my Paris Marathon story because it is too unforgettable not to share. But words don’t do it justice—or, perhaps I just haven’t found the right ones. While I continue trying to capture my memories on paper, I am hoping this video conveys an infinitesimal part of what it feels like to be a Paris Marathon finisher. It is the least I can do to thank you for coming with me and supporting me on the road to Paris.

Impromptu Guadalajara Half-Marathon? Why Not!

This Sunday I ran the 21K GDL Electrolit 2018 in Mexico. If you’re thinking, “But Margarita, I don’t remember you training to run a half-marathon in Guadalajara…” You’re right. I didn’t even know Guadalajara throws an annual half-marathon—a damn good one, it turns out!—until this past Thursday when my family and I traveled to Guadalajara for the long weekend.

I packed to train while on vacation. My training called for 15 miles this weekend and with almost one month to go, I was serious about getting them in around our travel itinerary. The only thing I was worried about was running by myself. Many parts of Mexico are dangerous, particularly for a young, blonde female, which is why I jumped at the opportunity to run with 15,000 other runners as soon as my aunt mentioned her best friend Monyca would be participating in the local half-marathon.

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I still can’t believe the stars aligned to get me across that finish line. It definitely wasn’t easy. For starters, it was an odyssey to register so close to the race—it had to be done in person and within limited hours—but Monyca moved mountains to make it happen. (Gracias, gracias, gracias, Mony!) Also, I was at a physical disadvantage for three reasons:

  1. Guadalajara is 1,600 meters above sea level and exercising at altitude is harder than in Miami.
  2. My training has been on flat courses and 90% of the Guadalajara Half-Marathon course is at an incline or on a bridge, particularly the second half.
  3. The day before my family and I went on the Jose Cuervo Express, a nearly 12 hour adventure that was exhausting, required a lot of standing/walking, and involved a lot of tequila.

Despite the setbacks and the challenging course, it turned out to be a good race for me! I felt great for most of the race and finished in 2 hours and 6 minutes, compared to the Miami half where I felt miserable and finished only 2 minutes faster. It helped that this time I focused on managing my energy so I had an ample reserve for the back-to-back climbs during the second half of the race. And, that I smiled through the tough moments rather than wallowed in them like I did in January. (Did you know a genuine smile could improve physical performance?)

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I head back to Miami tomorrow to make my last five weeks of training count. (No more impromptu races, I promise!) It should get easier now that I know my ankle situation is tendonitis and I’m following a treatment plan. Alas, I see the City of Lights at the end of the tunnel and I’m going to ride the good juju from this race from the Champs Elysée to the Port Dauphine.

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Gear: Brooks Glycerin 15 running shoes, Garmin Forerunner 920XT watch, Amphipod running belt (similar here), Beats Studio 2 wireless headphones

Playlist: My “Guadalajara Half Marathon” playlist on Spotify